PhD program Ecology


PhD studies of the Program in Ecology primarily involve research projects in one of the internationally acclaimed research groups at University of Zurich and ETH Zurich. To enhance student’s PhD experience, the program offers research training in the interdisciplinary field of ecology, general skills training for academic and non-academic excellence and opportunities to interact with other doctoral students. The program includes a curricular part of at least 12 ECTS credits, teaching experience, and is usually completed within three to four years (full-time). It offers yearly graduate schools, courses on subject specific matters and on methods that are of direct use to the work of doctoral students. Additional courses on transferable skills prepare students for professional life, whether this is in an academic institution or not. Research seminars foster international collaborations and the exchange of experiences among doctoral students and experts from different fields of ecology.


Featured PhD Project: Spring 2018

Dominik Behr

Dispersal and its demographic consequences in the endangered African wild dog (Lycaon pictus)

Domink Behr

A dispersing African wild dog watches the sun setting over a lagoon in the Okavango Delta, northern Botswana. (© Dominik Behr)

With less than 6’000 free-ranging individuals remaining in the wild, the African wild dog is the most endangered large carnivore of Africa. Wild dogs are pack hunters and obligate cooperative breeders, living in closely knit social groups. We deploy GPS/Satellite collars on subdominant individuals that disperse from their natal group to follow their dispersal route and fate. Together with long-term demographic data, this information will allow us to assess population viability and extinction risks under changing scenarios and thus help identify key conservation actions.

For more information visit our group's website


'Filmmaking for Scientists' was offered as a course to our students. The students learnt how to prepare their own documentary films, including how to deal with camera and lighting, screenwriting/storyboard and film editing. At the end of the workshop, the PhD students prepared a short documentary film.