General Information: Application Procedure

Before applying to the Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB), candidates must themselves arrange for a research laboratory and a supervisor. Check the websites of the participating faculties for details of research activities, and the offers for open PhD positions of the GCB and the University of Bern. Candidates with foreign diplomas please note that registration at the University of Bern is required before signing your employment contract with your supervisor. Applications to the GCB must be submitted within four months after the start of the research project.


The GCB Application process is explained on the University of Bern's central teaching and learning platform, ILIAS. This means that you will login to the ILIAS platform using your SWITCH edu-ID login credtentials. Then you can either click on the link below to be automatically redirected to the appropriate site. The GCB101 page on ILIAS is where you will find instructional videos, forms, checklists, etc. Essentially, everything you need to know about the application, admission and interview process is organized for you on the GCB101 platform. If after watching the video and reading the information, you still have questions, you can refer to the Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) section. Finally, if you still have questions, you can post them in the Forum.

Redirect to GCB101

University of Bern Candidates

Before applying to the GCB, PhD candidates of the University of Bern are required to apply online for the enrollment at the University of Bern as indicated here. Please be aware, the online form at the link takes some time to load. Candidates with foreign diplomas please note that registration at the University of Bern is required before signing your employment contract with your supervisor.

PhD candidates must register at the same faculty with which their supervisor is affiliated. They must fill in the relevant form «Confirmation of Supervision» on the bottom of this site. The form «Confirmation of Supervision» has to be signed by the Coordinator of the GCB in the last section of page 2. No signature is required from the Dean's Office.

Applicants with a Swiss Master's degree should watch this video below:

Applicants with a Master's degree from a country other than Switzerland, should watch the video below:

Vetsuisse Zurich Candidates

GCB PhD candidates of the Vetsuisse Faculty Zurich must enroll at the University of Zurich, see Guidelines for GCB candidates of Vetsuisse ZH (DOCX, 19KB). For more information concerning enrollment at the UZH, refer to the University of Zurich website Doctoral Studies, or contact the University of Zurich Admissions Office. Please do not register at the University of Bern.

PhD candidates from the Vetsuisse Faculty of the University of Zurich (UZH) can watch this video below to get further information about the application procedure at the GCB:


PhD candidates must register at the same faculty to which their supervisor is affiliated.

Deadlines for Application

The deadlines for application are April 15, August 15 and December 15.

Application Procedure

The documents #1-9 must be merged into a single PDF file and sent by e-mail to
Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Applicants please note:

You will receive a short email confirming only receipt of your email containing your application. This email confirmation is not confirmation that your application documents have been reviewed and accepted.

The GCB receives most applications on or around the deadline. Due to the volume of emails arriving in a short period of time, email acknowledgement of receipt can be delayed by days, and review of applications and confirmation for up to several weeks.

Early applications are encouraged. Applications are processed in the order received.

List of Required Application Documents

  1. Fully completed, dated and signed ApplicationForm_GCB_2023_eng.pdf. Please note that either electronic or scanned signature is necessary.
  2. Curriculum vitae.
  3. Letter of acceptance by the supervisor, written on official letter paper, dated and signed, including a financial pledge.
  4. Description of planned research project, using the Research Project Form (docx, 87KB). This must be written on two to maximum four pages, be written by the candidate and address the items according to the outlines on the form. Proposals exceeding the specified four pages will be rejected and returned for revision.
  5. Written statement_co-advisor_eng.docx dated and signed.
  6. Digital copies of university diplomas (e.g. Bachelor and Master).
  7. Digital copies of transcripts/grade sheets of Bachelor and Master studies. Transcripts should include a conversion key for marks where needed.
  8. Digital Copies of translations of all documents # 6 and # 7, if they are issued in a language other than German, English, French, or Italian.
  9. Applies only to candidates of the Vetsuisse Faculty Zurich: Official UZH proof of registration, including matriculation number, issued by the University of Zurich.


Personal Interview  

Each GCB applicant (hereafter "you") will be scheduled for a personal interview with one of the five expert committees*. As a general rule, the interviews take place within one to three months after the application deadline. The committee with which you will interview is determined by the GCB based on your project. Once your complete application is received and processed, you will be contacted and notified by email of your interview date and time. You are expected to make yourself available at the specified date and time. You will present your research, without visual aids (i.e.powerpoint, video, etc.) in 5-7 minutes to the committee and answer questions during and after (for an additional 5-10 minutes) your presentation. Following a successful interview, you will receive notification of the GCB mentor (a member of the expert committee) assigned to you as a member of your PhD Thesis team and a representative of the GCB. Once you have passed the interview you are officially enrolled and your PhD curriculum starts.

Mentor Meeting  

As soon as possible after you have been informed of your mentor assignment* in an email sent to you by the GCB Coordinator, you will organize an individual meeting with the supervisor and the mentor to discuss your curriculum and specify the details in the relevant doctoral agreement form which has been sent to you in the "mentor assignment email", e.g., PhD Doctoral Agreement (DOCX, 88KB), MD-PhD Doctoral Agreement (DOCX, 75KB), DVM, DDS, or FH. You then email the signed (by yourself, your supervisor and your mentor) and dated doctoral agreement to the GCB for final approval. The doctoral agreement is expected in the GCB office within one to two months following your mentor assignment.

*The expert committee and mentor are assigned to you by the Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB).

For more in-depth and detailed information about the Personal Interview and Mentor Meeting please watch the video posted below:

Checklist to the Interview Process and Mentor Meeting