Frequently Asked Questions
In English only - Here you will find the most frequently asked questions our admissions office receives. If you do not see an answer to your question below, please contact us.
Table of Contents
- About the Graduate Institute
- About the admission process
- About the language requirements
- About funding your studies
- Your decision to apply to
- Your student life in Geneva
General Information about the Institute
What is the Graduate Institute?
The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies is an institution of research and higher education dedicated to the study of world affairs, with a particular emphasis on the cross-cutting fields of international relations and development issues.
Born of the 2008 merger of the Graduate Institute of International Studies (HEI) and the Graduate Institute of Development Studies (IUED), we benefit from an expertise and a reputation that go back to the 1920s and the League of Nations in the case of international relations and to the 1960s and the emergence of the Third World in the case of development studies.
We are a cosmopolitan community located in the heart of Geneva, an international city and a centre of global governance.
What kind of study programmes does the Institute offer?
The Institute offers two interdisciplinary and five disciplinary master programmes as well as 6 PhD programmes. Courses are taught by professors from all over the world, providing students with capacity for rigorous analysis of historical and contemporary issues in the fields of international affairs and development.
- Anthropology and Sociology of Development
- Development Economics (only PhD)
- International Economics
- International History
- International Law
- International Relations/Political Science
Does the Graduate Institute have a good reputation?
The Graduate Institute is Europe’s oldest school of international relations and a pioneer institution in the area of development studies but seeks to remain innovative: The Institute builds on the long and rich experience of its predecessors – the Graduate Institute of International Studies (est. 1927) and the Graduate Institute of Development Studies (est. 1961). However, we aspire to be much more than the sum of these legacies. The Institute strives to be among the world’s leading schools of international and development studies. It is a respected member of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs and distinguishes itself through its eminent faculty, independence and location in Geneva, a city outside the traditional spheres of power and home to numerous international and non-governmental organisations and a growing number of multinationals.
What is the Bologna Process?
The Bologna Process established the European Higher Education Area by making academic degree standards and quality assurance standards more comparable and compatible throughout Europe. The Process created the common degrees of Bachelor-Master-PhD and uses a common system of credits called ECTS, equivalent across Europe and recognised around the world. Switzerland and the Graduate Institute adhere to the Bologna system.
What are ECTS credits?
The ECTS system (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) allows for an overview of educational programmes based on the associated credits. These credits express the workload expected from the student in view of all the courses offered throughout the semester. For the Master’s programmes, a semester is equal to 30 ECTS credits; 1 ECTS credit corresponds to approximately 25-30 hours of student workload. Credits are awarded once a student has successfully completed the course.
What are the career opportunities after graduation?
Past graduate students have gone on to diverse careers in international organisations (WHO, ILO, IMO, UNCTAD, WTO, UNHCR, WIPO, Red Cross…), NGOs, diplomacy and civil service, multinational companies, the banking and financial sector, journalism and media, communication and public relations, as well as academic research and teaching. Our students are known to be hardworking, flexible, open-minded, interdisciplinary and multilingual. During their studies, the Career Services Office sends them internship and job offers by email; its staff further helps students prepare CVs and interviews and organises meeting/conferences with managers and alumni from different sectors.
How many people study at the Institute? Where do the students come from?
Since 2007, our student body has been exclusively graduate and post-graduate, with over 100 nationalities represented. For the 2013-2014 academic year, the Institute hosted 860 students, 510 in master programmes, 350 in PhD programmes and 11 in exchanges programmes. 84% of our cosmopolitan community comes from outside Switzerland and 62% is female.
The distribution of the geographic origins of our students is as follows:
6% - Africa
19% - Asia
34% - Europe
12% - South America
13% - North America
1% - Oceania
What is the average class size?
In core or elective courses, there are between 20 and 60 students per class; in seminars, there are approximately 20 students. Our personalised approach and small classes provide an attractive ratio of students to professors allowing students to receive personal attention and commitment from our faculty members.
Who are the professors and lecturers?
All our professors and senior lecturers hold PhDs from the world’s leading universities and are chosen for their extensive knowledge, reputation and professional experience. They are more than teachers; they also act as advisors and mentors.
Can I enrol at the Graduate Institute part-time?
The Institute’s primary commitment is to full-time studies and it does not offer part-time education, except for the Executive Education certificates or Executive Masters. Our study programmes do not include any evening classes.
