FAQ Frequently asked questions

  • Overview report - What is it? When should I write it?

    The overview should be sent at the latest 6 months after the start of the Ph.D.

    We suggest that you organise it as follows:
    SUMMARY (including the specific aims of the PhD project)
    GENERAL INTRODUCTION (of the research topic with literature review)
    STATE OF THE ART (what is known and what questions still need to be answered?)
    OUTLINE OF RESEARCH (a concise description of the experiments that you plan to do with a timetable).

  • Mid-thesis report - What is it? When should I write it?

    After 18-22 months of starting your PhD thesis, a mid-thesis report must be send to the program coordinator.

    This report must be submitted and discussed during a mid-thesis meeting, where your supervisor and expert(s) provide feedback on the progress of your project and give advice on the next steps. The expert(s) are selected by the doctoral student in consultation with the supervisor.

    Copy of the mid-thesis report as well as a brief report of the mid-thesis meeting including the most important comments of the expert(s) have to be sent to the program coordinator.

    This report should be of help with the writing of your final PhD thesis. It should include an introduction, results, references, etc. It could also be publications linked together.

    - divide the report in chapters that can form the basis for your final thesis.

  • I took a course outside the doctoral program. How do I ask the recognition of the credit points?

    All external activities are subject to the acceptance of the DPOB office.

    Before the activity: you may want to check that the activity will be recognized by the doctoral program. Write an e-mail to the program coordinator with all relevant information (content, duration, level, ...).

    In any cases, and no later than 6 months after the activity: send the completed External ECTS Validation Request Form to the program coordinator.

  • How do I register for a course/workshop organized jointly with a CUSO doctoral program?

    Registration may be available either on our website or on the CUSO course web page of the CUSO doctoral program.

    In this later case, and if you are not a CUSO participant:

    => from the course description page, click on Registration (on the top of the course page) and follow the instructions available at the bottom of the registration page.

    Do not hesitate to contact one of the coordinator of the CUSO biology doctoral programs if you need more information.

  • Recommendations to get ECTS in the Communication category

    We strongly recommend all PhD students to take advantage of the CUSO program which is dedicated to soft skills (Generic skills).

    Moreover, other programs in Switzerland, such as the different biology CUSO programs, or the REGARD program aimed at promoting women in science, or the LS2, are also organizing various soft skills activities.

    Beyond Switzerland, workshops from any international programs will be recognized if the workshop was indeed designed for PhD students.


    The following activities are also eligible for ECTS in the Communication category:

    • Organizing a conference or an event (e.g. organizing the annual students' meeting)
    • Participating in science outreach events (“évènements de vulgarisation scientifique”) such as workshops for children (Passeports Vacances, events in your home country, …), or for non-scientific audience including local population when in the field.
    • Participating in 3MT (3 Minutes Thesis) or MT180 (Ma Thèse en 180 secondes) competitions or in other SciComm events.


    Organizing such an activity will be eligible for 0.5 to 1.0 ECTS maximum.

    Participating to such an activity will also be eligible for 0.5 to 1.0 ECTS maximum. Participating means here that you are either teaching (for example to kids), or speaking/presenting.


    Importantly: if you organize and/or participate in the same event several times (e.g. yearly event), only the first time will be considered. You can then get maximum 2 ECTS for this repeating event, once for organizing it, once for participating in it.

    For MT180: 1 ECTS for presenting at the UniNE final, and 1 more ECTS for presenting at the Swiss final (maximum 2 ECTS total, i.e. no ECTS if presenting at the international final). MT180-specific CUSO workshops are also eligible for ECTS, just like any of their workshops.


    For DPOB activities:

    • organizing the Annual Meeting = 1.0 ECTS
    • organizing the DPOB Seminar for 1 year (10 Seminars) = 1.0 ECTS


    The program coordinators and director always keep the right to judge whether an activity is eligible for ECTS or not.