Admission to the Ph.D. programme in Law (DLS)

The Ph.D. programme in Law is organised by the School of Law. The programme language is German and/or English.


You can apply for Ph.D. in Law if you hold an equivalent Master's degree in Law from a recognised university. A minimum average grade of 5.00 (not rounded) is required. A minimum average grade of 5.00 (not rounded) is required. This is equivalent to a 9.00 in Germany (at least the minimum pass grade in the first German State Examination), and a minimum average grade of 2.00 (not rounded) in Austria. For more information about how we calculate grades, please consult our grade conversion table.

Depending on your previous university degree, additional programme-specific requirements  may be imposed upon admission.

Admission to our Ph.D. programmes is not possible with degrees from a University of Applied Sciences (a tertiary education institution without the right to award doctorates) or with an MBA / LLM.

Your degree programme will be recognised if among other the following criteria are fulfilled:

  • Your degree was awarded by a university, which is recognised in the country where you attended the course.
  • You have completed all course work at a recognised or accredited university.
  • You have completed at least half of the course work onsite at the university awarding the degree.
  • You fulfil the minimum requirements for unconditional admission to Ph.D. studies at your home university.

More information on the recognition of universities and university degrees.

We would be happy to give you non-binding pre-clarification whether your previous education entitles you to apply for a Ph.D. programme. So that we can do this, please send scanned copies of all your grade transcripts and certificates together with a short CV by email to

When you apply, you must prove that your proficiency in the English or German language, used as the language of instruction, is at level C1 (CEFR). The University of St.Gallen accepts the following as supporting documents for admission to this Ph.D. programme:

  • English or German as native tongue (= language of instruction at primary and secondary school)
  • Recognised Bachelor's or Master's degree completed in its entirety in English or German
  • Linguistic proficiency in English or German at level C1 (CEFR) gained at the University of St.Gallen
  • recognised language diploma at level C1 (CEFR), such as the IELTS Academic Score 7.0, Cambridge Advanced Certificate or Goethe C1
  • TOEFL Internet-based Test (iBT) with at least 100 points. You need to state the University of St. Gallen's institution code when taking the test: 7202.

As soon as we have received your complete application, we will check whether all the formal criteria for admission to the Ph.D. programme are fulfilled. Once you have received a positive reply, you must find a professor who is willing to act as your doctoral supervisor. Please note that the Admissions and Ph.D. Offices will not put you in touch with professors.

As soon as you have found your prospective doctoral supervisor, he/she must submit the completed "Letter of recommendation" form to the Ph.D. Office. Please note that you, as the applicant, are responsible for the timely submission of the form. If we do not receive the letter of recommendation mentioned above by the end of the application period, admission to the Ph.D. programme will not be possible.

The Decision of the Programme Committee

Admission to the Ph.D. Programme is based on Programme Committee’s evaluation of your submitted application documents ("sur dossier") after receipt of the letter of recommendation.


The degree programme can start either in the spring or the autumn semester. The application is made online. The application fee is CHF 250.

Autumn semester application period: 1 February - 30 April (*- 15 August)
Spring semester application period: 1 September – 30 November (* - 15 January)
*A longer registration period for assistants and applicants with an HSG Master's degree.

To the Online-Application

If you have already finished a degree programme at HSG and if you have been exmatriculated for maximum two semesters, please apply using the 
Rematriculation form

Please have the following information and documents ready to upload:

  • Digital passport photo
  • Signed Enrolment Agreement
  • Passport or ID card and, if applicable, a Swiss (permanent) residence permit
  • Curriculum vitae in English – style template
  • Degree certificates from each university attended (including exchange programmes and "transcripts of records" from unfinished programmes of study). In the case of joint degrees, transcripts from each university attended, including explanatory notes on the programme of study, must be submitted. A degree certificate must show definitive final grades including a complete overview of performance (academic transcript). In the event that the actual degree certificate is still unavailable when submitting your final grade certificates, the wording of the final grade certificates must unequivocally demonstrate the objective fact of your graduation together with the academic degree (e.g. degree awarded, graduated, degree granted).
  • Documents to support the fact that admission to Ph.D. studies at your home university would be possible.

If any of the documents are not issued in German, French, Italian or English, you must also submit a certified translation of the document in German or English. Please observe our guidelines regarding "documents to be submitted" and "translations" in the Directive on the Implementing provisions of the admission regulations.

Only one file can be uploaded per bullet point. You can use online tools such as to create PDF files or to combine several pages into one PDF file. Make sure the files you send to us are legible so that we can process your application without delay.

Swiss citizens need their Swiss social insurance number (AHV number) for the application. If you do not know your insurance number, please order a duplicate of your insurance certificate from the Swiss Central Compensation Office in good time.


Related Links

Legal Basis


Questions about application / degree course:
Ph.D Office
+41 71 224 22 20

Questions about admission regulations / preliminary review:
University of St.Gallen
+41 71 224 39 31
Tue.-Thu. 10:00 am - 11:30 am