Does the Institute offer summer or winter programmes?
The Graduate Institute currently offers two summer programmes (International Affairs and Multilateral Governance and WTO, International Trade and Development) and one Winter programme (The United Nations and Global Challenges). If you are interested in obtaining credit for one of these Summer/Winter programmes, you should contact the office responsible for study programmes abroad at your university. For further information, please visit the Short Programmes Webpages or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does the Institute offer executive education programmes?
The Institute offers executive masters, executive certificates, one LL.M and several short as well as tailor-made programmes geared towards mid-career professionals. The Institute offers Executive Masters in International Negotiation and Policymaking, in Development Policies and Practices and in Oil and Gas Leadership and in Asian Affairs. It also offers Executive Certificates in Advocacy and in International Economic Relations, and one LL.M in International Law. For further information visit the Executive Education Website or to send an email to email@example.com.
Does the Institute offer distance-learning courses?
Currently, the Institute does not offer distance-learning education. All the courses and seminars are held on campus.
Can I schedule an individual visit?
Prospective students may request an appointment via firstname.lastname@example.org if they would like to discuss our programmes and/or admissions procedure in more detail.
Where can I find a course calalog?
Our course catalogue is available online and updated once a year.
About the Admission Process
What is the application deadline?
For the 2013-2014 academic year, applications must be sumbitted online by January 15, 2013 at the latest. However, we have early application deadlines for those who would like to be considered for the first round of evaluations, for a decision in December, in certain cases. http://graduateinstitute.ch/home/admissions/application/application-procedure.html
Where can I find the application form?
The application form is to be submitted online. It can be found on the admissions pages. No paper form will be accepted.
What are the requirements to be admitted to the Institute?
Even if we do not have a specific profile of the ideal applicant, there are some qualities we hope all of our students share: integrity, a deep interest in learning and a devotion to both academic and professional pursuits. Many candidates also bring distinctive academic and extracurricular talents and achievements. A prospective student’s intellectual curiosity and academic excellence are the most important factors in our decision.
How many times can I apply to the Graduate Institute?
Candidates can apply three times.
Does the Graduate Institute have quotas for a particular region or school?
No. Applicants are compared to all other applicants, both regionally and globally.
Is there an age limit for the Institute’s programmes?
There is no age limit in any of our programmes.
Do I need to take the GRE in order to apply? How important are the GRE scores for the application?
The GRE is not necessary to enter our programmes except for the Master and PhD in International Economics and the PhD in Development Economics, where it is compulsory. If you have already taken the GRE test, please include it in your application file. Please be aware that scores are reported for five years after taking the test. Specific information can be found on the GRE website.
Does the Institute accept GMAT results?
GMAT results are not accepted in lieu of GRE scores. You can, however, include the results in your application file if you have already taken this test.
May I apply if I have not yet completed the degree I am working on?
You may apply to the Institute during the last year of the degree or diploma necessary to gain admission to the programme you are interested in (“licence” or Bachelor’s degree for a Master, DEA or Master for the PhD). In this case, if your application is successful, admission will be granted conditionally and the final decision will depend on whether you meet the specific requirements (minimum grade) that the Admissions Office will set and which will be notified to you.
Do examinations have to be taken for admission to the Institute?
No. Admissions are decided solely on the basis of the application file.
Are personal interviews part of the application procedure?
No. The Institute’s procedure does not comprise individual interviews.
Is it possible to transfer to the Graduate Institute from another university?
No. For the time being, the Graduate Institute does not offer transfers from other Universities.
Do you have any tips for applying?
The Admission Office advises you to:
- Gather application materials early and give yourself plenty of time to complete each step as it may take time to obtain certain documents. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
- Think carefully about who should write your letters of recommendation. Choose people, in most cases, your teachers/professors, who can be specific about your strengths as well as your ability to overcome your weaknesses.
- In your letter of motivation, let your personality shine through. Present your profile and qualities in a focused, thoughtful and meaningful manner. Write in a natural style and support your arguments with relevant examples.
How do I apply?
Applicants are required to complete the online application form. A non-refundable application fee of CHF 50 is applicable.
I am unable to access the online application form, what should I do?
Please note that the online application form is only available from 15 September to 15 January.
