PhD Program

The Department of Economics runs a small but high-quality PhD program. PhD students can attend first-year courses at the Study Center Gerzensee, together with PhD students from other Swiss universities.

Many of our previous PhD students have spent one or two semester of their graduate studies abroad, at universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Columbia University, Brown University, etc.

The Department of Economics has an excellent track record of placing graduates in research-oriented positions in government agencies and the private sector. Graduates that seek to pursue an academic career often get very good placements as well. List of Recent Placements.


During the coursework stage, doctoral students shall attend courses in the amount of at least 24 ECTS. The students must successfully complete a sequence of first-year PhD courses offered by the Swiss Program for Beginning Doctoral Students in Economics at Gerzensee or by another program recognized as equivalent by the PhD program committee.

In addition, the students are required to obtain at least 6 ECTS from advanced PhD courses offered by the department of economics. Each year, the department offers at least one advanced PhD course in each of thefollowing areas of research: macroeconomics, microeconomics and quantitative methods.

Doctoral Thesis

The doctoral thesis is evaluated and graded by the dissertation committee, which consists of the main advisor and at least a second reviewer who is not a member of the department.

The PhD program at the Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences leads, after successful completion, to the title Doctor rerum oeconomicarum, Dr. rer. oec.

Further information on the struture of the PhD program and the doctoral thesis can be found in the  Guidelines for PhD Students.

Admission requirements

The admission requirements are given by the Reglement über das Doktoratsstudium (german only).

  • The applicant must find a main advisor in the Department of Economics who is willing to supervise her/his dissertation.
  • The applicant must have obtained a Master's degree in Economics (or a similar degree) from a recognized university. Furthermore, a minimum overall grade of the Master's degree must have been achieved. For applicants with a Master's degree from the University of Bern the minimum grade is 4.75. Students with a Master's degree in another field can be admitted if they have completed at least 60 ECTS in Economics, or if they complete the missing credits from the Master program in Economics. In the latter case, the PhD program committee decides on the coursework that needs to be completed.