1) Reading exam

What is the reading exam?

The reading exam consists in a presentation (20-30 minutes) on one of five papers chosen by the Ph.D. student (including questions on any of the five papers).

What is a reading?

A reading is an article published in academic journals or conference proceedings (no arxiv, no popular science).

How are the articles selected and validated?

The Ph.D. student suggests a list of five readings that present a good mix of relevant research themes and methodologies in the field of research.

The Doctoral Commission validates the five selected articles prior to the reading exam. For this validation, the Ph.D. student must provide

  • the list of suggested articles with complete references (APA6),
  • a motivation for the selection,
  • the pdfs of the original articles.


2) Thesis proposals

How long is the thesis proposal presentation?

The thesis proposal presentation consists in a presentation (30-40 minutes including questions and discussion).

3) Custom program

What is the custom program?

The custom program is a set of seminars and courses each Ph.D. student must attend during the first phase. It is personalized in the sense that each Ph.D. student has potentially a unique program, that is validated by the Doctoral Commission. The workload of the program should correspond to a minimum of 18 ECTS credits and must include one methodology course/seminar.

Courses and seminars might be attended in any recognized academic higher institution. We encourage Ph.D. students to take advantage of doctoral research seminars and winter/summer schools in their field of research.

Master courses are acceptable with the following constraints: The personalized program should not comprise exclusively Master courses, and no credits for Master course where the Ph.D. student is also teaching assistant.

Critera for the custom program


  • Total 18 credits
  • Mandatory: one course of theory (IS/CS) and one course on research methodology (e.g., qualitative research methods, scale evaluation)
  • CUSO courses require the instructor to specify ECTS credits + an evaluation
  • Professional or online courses (e.g. EDX, Coursera) maximum 6 ECTS per custom program
  • Maximum 50% of Master courses per custom program
  • All courses require evaluation (e.g. graded exam, pass/fail, poster evaluation)



Where can I find doctoral courses and seminars?

The DESI organizes every year courses and seminars for Ph.D. students in IS, check the courses that are offered here.

Students can also select from the seminars and workshops in the Doctoral Program in Computer Science organized by The Conférence Universitaire de Suisse Occidentale (CUSO).

As an alternative, the Ph.D. student can attend courses or seminars organized by other institutes of UNIL, EPFL or any other university with the explicit agreement of the thesis advisor.

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Please note that only the official Regulations prevail.

Association of MBAs (AMBA)Business School Impact System (BSIS)EFMD EQUIS AccreditedQuantitative Techniques for Economics & Management (QTEM)Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME)