PhD in Switzerland – Fees and Funding Guide 2023

PhD in Switzerland – Fees and Funding Guide 2023

Written by Taru Medha

PhD fees in Switzerland

PhD fees are typically between €182 and €1,995 for the full period of study. However, individual universities are free to set their own fees and they can reach as high as €6,145 for the entire course.

Sometimes universities will give fees per term, rather than giving the cost of a full PhD, so make sure you check what a published fee refers to. If you see a fee per term, you should normally multiply it by six (two terms per year, for three years of study) in order to get the total tuition fee for a typical PhD.

When calculating how much a PhD in Switzerland will cost, you should also account for other smaller costs like registration fees, examination fees and student union fees.

Before you begin your doctoral journey, it is also important that you know the cost of living and accommodation which will help you make informed decisions about the amount of funding you need.

Paid PhD in Switzerland

Sometimes Swiss universities advertise PhD opportunities as paid research positions or assistantships, with students effectively employed by the university as temporary staff. You won’t pay any fees for a PhD offered in this way and you’ll receive a regular salary.

As an employee with the university, you may also be entitled to additional benefits including sick pay and holiday leave. In return, you’ll normally be expected to assist with undergraduate teaching and other administrative responsibilities.

It’s a good idea to check whether the university you’re considering offers these positions and what their conditions are.

Search for PhD programmes in Switzerland

You can browse and compare a list of available PhD degrees in Switzerland on the FindAPhD website.

Loans for funding a Swiss PhD

Some universities will provide additional support to their PhD students in the form of financial loans. This is dependent on individual universities’ policies and subject to their own eligibility criteria (you may need to be a graduate of that university and / or make a case for financial hardship).

Federal scholarships for PhD students in Switzerland

The main source of funding for international PhD students in Switzerland is the Swiss Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students (FCS). They award an annual Government Excellence Scholarships programme. For a PhD, there is the research scholarship which is available at all cantonal universities, Universities of Applied Sciences, federal institutes of technology as well as research institutions. However, you have to be nominated by an academic mentor to be eligible for the scholarship.

Students from over 180 different countries are eligible to apply and selection is based on the candidate’s academic qualifications and achievements as well as the merits of their proposed PhD work. If your application is successful, the scholarship will normally cover your fees and living costs.

More on PhD in Switzerland

You can also have a look at our guides to the application process for a PhD in Switzerland and student visas for international doctoral students.

Ready to do a PhD in Switzerland?

Search our project listings in Switzerland to find out what you could be studying.

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Last Updated: 01 December 2023