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Department of Geography Graduate School

Help & Advice

Help and advice during the PhD

A PhD at UZH typically lasts around four years, and most PhD candidates encounter some questions or challenges along the way. There are lots of places to turn to for advice and help if needed, and we have listed many of these here.

At the Graduate School we are always happy to help direct PhD candidates and supervisors to find help with any issue, and to try to answer questions PhD candidates and  supervisors might have along the way.

We treat all questions confidentially, and only approach other involved parties when asked to. 

For PhD candidates encountering problems, the first port of call should usually be the PhD committee. If the issues relate to employment (e.g. due to illness or changes in circumstances) then GIUZ's human resources may be able to help.

If the PhD committee is not an appropriate place to ask for help, then PhD candidates (and supervisors) can get in touch with the Graduate School Coordinator or Director. They will treat any questions in confidence.

If an issue has still not been resolved, then it is possible to contact the Persons of Trust at the Faculty of Science.

Help and advice at UZH

UZH has a very wide range of services and expertise that can help PhDs and supervisors. We have listed some important and useful services that are not directly related to PhD studies here.

Psychological Counseling

Professional counseling services are available to all PhD candidates at UZH. Sessions are confidential and free of charge. Note that you can also get access to pyschological counseling through a prescription from your doctor under your obligatory health insurance.

Employee Assistance Office

The Employee Assistance Office gives individual advice and counseling about work-related  problems, offering both legal and pyschological services. If requested, can also help mediate to solve problems.

Disability Office

The Disability Office can provide advice and support in making sure that your the workplace is accessible and that PhD candidates rights in terms of inclusion, accessibility, academic accomodations and equal rights for those with disabilities or chronic illnesses are respected.


Buddy Program

The buddy program was created by PhD candidates to support new PhD students after their arrival and to stimulate dialogue between groups. Newly arrived PhD candidates can get in touch and are matched to more experienced PhDs. 

Buddy program poster (PDF, 32 KB)
Information for junior buddies (PDF, 75 KB)
Information for senior buddies (PDF, 77 KB)

Buddy Program: Helping new PhD students to settle in faster and happier
GIUZ Blog, 29 September 2021