2 Doctoral Positions in the History and Theory of Architecture

Departement: Doctoral Program

The Department of Architecture at ETH Zurich is offering two new positions for the Doctoral Program in the History and Theory of Architecture.
The program’s focus is on the history and theory of architecture and urbanism in a wider context of cultural history, including the history and theory of art, science and technology. We are looking for junior researchers with a background in history and theory of architecture and art, or architects with research experience. Suitable candidates hold a diploma or a Master’s degree acquired at university level in architecture, history of art or related fields.
The selected candidates will be enrolled at ETH Zurich. The position will start on 1 October 2020. The positions are available for a duration of 3 years.

Submission deadline: 15 February 2020

Applications should include:
  • letter of motivation (1 page);
  • outline of the proposed research project (max. 5 pages);
  • curriculum vitae;
  • 2 contact details for academic references.

Please apply online, using the link provided on the ETH vacancies website:

Apply Now

Please note that only applications submitted through the online application portal of the ETH are accepted. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

For information about the program, the open positions and our department, please refer to the FAQ below and visit our websites:

Doctoral Program
Institute of History and Theory of Architecture
Department of Architecture

For all queries please contact: doctoral-program@gta.arch.ethz.ch
For general information on ETH studies see: Welcome Center



– Could you give me some additional information about the doctoral program?

The Doctoral Program in History and Theory of Architecture at the Department of Architecture, ETH Zurich runs since October 2012. Two scholarships are awarded each year.
The program’s focus is on the students’ independent thesis research. There are no preset research lines to be followed. The written doctoral thesis should be handed in at the end of the residency. The degree earned is: Dr. sc. ETH Zürich.
All members of the doctoral program committee (i.e. all professors at gta Institute) will co-supervise the students’ individual research in graduate colloquia, methods seminars and similar formats. One principle supervisor will be assigned before the end of the first year (see section Application Precedure).


– I’ve graduated from university XYZ. Does my degree allow me to apply for a doctoral position at ETH?

As a prerequisite to start a doctorate, ETH Zurich demands a diploma or Master’s degree of a minimum of 270 ECTS (https://www.ethz.ch/en/doctorate/registration-admission.html - "Admission"; contact: Mr. Picariello Alfredo, alfredo.picariello@akd.ethz.ch.)

– I’ve already obtained a doctorate from university XYZ. Am I still eligible to apply for a doctoral position at ETH?

The programme is aimed at those wishing to obtain a doctorate and therefore does not support people who have already obtained a PhD elsewhere. We would recommend you consider research positions at postdoctoral level.


– In which language is supervision available and in which language are courses taught?

Courses at ETH are taught in English or German, and doctoral seminars are usually held in English. Supervision for doctoral students is generally available in English and/or German (and possibly other languages such as French or Italian, depending on the professors involved).

– Do I need to present a language certificate?

No, a language certificate is not required. However, we expect successful candidates to be able to follow – and participate in – discussions held in English and we strongly suggest to learn German during your stay at ETH. You should have an excellent competence in the language that you choose for writing your thesis.

– Should I apply in English or German?

Applications in both languages will be accepted.


– What are the terms of employment?

The positions are available for a duration of 3 years. There will be an assessment at the end of the first year. 100% is the standard employment of doctoral students at ETH. The salary should be high enough to fully support you for the time of the employment. Individual adjustments will take into account professional experience, children, etc.

– Is there a teaching assignment linked to the employment?

Generally, doctoral students should devote their full working time to their doctoral research. However, if desired, they may assist in teaching one or two courses during their appointment.


– What is the exact deadline for applications?

15 February 2020, midnight, Zurich time.
You may apply on the day 15.02.2020 until 12 midnight (23:59), but please don’t wait until the very last minute as the system then tends to be less stable.

– May I arrange a meeting with one of the professors at gta Institute prior to the submission deadline?

Please understand that, for reasons of equal chances among all the candidates, we cannot discuss individual projects or conduct personal interviews before our application deadline.

– Do I have to name a supervisor/tutor in my application?

No. Even though every doctoral candidate will be assigned to one principal thesis supervisor at the end of the first year, you don’t need to choose your supervisor prior to applying. All professors of the gta will be involved in the selection process and will participate in doctoral colloquia and offer supervision.
Information about the professors and current research projects at gta is available on our respective websites: http://www.gta.arch.ethz.ch/chairs-and-departments/overview

– How do I apply?

Please use the link provided on the following website: Apply Now (click on "Apply Now").
When filling in the online form, you may ignore such questions that do not seem appropriate for your application (e.g. concerning residence permits and certificates). Not all fields are obligatory, for example you do not need to upload documents in the 'Certificate' and ‘Other’ categories.

– Could you please give me more information regarding the format and length of the outline of the proposed research project and the length of the motivation letter?

Project outline: appropriate are 4 to 5 pages in which you clearly present your research topic, the key objectives, research questions and methodological approach. The outline should refer to relevant literature and confirm to general academic standards. However, we do not prescribe the exact format.
Motivation letter: circa 1 page.

– How may I submit additional documents?

Please submit only the documents listed in the call: project outline, letter of motivation, CV, 2 contact details for academic references. In the section ‘Reference Letters’ please upload a pdf with the contact details of your two referees (name, title, academic affiliation, email address, phone number, working relation to applicant). You may use ‘Application Package’ for uploading the research proposal. No additional documents.
Please note: DOCUMENTS SENT VIA MAIL OR EMAIL WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED. All documentation must be included in the online application and uploaded in pdf format onto the online-platform.

– Do I have to pay a fee for applying?

There is no application fee.