Thesis from A to Z

| Getting your PhD off to a good start | Writing Retreat for Doctoral Candidates | Prepare your thesis defence | Individual advice | PhD

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*During your PhD, you can benefit from courses, workshops and services to develop important skills for your doctorate and your personal development.

Getting your PhD off to a good start

Starting an ambitious project like a PhD requires planning, time management, work discipline and a clear mind around goals, expectations, and respective roles between the PhD candidate and the supervisor.

In this half-day workshop, we cover the following topics through short presentations and discussion:

  • The key stages of a doctorate at UNIL and the Code of Practice for the Doctorate.
  • The rights and obligations of doctoral candidates and their supervisors, and the ways in which we can establish effective and adapted communication.
  • The challenges doctoral candidates can encounter, and how to deal with them.
  • Methods for time and task management.
  • Professional paths and futures for doctoral holders (careers within and beyond academia).

Target group: new doctoral candidates (first or second semester) from all faculties

Facilitator: Dr Pauline Fritsch, Graduate Campus

⇒ Registration


Writing Retreat for Doctoral Candidates

In collaboration with the HES-SO


Three-day retreats with full board in a beautiful place that promotes concentration, allowing you to focus on writing your thesis, or a scientific article, or other writing projects.


Up to 21 hours of productive writing in 3 days!


Retreats in 2023:

- from Thursday, April 13 to Saturday, April 15

- from Thursday, October 26 to Saturday, October 28

- from Thursday, November 30 to Saturday, December 2


Similarly in 2024, about 3 retreats should be organized.


Retreats are held at the Crêt-Bérard between Lausanne and Palézieux.


Inspired by the methods and retreats organised for several years in Canada by "Thèsez-vous ?", we combine the Pomodoro, SMART-ER goal and Kanban board methods, and boost them with a collective approach to writing.


We take care of everything: accommodation, meals, activities. You focus on your writing goals!


Example of a typical 3-day retreat schedule here.


Target groups: Considering the limited number of places (10 places for UNIL per retreat), priority will be given to PhD candidates at the beginning or end of their thesis who have precise and realistic writing objectives (e.g. writing a section of the thesis project/plan, first version of a thesis chapter, writing the results part of a thesis article, etc.).


Contact: Dr Pauline Fritsch,, 021 692 2129


Registrations for both the October and the November retreats will be open from the 1st to the 15th of September on the HES-SO website here!



Prepare your thesis defence

This workshop is available in two formats:

  • a full day version (from 9am to 5pm) in person on site where each participant will be able to exercise their communication skills by presenting a part of their thesis for 5 minutes in the language of their choice (French or English).
  • a half-day version (from 9am to 12:30pm) online without time for participants' presentations.

In any case, this interactive workshop helps you prepare for your thesis defence, practice your communication skills and get ready to answer questions.

Topics of the workshop:

  • The different expectations between the jury examination (private defence) and the public presentation (public defence)
  • Preparing your presentation
  • Communicating effectively in the context of the defence
  • Preparing for the jury's questions

Target group: finishing doctoral candidates (2 to 6 months before the defence) from all faculties

Facilitator: Dr Pauline Fritsch, Graduate Campus

⇒ Registration



Individual advice | PhD

Throughout your doctorate, you can contact the Graduate Campus to meet and discuss topics such as:

  • The UNIL code of practice for the doctorate
  • Your role, your rights and obligations, as well as those of your supervisor
  • The annual thesis survey
  • Training workshops available for PhD candidates
  • The resources available in case of problems

Such meetings are fully confidential.

Contact: Dr Pauline Fritsch,, 021 692 2129


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Calendar & Registration


Unicentre  -  CH-1015 Lausanne
Tel. +41 21 692 21 29
Fax +41 21 692 20 15