Doctoral Student Programme

Geneva, Switzerland
Closing date
23 Mar 2023

Job Details

Company Description

At CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. Using the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments, they study the basic constituents of matter - fundamental particles that are made to collide together at close to the speed of light. The process gives physicists clues about how particles interact, and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature. Find out more on

Diversity has been an integral part of CERN's mission since its foundation and is an established value of the Organization.

This is your Quest. Deepen your knowledge and expertise faster than anywhere else on earth. Take Part!


Job Description

Take part in CERN’s Doctoral Student Programme! 

This is a chance to work on your thesis while spending up to 36 months at the forefront of science. Whether you’ve already chosen a subject or are still making your decision, if your specialism is Applied Physics, Engineering or Computing, this is an invitation to further your knowledge in a truly unique organisation. In fact, it’s an invitation to get involved in world-famous experiments of unprecedented scale and scope. An invitation to join an environment like nowhere else on Earth.

You will have the opportunity to work in a diversity of fields at the cutting edge of technology: applied physics, IT, mathematics, electricity, electronics, mechanical or civil engineering, instrumentation for accelerators and particle physics experiments, materials science, radiation protection, safety and environmental protection, science communication, surveying, ultra-high vacuum are but a few of the examples of the many domains in which successful applicants will learn and contribute their knowledge.

The following link provides few examples of doctoral student projects currently available ( If any of these are of specific interest for you, please mention when completing your application on the "note to hiring manager" text field. Please note this is not mandatory nor a guarantee that these projects will be the ones for which you are selected: you may be selected on another project that matches your profile. 

Note: students specialising in theoretical or experimental particle physics are not eligible to apply for this programme.


In order to qualify for a place on the programme you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • You are a national of a CERN Member or Associate Member State.
  • You have started or are about to start a doctoral programme in a university.
  • Your work envisaged at CERN is all or part of the thesis work required to obtain your PhD. The award of the degree remains the responsibility of your university. Academic arrangements will be discussed between your university thesis supervisor and your CERN supervisor.
  • You have a good knowledge of English OR French.

Additional Information

During your studies, CERN will provide you with:

  • A contract of association for 6 months initially, renewable up to 3 years.
  • The total period (up to 36 months) may be spread over a maximum duration of four consecutive years to allow you to spend time at your university (for periods of up to 12 months, granted as unpaid special leave).
  • An allowance of 3719 Swiss Francs per month (net of tax).
  • A travel allowance.
  • Depending on your personal circumstances, a supplement if you are married and/or have children.
  • Coverage by CERN’s comprehensive Health Insurance scheme (the contribution will be automatically deducted from your allowance).
  • 2,5 days of paid leave per month.

Please note that the 3-year maximum contract duration shouldn’t be interpreted as an imposition of the time limit in which students are expected to complete their PhD.

Please also note that CERN cannot contribute to any cost related to your University nor will CERN reimburse tuition fees.

This is how you can apply:

Required documentation:

You will need the following documents, in English or in French ,clearly labelled (e.g. “CV”, “Motivation letter”, “Academic transcript”, etc.) and in PDF format to complete your application:

  • A CV.
  • A copy of your most recent academic transcript giving an overview of your marks (if you download it from your university portal please make sure there is no protection so that we can open it).
  • A reference letter from a University Professor is mandatory. Should you have one from a previous internship you may add this as a second reference.

You may upload the reference letter yourself, whilst submitting your application, or through your referee via the link you will receive shortly after submitting your application.

Your application along with all supporting documents should reach us no later than March 23th (at noon: 12:00 CEST). Please note that your application may also be shared during the process with a panel of CERN experts for evaluation purposes. During this period, you may be contacted for phone/video interview or additional information. The outcome of the recruitment process will be given no later than 30th June.

Your future Life @CERN

Get a glimpse of what it’s like to work at  CERN: and

Visit our Help Centre for help regarding your application, CV tips and tricks, and to find out more about the student recruitment process.


CERN profileAt CERN, physicists and engineers use the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter – the fundamental particles – to probe the underlying structure of the universe.

Working at CERN
CERN is a truly unique organization. A genuine collaboration between countries, universities and scientists, driven not by profit margins, but by a commitment to create and share knowledge. At CERN, students, recent graduates and experienced professionals work together to push for immense scientific discoveries, answering some of life’s most complex questions and advancing the boundaries of human knowledge.

People are free to work creatively and to trust in, and rely on, their colleagues across the organization. History is being made at CERN – and the excitement is tangible, inspiring, overwhelming at times. It is the only place in the world that you can do this work in this way.

Why work for us
Today, CERN employs more than 2500 people, and if you visit us you will find more than 2500 different reasons why CERN is such a great place to work. Six key reasons that we believe will make you love working here are: challenge; purpose; imagination; integrity; collaboration; and quality of life.

Student and graduate schemes
CERN technical and administrative internships and graduate schemes offer international students and recent graduates the opportunity to work with world-class scientists and engineers on cutting-edge research in particle physics, computational science, life sciences, engineering, international relations, and more. Whichever route you take, it will be an extraordinary experience.

What we are looking for
To conduct experiments of this scale and importance, CERN needs people from various career levels and with a wide range of abilities, skills and competencies. We have job opportunities for students, graduates and experienced professionals, from apprenticeships to PhDs (and beyond). Whatever your background, field of interest or diploma level, CERN could be the place for you.

Geneva, Switzerland

Number of employees
2500+ staff members; several hundred on graduate and student programmes

Positions recently recruited for
Computing engineer, radiofrequency engineer, process operator in cryogenics, web developer, mechanical engineer, administrative assistant, system administrator, power electronics engineer, scientific writer, applied physicist and many more

Desired degree disciplines/class
From apprenticeship to PhD in a wide variety of domains

How to apply
Apply online at

Closing date
All year round

Tel +41 22 76 63 786

Find Us
+41 22 76 63 786
Esplanade des Particules 1
PO Box 1211
Geneva 23

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