Outgoing exchange students

Agreements signed with prestigious universities worldwide, enable students enrolled in our master and PhD study programmes to study abroad at one of our partner institutions. During their time abroad students gain credits towards their study programmes at the Institute.

Exchange programme participants explore a new university environment in renowned institutions, attend courses complementary to those offered at the Institute, learn (or improve) a foreign language, and in some cases, conduct research (either through field work or accessing resources relevant to their dissertations or theses).



Check out our partner info. sheets  & student reports here

Photo from Madlaina Baselgia's exchange in Brazil
Photo from Oliver Rowe's exchange in Hong Kong

How it Works

  • Master students can apply to the exchange programme during the second semester of their study programme with the exchange taking place during the third semester.
  • PhD students can apply to take part in the exchange programme for one or two semesters from the successful defence of their preliminary thesis dissertation.
  • While on exchange, students continue to pay tuition fees to the Graduate Institute and are exempted from the payment of tuition fees at their host institutions.

A number of scholarship opportunities are available to PhD students who wish to carry out research abroad. 

Important Notes

  • While our exchange agreements allow for the nomination of students between partner institutions, the final admission decision always remains with the host institution.
  • Each institution has its own language requirements and a variable number of courses taught through English. Students are advised to check this out carefully prior to applying.
  • Students participating in the exchange programme will not partake in a capstone project and will be automatically exempted from this requirement (except for students on exchange at the Institute of Global Health at the University of Geneva who may do so).
  • The number of credits transferred to the student’s study programme at the Graduate Institute, for the courses followed during the exchange semester, will be determined on an individual basis by the Direction of Studies.


Participation in the exchange programme is regulated by the Institute’s Academic Regulations and Implementation Guidelines (master and PhD).

Master Students:

  • may only go on an exchange during their third semester
  • must have obtained a minimum of 60 credits prior to their departure
  • are generally expected to have obtained a minimum GPA of 5 for their first semester of studies at the Institute to be nominated for the exchange programme

PhD Students:

  • must have successfully defended their preliminary thesis dissertations (PTD) prior to departure


Financial Aid

Students applying for scholarships from the Graduate Institute will be assessed independently of their participation in the exchange programme; it will have no effect on eligibility or the amount of funding attributed.


Other sources of Funding for Exchange Students


Zdenek and Michaela Bakala Foundation Scholarship
The Zdenek and Michaela Bakala Foundation awards scholarships to students undertaking study or research stays at universities in the USA or the UK.

Eligibility conditions:

  • excellent academic standing
  • admission or nomination to the foreign university
  • demonstrated financial needs
  • residence in Switzerland for a min. of 5 year

Students nominated to the exchange programme, who are eligible to be apply, will automatically receive further details about the application process. Please note that applications for the Bakala Foundation scholarship are submitted via the Institute’s Exchange Office

Swiss European Mobility Programme
The Swiss European Mobility Programme (SEMP) through the Swiss national agency, Movetia, provides funding for students of the Graduate Institute participating in an exchange programme at a European partner institution (outside of Switzerland).

Eligibility conditions:

  • Nomination to a partner institution in Europe and outside Switzerland

This programme has replaced Erasmus+ in Switzerland. The funding will be awarded to eligible students who complete the required paperwork (it is not based on financial needs). The total amount of the scholarship is, in principle, 1’600CHF (this amount may vary depending on the funds available from Movetia).

Application guide



Choose your Institution/s and become familiar with their application requirements and check out reports from previous students 
Students are requested not to contact partner institutions directly prior to nomination. Any queries can be addressed to exchanges@graduateinstitute.ch. Reports from previous students are available on the intranet .


Submit your internal application by 1 February
Please note: it is not necessary to submit any documents related to the host institution at this stage.

Master Students
Complete the online application form (open from 1 January to 1 February). 
No supporting documents are required

PhD Students
Submit application by email to exchanges@graduateinstitute.ch
A complete application should include: application form, motivation letter (intended studies or research project abroad, expected benefits etc.), CV and Research Project Form


The exchange programme commission nominates the students who are duly notified by email. The commission takes into account the following criteria in the selection process:

MA students: grades achieved during the first semester of studies, relevance of the exchange programme choice according to the curriculum (in particular the dissertation) or the career perspectives.

PhD students: grades obtained during the first semester of studies, relevance of the exchange programme choice according to the PhD research.

The candidate's motivations (both academic and personal).

The new cultural experience: one of the aims of the exchange programme is to give students the opportunity to broaden their academic and cultural experiences and as such, less consideration will be given to students applying for a university in their home countries.


Further to the receipt of your nomination, confirm your acceptance by return email. At this stage, details of nominated students are communicated to partner institutes. Students are required to gather the application documents required by the host institute and submit them in due time. While the majority of our partner institutions have online application systems, some require documents to be submitted by email or postal mail (application documents which need to be sent by post can be sent by the Exchange Programme Office).

Please note that the final admission decision remains with the host institution. On rare occasions nominees may be refused admission, in which case, students are requested not to contact the host institute to appeal the decision.

Nominated Students


Once you have been accepted by your host university, there are a number of things to consider and arrange. Preparing for an exchange is exciting, but it can also seem a little overwhelming.

Academic steps

  • Complete the Study Project Form and submit it along with course descriptions to exchanges@graduateinstitute.ch before 15 July. You will then receive a provisional confirmation of the credits which will be transferred to your study programme.
  • Finalise your study project within 30 days of registration at the host institution.
  • Produce a brief feedback report upon your return.

Administrative steps

  • Further to the confirmation of admission from the host institution, you should follow-up on the visa requirements, where applicable, and secure housing for the duration of the exchange programme. Your host institute will provide instructions and advice in these areas.
  • You should also inform the OCP (Office Cantonal de la Population) that you will be leaving Geneva, and follow their instructions concerning the renewal of your residence permit.

Representing the Graduate Institute

Please remember that you are a representative of the Graduate Institute during the time of your exchange programme and, as such, you should endeavour to leave a good impression at the host university.

Our exchange programmes would not be possible without the reciprocal exchange of students, so please avail of all opportunities to motivate students from your host university to apply to the Graduate Institute. We also encourage you to participate in any promotional events such as exchange programme information sessions that take place at your host institute.


If you encounter any difficulties related to the exchange programme, please contact us at: exchanges@graduateinstitute.ch