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Third-cycle (PhD) programmes


7.Higher education

7.5Third-cycle (PhD) programmes

Last update: 27 November 2023

The postgraduate/doctorate programme is a minimum three-year course of study designed to further develop the skills for independent academic work, as well as developing and promoting the next generation of academic staff. It is based on the possession of a relevant Masters degree or of another type of higher education qualification that is of at least equivalent standard. Postgraduate programmes take place within the context of a Graduate School. At the postgraduate level there are no specifications in relation to the acquisition of ECTS credits.

Organisation of doctoral studies

The following postgraduate programmes are offered at the University of Liechtenstein and the Private University in the Principality of Liechtenstein:

  • Doctorate in Medical Science (Dr. scient. Med)
  • Doctorate in Law (Dr. iur)
  • PhD in Philosophy (Dr. phil.)
  • Postgraduate study in Architecture and Spatial Development
  • Postgraduate study in Economics

The Liechtenstein Institute offers research possibilities for students who are working towards a postgraduate degree, on a topic relevant to Liechtenstein, in collaboration with a higher education intitutions. The research activity and/or post is financed by the Liechtenstein Institute.

In all cases, the postgraduate/doctorate programmes are academic programmes.

Admission requirements

Admission to a postgraduate course of study presumes the successful conclusion of a relevant course of study at Masters level or of a different type of higher education study that is of equivalent status. Admissions are the responsibility of the individual higher education institution.

Status of doctoral students/candidates

Depending on the higher education institution or faculty, those pursuing a postgraduate degree are either researchers or students. Their status is dependent on how they are financed and/or remunerated. Students can be assistants at a university institution or be engaged on a research project. The status and duration of their employment, as also their rights and duties, are determined in various ways. The financing of a postgraduate course of study is usually by means of a placement as an academic/scientific member of staff at a university. It can also result from cooperations with companies, whereby students are financed by the companies or are employed part-time by them. In these cases, the academic work tends to be focused on applications that are of importance to the company.

Postgraduate students who are able to finance themselves or who receive a grant from a foundation, an organisation or a company, can be admitted as “external doctoral candidates”. The higher education institutions department can make a post available to the candidate, on a longer-term or part-time basis, in order to enable the student to integrate into the academic environment of the department or higher education institutions.

Supervision arrangements

There is a variety of supervision rules determined and administered independently by the higher education institution.


The doctorate prepares students for research-oriented work both within and outside of the higher education sector and equips them to take on many different kinds of demanding professional responsibilities and functions.


The awarding of higher education qualifications and degrees is the responsibility of the higher education institutions. The Higher Education Law sets out the following awards at the postgraduate level: Ph.D, Dr., minimum 3 years (6 semesters) The universities award a standard doctoral degree which entitles the possessor to use the title of Dr. established by the higher education institutions.

Organisational variation

There are no other or supplementary organisational models or study programmes at this level.