Urban and Rural Transformations, Addis Ababa, 2016. © Sascha Delz, ETH Zürich.
Urban and Rural Transformations, Addis Ababa, 2016. © Sascha Delz

The Doctoral Programme at the ETH Zurich Department of Architecture’s Institute of Landscape and Urban Studies (LUS) offers two fellowship positions starting on 1 October 2023. 100%, Zurich-based, fixed-term. Job description

The LUS Doctoral Programme

The Doctoral Programme at the Institute of Landscape and Urban Studies (LUS), ETH Zurich D-ARCH, focuses on contemporary issues of urban and environmental transformation within their broader socio-cultural, political-economic, and theoretical contexts. The programme seeks to promote critical discourse and to cultivate independent, inventive, and proactive research addressing urgent social and environmental challenges.

The LUS Institute tackles the production of landscape, territory, and human settlements across a range of scales and diverse geographies. Research areas currently in the foreground include studies around landscape and designed ecologies, energy transition, agroecology, hydrology, and regenerative agriculture, adaptive infrastructures, housing, and socio-economic development addressing urban inequality. The geographical focus of the LUS Institute lies mostly within Switzerland, Europe, and across the wider global South.

The doctoral programme at the LUS Institute therefore attempts to bring together the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, urban and territorial design and planning, and the social sciences. Inter- and transdisciplinary research thus lies at the core of the LUS Institute. It is practiced through a diverse set of methodological approaches, both qualitative and quantitative, ranging from ethnographic research and critical cartography to design-based action research, systems research, and urban theory.

Your Profile

We are seeking individuals with a background in architecture, landscape architecture, urban and territorial design and planning, and social sciences, with strong research or design experience that can benefit from the inter- and transdisciplinary engagements offered by the institute.

You must hold a university diploma or master’s degree obtained at university level (equivalent to the FHEQ-Level 7) in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, urban planning, and social science, or related fields.

You must additionally demonstrate excellent research and writing skills.


Applications must be addressed to the Institute of Landscape and Urban Studies rather than to individual professors. Applicants must note that the application will be solely evaluated for their content and the applicants are thus requested to not contact individual professors before applying.

We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents by 15 March 2023, 23:59 CET:

  • Letter of motivation (1 page).
  • Outline of the proposed research project (max. 4 pages + max. 3 illustrations + bibliography and project timeline).
  • Curriculum vitae (including publications, portfolio, and work samples, max. 10 pages).
  • Published piece of writing if available (1 text, max. 15 pages)
  • Name, affiliation, and email addresses of 2 referees.

Please note that applications missing any of the documents listed above and/or exceeding specified page limits will not be considered for evaluation.

The programme exclusively accepts application documents submitted through the ETH online application portal. Applications submitted via email or postal services will not be considered.

Further information about the programme, the participating faculty and the application process

Application Timeline

  • 15 March 2023: Submission deadline (23:59 CET).
  • Middle of April 2023: Notification to shortlisted candidates.
  • End of April 2023: Interviews with shortlisted candidates.
  • Beginning of May 2023: Notification to successful applicants.
  • 1 October 2023: Start of programme.

About the Programme

The language of instruction of the doctoral programme is English. With over 25 participants currently enrolled, the LUS Doctoral Programme cultivates both individual research and collective exchange within the doctoral community. These modes of exchange include the LUS methods seminar, institute-wide colloquia, workshops, and doctoral reviews. The LUS Doctoral Programme is part of a larger, highly stimulating environment of doctoral education offered within the Department of Architecture at ETH Zurich. A close collaboration with the Doctoral Programme in History and Theory of Architecture offered by the gta Institute has been established.

Participating Chairs at the LUS

While an overall alignment between the research proposed by the candidates and the individual and collective research agendas of the participating chairs at the LUS Institute is desirable, candidates are free to apply with an independent research topic. The following seven chairs currently form part of the LUS Institute:

  • Chair of History and Theory of Urban Design, Prof. Dr. Tom Avermaete
  • Chair of Architecture and Housing, Prof. Maria Conen
  • Chair of Landscape Architecture, Prof. Dr. Teresa Galí-Izard
  • Chair of Architecture and Urban Design, Prof. Hubert Klumpner
  • Chair of Architecture and Urban Transformation, Prof. Freek Persyn
  • Chair of Sociology, Prof. Dr. Christian Schmid
  • Chair of Architecture and Territorial Planning, Prof. Milica Topalovic

Employment, Residence & Funding

The programme offers to fund for only up to three years. You will receive full employment (100% Pensum), based on the ETH Zurich doctoral student contract, with monthly salaries according to the ‘standard rate’. For a detailed calculation of salaries please refer here.

You are required to take up residency in Zurich during the period of the scholarship.

Further Information

Applicants are requested to refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) before approaching the programme coordinator. Only for questions that cannot be addressed through the FAQs contact the doctoral programme coordinator Nitin Bathla at bathla@arch.ethz.ch. Requests sent to any other email will not be considered.


Encyclopaedia of Designed Spaces

Humans engage with their environment in broad, creative ways – not just with cities and houses, but also rivers and lakes, fields and forests. Designing is always embedded in a complex system of influential factors and each design is in turn a part of a historical process. The More

Thesaurus zum Städtebau (Thesaurus on Urban Design)

The research project Thesaurus zum Städtebau (Thesaurus on Urban Design) will provide a structured collection of the central building blocks that constitute urban spaces: streets, squares, closes, courtyards, parks, passages and quays. Built upon the contributions of students in the seminar Elemente des städtischen Raumes from the years More

Novartis Campus. Eine moderne Arbeitswelt. Voraussetzungen, Bausteine, Perspektiven.

Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz Verlag. Konzept und drei Beiträge: 58-79, 106-119, 248-251. (englisch und deutsch publiziert). Mehr Das Buch stellt die Geschichte und Entwicklung des Werkareals der Novartis AG St. Johann in Basel, den modellhaften Denk- und Entwurfsprozess, den gegenwärtigen Stand des ehrgeizigen Campus-Projektes sowie die zukünftigen Planungen und Ziele More

Richti-Quartier, Wallisellen

The Richti neignbourhood of Wallisellen lies between the train station of Wallisellen and the shopping centre of Glatt. It is organised around the Richtiarkade, a slightly bent, linear main street which directly and comfortably connects these two major points in the city. The public park, Richtiplatz, begins to More

Novartis-Campus, Basel

The St. Johann area owned by Novartis in Basle is to be transformed from a production site into a research and administration center. An arrangement capable of remaining sustainable on a long-term basis is to be introduced into the structural and aesthetic arbitrariness of a factory area that More

Bassersdorf: a Search for the City Centre

This dissertation by Rafael Gaus discusses the urban qualities and deficits of the town of Bassersdorf and researches how the city centre can be improved spatially, structurally and functionally. In a comparison with reference examples, the case study discusses, in addition to urban solutions, the planning strategies and More

Urban Density

In the discussion about the city, no other term has experienced so many different meanings, analyses, interpretations and evaluations as the word density. City density is always changing its meaning, and sometimes it means two things at the same time; for example, being used as a synonym for More

Urban Potential and Strategies in Metropolitan Territories
 – The Zurich Metropolitan Region as an Example (NFP65)

The research project, Urban Potential and Strategies in Metropolitan Territories, provides an qualitative contribution to the current urban and spatial development debate in Switzerland and thereby does not differentiate between the urban, suburban or peri-urban categories, but rather along the selected urban qualities that have crystallized out of More