About us

Aims and mission

The PhD Program Health Sciences (PPHS) was initiated at the University of Basel in 2012. Originally conceptualized as an optional support platform, PPHS was transformed into a structured PhD program in 2015, rooted in the Faculty of Medicine. The program is open to all PhD candidates at the University of Basel that are enrolled in one of the following subjects: Clinical Research, Drug Development, Nursing Science, Public Health/Epidemiology including Insurance Medicine, and Sport Science (Faculty of Medicine), Epidemiology (Faculty of Science). In addition, PhD candidates enrolled in Cell Biology and Microbiology with topics in the area of Infection Biology are also welcome.

The PPHS is an interdisciplinary doctoral program supporting PhD candidates in health sciences especially in the time between admission and defense of their PhD defense. This program complements the PhD education given by the candidates’ PhD supervisor committees focusing on training, networking and career development.

Publication: How to Conceptualize and Implement a PhD Program in Health Sciences—The Basel Approach, Keller et al. 2018.


The PPHS aims at offering PhD candidates the maximum opportunities to successfully pursue their PhD work and start their careers at advanced levels in- or outside academia. The program runs under the basic principle that candidates, supervisors, and the supervisory committee will tailor the course requirements to the candidates’ pre-existing scientific, organizational, and personal competencies when composing the portfolio.


Being registered to PPHS offers exclusive benefits and guidance throughout the PhD. PPHS serves as a contact point for course organization, financial information/support, networking opportunities and further support in PhD related inquires.

The PPHS focuses on personal and academic development and defines a set of core competencies (“minimal standards”) needed to support a future (academic) career. The course page gives an overview of these courses helping PhD candidates and their supervisors to easily identify the appropriate courses to develop such competencies. In addition to the 12 ECTS required by the University of Basel, PPHS PhD candidates are required to collect an extra 6 ECTS.

Key elements

  • PPHS organizes courses in e.g. research methods, scientific writing, communication skills, and leadership. These courses are designed to allow PhD students to master the minimal standards of competencies.
  • PPHS students have free access to courses and summer schools organized by PPHS.
  • PPHS students can apply for financial support to attend external courses that are relevant for their studies and are not offered at the University of Basel.
  • PPHS supports student-based activities.
  • PPHS students are required to collect an extra 6 ECTS.
  • The program awards a PPHS program certificate which supplements the PhD diploma awarded by the respective Faculty at the University of Basel.

In addition, we organize activities:

  • Welcome event and a Buddy System for new PPHS students
  • Yearly PhD day for all PPHS students

Quotes from students

Nicola Julia Aebi – Epidemiology (Science Faculty)

“PPHS has lots of advantages such as offering courses, additional funding for external courses and in general the support in case of difficulties or questions that occur during the PhD.”

Alexandra Bürgler – Epidemiology (Science Faculty)

“I joined PPHS to get to know and exchange with other PhD students in the health sciences and profit from courses that help me pursue my PhD studies.”