ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

Doctorate in Computer Science

Program Overview

  • 4-6 Years

    Duration

  • 1500 CHF/Program

    Tuition Fees

  • N/A*

    Application Deadline

  • Full Time

    Pace

  • On-Campus

    Delivery Mode

  • English

    Language

*Students can register for doctoral studies at any time during the semesters.

The doctorate program at ETH Zurich is created to educate the students on becoming great researchers and leaders in the computer science field. With the university mainly focused on research, the students will make a significant contribution to the research work with the help of the professors. This way, the students will be more than prepared to tackle challenges and have different career choices.

Key Facts

Autumn/Spring

  • Start Date

    Anytime during the semester

  • Credit 12 Credit Points*

*Despite certain similarities, these are not ECTS points, but specific separate credits for doctoral studies. These often do not correspond to the ECTS credit points given in the Course Catalogue. Each department regulates in its detailed requirements for individual doctoral study how many credits are awarded for how much work.

Admission Requirements

Minimum required score:

100
120

Minimum required score:

7
9

In principle, all university graduates with a Master’s degree or an equivalent university degree can apply for admission to doctoral studies.

With the following degrees an admission is not possible:

  • Degrees from universities of applied science
  • Master’s degrees from university continuing education departments (MAS, DAS, etc.)
  • Any kind of MBA (Master of Business Administration)
  • Bachelor’s and/or Bachelor Honours degrees

Furthermore, definite agreement is needed from an ETH Zurich professor that they will supervise your thesis project. This agreement is confirmed with their signature on the application form.

Please be aware that the Doctoral Administration Office does not help to find supervisors.

To find a supervisor, it is best to go to the website of the department in which you would like to take your doctorate and contact the possible professors directly. More information is available from AVETH (Academic Association of Scientific Staff at ETH Zurich) and on the following pages:

For further information regarding admission requirements, check the link down below:
https://inf.ethz.ch/doctorate/doctoral-studies/application-and-admission.html

Fees and Funding

Tuition Fees

  • The doctorate programme is free, but there is a one-​time fee for the whole doctorate due after registration for your doctoral examination.

    1500 CHF/Program

Living costs for Zurich

  • Living Costs

Funding

Scholarships

For further details regarding scholarships, click here.

Getting a Student Visa

Since Switzerland is a part of the Schengen zone, a Schengen visa will win you the right to go to the country, but if you want to stay there as a student, you must take a few more steps. The procedures are different for EU/EFTA and non-EU/EFTA students.

After getting the acceptance letter, follows the process of setting an appointment with the Swiss embassy or consulate in your country. The procedure takes time, so make sure to set the appointment six months prior to your studying. The processing time for the short stay visas is around 10-15 days, and for long stay visas, eight to ten weeks.

For each document required, you have to provide the original along with three copies. The papers should be in English or in one of Switzerland’s national languages (German, French, Italian, or Romansh). If they are not in one of these languages, you will need a certified translation of those documents. 

Switzerland Student Visa Requirements

  • The completed and signed application forms for a long stay visa (D type) in one of the languages mentioned above. 
  • Passport – valid three months beyond the planned stay.
  • Four passport-size biometric photographs.
  • Letter of acceptance (certificate of enrollment) issued by a Swiss university.
  • Paid visa application fee. 
  • Proof of payment of the registration and tuition fees (for the first year of your studies).
  • Proof of sufficient financial coverage: copies of bank statements or a letter from the bank provided by you or your supervisor. Funds are supposed to cover living costs in Switzerland for the duration of schooling (21,000 CHF or 19,200 EUR at the beginning of each year of your studies).
  • Scholarship/Loan proof (if available) from an institution that proves that the scholarship or loan will cover all expenses for the study.
  • CV.
  • Letter of motivation, which should also include your professional plans for the future.

Submitting the Switzerland student visa application

After filling the application and completing all required documents, you should submit them in person at the Swiss embassy/consulate at the designated time of your appointment. Along with submitting your documents, you are required to pay the Swiss student visa application fee. 

After receiving your Swiss Student Visa

You may enter Switzerland after you receive a student visa. Within the first two weeks of arrival, you have to register at the local Residents Registration Office of your canton as well as visit the cantonal migration office in order to obtain a residence permit form.

B permit (a biometric card) is the type of residence permit for student stay. Prior to that, you will receive an attestation that allows you to open a Swiss bank account. It will take up to 8 weeks for your B permit to be processed. 

Student Visa Validity

The student visa or the B permit obtained in Switzerland initially is valid for one year. After one year, you have the option to extend it. However, updated proof of income is required in order for your student visa to be extended.

Protip

If you’re a student who wants to study in Switzerland but are not quite sure what are the steps of the student visa application process,  you are advised to read the following resources on Everything You Need To Know about getting a visa for Switzerland.

Work Permit

Find out all you need to know about work permit regulations for working part-time (during studies) and full-time (after graduation) in Switzerland.

Work while studying in Switzerland

For many international students in Switzerland, working while studying is an ideal option. Still, that is not recommended by some universities since it can distract and affect your academic work. With job boards and other advisory services, other schools facilitate job searches to help students. During the school year, students’ working hours are limited, and there are a few requirements they need to fulfill.

How many hours are international students allowed to work per week?

International students can work up to 15 hours a week in part-time jobs. But during semester holidays students can work full-time.

 

When are students allowed to start working?

Students from outside the EU/EFTA countries may start working only 6 months after starting their degree program.

Is there a work permit required for students working part-time?

Citizens from EU-27/EFTA states do not require authorization for short-term employment up to three months or 90 days per the calendar year. For an extended time, they will have to earn a residence permit. Third-country nationals are obliged to submit numerous documents to prove their eligibility for a work permit in Switzerland.

What job can I get as a student in Switzerland?

During your years as a student, there are many part-time jobs that you can do. For most students, employment in retail, restaurants, and others are sought-after options. However, a lack of language skills (in German, French, or Italian) can limit your employment chances. 

Work after graduation in Switzerland

Upon your graduation, you have the right to look for a permanent job in Switzerland. Prior to that, a residency permit that allows you to search for a job should be obtained. The permit is only valid for 6 months, and it cannot be extended.

What requirements do students need to fulfill in order to receive a residency work permit?

In order to receive the residency work permit, you have to provide proof that you:

  • Have graduated. 
  • Are financially able to support your say.
  • Have secured housing.

Are students allowed to work during this 6 months period?

During this six month period, graduates can work up to 15 hours a week. These rules do not apply for EU/EFTA nationals as they benefit from the freedom of movement under bilateral agreements.

How difficult is for international students to find a permanent job after graduation in Switzerland?

A non-EU/EFTA can get a job in Switzerland only if there are no qualified individuals from within the Swiss labour market or from an EU/EFTA state that apply for the position. Employers are required to show that they made “big efforts” to find qualified applicants from EU/EFTA countries or nationals who already have a permit to work. Furthermore, employers must show why those with priority to get the job were not suitable candidates for the position.

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