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The LSZGS aims to attract to Zurich the most promising young scientists from across the world. It offers these students a challenging training environment, a structured mentoring system and the opportunity to perform cutting-edge research. Students are part of a vivid scientific and social community and get the opportunity to work with the leading scientists in their field of interest. With more than 500 research groups and over 1600 PhD students, the LSZGS is one of the largest graduate schools in Europe. Zurich offers not only a highly recognized research area, but also enjoys an excellent reputation as being one of the cities with the world's highest standard of living. Situated on the Lake of Zurich and the river Limmat, Zurich is naturally beautiful and appealing.
Each PhD program of the LSZGS offers a specialized set of introductory and advanced courses, which are based on the scientific focus of the program. In addition, the Life Science Zurich Graduate School provides a variety of transferable skills and methodological courses that are of interest to students from different programs, such as science ethics, scientific writing, statistics, communication and presentation skills as well as next generation sequencing and flow cytometry courses. The strong teaching curriculum of each program gives the students the opportunity to gain in-depth theoretical and practical knowledge, to attend specialized courses on specific topics, and to develop soft skills that will help them prepare for the research and professional life ahead of them.
The PhD programs of the Life Science Zurich Graduate School have established a strong mentoring system in order to monitor student progress. Each student chooses a thesis committee shortly after joining the program, and writes up and defends a thesis proposal in front of the committee within 6-12 months of the start of his or her PhD.
The thesis committee in general consists of the student's supervisor, one or two other program members, and an external member (preferably from outside Zurich). The thesis committee meets regularly - at least once a year - with the student to follow his or her progress. The mentoring system forces students to reflect on their research project and what they wish to accomplish early in their graduate career. It also insures that students have several faculty members who follow their progress and give them feedback and support.
An important part of the education offered by the PhD programs of the LSZGS is an annual retreat or a symposium at which the students present their research to each other and/or to the faculty of the program. These events allow students to exchange knowledge, give them an opportunity to improve their presentation skills and promote the development of strong scientific networks among the PhD students of the program. The class/cohort format and the student retreats lead to groups of students that interact extensively with each other. These increased interactions promote the transfer of technical know-how and the development of new collaborations between groups.