PhD Program in Ecology

Doing a PhD research project in the joint University of Zurich and ETH Zurich Program in Ecology, in one of the internationally acclaimed research groups, enhances a 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 curriculum 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.


Photography for Scientists
Science and science communication rely heavily and extensively on photography. In this course organised by the PhD Program in Ecology, student scientists were taught how to be more "visually literate", empowering them to more effectively communicate their science.

Filmmaking for Scientists
In this course organised by the PhD Program in Ecology, 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.