Application for New PhD Students

How can prospective PhD students apply?

The application process consists of multiple parts: since the DSI Excellence Program is a complementary curriculum to a doctoral program, in addition to applying for the Excellence Program, you must also apply for a doctoral program of your choice at UZH (PhD program/doctoral subject /general doctorate. The Graduate Campus has a list of doctoral programs offered at UZH). Upon acceptance to a doctoral program, you need to register in the UZH portal. Please note that the individual doctoral programs have their own application deadlines.

You have the option to apply for a DSI scholarship with your application to the DSI Excellence Program. If you do so, you will be informed after the decision on your application whether you are accepted into the DSI Excellence Program and whether or not you will also receive a DSI scholarship.

  • If you are awarded the scholarship, you will have one year after the start of the Excellence Program to apply for admission to a UZH doctoral program (see scholarship conditions).
  • If you do not receive a DSI scholarship, you must be accepted into a UZH doctoral program and be a registered doctoral student at UZH before you can participate in the DSI Excellence Program.

Depending on the application deadlines, it may make sense to start applications for the DSI Excellence Program and a doctoral program in parallel. If you do so, please inform the persons involved in the application for the doctoral program that you are also applying for the DSI program. Conversely, please let us know which doctoral program you are applying for at the same time.


Application documents

  1. To apply for the DSI Excellence Program, please submit your application in English to Please include the following in your application to the DSI (in a single PDF file):
    • CV
    • All university-level grade transcripts
    • A short statement of purpose/research statement (i.e. your research interest, nonbinding, max. one page) and a brief summary in 1-2 sentences. It is also advisable to explain why you want to participate in the Excellence Program.
    • If you already have a PhD supervisor: written approval of the application by the supervisor (only needed if none of the recommendation letters is from the supervisor - see point 2.).
    • Answer the following questions:
      • Have you already finished your Master‘s thesis and obtained a Master‘s degree? If not, demonstrate credibly that you will have completed all the necessary work for the degree before the start of the DSI program. Include a provisional academic record in your application.
      • Are you already enrolled in a UZH PhD program/doctoral subject/general doctorate? If so, since when? Which one? In which faculty?
      • Are you already employed as a PhD or Teaching & Research Assistant at UZH? If so, since when?
      • Is an application for a PhD program at UZH pending?
      • Are you also applying for a DSI scholarship (yes/no)? If yes:
        • What would be the alternatives if you did not receive a DSI scholarship?
        • Do you receive other research funds whose duration extends beyond the start of the excellence program? (Until when?)
        • Do you currently have other submitted applications for research funds?
  2. In addition, you need two letters of recommendation from professors/supervisors, which they should send directly to the above email address.


Application deadline

The DSI Excellence Program starts each Fall Semester one week before the start of the lecture period. The application deadline for Fall 2021 is

December 10, 2020.

Applicants will be notified by February 28, 2021.