Studium und Kurse

Doctoral Program (Doktoratsstudium)





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You can study at the IAP in order to obtain a doctoral degree (Dr. phil./PhD). This doctoral program is recognised by the government and thus integrated into the Bologna Process and the European Higher Education Area (Europäischer Hochschulraum). The doctoral degree is awarded for a certain amount of course work (30 ECTS points from tutorials, seminars, or lectures) and a doctoral thesis, which is a work of rigorous and precise research of 70.000 to 100.000 words. It can be written in German, English, or Spanish (or, in theory, Latin). The supervision of the research and the thesis writing consists mainly in one-to-one meetings with the supervisor, with instructions, corrections, and discussions. Besides that there will be seminars and other events with other graduate students and other researchers, also in connection with research projects that are being carried out at the IAP. The aim is on the one hand the progress of the research and improvement of the thesis, and on the other hand the general training of research, writing, and argumentative skills. Having completed the doctoral program, candidates should be able to write articles that are published in the high-quality academic journals. Of course, the skills acquired are ‘transferable’, they are of use and value also for other professions. The IAP encourages and supports also candidates who want to work in any field outside academia.


If you have not been trained in argumentative philosophy yet, studying for a doctorate at the IAP will change your life more than you might think. Many experience it as a big step to move from just writing about other authors to writing in order to answer a philosophical question, describing and discussing other authors only within this process. The IAP uses for supervision and for teaching mainly one-to-one tutorials (Einzeltutorien), because with lectures, seminars, or self-learning it is hard to learn to philosophise argumentatively. If you want to know what we mean by argumentative philosophy and which skills the IAP wants to teach, look at contemporary introductory examples such as Richard Swinburne's book The Evolution of the Soul or David Armstrong's book Universals: An opinionated introduction or an anthology like Metaphysics: The Big Questions (ed. van Inwagen & Zimmerman), though much Latin philosophy (e.g. Anselm of Canterbury, Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, or Christoph Scheibler) came already much closer to the state of the art of argumentative philosophy than, for example, German Idealism did.


HERE you find a list of areas in which the IAP professors can supervise.


Studying by distance (Fernstudium) with only temporary stays in Liechtenstein is possible. The normal length of a doctoral study is (by Liechtensteinian law) minimally three years, exceptions are possible only with special permission. Studying part time is possible. Formal precondition for admission is a Master degree (or equivalent, e.g. Magister or Diplom) that is recognized in the country in which it was obtained. If you have a degree from another subject, it is possible to be admitted into the doctoral program, but you will need extra training. If you do not have a Master degree and want to study for a doctorate at the IAP, contact us, preferably submitting some of the material listed below, so that we can advise you how best to obtain a Master degree from another university. Places are strictly limited. For further information contact


Applications can be in German or in English and contain the following materials. Applicants have to speak German or English very well and have to be willing to learn the other language.


Please send all material as PDF or ODT files in format A4 by email.


  • A letter saying that you wish to apply. Please send this additionally by snail mail with your signature or scan it with your signature.
  • Curriculum vitae, with date of birth and picture (one page only; if applicable, a second page or an extra document with publications and further information, such as academic prizes and non-academic activities).
  • Brief description of the proposed project. (See below.) (This or an extra document can contain further information relevant for the application.)
  • Copies of the certificates (Zeugnisse) of the degrees. (In the case of acceptance, the originals have to be shown.)
  • Transcript of records (a list of the courses completed).
  • Two writing samples (formatted on A4 paper, single spaced, 5 cm right margin, hyphenation, use a font with serifs (such as Garamond), 12 pt, or 11 pt if two-column landscape), one of which must not be longer than 3.000 words. If available, choose texts in which you defend a claim, rather than just speak about some authors or about some argument.
  • The addresses of two persons who are willing to act as referees.


Guidelines for the description of the proposed project:


  • State the main question and explain it. Try to choose a main question that is neither too small nor too big for a thesis. It should be philosophical, not primarily historical or doxographic. Describe various possible answers, mentioning names and texts which have defended these answers. Perhaps indicate which authors or texts you will discuss.
  • If you have one, state your hypothesis, that is, your answer to the question. You can give up that answer at any time, you will be encouraged to keep an open mind. Sketch ideas or arguments you have about the topic. If you have no hypothesis yet, that is fine.
  • Describe which sub-questions or sub-topics which you expect you will have to investigate.
  • If you can, mention ten to twenty texts that you will have to examine or study.
  • Add a bibliography with all and only the texts referred to. In the text use author-date parenthetical referencing (example, example, or look into a philosophy journal that uses an author-date system).
  • There is no maximal or minimal length of the project description, but it should be dense. It can be as short as one or two pages, but if you know more about the topic, write more. Omit superfluous words and sentences. Be precise and short. You can use lists and bullet points, instead of long sentences and prose. For example for the main question, sub-questions, or hypotheses.


If you are not sure which topic you should work on, contact us or say so in your application. Changing the topic during the doctoral study is possible. It is also a possibility that you take some tutorials before you apply for the doctoral program.


The fees for the doctoral study are 3.250 CHF per semester, payable for six semesters, even if the study takes longer, so in total 19.500 CHF.



Scholarships (Stipendien)


The IAP is eligible for the Swiss National Science Foundation SNF and the Austrian Wissenschaftsfonds FWF. Examine whether they offer funding for a project that you could carry out at the IAP.


The information about funding doctoral studies at SNF is incomplete. It should say: Students with a degree from a Swiss or a Liechtensteinian university, e.g. the IAP, or of Swiss or Liechtensteinian nationality can apply for Doc.CH funding of their doctoral study.



One-to-one tutorials (Einzelunterricht)


Tutorials are highly efficient one-to-one lessons. The student receives instructions and a tailored reading list for writing an essay which will then be discussed with the professor for one hour. Read the German or English description of tutorials. To apply for tutorials (e.g. a series of five tutorials from an area of your choice) send the documents listed below to Applications can be in German or in English. Normally one tutorial includes: formulating the topic, a tailored reading list, an introduction to the topic and to the art of writing a philosophical essay, discussion and training of 60 minutes or more, a mark, documentation of the work. For one essay the student normally receives 2 ECTS points. If you are studying for a degree at another university, inquire there about the conditions for the accreditation of the points. Often it is good to do a series of five tutorials on topics of a certain area. Feel free to inquire first, or contact the professor with whom you would like to study. Places are limited. The fees depend on the number and length of the tutorials. You can receive tutorials at any level, beginner or graduate student. Also tutorials for two or three students can be arranged. At least some of the tutorials can be done by distance, by video telephony.


  • Indicate which subjects you would like to study, how many tutorials at which intervals you would like to have, and whether or how often you would come to Liechtenstein.
  • Curriculum vitae (one page)
  • A list of the courses completed.
  • If possible, two writing samples.



Visiting Students (Gaststudenten)


You are welcome to come to the IAP as visiting student on any level, BA students as well as MA and doctoral students. Please contact us telling us when you would like to come, whether you would like to take tutorials or just study in the library and have occasional conversations. Also discussion about or help with your doctoral thesis are possible. Please enclose your CV and, if available, a writing sample. Places are limited.