Placeholder image for Social Anthropology

Social Anthropology, Doctorate

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
University rank #101 (ARWU) Bern, Switzerland
Your studies will be focused on acquiring the skills to decode the logic systems of different cultures and analyze how people behave in social contexts. You will also be encouraged to subject your own ideas and certainties to critical examination.
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Social Anthropology is the study of people in their specific social and cultural contexts. The methods at its core – participatory observation, a holistic understanding of the subject, and ethnographic representation – have been successfully adapted in the light of the increasingly global influences on those contexts and extended to cover more and more new areas of research. While the main focus of interest may still be local living environments, nowadays these are interpreted in the context of national and global processes and the mobility of the groups that are being studied. For that reason, researchers also apply methods drawn from related disciplines which allow them to study and analyze the broader contexts surrounding local living environments. Social anthropologists are interested both in the cultural differences within and between societies and also in the common ground that can be found to exist even between geographically and culturally separate societies. The comparative analysis of these different ways in which humans live together is fundamental to social anthropological scientific understanding.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Deadline and start date


    Application deadline: October 15 (for spring Semester), March 31 (for fall Semester)

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 36 months
    • Duration description

      Graduate schools, doctoral programmes and doctoral studies last 3-5 years.

  • Languages
    • English
    • German
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

Main areas of specialization at the Institute
  • Anthropology of Transnationalism
  • Anthropology of the State
  • Migration and mobility research
  • Legal anthropology
  • Economic anthropology
  • Ecological anthropology
  • Media anthropology

As a PhD student you are welcome to join several Colloquia taking place at our institute. You also have the possibility to cooperate with different institutions such as the Swiss Graduate Program in Anthropology, the Graduate School of the Arts (University of Bern), the Institute of Advanced Study in the Humanities and the Social Sciences (University of Bern), as well as the Interdisciplinary Centre for Gender Studies (University of Bern). We supervise about 25 PhD students.

English Language Requirements

This programme may require students to demonstrate proficiency in English.

General Requirements

Application and admission

General information on admission at doctoral level:

For questions regarding application and admission, please contact the Admissions Office (ZIB).

Tuition Fee

  • International

    368 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 184 EUR per semester and a duration of 36 months.
  • EU/EEA

    368 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 184 EUR per semester and a duration of 36 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

The fee for doctoral students is 200 CHF per semester. Additionally, a registration fee of 100 CHF is charged for the first or re-admission.

Living costs for Bern

  • 1655 - 2130 CHF/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


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