PhD Program in 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 2019

Monica Bond

Project Giraffe

monica bond

Masai giraffes in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania Monica Bond)

Project Giraffe - discovers where giraffes are doing well, where they are not, and why. This conservation research project uses a special computer program that recognizes each giraffe’s unique fur pattern from photographs to monitor demographic rates and social relationships of more than 3,000 giraffes. Monica Bond, PhD candidate in Ecology, studies social networks, herd dynamics, and natal dispersal of giraffes. Results from this research will have important implications for conservation and management of giraffes and other tropical ungulates inhabiting increasingly fragmented ecosystems. Monica Bond’s giraffe research project is quantifying fitness consequences of social relationships, grouping patterns, and natal dispersal using the giraffe as a representative species for ungulate fission-fusion societies.


'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.