Doctoral Programme


A PhD at the WTI

Our doctoral programme gives you the opportunity to further your professional and academic career in economics, political science and law.

Welcome to the Graduate School of Economic Globalisation and Integration at the World Trade Institute

As a PhD candidate, you will benefit from a structured programme that is designed to offer you maximum support in writing your thesis. This includes continuous feedback and academic guidance from our extraordinary global faculty – composed of leading scholars and practitioners from the world’s most renowned universities, policy research institutions, law firms and international organisations. 

Please note: the WTI is not in the position to fund your PhD. We encourage you to apply for outside funding with governments, foundations and other institutions once you have been academically admitted to the programme. More information in the "Fees and Funding" section below.

Questions or info? Please email
Ready to apply? Please use our online application form.

Why the WTI doctoral programme?

We take an interdisciplinary approach, continuously exploring the interconnections between economics, political science and law and how such linkages can be developed to enhance scientific theory and practice. In fact, this programme is targeted at doctoral students who are interested in writing theses that cross the boundaries among the three disciplines.

When you enter the WTI, you become part of a unique community of scholars, thought leaders and policy shapers. You join a group of people from around the world who are making a difference. The doctoral programme is structured in such a way as to encourage you to contribute to the overall experience and to help make it a success not only for yourself, but also for your colleagues.

Current doctoral students

Current doctoral students - with year of commencement in brackets


Biksadsky, Boris (2018)
Cahueñas Muños, Hugo (2018)
Claros, Roberto - "Exceptions that protect National Security and Public Order in IIAS: Challenges and Prospects for Latin American States" (2014)
Haqnazar, Umida - "SPS in Eurasian Economic Union, comparison with WTO SPS and EU law" (2017)
Kucheriava, Yuliia (2020)
Liu, Yinuo (2018)
Peng, Delei - "The Balance between Foreign Investor Protection and State Regulation under New Treaties: China as a Host State" (2016)
Saadeh, Wafaa (2022)
Singh, Shailja (2021)
Stacy, Sean - "The Role of Law Reform Programs for Economic Growth" (2016)
Weissert, Irina - "The BRICS: A New Source of International Intellectual Property Standards?" (2016)
Wu, Hsin-Yi (2019)
Yakubkhodjaev, Umid (2018)


Ahmadzai, Khwaja Muhammad - "Impact of Trade Liberalisation on Economic Growth in Landlocked Low Income Countries" (2016)
DeSilvestro, Valentino - "The Effects of Investment and Trade Agreements on Foreign Direct Investment, Technology Transfer and Global Value Chains Participation" (2015)
Garcés Iriarte, Irene (2019)
Hauser, Selina (2020)
Vogt, Achim - "Non-tariff measures in international trade - Perspectives on costs and benefits" (2016)
Baumann, David (2021)
Jehli, Martin - "Essays in Computational Econometrics" (2021)
Rosenow, Samuel - "Empirical Essays in International Trade" (2018)
Orlov, Daniil (2021)

Political Science:

Ganeson, Kirthana (2021)
Roux, Marine (2021) - "Trade Treaties and Democracy: Short- and Long-Term Effects of Bargaining Power"

Supervision, coordination and support

Thesis supervisor
The supervisor is responsible for ensuring that you carry out and report on your PhD research and that you skilfully apply theories and research methods to your thesis.

Members of the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences of the University of Bern oversee the WTI's doctoral programme. Please look closely at the research interests indicated by the professors in their personal web pages to learn more about the kinds of research topics that can be supervised at the WTI. The more general lines of research pursued by the professors who are available to supervise new researchers are set out below.

  • Economics: International Trade Economics and Policy, International Migration, Climate Change, International Economics, International Macroeconomics and Finance
  • Law: International and European Economic Law, WTO Law, Intellectual Property Law, Competition Law and Media Law
  • Political Science: International Political Economy of Trade, International Organisations, International Economic Courts, Investment, Commodities

Academic Coordinator
For study-related questions, the programme coordinator is Dr. Octavio Fernández-Amador. His role is to organise the core set of activities comprising the mandatory curriculum and to guide PhD students through the different steps of their studies. He regularly schedules events that provide PhD students with an opportunity to present and discuss research with peers.

Programme Coordinator
Karin Rosenberg, Head of Administration

English language support
The strength of your PhD is demonstrated not only by the content of your research, but also by how convincingly you present your argument. At the WTI, English language support is provided by the University of Bern's academic English services.

For any submission or question, please email 

About the PhD courses

PhD courses at the WTI are aimed at providing PhD students, young postdocs and practitioners with an opportunity to update their training in fields within the range of expertise of the WTI.

At least two one-week summer courses are taught each year, in August and September.

Courses are taught in English, and limited to a maximum enrollment of 35. To derive maximum benefit, we recommend that during the week of the course participants devote themselves exclusively to course work.

For details of courses in the current year as well as past courses, see the section below.

For Economics PhD students:

For Law PhD students: 

Upcoming PhD courses

PhD Course on Computable General Equilibrium Modelling using GAMS
18-20 April 2023
Lecturer: Hugo Rojas-Romagosa
Syllabus here

To stay up to date or receive information, please email

Your PhD at the WTI

ECTS credits
PhDs generally take 3-5 years to complete. Once enrolled, WTI doctoral students will be required to collect a minimum of 24 ECTS credits in courses and other mandatory activities offered under the WTI Doctoral Programme. One credit equals approximately 25-30 hours of work.

The core set of activities composing the mandatory curriculum is meant to provide doctoral students with a uniquely structured programme which guides them through the different steps of their PhD studies and encourages interdisciplinarity. PhD students are also encouraged to earn extra credits (up to a total of 30 ECTS) through additional external activities such as presenting papers at conferences and publishing their work in academic journals.

Doctoral colloquia
One of the many benefits of being a PhD candidate at the WTI is obtaining peer feedback. You will be asked to present the results of your work at least once a year at a doctoral colloquium and to attend your colleagues’ presentations. Doctoral colloquia take place twice a year and provide a venue for the exchange of ideas, suggestions and comments. This is also where your thesis supervisor will provide guidelines and direction. The whole exercise provides a platform for you to practise the oral defence of your thesis.

Interdisciplinary seminar series
Every month, one doctoral student has the opportunity to present a piece of selected literature relating to trade and investment. The theme of the interdisciplinary seminar series changes every year and is selected by the doctoral coordinators and the thesis supervisors. This year PhD students are presenting a chapter from the book by Dunoff & Pollack, Interdisciplinary Perspectives on International Law and International Relations: The State of the Art (IL-IR). This is introductory compulsory reading for all PhD students at the WTI.

Database and citation software training
Several different software programmes for citation will be available to you, including Zotero. Zotero is a reference management programme that facilitates the collection, organisation, citation and sharing of research resources. You can take advantage of technical training in Zotero at the WTI.
Along with citation software training, you can benefit from training on legal and economic databases by librarians and external experts.