Before applying to the Graduate School for Health Sciences (GHS), candidates must have been accepted by a thesis advisor and been offered a position. Check the websites of the participating faculties for details of research activities, and the offers for open PhD positions of the GHS and the University of Bern.

General Information: Application Procedure

The application procedure comprises two separate steps:

  1. Registration at the University of Bern (before application to the GHS)
  2. Application to the GHS

Condition for admission to the GHS is a Master's degree or an equivalent diploma from a Swiss or a foreign university. Adequate knowledge of the English language is a mandatory prerequisite.
Applications to the GHS must be submitted to the Coordinator within four months after having started the research project.
Within one to three months after having submitted the written application, each candidate will be invited for a personal interview with one of the GHS Expert Committees.

Registration at the University of Bern

All applicants are required to apply online for admission at the University of Bern, as indicated on the below-mentioned websites. Read the instructions on the appropriate website, fill in the relevant form «Confirmation of Supervision», and follow the steps indicated on the form. The form «Confirmation of Supervision» has to be signed by the Coordinator of the GHS in the last section of p. 2. No signature is required from the Dean's Office.

Candidates with Foreign Diplomas

Registration at the University of Bern is required before signing your employment contract with your supervisor.

Deadlines for Application:

January 10, May 1, September 1

Please read through the instructions very carefully before starting your application.
Candidates with foreign university degrees: pay special attention to # 9 in the list below. 

The following procedure has to be observed (see list of documents below):

(i) Submission of electronic documents # 1-8, as one single, merged PDF file (reduced/optimized PDF), by e-mail to
(ii) Only candidates with foreign degrees: Submission of paper documents # 9, as loose sheets in a folder, by mail to PD Dr. Marlene Wolf, Coordinator GHS, c/o Theodor Kocher Institute, P.O. Box 938, CH-3000 Bern 9, to be received by the respective deadline.

Please avoid calling in person at the GHS offices, unless absolutely unavoidable; you will be contacted if further documents are required.

List of Required Application Documents

  1. Fully completed, dated and signed GHS Application Form (PDF, 281KB): First save the filled in form on your computer (File → «Print as PDF» → save on computer); electronic copy: type in date and name (= «signature»); or PDF scan: add hand-written signature.
  2. Curriculum vitae.
  3. Letter of acceptance by the thesis advisor, written on official letter paper, dated and signed.
  4. Financial pledge by the thesis advisor, granting the PhD candidate, as a rule, a salary according to the standard of SNSF regulations, or include a separate request for special cases of financing.
  5. Name and address of a suggested co-referee.
  6. Description of planned research project, using the GHS Research Project Form (DOCX, 215KB).
    The description of the planned research project should comprise 2 to max. 4 pages (including references), be written by the candidate on the official Research Project Form, and address the items according to the outlines on the form.
    Confirmation by the Ethics Committee that the planned experiments are approved needs to be included, if applicable.
  7. Photocopies of university diplomas and intermediate diplomas/exam certificates (e.g. Bachelor and Master).
  8. Photocopies of all transcripts/mark sheets (e.g. Bachelor and Master).
    Transcripts must include a conversion key for marks where needed.
  9. Candidates with foreign degrees need to submit additionally the following paper documents: Officially certified, complete translations of all documents of  # 7 and # 8 listed above, if these are issued in a language other than German, English, French, or Italian.
    Transcripts must include a conversion key for marks where needed.

Please note:

  • Incomplete files/folders will not be considered.
  • Unless otherwise stated (see # 9), only electronic PDFs are required.
  • Electronic copies to be submitted to
  • Paper documents to be submitted by mail to the Coordinator of the GHS, to be received by the deadline; or drop your documents in the letter-box at the TKI entrance.

PD Dr. Marlene Wolf

Coordinator GHS

Graduate School for Health Sciences
c/o Theodor Kocher Institute
Freiestrasse 1
P.O. Box 938
CH-3000 Bern 9