Can I submit my supporting documents by e-mail?
No, supporting documents must be uploaded on the online application form.
What is the application fee?
The application fee is 50 CHF. Please note that it is non-refundable in all circumstances.
May I be exempt from the application fee?
No, the application fee covers the administrative expenses of the application process, whether you are admitted or not. It is non-refundable.
How do I know if my application is complete?
Your status can be checked online through our application system. Please check this information carefully.
I left university a long time ago and I am no longer in touch with my teachers. How should I proceed to get letters of recommendation?
You are advised to request letters from former teachers/professors, but you may also submit one letter from professional sources if you have left University for some time.
Must I have my official documents translated (diplomas, transcripts, etc.)?
Any documents that are not written in French, English, German, Italian or Spanish must be accompanied by a certified translation.
Should I come to campus to state my case?
No. Applicants may only call to the admissions office to hand in their application files. The admissions committee does not interview or meet with applicants.
What are the selection criteria and who decides who is accepted?
The decision to admit a student is taken by the admissions committee of the relevant academic department or interdisciplinary programme (International Affairs, Development Studies, International Economics, International Relations/Political Science, International History, International Law, Anthropology and Sociology of Development). Our admissions process is selective and rigorous: For 2013-2014, 33% of the candidates were admitted. The faculty makes its decisions on the basis of academic results, letters of recommendation, the personal letter of motivation and the overall quality of the application file. This includes work-experience, extracurricular involvement and language skills.
How important are extracurricular activities in the admissions process?
By far the most important selection criteria are the applicant’s academic curriculum and his or her academic performance. However, extracurricular or professional activities, such as internships or work experience, are an important complement.
When will I be informed whether I am admitted or refused?
The decisions regarding admission and requests for financial support are mailed to the candidates mid- March or mid-December if candidates have applied and been considered for the first application deadline. The results can also be viewed via the online application follow-up.
Can I appeal against the decision to reject my application?
What does “conditional admission” mean?
There are various types of conditional offers of admission:
- Conditions on language: Candidates are admitted on the condition that they prove a sufficient level in English for the programme to which they have been accepted.
- Conditions on undergraduate degree: Candidates are admitted, but must provide, no later than the time of registration, proof of successful completion of the degree required by the programme to which they have been admitted. Students who cannot provide proof of a degree are not allowed to register for study programmes at the Institute.
- Other conditions set by the admissions Committee and detailed on the admission letter.
I have been admitted under the condition of providing English language certification, when is the deadline to provide this?
English language certificates must reach the Institute by May 30th at the latest.
I have been admitted to one of your programmes, can I defer my offer to next year?
Applicants who do not accept our offer of admission and/or financial support in a given academic year can re-apply the following year. However there is no guarantee of our initial offer being renewed. One advantage of re-applying is that your initial hard-copy application materials will remain on file and you will therefore not need to resubmit them. The online portion of the application procedure along with an updated version of your motivation letter, an update of your academic transcripts during the last academic year (if any) and the payment of the application fees will suffice to complete the process. If you wish to re-apply for a scholarship, a complete scholarship file is required.
What is the Graduate Institute's language policy?
The official working languages of the Institute are English and French. Students have the right to express themselves, orally or in writing, in one of these two languages. Applicants need to prove their English proficiency by achieving a certain score on the TOEFL, IELTS, CAE, CEP tests. Knowledge of French is not a prerequisite for entering our programmes, in fact, about a third of our students are admitted with no prior knowledge of French.
Details about our language requirements.
I have no knowledge of the French language. Can I file my application?
Can I follow some language courses?
As a rule, a knowledge of French (at least passive) is required. However, candidates without any knowledge of the French language may apply for admission and ask to participate in the intensive French classes during the three weeks before the beginning of the Autumn semester, plus a French course during that semester. Both courses are organised and financed by the Institute. At the end of the Autumn semester, these students will undergo a test, the result of which will appear on their transcript and on a separate certificate. Should the test be failed, it must be taken again at the beginning of the third semester.
What English proficiency tests are recognised by the Institute?
If prospective students are not native English speakers or have not studied in an English-taught undergraduate programme, they must take an English proficiency test. These applicants are urged to visit www.toefl.org (for the TOEFL test), www.ielts.org (for the IELTS test) or www.cambridgeesol.org (for the CAE and CEP tests) as quickly as possible for more information on this examination. Some minimum scores are required for admission to the Graduate Institute; TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for two years.
