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 a PhD student at the University of Basel. In support, PPHS offers a course in writing a PhD thesis proposal in collaboration with 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:

  • 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 the emphasis on 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


University of Basel PhD students of the Faculty of Medicine and of Swiss TPH.

Maximum 12 participants

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

Workload & credits

Three group sessions (~60 min each), independent work on your own proposal, an individual feedback session with the instructor (60 min), and a closing group session presenting thesis proposals.

After participation in four group sessions, including presenting the thesis proposal, completing the assignments and one review session with the instructor, one (1) ECTS will be awarded. Learning contract required (please choose your first supervisor as assessor).

Minimal Standards

In this course, you will improve on all of the “Knowledge & Scientific” competencies and on Project Management and Self Management (“Organisation & Management”).

Dates 2024

Course dates

3 April (18:15-19:45)
17 April (18:15-19:15)
8 May (18:15-19:15)

Presentation sessions*

22 or 29 May (18:15-19:45)



* Students only need to attend 1 presentation session
** Online participation is only possible if you are not in Basel during the course

Course structure

The course consists of three in-class meetings, an individual one-to-one review session, and a group presentation session.

  • The in-class meetings are currently planned on-site. Depending on the situation with Corona, we might switch to an online only format. In that case we will inform all registrants.
  • The face-to-face reviewing session, via Zoom or Skype, will be planned individually between you and the lecturer.
  • In the presentation session, you will present your proposal to the class in 5 minutes (5 slides).


Registration has now closed.