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 and Policy requirements. The program is accepted and accredited within the Life Science Zurich Graduate School.

Why a PhD in Science and Policy?

We created a PhD program combining natural sciences and policy studies based on society’s need for young scientists able to effectively bring scientific advances into the public discourse. This reflects our view that scientific progress requires not only specialization – provided in the context of a research group – 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

In this 3-year PhD program, we introduce theory, tools and skills for advancing policy in five block courses and then apply 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 nr. 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 has come 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 at left. 

Program Contact