Program Structure


The program offers courses on specific subject matters and on methods that are of direct use to the work of enrolled doctorate students. Additional training courses focus on special skills that prepare students for professional life, whether this is in an academic institution or not. The compulsory research seminars, which are part of the Life Science Zurich – PhD Program in Ecology, foster collaborations and the exchange of experiences among PhD students from different fields of ecology on an international level.

All courses are taught by experts from the University of Zurich, the ETH Zurich, other national or international research institutions, or by well qualified practitioners.

Credit point system

Students are awarded with credit points (CP) and a certificate of attendance for their active participation. Active participation includes classroom presentations, writing reports and organising meetings or seminars. Lecturers are responsible for signing the certificate of attendance related to their course. The precise allocation of CPs is described under the paragraph below "Requirements for the certificate".

Individual courses that are not part of the Life Science Zurich – PhD Program in Ecology can be attended but only with the prior consent of the coordinator of the PhD program and the thesis committee. PhD students are requested to seek information on the number of CPs awarded for such courses in good time.

Requirements for the certificate

To obtain the PhD Certificate in Ecology, a total of 12 CPs is needed. The different courses offered by the program belong to four modules:

  1. Subject-specific matters
  2. Methods
  3. Transferable skills
  4. Research seminars

Participants are expected to attend courses in all four modules to gain 3 CPs in each of the first three modules (Subject-specific matters, Methods, Transferable skills) and 2 CPs in Research seminars. One CP can be freely chosen in either of the modules.

The CPs within the Life Science Zurich – PhD Program in Ecology are approved by the coordinator of the program in accordance with the requirements. In addition, PhD students have to hand in the doctoral agreement and the start of the PhD and the protocols of their yearly meeting with the promotion committee. PhD students of the Faculty of Science (UZH) have to prove that they acquired 100-420 teaching hours. There are numerous opportunities to get involved in teaching organismal biology in the basic studies curriculum. (Teaching assistants needed) The certificate must be submitted when registering for the thesis defense.