What is it like to do a PhD at UZH and ETH?

Screen shot video spot by Samer Angelone

Meet our students in the video spot and the statements below.


Doing your PhD at the LSZ Graduate School of the ETH and the University of Zurich means that you will belong to a large and ambitious life science research community. You will receive a comprehensive and challenging education that will allow you to take further career steps within academia as well as in industry – in Switzerland or worldwide.

We are searching for highly motivated students with a Master’s degree in the field of Life Sciences. You are looking for a PhD position at a renowned institution? That could be a good match! You are welcome to apply now!

The Life Science Zurich Graduate School Team


Can I apply?

As a rule you must hold or anticipate receiving a university Master’s degree or equivalent in the field of natural sciences, computer sciences or engineering. With an excellent track record and good skills in spoken and written English you are welcome to apply to our PhD programs. Our funded positions are open for national and international (also non-EU) students. PhD studies at our programs usually last around 4 years.

When can I apply?
Our deadlines are 1 July (23:59 CEST) and 1 December (23:59 CET).

Further information needed?
Our FAQ answer many of the questions you may have.

Karolina, 3rd year student in the Drug Discovery PhD program

I’m Karolina from Poland, a 3rd year PhD student in the Drug Discovery Program with the Life Science Zurich Graduate School at UZH. I’m working on spinal neurotransmission of pain signals in the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology. 

I highly recommend applying to the LSZGS programs! The application process is structured very well and offers a great variety of subjects. The interview days, especially, give a chance to get to know many potential research groups and form new friendships with other applicants! My advice to all interested students is to apply to the program, write to PIs directly and take time to meet with the team. 

Zurich is a fantastic place to live and work! There’s plenty to do for sport enthusiasts, cafe and bar aficionados, and cultural souls. It’s a small yet comfortable city, with an international spirit. Finally, Zurich is a well known European hub for Life Sciences!

Vasileios, 1st year student in the Neuroscience (ZNZ) PhD program

I am currently a 1st year PhD student in ZNZ PhD doctoral program. I am conducting research in aspects of electrophysiology and epilepsy surgery, namely the identification of epileptogenic brain tissue by automated detection of biomarkers in electrophysiological recordings.  Previously I was employed by CERN as Big Data engineer where I pursued a research project in Big Data Analytics for unified data-agnostic query processing. I then decided to join the ZNZ program within the faculty of science sinceI perceive neuroscience an appealing sector for research with huge potential on advancing the society and humanity.

My first experience with the Graduate School was thrilling due to the top-notch courses I attended which are specifically designed for enriching the academic background of an individual and for being attuned with several research projects undergone within the umbrella of ZNZ.

Moreover, the Graduate School offers the possibility to get to know people with whom one shares the same visions. Thus you can easily adapt in a new environment due to the extreme friendly spirit.  Last but not least, Zurich is the best city to study and work. From my point of view Zurich combines an excellent academic environment with universities and institutes ranking among the best but also offers a world class life quality with a variety of activities, places and kind people. What I enjoy most about Zurich is that it is combining simultaneously both the virtue of a small and a big city. Therefore I strongly encourage prospective PhD students to apply for ZNZ program enlarging thus the life-science family.

Anik, 4th year student in the Plant Science PhD program

Hi, I am Anik Dutta from Bangladesh. I did a bachelor in Agriculture at Bangladesh Agricultural University. Then, I completed two masters in Plant Breeding and Genetics at Bangladesh Agricultural University and University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany. In April 2017, I joined as a Ph.D. student in the group of Plant Pathology (Bruce McDonald) to do research on agricultural plant pathogens.

At present, I am in the 4th year of my Ph.D. and hopefully will be graduated by the end of April 2021. I am working on “Wheat-Zymoseptoria tritici” pathosystem. I combine large-scale phenotypic data with whole genome sequencing data to find out the genetic basis of adaptation and pathogen evolutionary trajectories. I collaborate with Dr. Daniel Croll from the University of Neuchatel.

I like the whole process of recruiting Ph.D. student by the LSZ GS. The unique process of accommodating all the selected students in a hotel and covering their transportation, living and lunch costs has amazed me. Besides, the opportunity to visit as many research groups as possible adds a great value to the selection process. Prospective students can communicate with the professors and the current lab members freely. This gives valuable information on the group dynamics and how the supervisors manage each student. I have never seen such freedom of looking at the inside picture before getting a Ph.D.

To do a Ph.D. at ETH Zurich and living in Zurich is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Zurich is one of the most expensive, yet best places to live and study. Zurich is a great place especially for international students because almost everyone speaks English here. Moreover, the local people are really friendly and welcoming.

If you want to do cutting edge, high-quality, and fundamental research, ETH and University Zurich are one of the best place to do so. The extremely high level of competition makes the opportunity to get a Ph.D. in ETH or UZH once in a lifetime.