PhD at the Biozentrum (FAQs)

If you are aiming for a PhD in biological sciences, Basel and in particular the Biozentrum of the University of Basel are a great choice for your studies! Basel offers a renowned environment for biology research with major academic institutions and industrial research institutes. Apart from that, Basel is rich in culture and, being located in North-Western Switzerland directly bordering to France and Germany, an excellent starting point to explore Switzerland and the neighboring countries. The Biozentrum provides an outstanding international research environment for Molecular Biology studies with five focal areas (Infection Biology, Growth and Development, Neurobiology, Structural Biology & Biophysics and Computational and Systems Biology).

How to apply for a PhD position

There are two possibilities to apply for a PhD position at the Biozentrum.

First, you can directly contact the group leaders who work at the Biozentrum. For detailed information about research that is performed here, you can check the Biozentrum website, or directly look at the research focus of the individual PI’s here. Also have a look at the publicly announced open position at the Biozentrum, they also include PhD positions.

Alternatively, you can apply for a prestigious PhD fellowship that is founded by the Werner Siemens Foundation and now paid by the Biozentrum. In addition to the financial support (which includes an extra budget for conferences, personal equipment, books, etc.) this fellowship offers the advantage of lab rotations during the first year of your PhD, followed by a student-based selection of the research group for your PhD. This allows you to choose your research group more easily if you are uncertain which project to follow. For more information refer to the official website of the Biozentrum PhD Fellowship program.

General PhD guidelines

For the internal PhD guidelines from the Biozentrum, refer to this page containing all PhD Documents here. The guidelines includes detailed information regarding topics such as registration, doctoral agreements, PhD Thesis Advisory Committee (PaC), credit points & PhD defense. If you have questions regarding the PhD Guidelines, you can contact the PhD Office at

Facing problems during your PhD?

With simple questions, try to reach out to PhD representatives ( and other PhD students first. For advice how to handle conflicts, contact Personal Integrity Office or University Ombudsman Office. For questions concerning employment contracts, conflict management, support programs, further education contact the Human Ressources at the Biozentrum.

FAQs for newcomers to Basel

Do I need my MSc when I submit my application?

You don’t need your MSc at the time of application. But you must have completed your studies and have received your MSc degree or equivalent at the time, when you start your PhD studies at the University of Basel.

Are the lectures in English or in German?

The medium of all instruction is English. Standard language of communication in laboratories is English, too.


The salary of around CHF 3500.- netto is according to standards of the Swiss National Science Foundation.


Tuition fees are CHF 350.- per semester.  As student you can benefit from the student discounts that are offered in most public facilities like museums or swimming pools, but a ticket for public transport is not included.

Health Insurance

Health insurance coverage for doctoral students is obligatory, as it is for all people working/living in Switzerland. You can compare different insurances on Comparis. You do not need to add accident insurance to your policy, this is covered by your employer (University of Basel). Additionally, a liability and a household insurance are recommended. These insurances are generally offered in combination.

Health insurance policy reduction

If you are a PhD student you are likely eligible to receive a reduction on your health insurance bills from the Kanton Basel-Stadt.  You can find more information on the website of the Office of Social Contributions under ‘Pramienverbilligung’ (in German). The benefit is largest if you are under 25 years of age, but it is still worth applying if you are older.


As Basel is located close to the French and German borders, students at the Biozentrum have the opportunity to live within Basel, but also in France or Germany. These options have several advantages and disadvantages. For example, if you decide to live in Switzerland, administrative matters are easier to handle, the health insurance can be cheaper and, obviously, your way to work is shorter. In contrast, if you prefer to live in Germany or France, living costs are reduced, but administrative matters are more difficult to arrange and your way to work takes about 20 minutes (by bike) to an hour.

Housing in Basel

Rent for an apartment or a flat for a single person in Basel starts at approx. 600 – 700 CHF per month. Here are some websites that might help you find an apartment or a shared flat:

Living costs in Basel

The estimated costs of living in Basel are approx. 1100-1300 CHF minimum per month for a single person (living expenses and health insurance).


PhD Office: Angie Klarer

PhD Student representatives: (for all questions regarding PhD student life at the Biozentrum)


* Biozentrum:
* University of Basel:
* PhD Fellowship Program:
* PhD students:
* PostDoc Information: