Doctorate

Ordinance on obtaining a doctoral degreee (2018)

The ordinance on obtaining a doctoral degree from 1 October 2018 replaces the ordinance from 8 July 2009.

PhD students who started their doctorate before this date can either transfer to the new ordinance or finish their doctorate according to the old ordinance from 2009 (see below) until 31 July 2023.

More Information on obtaining a doctoral degree at the Faculty of Arts (in German): Doktorat und Graduiertenschule

A list with open, assigned and completed dissertation and habilitation projects can be found here.

 

Financing

There are no doctoral scholarships or graduate programmes at the University of Zurich. Doctoral students must, therefore, provide their own funding

  • Employees of the University of Zurich can apply for a scholarship for their dissertation project with the Research Fund of the University of Zurich.
  • In some cases, there may also be employment opportunities for ongoing or new projects of the department.
  • Various foundations provide goal-orientated dissertation grants.

Duration

As a general rule for a PhD study, four to five years of full-time work is estimated. If the doctorate studies follow-on from a completed master's or another graduate project, three to four years may be sufficient. 

In cases where external full-time or part-time employment is undertaken, especially if this employment is not closely related to the dissertation project or outside the university, the duration of a PhD will be accordingly prolonged. In such cases the chances of successful completion of the dissertation are also dramatically reduced.

If you are interested in pursuing a PhD programme at the University of Zurich, please take a moment to read this website, which contains information regarding the general requirements and prerequisites for undertaking a doctorate programme at the University of Zurich.

Below you will find additional and subject-specific provisions for the two possible types of doctoral programmes.

Firstly, for the new system (Bologna) and secondly for the old system (post-graduate).

Regulations

According to the regulations, the doctoral degree is governed by the following documentation:

Prerequisites after graduating at the University of Zurich

Doctoral studies in 'Computational Linguistics' or 'Computational Linguistics and Language Technology' may be accepted, if:

 

  • a master's degree at the University of Zurich in one of the above subjects has been completed; and
  • a minimum score of 5.5 has been achieved; and
  • the doctoral committee of the Department of Computational Linguistics is in agreement.

or

  • additional studies (in accordance with § 17 of the Framework Regulation
    for studying in a bachelor's and/or master's degree programme at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Zurich) in one of the above-mentioned subjects have been completed at the University of Zurich; and
  • a minimum score of 5.5 has been achieved; and
  • the doctoral committee of the Department of Computational Linguistics is in agreement.

There is no entitlement to be accepted, even if the doctoral committee of the Department of Computational Linguistics is in agreement with the project.

Prerequisites for applicants holding foreign degrees

Applicants holding an appropriate degree in Computational Linguistics or Language Technology, attained at an institution other than the University of Zurich, can also be accepted, if:

  • your qualifications are recognised by the Faculty; and
  • your qualifications are recognised by the issuing university as admission to doctoral studies; and
  • the doctoral committee of the Department of Computational Linguistics is in agreement.

The authoritative faculty decides in each individual case if and to what extent examinations taken at other institutions are accredited in place of a qualification from the University of Zurich. The faculty also determines the extent of any supplementary examinations if necessary.

The doctoral committee for the Department of Computational Linguistics decides whether a qualification from a subject other than Computational Linguistics will be recognised. It is possible in such a case that supplementary study requirements must be met before acceptance is granted.

The candidate must be able to prove to the immigration authorities of Switzerland (with bank statements, etc.) that he/she is able to financially support themselves for the duration of the doctoral studies, usually at least 4 years. As the cost of living in Zurich is relatively high, the minimum of 36,000 Swiss Francs per year is recommended.

There is no entitlement to be accepted, even if the doctoral committee of the Department of Computational Linguistics is in agreement with the project.

Academic Achievements and Examinations

  • For the successful completion at the general doctoral level, modules amounting to 12 ECTS credit points must be completed.  Please see below for rules regarding the acquisition of ECTS credits.
  • The dissertation is to be written in the form of a monograph. A cumulative dissertation is possible in agreement with the supervisor.
  • The doctoral examination consists of a 60-minute colloquium in the field of the dissertation. This colloquium may be open to the public at the request of the doctoral student.

Earning ECTS Credit Points

Regarding the acquisition of necessary ECTS credit points within the scope of the doctoral studies, the following guidelines apply. These can, however, be adapted depending on previously gained experience.

  • Holding an independent course: 2 points.
  • Independently drafting a conference contribution (conditions: international conference, doctoral student must be the primary author, contribution must be accepted, contribution must be presented at the conference): 2 points.
  • Independently drafting a conference contribution (conditions: smaller personal contribution than above, e.g. doctoral student does not have to be the primary author, contribution can consist of a poster, rather than a presentation): 1 point.
  • Independently drafting a book chapter or journal article (condition: international journal, doctoral student must be the primary author): 3 points.
  • Active participation in a subject-specific course for further development (e.g. Summer school) (conditions: minimum 1 week in duration): 2 points (a maximum of 4 points can be awarded for participation in such courses.).
  • Active participation in courses for higher education teaching or other general development courses (conditions: minimum 1 week in duration): 2 points (a maximum of 4 points can be awarded for participation in such courses).

Old ordinance on obtaining a doctoral degree (2009)

  • For PhD's in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences starting after August 1st, 2009 there are two different types of doctorate degree programmes. A weak-structured doctorate programme requires the candidate to earn a certain number of credit points, whereas a stong-structured doctorate programme demands a higher number of credit points. In 'Computational Linguistics' and 'Computational Linguistics and Language Technology', only the first of these programmes are offered. The Department for Computational Linguistics does, however, participate in the PhD Programme Linguistics: Linguistic Structure; Linguistic Variation; Linguistic History.
  • This allows students to do their doctoral studies in 'Computational Linguistics' and 'Computational Linguistics and Language Technology' in a structured programme.
  • Please also take note of the list of open, awarded and completed dissertation and habilitation projects.

Regulations

According to the new regulations, the doctoral degree is governed by the following documentation:

and