Studying for a doctorate at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Bern

The faculty welcomes interesting and innovative doctoral projects and will be happy to support you with such a project. You can choose between one of the two doctoral degree programs or forms, namely the structured doctorate and the traditional individual doctorate.

  • Like anywhere else, certain requirements need to be satisfied In order to study for a doctorate at Bern: Admission to study for a doctorate requires a person to have a university master's degree in either Old Catholic or Protestant theology or in Jewish studies or religious studies. It may also be possible to study for a doctorate if you have completed other kinds of university degree; the Doctoral Committee decides on a case-by-case basis what constitutes equivalence with regard to comparable forms of previous education and also makes a decision regarding any admission requirements which can be completed during a program of study. The precise admission requirements which must be completed prior to a program of study are set out in the regulations on doctorates (PDF, 1.0 MB).

The application process

  1. You need to ask one person from those employed at the Bern faculty to take on the main responsibility for supervising your dissertation project.
  2. You need to be registered at the University of Bern for a program of doctoral studies. Registration at the University of Bern is arranged through the Registration Service. Doctoral students submit the registration request to the Admissions Office – assuming there is a firm intention of studying for a doctorate – duly signed by the supervisor and confirmed by the Dean's Office. This applies to both doctoral students at Bern and those yet to study there. Registration can then follow seamlessly after registering for studies or at any other time.
  3. As soon as the topic has been finalized, the schedule has been devised and the Advisory Committee has been formed, the procedure for registering the topic with the Doctoral Committee takes place. If this does not happen within two or three semesters of registration, the Doctoral Committee may ask the Admissions Office to deregister the person concerned.

You need to direct any requests for admission to study at doctorate level to the Doctoral Committee via the Dean's Office. You need to submit a proposal before you register at university. The main person responsible for advising you must assess this proposal. The criteria for drafting the proposal can be found in the document about providing a description of the dissertation project (doc, 62 KB).

In order for your request to be complete, please also submit your master's degree certificate and a CV at the same time.

Start of the dissertation project

You will receive advice and support with your dissertation project from a committee (Advisory Committee), which should consist of the main person responsible and a maximum of two others. The doctoral student draws up a doctoral agreement (doc, 55 KB), with their Advisory Committee with a view to plotting a course for the project.

During doctoral studies – ECTS credits in the structured doctorate

According to resolution from the Doctoral Committee, doctoral students taking a structured doctorate need to draw up a list of ECTS credits themselves. The Advisory Committee oversees the list, and the finished list is handed to the examination secretariat for the faculty during registration for the doctorate process, and entered and validated in the "system". The doctoral degree program run jointly by the faculties of theology at Basel, Bern and Zurich (BaBeZue) offers people courses, as part of their doctoral studies, that enable them to acquire ECTS credits, develop competences and skills, and benefit from a process of academic exchange.


If you have any questions about doctoral degree programs or studying for a doctorate, Prof. Dr. Rainer Hirsch-Luipold, the Chairman of the Doctoral Committee, will be happy to help.

Doctoral Committee (Chairman)

Doctoral Committee