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Old 24.04.2007, 04:52
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PhD salary???

Hi all, I'm soon going to start my PhD study in the University of Bern. I was initially told that my gross salary would be about 2750 CHF per month. But my supervisor later said, after reductions, I could get only 2100 CHF per month!

Is this high reduction specific for Bern region, or am I missing something? Is PhD studentship considered a full time or part time job in Switzerland? I had heard that some of the tax will be paid back to me at the end of my study, is this true??

My German is not great and I was not able to find anything in English concerning these, so any info would be much appreciated! Thanks in advance!
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Old 24.04.2007, 07:48
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Re: PhD salary???

I work at the University of Lausanne. I'm not a PhD student, but as far as I know the students are funded at a minimum of a 60% wage, which would be similar to the 2750 per month that you were told. If the supervisor has enough funding then this amount can be increased up to a 100% wage at some time in the future. I agree, that does sound like more deductions than I would expect on that sort of wage, so I would ask further about that.
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Old 24.04.2007, 08:40
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Re: PhD salary???

My husband is finishing up his PhD at University of Bern. His gross salary is around CHF 4'500/month and gets around CHF 3'700 after deductions.
I can assure you that his PhD is a full-time job, which also includes seminars, presentations, lectures on WEEKENDS in Switzerland, Europe & other parts of the world. Here is the catch though: overtime pays are non-existent.
As far as his department (PhD @ the Medical Faculty) is concerned, German is not necessary, as English is their official language.
Hope these infos could help you..

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I was initially told that my gross salary would be about 2750 CHF per month. But my supervisor later said, after reductions, I could get only 2100 CHF per month!
Is PhD studentship considered a full time or part time job in Switzerland? I had heard that some of the tax will be paid back to me at the end of my study, is this true??
My German is not great and I was not able to find anything in English concerning these, so any info would be much appreciated! Thanks in advance!
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Old 24.04.2007, 09:11
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Re: PhD salary???

The standard salary for federal uni (ETHZ, EPFL) is 60% that is about 3100 CHF/month gross. The standard salary for kanton uni is 50% that is about 2750CHF/month like what you get. 2100CHF after tax is pretty low I guess.

Depending on your department & professor, you can get up to 100%. Normally if you do engineering (also computer science), you get better than science.

By the way, PhD is considered a full time job. There are several types of tax & deduction that I am really confused either but you can only get back the part of the tax that contributes to your social welfare when you are old. I think that amount is about 7-10% of your salary every month.
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Old 24.04.2007, 09:23
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Re: PhD salary???

I'm working in research also in Bern and I should say that is about what I am getting. The 4700 Sfr/month is already considered exceptional. there are some variation between cantons but in general this variation is small.
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Old 24.04.2007, 09:34
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Re: PhD salary???

Like ChrisW, I'm a post-doc at the University of Lausanne. Some PhD students I know here get about 2800CHF after deductions (which is more-or-less what others have suggested). 2100 seems a bit low. Perhaps you should ask for clarification from your potential supervisor, saying that you have heard others are getting more. It might make him up his offer (if such a thing can be done)?

Sam.
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Old 24.04.2007, 09:52
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Re: PhD salary???

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4700 Sfr/month is already considered exceptional.
exceptional?? and i always complain that my husband's negotiating skills are rusty..
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Old 24.04.2007, 10:26
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Re: PhD salary???

believe me, in research/phD it is...it's not that his negotiating skills are rusty... In a post doc here in Insel probably then he can negotiate. but while doing your PhD he should already be happy he's getting 4700.
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Old 24.04.2007, 10:53
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Re: PhD salary???

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exceptional?? and i always complain that my husband's negotiating skills are rusty..
Are you sure your husband is PhD student, not a post-doc ? This is approximately what a post-doc would make?
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Old 24.04.2007, 10:56
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Re: PhD salary???

