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 six months after having started the research project.
Within one to three months after having submitted the written application, each candidate will be invited to a personal interview with one of the GHS Expert Committees (FK).

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.

Please keep in mind the application deadlines of the admissions office.

Please also note that registration at the University of Bern is a prerequisite for applying to the GHS. The decision about acceptance of the applicant into the GHS is taken after the application to the GHS and the interview with the Expert Committee (see above).

Candidates with Foreign Diplomas

Registration at the University of Bern is required before signing your employment contract with your supervisor. Therefore please contact the ZIB, so that they can verify that your certificates are recognized.

Please be aware that the credit system used by a non-Swiss university might be different than the one used by Swiss universities (ECTS – European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System; 1 ECTS = 25 / 30 hours of work).

If in diploma documents there is no information about the number of ETCS,  please include official information about the translation ratio of the credit points of your degree compared with ECTS when you send your diploma.

Make sure that the title of your Master's thesis is inserted in your CV.




Please note, that PhD candidates must register at the same faculty to which their supervisor is affiliated.

  • Choose PhD in Health Sciences med (if your Thesis Advisor is from the Medical Faculty)
  • Choose PhD in Health Sciences phil.-hum. (if your Thesis Advisor is from the Faculty of Human Sciences)
  • Choose PhD in Health Sciences vet (if your Thesis Advisor is from the Vetsuisse Faculty) 

Deadlines for Application

Application deadlines for the GHS: January 10th, May 1st, September 1st

Application Procedure

Submission of electronic documents # 1-8 as a single, merged PDF file to
Incomplete files/folders will not be considered


GHS Application Checklist

  1. Fully completed, dated and signed GHS Application Form (PDF, 161KB). Please note that either electronic or scanned signature is necessary.
  2. Curriculum vitae - add to your CV the title of your master thesis and a list of publications, if any.
  3. Letter of acceptance by the thesis advisor including financial pledge by the thesis advisor, granting the PhD student, as a rule, a salary according to the standard of SNSF regulations. letter of acceptance and financial pledge (DOCX, 53KB). Financial support must be granted  for a minimum of 3 years for Expert Committee I and II (FKI and FKII). For candidates for Expert Committee III (FKIII) both research and clinical salaries must be awarded for a minimum of 4 years.
  4. Written Statement Co-referee (old regulations) or Statement Co-referee (new regulations), dated and signed.
  5. Only if you additionally have a Co-thesis Advisor (not mandatory): Written Statement Co-thesis advisor (old regulations) or Statement Co-thesis advisor (new regulations), dated and signed.
  6. Additionally & only for candidates that apply to the Expert Committee III (PhD in Clinical Sciences, FK III):
    Clear and explicit confirmation of the clinical positions from the head of the clinic. This document should also include a statement that 50% of time is allocated to research for the entire duration of the doctorate. We recommend to embed a prospective in the proposal either based on observational or randomized control trial study.  We would accept a retrospective study based on a new methodology that is originally applied from the candidate and in which the substantial innovative contribution from the candidate is clearly described.
  7. Description of planned research project using the GHS Research Project Form (DOCX, 207KB). Ensure your research project stands out by crafting a detailed 4-6 page description including references. Emphasize the significance of hypotheses and objectives, while providing sufficient insight into methodologies and experimental design. Confirmation by the Ethics Committee that the planned experiments are approved needs to be included, if applicable. (Here is a good example:Example research project form (PDF, 295KB))
  8. Photocopies of university diplomas and intermediate diplomas/exam certificates (e.g. Bachelor and Master)
  9. Photocopies of all transcripts/mark sheets (e.g. Bachelor and Master). Certified Photocopies of translations of all documents from #8 and #9 if they are issued in a language other than German, English, French or Italian. Transcripts must include a conversion key for marks where needed
  10. Only for candidates with a Master’s degree from Universities of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschulen, FH) or from a University of Teacher Education (Pädagogische Hochschule, PH) these additional requirements apply:

    • Master’s degree with a minimal grade of 5
    • Joint supervision from the University of Bern and the FH and PH
    • The application will be reviewed by the Bridge Commission who will assess how many ECTS the candidate should complete as additional demands. The Bridge Commission has been established with the task of evaluating sur dossier the CVs of the candidates with a master's degree from a University of Applied Sciences and a PH in accordance with the new regulations.



For further details, see:


Please note:

  • Incomplete files/folders will not be considered.