I do not have a diploma in English and it is too late to sit the test before January 15. What can I do?
You may submit your application together with proof that you have enrolled to take this test, indicating the date on which you will take it. The results should be submitted to the admissions office no later than June 30th.
About Funding Your Studies
What is the cost of living in Geneva?
A budget of approximately CHF 18’000 per year is recommended (this budget would allow for a modest student lifestyle).
How much do studies cost?
The semester fees are:
- CHF 1.500 for persons who officially reside in Switzerland at the time of application;
- CHF 2.500 for others.
All admitted students are required to pay a further semester fee of CHF 65 to the University of Geneva. For further information, please visit the Website of the "Espace administratif des étudiants" of the University of Geneva (in French).
Can I be exempt from tuition fees?
Under certain circumstances, students may be exempt from the payment of the Institute’s tuition fees.
How can I pay?
At the beginning of the semester, students receive a payment slip in order to settle payment of their semester fees. Enrolment for the semester is validated once payment is received. Students can also pay by electronic bank transfer; the bank references are as follows:
UBS SA, rue du Rhône 8, 1204 Genève
for: Fondation pour l'étude des relations internationales et du développement
- Compte CHF :
The University of Geneva’s invoice is sent separately.
Does the Institute offer scholarships or financial aid?
A substantial number of scholarships (full, partial or to cover tuition) are allocated each year to master and PhD students on the basis of academic merit and financial need.
What is the average amount of a scholarship?
A full scholarship amounts in general to CHF 18’000 for a period of 10 months.
When must I file my application for financial support?
At the same time as your general application. Candidates will find a direct link to the scholarship application form on the online application form. Please read through our scholarship regulations first.
What is the deadline for applying for scholarships?
The closing date for receipt of scholarship applications is the same as for programme applications: January 15 of each year. Applications submitted beyond the deadline are not considered.
How long do scholarships last?
Scholarships are awarded for one academic year and may be renewed.
Who is eligible for a scholarship?
The following criteria are used (this list is not exhaustive): financial need, academic and extra-curricular achievements.
For specific scholarships, national or geographic criteria may apply (for instance scholarships from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation are intended for global South or developing countries’ nationals).
What are my chances of receiving a scholarship?
Approximately, 25% of all first year students receive a scholarship.
Is a tuition waiver included with the scholarship?
Yes, students who obtain a scholarship receive a 100% tuition waiver, but they are not exempt from University of Geneva fees.
When must I file my application for financial support?
At the same time as your general application. Candidates will find a direct link to the scholarship application form on the online application form. Please read first our scholarship regulations.
I cannot afford to pay the application fee. May I be exempt from it?
No exemption is granted from the application fee.
I noticed that students of the Institute have to be registered at the University of Geneva. What is the procedure?
If you are admitted, we will provide you with instructions on how to register with the University, along with some explanations about the procedures to be completed before the start of the academic year.
Your Decision to Apply for a Masters Programme
How many masters programmes does the Institute offer?
The Institute offers 7 Masters programmes:
- 2 interdisciplinary MA programmes: Master in International Affairs (MIA) and Master in Development Studies (MDEV);
- 5 disciplinary MA programmes: Masters in Anthropology and Sociology of Development, International Economics, International History, International Law and International Relations/Political Science.
What is the admission process?
Admissions are decided on the basis of the overall application file with priority given to academic achievement, recommendations and letters of motivation.
In general, candidates must have obtained either a degree/diploma (“licence” or Bachelor’s degree, DEA or a degree deemed equivalent) in one of the Institute’s key disciplines (Law, Economics, History, Anthropology, Sociology, or Political Science) or in a related discipline (ex: International Affairs, Public Policy, Diplomacy, Area Studies, Geography, Geopolitics etc). For International Affairs and Development Studies, holders of a Bachelor’s degree in a discipline other than human and social sciences but with a high-quality academic record may apply for the programme.
How competitive is the selection?
Selection is competitive and rigorous.
How long is the duration of studies?
A Master’s degree is awarded after the completion obtention of 90 ECTS credits for coursework and the successful completion of the Master’s dissertation, i.e. after the fourth semester of studies (four semesters = 120 ECTS). A few students are able to complete their curriculum in two semesters, some in three semesters.
