Writing a PhD thesis proposal in Health Sciences

Writing a PhD thesis proposal in Health Sciences

PhD students at the Medical Faculty and the Swiss TPH must write a thesis proposal within the first six months after registration as PhD student at the University of Basel. In support, PPHS offers a course in writing a PhD thesis proposal in collaboration with the supervisors. The training focuses on the structure and process of proposal development leading to a successful submission.

Learning objectives
Students will learn how to develop sound and convincing proposals for their doctoral thesis. The course covers organizational and ethical questions and describes the underlying logic of a convincing, rational plan for research. The course includes research objectives and benefits, data presentation, and scientific writing conventions.

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Produce a concise literature review to show current knowledge and identify research gaps or limitations to position a research question and approach.
  • Identify the research problem with a sound research question, defining general and specific objectives, and proposing an informed hypothesis.
  • Develop an appropriate methodology to investigate the research question by addressing the objectives and hypotheses.
  • Understand and follow the principles of ethical research conduct and prepare to submit the proposal to the relevant ethics commission(s).
  • Write and revise more confidently in English.

Through individual document review with the instructor, students will be able to:

  • Receive and integrate feedback on their own proposal drafts
  • Complete the thesis proposal within the first six months of their program
  • Prepare a five slide summary of their thesis project

Maximum 12 registered PhD students from PPHS, Biomedical Engineering, Infection Biology, and/or PhD students preparing to register to PPHS.

Carol Leininger, MPH, PhD, writing coach (doneisgreat.com).

Workload & credits

Two group sessions (90 min each), independent work on own proposal, individual feedback session with instructor (60 min), group session presenting thesis proposals.

After participation in all group sessions and 1 review session with the instructor, 1 ECTS will be awarded.


24 Sep & 1 Oct 2020 (in-class sessions)
End Nov/ beginning Dec 2020 (presentation sessions)


Online / room Matterhorn, see more info at ‘Course structure’ below
(Swiss TPH, Socinstrasse 55a, 4051 Basel)

Registration is now open.

Closing date: 6 Sep 2020

Course structure

The course consists of two hybrid in-class meetings, a individual face-to-face reviewing session and a hybrid presentation session.

  • The hybrid in-class meetings will take place on-site in room Matterhorn at Swiss TPH, Socinstr. 55a. We prefer that participants appear on-site but in case you not able, you can join online.
  • The face-to-face reviewing session will be planned individually between you and the lecturer.
  • In the presentation session, you will present your proposal to the class again in a hybrid format, i.e. on-site and online. Tentative session dates are 25 November and 3 December 2020 at 6.15pm. Your preference will be confirmed after the first in-class session.

Registration (closing date 6 Sep 2020)