PhD studies

More than 300 students are enrolled in the eight doctoral programmes offered by the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences:

  • Mathematics applied to social sciences;
  • Social sciences;
  • Psychology;
  • Social psychology, with the University of Geneva (please see the rules, in French only);
  • Political science;
  • Movement & sport sciences;
  • Education sciences; · Neurosciences, with the University of Geneva (please see the rules, in French only).

To enrol as a PhD student, the following steps apply:

  • the student is responsible for identifying and contacting a supervisor within the Faculty;
  • formal application to the UNIL Central Admissions Office (Service des immatriculations et inscriptions (SII));
  • the signed PhD form (attestation de thèse) is a formal confirmation of the agreement of a member of the Faculty’s teaching staff to act as your PhD supervisor, and the approval of the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences;
  • submission of a doctoral project plan to the Faculty’s Research Committee within eight months of registration as a PhD student at UNIL or, for those with a contract at the Faculty, within the first eight months of their employment.

When justified by the subject of the thesis, and under specific conditions, PhD students may ask for two supervisors. Two types of joint supervision are possible: co-direction - two professors or senior lecturers jointly supervise the PhD thesis but only UNIL awards the degree - or co-tutelle (joint doctoral degree programme) - two professors or senior lecturers from two different universities jointly supervise and each university awards a degree. Requests for joint supervision must be submitted to the Faculty’s Research Committee. A joint doctoral degree programme will always be governed by a specific ‘co-tutelle’ agreement between the two institutions.

For further information, please see

The PhD thesis defence has two stages:

  • the private defence (colloque de thèse) with the candidate and examiners only. It consists of an in-depth scientific discussion of the thesis, in order to determine whether the dissertation can be granted the imprimatur (authorization to be published) and be defended in public;
  • the public defence.

For any questions related to PhD studies in the Faculty of SSP, please contact the Faculty’s Doctoral Research Office:

Ms Marianne von Känel
+41(0)21 692 31 19
Géopolis – Office 2869

Please also check in the “Useful documents” section below for procedures related to doctoral studies at the Faculty.

Suivez nous: