On this page, you find information about the admission requirements for doctoral studies at ETH and guidelines how to apply for a PhD position at the Physics Department.
A Doctoral study at ETH Zurich involves independent and original scientific research work from the beginning, under the supervision of a professor. The admission requirements for doctoral studies at ETH Zurich are an ETH Diploma or MSc degree or an equivalent degree from another Swiss or foreign university.
You should first check whether your qualification can be accepted as equivalent to a Master's degree from ETH Zurich. Please contact the PhD Administration Office to ensure that you fulfil the basic requirements. For this procedure they will need your CV, your transcripts and your diplomas.
You will then need to find a professor willing to accept you as a doctoral candidate. You will need the approval of this supervisor before submitting your formal application to the PhD Administration Office.
If you want to start your doctoral studies in physics at ETH, please be aware that you will do this within a research group under the supervision of a professor who will be your thesis advisor. If you have not yet made arrangements with your prospective thesis advisor, we recommend that you read about current research projects on the group website. You may start with the overview over the institutes, where you will find further links. Once you know where you would like to apply, you should contact the professor directly to find out about available projects.
There are also some formal requirements you need to satisfy. With a master degree in physics from ETH, these will be straightforward. With other degrees — possibly from other universities — you will need to have an equivalent degree. In any case, please read the details in the 'Registration/Admission' section on the PhD Administration website.
After you have registered for a doctorate, the Vice-Rector for Doctoral Studies and the Doctoral Committee of D-PHYS decide whether you are admitted.
About one-third of doctoral students have to take qualifying exams. Qualifying exams are decided upon and confirmed after applying for admission. They are proposed by the supervisor and approved by the Doctoral Committee of D-PHYS. Then they are confirmed in the admission letter from the Vice-Rector.
Doctoral students have a double status. They are students and at the same time staff members of ETH Zürich. Signing a working contract does not mean that you are automatically registered as a doctoral student. That is handled by the Human Resources department. Registering as a student has to be done separately with the Doctoral Administration Office.