Department of Health Sciences and Medicine
PhD Program in Health Sciences
For doctoral studies, the Department of Health Sciences and Medicine offers a flexible and intensively supervised doctoral program.
Before you can register for the PhD Program, you need the approval of a supervisor from among the professors of the Department of Health Sciences and Medicine. Please contact a potential supervisor first.
For students to the University of Lucerne, it is necessary to use the online registration. Prospective PhD students who are current/former students of the University of Lucerne should use the “Re-Immatricuation to doctorate” form, found on the same link.
The following deadlines apply to doctoral registrations:
August 31 for the coming fall semester
January 31 for the coming spring semester
The admission to the PhD Program is regulated by the study and examination committee of the Department of Health Sciences and Medicine. The admission requirements can be found in the PhD Regulations. The admission decision will be communicated by email.
Language skills: You should have a very good knowledge of English; knowledge of German is not required.
The doctoral performance to be achieved consists of the academic performance (at least 18 ECTS credits), the thesis, the defense and the publication of the thesis.
All courses offered by the Graduate Academy at the University of Lucerne, the Swiss School of Public Health+ and the Swiss Society of Health Economics offer ECTS credits and contribute to the 18 ECTS credit requirement.
External courses can also be attended after consultation with the supervisor. The study and examination committee of the Department decides on the crediting.
Attending national and international conferences
Applications for financial support for conference attendance must be submitted to the department’s Study Center at least 30 days prior to the event. Financial support is awarded if you will make an active contribution at the conference (lecture, poster presentation).
Be sure to obtain certificates of participation and/or certificates of performance for all courses and conferences attended. These may be submitted to the Study Center on an ongoing basis with the interim reports or they can be submitted at the end of the PhD Program.
The first supervisor is responsible for the academic supervision. This person must be chosen from among the professors of the Department of Health Sciences and Medicine. Without a written supervision agreement, which is co-authored and signed by a first supervisor, the admission to the PhD Program is not possible.
The second supervisor – synonymous with the term second reviewer – must be a person with a doctorate degree or higher from another department, faculty or different university.
The supervisor meets with the PhD student at least once a year to evaluate the progress of the dissertation. In particular, the development of the research work and the earned course credits are evaluated based on the goals set for current year. Goals for the following year are also established.
The study and examination committee of the Department reviews the annual evaluation report and decides on the continuation of the doctoral program based on the doctoral candidate's performance record and the supervisor's recommendation.
For PhD students who began their studies in the spring semester, the first interim evaluation report is due on April 1 of the following year.
For PhD students who began their studies in the fall semester, the first interim evaluation report is due on October 1 of the following year.
A leave of absence from the doctoral study is generally possible. Applications must be submitted in written form to the Study Center (phd_health) by September 15 (for the fall semester) and February 15 (for the spring semester). @ unilu.ch
Please note the following:
- A leave of absence is granted for a maximum of two semesters.
- During this time there are no matriculation fees.
- No academic achievements can be earned.
- It is not possible to participate in courses.
- No applications for financial support from the department can be made.
- No applications for the opening of the doctoral procedure can be made.
Informal examination of the earned ECTS credits
It is recommended/required that one semester before completing the dissertation and before applying for the opening of the doctoral procedure, the Study Center should be contacted so that an informal examination of the academic performance can be conducted. This leaves enough time to acquire any missing credits.
For all courses with earned ECTS credits, written documentation is required to ensure that the requirements according to § 4, number 1 of the Guide to PhD Regulations are fulfilled. The minimum number of credits to be earned during the doctoral studies is 18 ECTS credits (according to § 7, number 1 of the Guide to PhD Regulations). Usually these credits consist of participation in elective modules (in the amount of at least 6 ECTS) and in elective modules, which are announced at the beginning of each semester.
Application for the opening of the doctoral procedure
The doctoral procedure is opened at the candidate's request. The application must be submitted in writing to the head of the department and submitted to the Study Center.
The following documents must be enclosed with the application:
1) at least four printed copies of the dissertation,
2a) a declaration by the candidate that he or she has independently written the submitted dissertation, that he or she has only used the specified aids when writing the dissertation and that he or she has marked passages that have been adopted either literally or in content as such
2b) a statement as to whether the dissertation has already been submitted to a university in the current or another version
3) proof of academic achievements of at least 18 ECTS credits
4) proof of matriculation for the duration of the doctoral studies
Review and defense
The first and second supervisors are responsible for the academic review and evaluation of the dissertation and defense. The Study Center mails a copy of the dissertation to each supervisor.
Within two months of receiving the dissertation, the first and second supervisors submit their reports to the Study Center. Once the reports are available, they will be made available at the department together with the dissertation for inspection by doctoral members of the department for a period of three weeks.
The scheduling of the oral defense will be determined in consultation with all parties and organized by the Study Center.
The defense lasts a total of 60 minutes and consists of a 20 minute presentation followed by a 40 minute discussion.
The defense is public and will be announced on the website.
Publication of the thesis
If the thesis is a cumulative dissertation, all articles must be published in printed or electronic form either in specialist journals or via the document server of the University of Lucerne.
For the hard copies, all individual contributions must be bound and delivered together with the bound paper. Each deposit copy must be preceded by the prescribed title page, on which the complete bibliographical details of all contributions must be listed.
At least six deposit copies of the published work must be submitted to the department. Of these, one copy each must be forwarded to the reviewers of the dissertation. Four copies must be forwarded to the Central and University Library (ZHB) to Ms Simone Rosenkranz (Simone.Rosenkranz). @ zhbluzern.ch
Please use this document and hand it in at the Study Center when complete.
After the successfully contested defense, a temporary certificate is issued. After delivery of the deposit copies, the PhD Student is awarded as Doctor of Science (Dr. sc.). A certificate and diploma will be issued for the doctoral work.
Dr. med. Christian Schirlo, MME
Director Study Center
T +41 41 229 59 71
T +41 41 229 59 72