Program Overview

  • 3-5 Years


  • 350 CHF/Semester

    Tuition Fees

  • Jan/July

    Application Deadline

  • Full Time


  • On-Campus

    Delivery Mode

  • German/English


The Ph.D. program in History includes history work on research projects in the Middle Ages, early and modern history, and Eastern European and African history. In addition to individual doctorates, the BGSH offers doctoral students a structured historical graduate program geared towards completing the program successfully.


During the Ph.D. History Program at the University of Basel, you will acquire skills to advance your career further. The students will have an opportunity for intellectual debate and international networking while making new opportunities to work in various fields such as:

  • Universities
  • Communication
  • Media
  • Journalism
  • Museums
  • Archives
  • Public administrations
  • Private service companies
  • International organizations

Key Facts

Autumn Semester

  • Application Deadline

    July 31, 2021

Spring Semester

  • Application Deadline

    Jan 5. 2021

  • Credit 12 ECTS

Admission Requirements

Minimum required score:


Minimum required score:


Minimum required score:


Minimum required score:


Language requirements

The main languages ​​of instruction at the Faculty of Philosophy and History are German and English (with the exception of language and literature). For a successful degree, the teaching language of the doctoral subject should have a level of at least C1 according to the European Framework of Reference .

Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)
– Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE)
– Cambridge Business English Certificate Higher (BEC Higher)

Admission Requirements

Admission to doctoral training requires a master’s degree in a subject or course related to the desired doctoral subject, whereby the average grade must be at least 5.0 rounded to the nearest tenth (the Swiss system includes grades between 1 and 6, where 6 = max., 4 = pass). Other degrees from a university recognized by the University of Basel can be recognized as equivalent in whole or in part, subject to the condition that you make up for academic achievements. University degrees (e.g. Master of Advanced Studies) do not qualify for a doctoral degree.


  • Declaration of consent
    (download from the online application area)
    (File format: PDF), (Status: Compulsory)
  •  Passport photo (Format: JPG or PNG), (Status: Compulsory)
  •  Passport or ID card (File format: PDF), (Status: Compulsory)
  •  Current CV in table form (File format: PDF), (Status: Compulsory)
  •  * Higher education institution degree relevant to admission (degree
    transcript/transcript of records, degree certificate, diploma supplement). This is usually the master’s degree.
    (File format: PDF), (Status: Can be submitted later if not
    yet available)
  •  Academic progress summary for current studies (if higher education
    institution degree relevant to admission has not yet been completed)
    (File format: PDF), (Status: Compulsory)
  •  Bachelor’s degree certificate and degree transcript/transcript of records (if the applicant holds a bachelor’s degree)
    (File format: PDF), (Status: Compulsory where available)
  • Maturität/secondary/high school leaving certificate (if the applicant
    holds such a certificate)
    (File format: PDF), (Status: Compulsory where available)
  • Confirmation of exmatriculation, if the applicant has already matriculated
    at another Swiss higher education institution
    (File format: PDF), (Status: Can be submitted later)

* If degree certificate/degree transcript/transcript of records/diploma supplement are only available at a later date, an official degree confirmation will be accepted (including a complete degree transcript/transcript of records with definitive final grade)

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences – Additional documents

  • Application by first supervisor to the Doctoral Board to supervise the
    relevant dissertation (special form available at: (File format: PDF), (Status: Compulsory)
  •  Synopsis of the intended dissertation project (File format: PDF), (Status: Compulsory)
  • Declaration of doctoral student’s time availability for the dissertation
    with details of time frame
    (File format: PDF), (Status: Compulsory)

Payment of the application fee (online payment)

An application fee of CHF 100 is due when you submit an application for doctoral studies. This fee can be paid online by card.

For further information regarding admission requirements, check the link down below:

Fees and Funding

Tuition Fees

  • 350 CHF/Semester

Living costs for Basel

  • Living Costs



Various options are available for Ph.D. funding, in particular personal scholarships and project grants.


The Swiss National Scholarship Fund (SNSF) offers a funding plan aimed at doctoral students in the humanities and social sciences: Doc.CH (HSS).

This scheme is aimed at promising researchers matriculated at a Swiss university who wish to write a dissertation on a topic of their own choice in the humanities and social sciences. The grant comprises the grantee’s salary as well as coverage of further costs directly linked to the project. Besides the salary of the doctoral student, the grant may include a contribution towards costs directly related to project implementation.

  • Requirements
    Degree (master’s or equivalent degree) from a Swiss higher education institution with very good marks. Researchers with an equivalent foreign degree (master’s or equivalent) are also entitled to submit an application if they are Swiss nationals or if, at the time of the submission deadline, they are matriculated at the relevant higher education institution in Switzerland.
  • Submission up to 3 years after obtaining the degree (at the time of the submission deadline).
  • 2 supervisors: main supervisor (place of matriculation for doctorate) and co-supervisor (at another higher education institution)
  • Start of the approved funding
    from September 1 or March 1, i.e. six months after the submission deadline
  • Duration
    from 2 to max. 4 years
  • Submission deadlines
    15 March and 15 September

Private foundations

Various foundations and funds are available for scientific or academic projects related to the University of Basel.

Since 1992, the Index Donationum has listed both public and private foundations and funds in the sphere of the University of Basel. This directory contains information from and about foundations that are available for scientific or for university-related matters. The Index Donationum is intended as an informational source and reference for institutions, service units, and members of the University of Basel.

The Index Donationum of the University of Basel is available online on the university network. Please note that the contact data/content of the index is no longer updated.

When searching for research grants and scholarships, particularly in the international arena, members of the University of Basel can use the Research Professional database.

Private foundations:

  • Basel Scholarship Directory
  • Foundations Directory of the Federal Supervisory Authority for Foundations
  • Foundations Directory from the Centre for Philanthropy Studies
  • Foundations Directory of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences
  • SwissFoundations
  • Various financing opportunities for stays abroad (swissuniversities)
  • Gebert-Rüf Foundation
  • Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
  • Gerda Henkel Foundation
  • Fulbright Scholarships
  • Körber Foundation

Study and Living Costs (per month)

Living costs vary significantly depending on personal circumstances and individual requirements. The following breakdown is therefore intended to serve as a guideline.

Studying away from home

  • Education costs 2 CHF 100/200
  • Accommodation incl. utilities CHF 600
  • Food 3 CHF 350
  • Clothing CHF 100
  • Health care 4 CHF 200
  • Transport 5 CHF 100
  • Leisure, culture 6 CHF 200
  • Misc. additional costs 7 CHF 200
  • Total (rounded) CHF 2,000/2,100

The Social Services team is available to explain and offer advice on any issues regarding financing (grants, scholarships, etc.)

For further information, please check the official website:

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.


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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