GCB Doctoral Agreement

The specific objectives-setting for the doctorate in academic terms is set out in the Doctoral Agreement which will be set according to each individual GCB doctoral candidate’s research project. Doctoral candidates are matriculated at the University and most GCB doctoral candidates are also employed at the University of Bern. Doctoral candidates acquire further academic training in their research area by attending training and course lectures. The scope and content of the lectures are described in the Study rules and defined individually in the DA (GCB Promotion Regulations Art.7, 2). The following points are to be observed in relation to this dual nature: The DA details your study plan in accordance with the GCB Promotion regulations. As your studies are intended to support your research, you, your supervisor (principal investigator) will complete the DA together with your GCB mentor. Additionally, research work (e.g., timetable from the Research Project Form is recorded on this form).

Framework and Purpose of the Doctoral Agreement

The DA defines the framework conditions (form and duration of the doctorate, educational, research and supervision goals) as well as the aspired academic accomplishments (written contributions and conference contributions).
The GCB Doctoral Agreement (DA) is a “living document”. This is a type of document that is created with a defined mechanism and process. It is used to define, manage, review, revise, update, share and communicate. Major changes (i.e. changes in courses in mandatory requirements list) to the Doctoral Agreement must be agreed upon by supervisor, co-advisor and mentor. Any changes to the mandatory courses must be recorded by revising the doctoral agreement. The revised Doctoral Agreement will show the changes (from the orginal to the new courses) and must be signed with the revision date, and submitted to the GCB for final approval.

Educational Objectives

In addition to the individual academic supervision, formal educational objectives (such as those offered within the structured doctoral programs) supports the professional competence, the research and the publishing work of GCB doctoral candidates. Within the framework of the doctoral studies and GCB promotion regulations, the PhD candidate’s supervisor and the mentor of choose the courses appropriate for the candidate’s individual study program. Final approval is given by the GCB coordinator. Please be aware that in addition to the minimum mandatory requirements, your thesis committee may request additional mandatory ECTS based on your educational background.

Minimum Mandatory* Curriculum Requirements (Familiarize yourselves with the specific requirements for the degree you are pursuing, e.g., PhD, DVM,PhD, MD,PhD and PhD students from Swiss FH)
6 (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) ECTS:

  1. Earn - 6.0* ECTS earned with scientifically-oriented courses/workshops/tutorials that provide the candidate with new knowledge relevant to the individual research project.
  2. Pass Exam - 3.0 ECTS (of the 6.0*) must be earned with lecture courses or book clubs that include a graded exam (graded=1-6), Participate in the course - “Scientific Integrity” (List this course in Mandatory requirement on your DA.
  3. Attend and participate in – the GCB Symposium beginning with the first symposium after the first full year registered in the GCB.

*Mandatory Courses

  1. List all scientifically-oriented, mandatory courses in the first table, labeled Mandatory Requirements. Replacing courses in the mandatory list is only allowed prior you, the student, attending the course. Choose very carefully when you choose your mandatory courses.
  2. Mandatory Course exams must be passed after a maximum of two attempts. This is an obligatory prerequisite to continue with the PhD program (see «Promotionsreglement», Art. 92 and Art. 191).

Additional Optional Achievements

Transferable skills courses - (academic writing, presentation skills, etc.) are considered as optional courses and cannot be acknowledged as part of the required minimum of 6.0 ECTS.

ECTS are only awarded for courses, workshops, summer schools etc. which include some type of performance assessment, i.e. an exam, talk, a poster presentation or a written report. Requests for ECTS reviews must be submitted to info.gcb@unibe.ch. As not all requests are approved, it is wise to submit requests prior to the event and include:

  1. Course listed on Doctoral Agreement (see Training: Courses and Examinations for more information on ECTS)
  2. Signed and Dated Certificate of Achievement - pdf format (not jpeg or smartphone photo)
  3. Course content (course dates, effort in terms of days/hours, exams, presentations, etc.) - in the situation when the course has not been previously approved

For more information on European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS), please follow this link.

Any changes to the planned courses listed as «Mandatory Requirements» in the doctoral agreement require approval of the supervisor and the mentor of the PhD candidate, and must be communicated to the coordinator of the GCB for final approval. Additionally, the written agreement of the mentor (e-mail) must be submitted to the GCB.

Major changes (mandatory requirements) to the Doctoral Agreement must be recorded in a revised Doctoral Agreement, which must show the revision date and new signatures prior to being submitted to the GCB for final review and approval.