Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships for PhD candidates

The Swiss government awards various types of scholarships to foreign doctoral students, through the Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students (FCS).

This scholarship may be available to incoming PhD students who apply to the Graduate Institute and are admitted during the Early Bird application round. An offer of admission must be made before a potential supervisor is designated and asked to provide a support letter for the scholarship application. Please do not contact professors directly, as this will significantly reduce the chances of obtaining a support letter.

The list of countries in which you can apply for a Swiss government scholarship, along with country-specific application deadlines, as well as details of the application procedure, are available on the web pages of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, under Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.

Alternatively, if an offer of admission is made outside of the deadline set by the embassy, enrolled PhD students at the Graduate Institute may apply for this scholarship for their second year of study, provided that their date of arrival in Switzerland is less than 12 months prior to the scholarship start date (1st September of the second year of study).


Application procedure

  1. Note the application deadline for the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship in your country.
  2. Apply to one of the Institute’s PhD programmes between 15 September and November 15, 2018.
  3. Be sure to complete the financial aid application page on the Graduate Institute's application for admission.

    This will ensure that, in the event that you are admitted and that your Swiss Government scholarship request is unsuccessful, you can still be considered for financial aid from the Institute.
  4. Inform the Graduate Institute's Admission Office that you are applying for the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship.
  5. Submit an application for the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship by contacting the Swiss embassy in your country of origin.
  6. If you are admitted to the Graduate Institute, we will supply a letter of support from your anticipated research supervisor. You will need to include this letter of support, along with your admission letter, in your Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship application file.

    Your PhD programme will assign you a research supervisor. Please do not contact members of the faculty at this stage; you can direct all your enquiries to the Admission Office.
  7. The Swiss government will only consider Excellence Scholarship applications from students who hold an offer of admission and a support letter. Their evaluation process may take several months.