Terms of employment

There are various options for undertaking a PhD programme, with or without employment at the university.  Here you will find an overview with the most important advantages and disadvantages of each modality:

Employment as a graduate assistant

Your professor hires you as a graduate assistant.

  • You are part of your professor's research team.
  • You will be in charge of part of the teaching and supervision of the BA/MA students.
  • The rest of the time is available for your own research and for work on your dissertation.

It is often expected that you invest 50% of your working time for the chair and accordingly can dedicate 50% of your working time for your own research. Clarify the mutual requirements and expectations regarding your working time exactly with your doctoral supervisor.
The salary classification is done according to the criteria of the State of Fribourg.



The Swiss National Science Foundation offers a scholarship to PhD students for a predefined period of time.

  • the PhD students are members of the research team of the respective professor and are provided with a workplace at the university.
  • the full working time can be spent on research on your own project, the PhD students do not have to take on any work for the chair.
  • together with your PhD supervisor, clarify the common expectations of the supervision before the start of the PhD.

The amount of the fellowship is determined according to the criteria of the Swiss National Science Foundation.



Independent PhD studies

You have found a PhD supervisor and are conducting your thesis without any obligations towards the department nor a scholarship.

  • the professor accompanies you in your personal research work, but you are not part of the research team.
  • you also do not have a workplace at the university and do not receive a salary.

Clarify the mutual expectations regarding the PhD supervision or the writing of your thesis together with your PhD supervisor and evaluate your personal funding options and work time available for the PhD.