Thesis project

Choosing a thesis subject

The thesis subject can be chosen freely, so long as it is original and of academic interest. The subject must then be ratified by a professor (art. 24 of the study regulations).

Thesis supervisors

The thesis supervisor is chosen according to the subject of the thesis. So far as possible, the professor to whom the doctoral assistant answers is the thesis supervisor or co-supervisor (art. 6 of the study regulations).

The doctoral thesis can be supervised or co-supervised by a professor at another faculty of the University of Neuchâtel.

Approval of thesis projects

On admission to the doctoral programme, the candidate must submit a thesis project for approval by the Council of Professors, which in turn appoints the thesis supervisor (art. 24 of the study regulations).

For assistants, the thesis project must in principle have been submitted and approved within twelve months of the beginning of the contract (art. 9 of the regulations on assistants).

Language of the thesis

In principle, the thesis must be written in French. However, at the supervisor’s request and with the agreement of the Council of Professors, it may be written in English or one of the official Swiss languages (German or Italian) (art. 26 of the study regulations).

Project submission procedure

Once the supervisor’s agreement has been obtained, the doctoral candidate must ask the Dean’s office, via the faculty secretariat, for the thesis subject to appear on the Council of Professors’ agenda. The request, with the necessary supporting documents, must be submitted electronically to the faculty secretariat. 

This approval request (cover letter) for a thesis project must be accompanied by the following documents:

  • a document, maximum four or five pages, explaining the topic, the research question, the aims of the research, and a note on the thesis outline;
  • a provisional thesis outline;
  • a bibliography relating to the thesis project;
  • the candidate’s CV;
  • copies of university qualifications and transcripts.

The approval request and the documents above must be sent in PDF format to the faculty secretariat around fifteen days before the Council of Professors’ meeting at which the proposal is to be discussed.

Listing at the Thesis Registry (Centrale des thèses)

The Thesis Registry - officially the "Documentation Office of Swiss Legal Theses" - is managed by the Faculty of Law of Fribourg.

After the acceptance of the thesis project, each doctoral candidate can contact the librarian at the Faculty of Law, Mr. Slim Ben Younés (, to receive a username and password in order to proceed with registration. Consulting the Thesis Registry lets candidates check whether a thesis on a particular subject is already in progress. The Registry can be contacted to request the names of registered individuals, so that candidates can communicate with those whose theses have identical or similar subjects.

The Thesis Registry website offers two search engines: a public search engine which can be accessed without a password; and a search engine restricted to universities, requiring the username and password mentioned above. Listing at the Thesis Registry is not obligatory, nor does it protect the subject matter of any thesis project. The Faculty encourages doctoral candidates to be listed at the Thesis Registry. Other databases can also be consulted, to find out about other legal theses, in progress or completed, namely: