Study with us



Study with us


The Centre for International Environmental Studies at the Graduate Institute hosts a vibrant interdisciplinary group of PhD students working on climate change, environmental and development topics. The PhD candidates receive their research training in one of the Institute's Academic Departments depending on their respective discipline (International Relations/Political Science, International History, International Law, Anthropology and Sociology of Development and International Economics). They then carry out their research as Research Assistants within CIES working on ongoing research projects, supervised by the various faculty associated with CIES.

Read our Letters from Alumni.


How to apply


The CIES does not handle PhD applications directly. Interested students should follow the Graduate Institute's application process and register in the teaching department the closest of their interests. 




Funding opportunities for prospective students are available on the basis of ongoing CIES research projects funded by the Swiss National Scientific Foundation, EU research projects, the Swiss Network of International Studies, and other funders.

Once registered in the Graduate Institute's PhD programme, PhD candidates holding a Master's degree from a Swiss institution can also apply to the Doc.CH programme funded by the Swiss National Scientific Foundation, which covers the salary of PhD candidates for up to 4 years.

Deadlines for the Doc.CH program are every year on March 10 and September 10. More information can be found here.   Interested students should contact a CIES faculty member who will approve and support the application process. 


Courses and Training


The Graduate Institute offers a large number of graduate courses on environmental topics both at Master and PhD levels. 

The list of courses offered can be found in the programme of the Environment, Resources and Sustainability track of  the Interdisciplinary Masters. The classes are clustered around four themes:  the Global Framework, Climate change, Development, Governance and Politics of Resources, and Agrarian Environment and Food systems. 

In addition, PhD courses on environment and development issues are also offered in the academic departments. PhD candidates in economics have for instance the possibility to enroll into the Advanced Natural Resources Economics class. Check the PhD programme here.

The CIES organizes two series of seminars each semester that are open to students working on environmental topics:

  • the CIES Lunch seminars, which is a series of interdisciplinary seminars, where faculty members and occasionnally guest speakers present their most recent work 
  • the CIES resource, environment and development economic seminars, a series of PhD level economic seminars featuring external speakers.


Supervision at CIES


The following faculty is currently available to supervise PhD students:

Liliana Andonova (IR/Political Science)

Susanna Hecht (International History)

James Hollway (IR/Political Science)

Marc Hufty (Development Studies)

Joelle Noailly (International Economics)

Anne Saab (International Law)

Shaila Seshia Gavin (ANSO)

Tim Swanson (International Economics)