Vademecum ("How to" guide) for Doctoral students in the Faculty of GSE

Initial steps for prospective PhD students

1. Check that the previous degree(s) you have obtained /or will obtain allow(s) you to be admitted for doctoral studies at UNIL :

2. Identify a thesis supervisor (professor or MER) who agrees to supervise your work in the faculty.

Comprehensive list of researchers by research themes :

3. As soon as a professor agrees to supervise your thesis, register without delay at the Admissions Office (Services des immatriculations et inscriptions - SSI), (see Appendix I of the Regulations) and announce that you have completed this process by email to the FGSE at :

4. Once you have obtained the "PhD enrolment form" (Attestation de thèse) from the Admissions Office, please send or bring two duly completed copies (both signed by you and your thesis supervisor) to the following address:

Joëlle Richard
UNIL, Décanat FGSE
Doctoral Secretariat
Géopolis - office 4611
CH-1015 Lausanne

Please pay attention : under "field section/branch/orientation", only one of the following four domains may be chosen: geography, earth sciences, environmental studies/sciences, or tourism studies.

5. Once your PhD form has been validated by the Vice-Dean for Research, you will receive the "Code of Ethics" form by email from the FGSE Doctoral Secretariat. Sign it and send it back. You will be notified separately by the SSI as soon as they approve your enrolment.

PhD student – thesis in progress

6. Read the FGSE doctoral regulations (règlement du doctorat) and the UNIL charter for doctoral students.

7. Comply with FGSE guidelines on safety and security for field work and traveling abroad (see documents under Deanship Guidelines )

8. Before the end of the first year, you should hold a thesis committee meeting. You must fill in the Progress Report, including the results of the meeting. This must then be signed by your thesis supervisor and returned to the FGSE Doctoral Secretariat. Then, together with your thesis supervisor, ensure that your thesis committee meets at least once a year for the duration of the thesis.

9. At the end of spring, every year, you will receive a brief Graduate Campus questionnaire on the progression of your thesis. Your thesis supervisor also receives a form to fill out. This survey is an opportunity to comment on the supervisory relationship, and results are confidentially treated by Graduate Campus staff (outside the faculty).

10. Ask your thesis supervisor about the details of the private thesis defense (composition of the jury, deadlines, proceedings, evaluation criteria, etc.) and coordinate the procedures with him/her. Do not hesitate to ask the FGSE Doctoral Secretariat for additional information.

At least six weeks before the private thesis defense

11. Submit to the FGSE Doctoral Secretariat a printed copy of the thesis (see Appendix II of the Regulations) together with :

  • an electronic copy
  • a letter signed by your supervisor (with the composition of the jury and contact information, including emails, as well as the proposed date and time of the private defense)
  • your complete CV
  • a list of your publications
  • a one page abstract of your thesis both in French and in English as well as a one page summary intended for the general public.

The FGSE Doctoral Secretariat will take care of the room reservation.

Note that it is good practice to involve the FGSE Doctoral Secretariat as early as possible in discussions over the scheduling of your private defense (to ensure the availability of the Vice-Dean or her/his representative as chair of the jury).

12. Ask your thesis supervisor about the details of the public defense (jury composition, proceedings, evaluation criteria, etc.) and coordinate the procedures with him/her).

Between the private defense and the public defence

13. Make any corrections requested by the jury within a maximum of three months. These should be submitted to the person designated to evaluate the corrections at the latest one week before the date of the public defense. Submit a new printed copy of the thesis to the FGSE Doctoral Secretariat and make sure that the person designated to evaluate the corrections confirms in writing to the FGSE Doctoral Secretariat that the corrections have been validated. Check that the formal requirements for submitting the thesis are fully met (see Annexes of the FGSE Doctoral Regulations).

After the public defense - Get your degree

14. Bring your “imprimatur” (document signed by the President of the Jury, given to you after a successful defense) as soon as possible but no later than six months after the defense to the Bibliothèque cantonale et universitaire (BCU) and make the required deposit of the final copies of your thesis according to the guidelines of Appendix III of the Doctoral Regulations of the FGSE.

15. Print three copies of the downloadable thesis submission notice and return one copy duly completed and validated by the official stamp of the BCU to the FGSE Doctoral Secretariat.

16. Pay the registration fee (500.- CHF) for your defense with the invoice that you have received.

17. Once these steps have been completed, you will receive an email link allowing you to order your Degree online. Notify the FGSE Doctoral Secretariat by email once this last step has been completed to ensure the follow-up of your order. Feel free to contact the FGSE Doctoral Secretariat if you need an interim certificate whilst you await the official diploma from the administrative department of the University of Lausanne (Unicentre). 

Suivez nous:  

This is a summary of the key steps. Only the regulation (Règlement du doctorat FGSE) is valid in case of question or litigation.


In case of question :
FGSE Doctoral Secretariat
Joëlle Richard
Géopolis - office 4611
CH-1015 Lausanne

Tel: +41 (0)21 692 62 93

Absent on Friday

Thesis deposit or personalized information by appointment