Studies in the Arts (SINTA)


The application process for a PhD at the University of Bern includes the following 5 steps. First and foremost, you apply for a PhD in the discipline in which you would like to do your PhD (for example, Art History or Social Anthropology). Only step 5 is about your voluntary but recommended membership in the Graduate School of the Arts and Humanities for the PhD program SINTA. Steps 1-4 are UniBE guidelines.

1. Do you fulfill the formal criteria?

  • University Master's degree or Master of Applied Sciences recognized by the University of Bern (see specific additional list for Applied Sciences).
  • Overall grade of the Master's degree: cum laude (5.0).
  • Recommended: Securing of funding for the doctoral project.

2. Request supervisors

In order to apply for membership in the GSAH (see step 5), the first supervisor has to be a professor at the Faculty of Humanities and the second supervisor has to be a lecturer with a doctorate at the Bern University of the Arts (HKB).
You have to submit the following documents to your future supervisors at UniBE and HKB:

  • Application letter with detailed justification for the specific selection of the supervisor.
  • Project description: research question, thesis, theory, method, literature, preliminary work (4-5 pages)
  • Excerpt from a scientific paper (e.g. seminar paper) or an article (3-4 pages)
  • Excerpt with all academic achievements and diplomas of completed courses of study

Do you need help finding a supervisor?
Please contact us. Please avoid asking several potential supervisors at the same time.

3. Commitments received? This is how it continues

Discussion of requirements:
If you do not have a university, subject-specific master's degree, you need to complete additional courses (requirements) of 30-60 ECTS. The supervisors will determine the courses, number of ECTS and the deadline with you. Note that 20 ECTS are added from the SINTA program.

Written commitment from the supervisors:
You will receive a letter of recommendation from both supervisors, which should also include the requirements.

Doctoral agreement:
In addition to the requirements, the doctoral agreement should list further proof of performance, e.g. attendance of the subject-specific doctoral colloquia with both supervisors or attendance of international conferences as well as the writing of publications. The deadlines of the requirements as well as the cadence of the meetings must be noted. Meetings with your supervisors should take place at least once a semester. You are responsible for organizing these meetings.

4. Registration at the UniBE

Register here for the doctorate at the Admissions, Enrollment and Advising (ZIB) department (select Phil.-hist. and indicate "Studies in the Arts").

  • Submit letters of recommendation with conditions.
  •  Then print out the confirmation email from the ZIB (matriculation and doctorate confirmation).

5. Application GSAH | SINTA

To be eligible for membership, your command of German (at least passive knowledge) and English should be sufficient to participate in the program.
For your application for membership in the Graduate School of the Arts and Humanities (GSAH) for the doctoral program SINTA, please submit the following documents to Mike Toggweiler:

Letter of application (not more than 2 pages)

  • Letter of motivation for applying to the Graduate School and the doctoral program envisaged
  • A list of disciplines/arts relevant to your research
  • Specifications of the benefits of an inter- or transdisciplinary exchange for your project and which of our four doctoral programs are interesting to you

Project Description

  • Summary in English (15 to 20 lines)
  • Description of planned research: theses, theories, method, literature, preparatory steps (4–5 pages)
  • 5 to 10 theoretical-methodological concepts, categories for analysis, keywords for your doctoral research project

Other Documents

  • Confirmation of matriculation and doctorate at the University of Bern
  • Confirmation and recommendation by the two supervisors of your doctoral thesis
  • CV (not more than 2 pages)
  • List of publications (if available)

What happens next?

Based on the application dossier, the Interdisciplinary Research and Junior Research Network (IFN) decides on the admission to the Graduate School of the Arts and Humanities for the doctoral program SINTA. Michael Toggweiler will inform you about the decision and hand over the approved dossier to SINTA.

The 5 steps at a glance

The five application steps are clearly summarized in the following document: