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What are the IGS North-South partner institutions?
The partner institutions consist of the Swiss Peace Foundation (swisspeace), the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), the Institut de géographie et durabilité (IGD) and the Department of Geography Zurich (GIUZ).

Why are there various institutions involved?
The IGS North-South aims at facilitating partnership between universities from the global North and South. This allows PhD candidates to attend a wide range of courses, to interact and exchange with peers from different universities, and to learn beyond the boundaries of their own disciplines.

Is there an age limit?
No, IGS North-South does not have an age limit for its members.

How many students are enrolled at IGS North-South and where do they come from?
We currently have 85 students pursuing their PhDs and 272 alumni. They are from the global north and south.

I hold a Bachelor’s Degree. Am I eligible?​
IGS North-South is for students currently enrolled in a PhD or Postdoc program at a university, therefore a Bachelor’s Degree will not suffice.

I hold a Master’s Degree. Am I eligible?
Yes. However, you must already be enrolled in a PhD or Postdoc program at a university. 

Do you offer career placement upon graduation?
The IGS North-South does not provide any career placement upon graduation. PhD students are encouraged to search for job opportunities elsewhere in advance.

When was the IGS North-South established?
The IGS North-South was developed within the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South and was officially established in 2009.

Does the IGS North-South have specific language requirements?
The program language is English throughout. Proficiency in English is therefore required. A formal proof of competence in English (IELTS, CPE or TOEFL) is not mandatory.

Application process

How do I become a member?
Please consult our section on how to become a member.

What is the application deadline?
Applications are processed on a rolling admissions basis. You can apply anytime during the year.

Where can I find the application form?
You may find the admissions form and all important information in the section on how to become a member.

Will I receive a confirmation after having submitted my application?
Once you submit an application we will confirm that it was received and we will then further inform you on the upcoming admissions process.

When will I be informed whether I am admitted or refused?
Applications are processed on a rolling admissions basis. Since the directorate does not meet weekly though, it might take a couple of weeks until you hear about our decision. We will keep you informed about the process.

Do I need to have a supervisor for my PhD before applying to IGS North-South?
You can only apply to IGS North-South if you are already enrolled at a university. Thus you should already have a supervisor.

What is the application fee?
There is no application fee or tuition. The IGS North-South membership is free of charge.

What’s the difference between an associate and a full member?
Full members are enrolled at one of the Universities of Basel, Bern, or Zurich within one of the partner institutions and collect a minimum of 12 credit points (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System, ECTS) in courses offered by the IGS North-South. Full members receive the IGS North-South Certificate of Specialization in Sustainable Development.
Associate members are not enrolled at one of the partner institutions of the IGS North-South within the three Swiss Universities. Associate members only participate in individual courses offered by the IGS North-South and receive an individual certification of every course they successfully complete. 

PhD studies, Tuition Fees, Financial Aid

Does IGS North-South offer funding?
Unfortunately, the International Graduate School (IGS) North-South does not have means to fund PhDs.

What is ECTS?
ECTS stands for "European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System". It is a student-centred system based on the student workload required to achieve the objectives of a program. One ECTS corresponds to approximately 30 hours of work.

Does the IGS North-South offer distance-learning courses?
A few courses are offered as webinars, but most of our courses take place at one of the partner universities in Basel, Barn, Lausanne or Zurich.

Are there any tuition fees?
There are no tuition fees. Course costs for the Summer School must partly be covered by the PhD project budget. Please talk to your supervisor or project leader for advice in this respect.  Students from the global South may also contact the Management Centre and ask if there are outside funds available for their costs to attend the annual summer school.

Which courses do I need to attend?
A full member in the IGS North-South is required to obtain at least 12 ECTS of coursework from the IGS North-South course program. A limited number of ECTS from external courses can also be credited pending approval by the IGS North-South directorate.
An associate member receives a confirmation of participation in individual courses. There is no minimum requirement of ECTS credits.
For further information on course requirements please consult our website.

What are the dates for the IGS North-South Summer School?
The IGS North-South Summer School usually takes place in the summer months between the spring and fall semesters. Exact dates will be released after the start of the spring semester.

How do I sign up for courses?
The sign-up process for courses is explained with every course individually. You can find further information here.

Is the program full-time or part-time?
There is no time limit in which you will have to receive your full credits needed.
A certificate or transcript will only be given to you after you fulfill all coursework requirements and you send us a copy of your PhD diploma as well as a digital copy of your full thesis.

Will I be granted credits for PhD courses I have taken within a previous PhD program?
You are welcome to submit certificates of other PhD courses you attended. The directorate will review this and then make a decision whether those credits will be counted towards your IGS certificate or transcript.

Do I need to have my certificates translated into English and authenticated?
We would greatly appreciate if you could submit us certificates in English. Since the transcript will be handed out in English we want to make sure all the information is translated correctly.

Living and Studying in Switzerland 

Do I need a visa for my studies in Switzerland?
You have to check this with the Swiss Embassy in your country. Note that if a visa is required, you have to apply for it in advance.
Will IGS North-South help me with my visa process?
For questions regarding your visa please consult with the institution that you are doing your PhD with. 
How do I prepare my entry into Switzerland?
For questions regarding your move to Switzerland please contact the institution you are doing your PhD with directly.

How do I go about finding accommodation in Switzerland?
For questions regarding your move to Switzerland please contact the institution you are doing your PhD with directly.

Management Centre

International Graduate School North-South
Universities of Basel, Bern, Lausanne and Zurich

Mittelstrasse 43
3012 Bern

Phone: +41 31 684 52 71