PhD Program in Science & Policy


The PSC PhD Program in Science & Policy is designed for researchers in the natural sciences wishing to acquire additional tools at the interfaces of research, policy, and diverse stakeholders. The program is open to motivated students in the life sciences, environmental sciences, earth sciences and agricultural sciences.

Students in the program will obtain their PhD from the University of Zurich, ETH Zurich or the University of Basel; they will receive additional certification and a diploma supplement from the PSC for completion of the Science & Policy program requirements. The program is also accepted and accredited within the Life Science Zurich Graduate School.

Why a PhD in Science and Policy?

PSC has created a PhD program that combines natural sciences and policy studies. It is based on current societal demand for young scientists to be able to effectively translate scientific advances into the public discourse. It correlates with the PSC's view that scientific progress requires not only specialization –  in the context of a research discipline – but also the ability to interact and collaborate within society. The next generation of scientists must be able to act as experts and advocates in their fields (e.g., the risks and benefits of nano-materials, uncertainties in climate models, sustainable water management).

The PSC PhD in Science & Policy

This 3-year PhD program, introduces students in five block courses to theory, tools and skills for advancing policy and then applying these in various case studies. Each block course is organized as a series of lectures, literature studies, and group work. Real-life case studies and exchange with external experts, policy-makers and politicians provide hands-on experience. Opportunities and expectations for networking are central to the training program. Students are further encouraged to attend at least one national or international conference addressing policy topics in natural sciences.

This initiative has received support from the SNSF ProDoc (grant no. PDAMP3-127227/1) from 2009–2012 and from the SUK Doktoratsprogramme between 2013–2014, as well as from ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich through the Life Science Zurich Graduate School. Further support comes from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. PITN-GA-2013-608422 – IDP BRIDGES.

Program Information, Application, and Administration

Please download the "Guidelines" PDF on the right hand side and use the menu on the left regarding enrollment procedures.

Program Contact