As part of a new initiative, the faculties of theology at the universities of Bern, Zurich and Basel have been offering a jointly structured, cross-faculty and interdisciplinary doctoral degree program since 2013. As well as developing a person's competence from a subject-specific, interdisciplinary and methodology perspective, it also provides a forum for lively exchange with the other faculties. This exchange and the opportunity to attend curricular courses at different faculties provide doctoral students with useful support and help expand their horizons as they progress towards their doctorate.
Some 180 ECTS credits are earned in total. 150 ECTS credits are achieved for the written dissertation. The curricular element worth 30 ECTS credits is earned in the form of courses offered jointly by the universities of Bern, Zurich and Basel.
The program is open to doctoral students from the faculties of theology at Zurich, Bern and Basel who are already signed up to the structured programs at the three faculties. The courses offered as part of the structured doctoral degree program can also be attended by doctoral students studying under the old doctoral degree system and those looking to habilitate (i.e. qualify to teach at a university).
At the University of Bern, the traditional individual doctorate incorporates the dissertation and a graded oral examination taking the form of either a colloquium discussion or the tougher examen rigorosum.
The traditional individual doctorate is the classic form of doctorate. It affords a person a large degree of individual freedom to arrange their time as they wish.
The courses offered for doctoral students working towards a structured doctoral degree program may also be attended by those working towards a traditional individual doctorate.