What work load is involved in the Masters programme?
In general, we estimate an average of 10 hours per week for class attendance and between 20 and 30 hours per week for home and library work.
Can I do more than one programme at a time?
Students can only pursue one master programme at a time.
Can I transfer or waive classes?
For the moment, the Graduate Institute does not accept transfer credits from other institutions. According to the regulation, students do not waive any of the total number of courses required; they can ask derogations for up to two compulsory classes but must substitute them with others.
How many students participate in one class?
We are very proud to offer classes that are small in size, which makes for quality teaching, better interaction between students and easy access to professors. For seminars, expect 5 to 30 students with an average of around 20. Ex-cathedra classes might be larger, but there are few of them. In Development studies, a first semester includes all entering students, in order to provide a baseline; in following semesters, smaller seminars allow the students to specialise.
What are the career opportunities for graduates of the Institute?
Past graduates have gone on to diverse careers in international organisations, NGOs, public administration, diplomacy, development, multinational corporations, and banks. The Career Services office provides personalised job search counselling, sends out job and internship offers, and organises workshops for professional skills acquisition as well as a yearly forum Connexion to connect with potential employers.
Are there Exchange Programmes available?
The Institute has concluded exchange agreements with various universities: 1 El Colegio de México, Mexico · 2 Elliott School of International Affairs – George Washington University, United States · 3 Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy – Tufts University, United States · 4 Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia · 5 Graduate School of Arts and Sciences – Yale University, United States · 6 Graduate School of Asia-Pacific – Waseda University, Japan · 7 Graduate School of International Studies – Seoul National University, South Korea · 8 Hertie School of Governance, Germany · 9 Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy – Singapore National University, Singapore · 10 Sciences Po Paris, France · 11 Tsinghua University, China · 12 School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India 13 University of St.-Gallen, Switzerland · 14 University of Malaya, Malaysia · 15 University of Ghana, Ghana · 16 Boston School of Law – Boston University, United States · 17 Harvard Law School – Harvard University, United States · 18 Michigan Law School, University of Michigan, United States · 19 UCLA School of Law – UCLA, United States · 20 Cheikh Anta Diop University, Senegal · 21 Center for Comparative and International Studies (CIS), ETH Zürich, Switzerland · 22 The American University in Cairo, School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, Egypt · 23 KIMEP University, Kazakhstan · 24 Stellenbosch University, South Africa · 25 Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Peru.
Students who are interested must apply during the second semester and have completed a minimum of 60 credits ECTS. Selection is competitive and based on academic merit. Courses taken at the host university will count towards degree requirements except for PhD programmes.
Your Decision to Apply for a PhD Programme
How many PhD programmes does the Institute offer?
The Institute offers a PhD programme in 6 disciplinary specialisations in Anthropology and Sociology of Development, Development Economics, International Economics, International History, International Law, International Relations/Political Science.
Why pursue a PhD at the Graduate Institute?
Our PhDs are designed primarily to prepare students for academic careers in research and teaching in academic institutions. Our graduates will also be prepared for positions in prestigious organisations or companies where academic research is highly valued.
What does the Admissions Committee look for?
The Admission Committee will look at the academic achievement of the candidates, the originality of their proposals and their capacity to pursue their research successfully. Specific requirements may vary slightly by area of specialisation.
How long does it take to complete a PhD degree?
According to our regulations, the PhD programme must not exceed 8 semesters. In general, the first two semesters are devoted to coursework, the third to the preliminary dissertation and the five remaining for research and writing.
How many new students are admitted each year?
For the 2012 academic year, we received 419 applications and accepted 125 candidates.
Can I work on my PhD while holding a full-time job?
As a PhD student, you are expected to follow a certain number of compulsory courses during your first two semesters, to write your preliminary dissertation by the end of the third semester and to successfully defend your thesis by the end of the eighth semester. If you work full-time at the time of your application, you can ask for a specific status allowing you delays for completing your thesis curriculum. All courses, however, take place during the day on weekdays.
Do I need to move to Geneva? Is there a residency requirement?
During the first two semesters, there is a requirement to attend courses. After the completion of the preliminary dissertation, attendance is not compulsory and periodical visits to Geneva can be arranged by agreement with your supervisor.
