Application procedure

The requirement for a doctoral application to the Department of Linguistics is either an above-average degree (Lizentiat or Master) in a subject with an emphasis on linguistics, or an equivalent qualification with at least 30 ECTS credit points in courses that focus on linguistics in addition to a linguistics-oriented dissertation. (Note that knowledge of German is not required.)

If you already have an idea for a project you should:

  1. Find an appropriate supervisor for your project (this should be a professor from the list of those currently able to supervise doctoral students).
  2. Enroll at the University of Zurich as doctoral student (general information; application procedure).
  3. Send your written application with the following documents to the coordination office of the Department of Linguistics (see contact details below):
    1. CV,
    2. A copy of your degree certificate,
    3. An outline of your proposed project (max. five A4 pages),
    4. A letter of recommendation from a professor,
    5. A covering letter.
    N.B. Application deadlines are 1st July and 1st January.
  4. Wait for the decision of the Executive Board;
  5. If your application is successful, you and your supervisor will sign a doctoral studies agreement (German: Doktoratsvereinbarung).

Step 1 is necessary not only for participation in the linguistics doctoral program, but also for undertaking a doctorate at the University of Zurich (UZH) in general. Steps 2 and 3 may be carried out simultaneously, as they relate to two independent applications. Please note that being accepted to the linguistics doctoral program does not guarantee successful enrolment as a doctoral student at the University of Zurich. If you are already enrolled as a doctoral student at the University of Zurich as part of another doctoral program, you may apply to us at any time. In this case, it is possible to alter your choice of program using the online registration tool, without too much difficulty.

If you have any questions regarding your application or the curriculum of our doctoral program, please see our FAQ and read the rules and guidelines for doctoral students. Our coordinator Sascha Völlmin will also be glad to help you.

If you have completed your studies abroad, especially in non-EU countries, please enquire about the applications process at the Admissions Office as early as possible. It may take some time to deal with such applications and therefore it is important that they be submitted punctually. For detailed further information about doctoral studies at the University of Zurich for international doctoral students, please visit this website of the International Scholars Center.


University of Zurich
Sascha Völlmin
Coordination PhD Program Linguistics
c/o Department of Comparative Linguistics
Plattenstrasse 54
CH-8032 Zurich
E-Mail: sascha.voellmin AT