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Like ChrisW, I'm a post-doc at the University of Lausanne. Some PhD students I know here get about 2800CHF after deductions (which is more-or-less what others have suggested). 2100 seems a bit low. Perhaps you should ask for clarification from your potential supervisor, saying that you have heard others are getting more. It might make him up his offer (if such a thing can be done)?
The lowest PhD salary people I know get is about 2400CHF after deduction.
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Old 24.04.2007, 11:50
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Re: PhD salary???

PhD salary isn't really negotiable. It's dependent upon the field you are in and how much money that field has. There is usually a base salary which every PhD candidate has to get paid and then depending upon the amount of money your professor/department has you might get paid more. All the PhDs in my lab here at the ETH Zurich in organic chemisty take home around CHF 3000. There are a few that get paid more but that is because they are the computer administrator for the lab or teaching a practikum or something else extra.

The whole 60%, 75%, 100% thing has nothing to do with how much you work it has to do with how much you are paid. A 100% position doesn't work any more necessarily than a 60% they just get paid more. It is definitely not considered a part-time position.

But really grad school isn't a job. You may get paid but it definitely isn't an normal work environment. I don't think salary is negotiable, nor is vacation time. And it being grad school although you may get 20 days of vacation, if your boss doesn't think PhD's should take that much time off it would be harmful to your letter of recommendation to do so. Which is why it's good to know what kind of slave driver your PI is.
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Old 24.04.2007, 11:53
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Re: PhD salary???

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Are you sure your husband is PhD student, not a post-doc ? This is approximately what a post-doc would make?
Maybe in the federal universities Raj, but sadly not in the cantonal ones
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Old 24.04.2007, 11:54
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Re: PhD salary???

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I can assure you that his PhD is a full-time job, which also includes seminars, presentations, lectures on WEEKENDS in Switzerland, Europe & other parts of the world. Here is the catch though: overtime pays are non-existent.
It is an incorrect assumption to correlate getting your PhD to an actual job. It's school, you're still being educated. Of course there isn't overtime. You're getting paid to further your education and the amount of research you get done is fully dependent upon yourself. If you wanna get done in a reasonable amount of time and start making actual money then you're gonna need to work more. And in general, salaried positions don't get paid overtime.
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Old 24.04.2007, 11:55
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Re: PhD salary???

Many thanks to all for ideas and the information!
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Old 24.04.2007, 12:06
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Re: PhD salary???

A bit of a surprise at first the whole pay = 75%, hours = 100%, isn't it? But I slowly exact my revenge by wasting/using up to three hours a day on forums, but keeping a few results handy in case someone enquires if I'm doing any work...
Actually, saying that, it's mostly because my work involves a lot of waiting for tests to finish before I can get down to working on the results...

If it's chemistry you're studying at Bern, then lack of German isn't a problem in the department. English is the standard language in a lot of the groups, given the multi-national make up of some of the groups.
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Old 24.04.2007, 13:14
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Re: PhD salary???

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Maybe in the federal universities Raj, but sadly not in the cantonal ones
Yeah..if you are a post-doc at EPFL you take home about CHF 4500 and as a PhD student around CHF 3000 plus they have 13 pay periods. I don't know how it works at Cantonal university such as UNIL.
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Old 24.04.2007, 16:12
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Re: PhD salary???

here in bern, i don't get 13 month pay...
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Old 24.04.2007, 16:17
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Re: PhD salary???

There is useful information about PhD salaries in EPFL in this address http://acide.epfl.ch/webdav/site/aci...d/phdguide.pdf page 53. The deduction items are described. In EPFL it is considered as 75% position which would be (after deduction) around 3000SFr plus a 13th month salary. Of course some people get 100% which is more than 4000SFr.
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Old 24.04.2007, 16:18
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Re: PhD salary???

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here in bern, i don't get 13 month pay...
aurora_borealis, I've been told I will get 13 salaries per year... in the institute of geosciences (Bern)... if this is true, I wonder why there is not a single standard, even in the same uni???
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Old 24.04.2007, 16:20
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Re: PhD salary???

well, i'm funded by the swiss national funds and the pay is per annum w/o 13 month pay.
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