How many courses do PhD students take?
By the end of the second semester, you must obtain 24 ECTS credits. You have the possibility to follow courses in another discipline in order to complete a minor validated with a certain amount of ECTS credits (please see PhD regulations). Please keep in mind that six credits are given for a half-yearly course of two hours per week during one semester, twelve credits for a yearly course of two hours per week. For further information, please check the different curricula available on the website.
Where can I find the curricula?
The curriculum is included in this website.
Do you encourage transfers from other PhD programmes?
Generally speaking, we do not encourage transfers from other PhD programmes.
What is the preliminary dissertation?
Its main purpose is to show that:
- The problem you propose to investigate is significant enough to warrant the investigation,
- The method you plan to use is suitable and feasible,
- The results you aim at are likely to prove to be fruitful and to make an original contribution.
What does the viva or thesis defence involve?
The viva voce or defence is the final oral examination when the PhD candidate is required to present his or her thesis in front of a panel of examiners. This panel comprises the PhD supervisor, an internal examiner from the Graduate Institute and an external examiner who has been selected as a specialist in the student’s research area. In general, the panel is chaired by a member of the faculty of the Institute. The student is awarded the degree of PhD. on passing the viva and on completion of any required corrections/revisions to the satisfaction of the examiner(s).
Whom should recommendations come from?
Your application is reinforced by letters of recommendation from persons most able to judge your capacity to write a doctoral dissertation. The faculty attaches more weight to recommendation letters from scholars, particularly from your master’s thesis supervisors. The two letters should comment on your talents, skills and potential for success as an independent researcher.
Do I need to have a supervisor before applying for a PhD?
No, you do not. After being admitted, external PhD students are assigned a thesis supervisor before the end of the first semester.
How do I find out what the research interests of faculty members are?
Go to the Faculty pages of the Web site. Clicking on a faculty member’s name will take you to their general profile that contains detailed information on their research interests and a list of publications.
Does it help to email/mail a faculty member before I apply?
No, it does not.
How close to having a fixed research topic does an applicant need to be at the time of application?
At the admission stage the faculty will be looking for evidence of scholarly achievement, capacity for independent research and sense to choose a significant topic. This will be reflected in the documents that you submit in support of your application including the letter of motivation and the proposed topic of study.
What do you mean by a "research proposal"?
The application form asks you to indicate a proposed topic of study and to submit a research proposal describing your proposed research topic in more detail.
The research proposal is a very important component of your application. Potential supervisors and others in related research areas will be involved in assessing your application and they will be looking at your proposal for evidence that you have an appropriate background for the topic area and for your own ideas about how research on that topic should best be taken forward. What you write is not binding, but it will give an idea of your background, interests and ideas. Click here for details.
My research topic overlaps with other disciplines or fields (for ex. Development, Law, Political Science, etc.). Can I still apply for a specific area of specialisation and will there be adequate supervision for me?
If your topic encompasses more than one field or discipline, it is possible to be admitted to one department but to ask to be jointly supervised by professors from two different academic departments. You have also the possibility to complete a minor in another discipline (please see PhD regulation for more information).
I have already gathered data and have a research manuscript. Can I simply polish the manuscript and submit it to receive a PhD?
No, you cannot. Candidates are expected to develop a research subject and write a thesis under the supervision of a thesis director at the Graduate Institute.
Is access from the master to the PhD programmes automatic?
Although completing a master’s programme at the Institute facilitates access to the PhD programme, the decision to admit a student is based on the application file, on the academic results as a whole and on the letters of recommendation. Students may also apply to the PhD programme via the fast-track transfer which allows students to complete a master and PhD in five years.
Can I go on with a PhD after having completed the MIA or the MDEV (the 2 interdisciplinary Masters)?
MIA or MDEV students can apply to relevant specialisations of our PhD, but admission may not be easy. Given that the PhD is disciplinary (international relations/political science, international economics, international law, international history, anthropology/sociology of development, development economics). The discipline in which MIA or MDEV students received their BA is an important criterion for admission to the PhD as well as their MA dissertation.
Are PhD students required to teach?
PhD students do not teach, except if they have the status of teaching assistant.
Can I work as a research assistant or a teaching assistant?
Faculty members sometimes employ PhD students as research assistants on their research projects, and students are strongly encouraged to apply for these positions as they provide good professional experience. These positions vary from year to year, depending on the grant money awarded to faculty members.
Student Life in Geneva
What are the advantages of studying in Geneva?
Located in the heart of Europe, Geneva is a truly international city and recognised business centre. The Graduate Institute benefits from its proximity to numerous international and non-governmental organisations, diplomatic missions and multinational companies. Geneva also has one of the largest lakes in Western Europe and is within close reach to the Alps. Our campus extends from Lake Geneva to the United Nations area.
More info on student life in Geneva.
Does the Graduate Institute provide housing to students?
In 2012, the Graduate Institute opened a new student residence "La Maison des Etudiants Edgar et Danièle de Picciotto". The Maison des Etudiants houses 243 beds on ten floors. Thus it is possible to apply to the Maison des Etudiants for housing, but housing is not guaranteed. We strongly recommend applying, but also pursuing other housing options as space in the Maison des Etudiants is limited. Successful applicants will receive information on housing options further to the confirmation of admission.
What other housing resources are available?
The admission office will send you the list of student accommodation in Geneva together with your letter of admission (residence halls, university housing, hotels and furnished flats). As it is not easy to find lodging facilities we advise you to search for accommodation as soon as you receive the confirmation of your admission. In addition the Graduate Institute Student Association (GISA) provides a student-written guide on finding housing. Click here.
What are the restaurant options on campus?
The campus offers two cafeterias: one near Villa Barton, in the park, and the other in the Rothschild building.
How do students get access to library and computer facilities?
Once registration fees and tuition are paid, access to library resources can be obtained; except for interlibrary loans, library privileges are free for all registered students. Concerning computer facilities, a Getting Started Kit will be provided during registration at the Student Office.
Is the campus fully wired for computer networking?
The library, the cafeteria and several classrooms are hard-wired for high-speed Internet connections.
What visas and residence permits are necessary for studying in Geneva?
Depending on your country of origin, you may need a visa to enter Switzerland and/or to stay more than 3 months. Please check with your country’s Swiss embassy for details. Because the visa process may take several months, make sure to apply at your embassy as soon as possible. For more details, you will find the relevant contacts for your country on the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs website. After arrival in Switzerland, all students are required to follow the instructions of the Office cantonal de la population to apply for a “permis de séjour” (residence permit). For more information, visit the website of the Service des étrangers, Office cantonal de la Population (OCP) (in French only).
Can I work during my studies?
Non-European nationals must have resided in Switzerland for at least six months to have the right to work. With the approval of the University of Geneva (Uni-Emploi office), our students can get a student permit allowing them to work 15 hours per week.
What jobs/internships are available to students?
Over the years, our Career Services has developed close ties with many of the UN agencies and other international and non-governmental organisations as well as multinational companies based in Geneva and can hence offer our students a wide range of opportunities to gain work experience. Students receive job offers and employment opportunities on a weekly basis on their e-mail account. They can also ask for personalised advice. Once a year, our Career Services hold the Connexion Careers Forum where our students can meet prospective employers.
When and how can I get my student card?
To obtain your student ID card you need to be a registered student. The card will be delivered by the Student Office further to registration.
Are there student associations at the Institute?
The Graduate Institute Student Association (GISA) represents students vis-à-vis the Institute and its authorities. At registration, every student automatically becomes a member of the Association. GISA is tasked with enriching the daily lives of students and ensuring that they have the best possible tenure at the Graduate Institute during their studies. To this end GISA also funds and supervises a variety of student initiatives, which you may read about here.
How strong is the Alumni network of the Institute?
Many of our alumni have become prominent figures in world affairs. Some well-known alumni are, Leonid Hurwicz, 2007 Nobel Prize laureate in Economics, Hernando de Soto, President of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy, Kofi Annan, Former UN Secretary General, Micheline Calmy-Rey, Former Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and Brad Smith, Microsoft Vice-President.
Do I have access to sports or leisure facilities?
Yes, all of our students have access to the University of Geneva’s sports and cultural facilities. At the Institute, there is a Ciné-club where students can attend free film screenings which are followed by a debate.
Does the Institute have parking facilities?
No, but our campus is easily accessible by public transportation, which most of our faculty, staff and students use. It is not necessary to own a car given the convenient bus and tram systems.