Specific Scholarships

The Graduate Institute strives to support talented scholars from around the world.  Financial aid packages may include cost-of-living scholarships, tuition reduction and/or a paid position, in various proportions. Aid is awarded with consideration to both financial need and academic merit. A number of special scholarship opportunities are available to students who meet specific eligibility criteria.



Deeply concerned by the magnitude of the migratory crisis and the fate of tens of thousands of people in war zones who are seeking refuge in places such as Switzerland, the Graduate Institute has decided to support refugees in Switzerland holding a B or F permit and wishing to pursue their studies by offering them a full annual scholarship amounting to CHF 20,000 to cover living expenses, with the possibility of a tuition fee reduction depending on the candidate’s financial means.


  • Applicants should have been granted a Swiss Refugee status (Permit B) or have a Provisional Admission for Foreigners status (Permit F)
  • Applicants must provide a letter from the Swiss Government confirming refugee status or provisional admission in Switzerland
  • Applicants must be resident in Switzerland
  • Priority will be given to those who meet the above criteria, however, if unable to find a candidate, the search will be expanded to anyone who has been/or who is a refugee in a country other than Switzerland.
  • Applicants must be accepted into one of the study programmes at the Institute
  • Only new students may apply: those already enrolled are not eligible to apply

Application for the scholarship

  • Candidates must apply for one of the study programmes at the Institute and specify in their motivation letter that they want to apply for the Graduate Institute, Geneva Refugee Scholarship
  • The main requirement to apply for one of our master programmes is a Bachelor's degree, or a degree deemed equivalent, in the social sciences
  • The main requirement to apply for our PhD programme is a master's degree, or a degree deemed equivalent, in the social sciences and, to the extent possible, a master-level research dissertation successfully completed
  • Candidates must also meet the Institute’s language requirements

Candidate Assessment

The candidates’ eligibility is assessed by the Financial Aid Committee according to the application file, which includes documents justifying financial needs and a motivation letter. The committee pays particular attention to academic results, the motivation letter and the request for financial aid, but also to references and other relevant information.

Application Deadline

15 January 2022

For questions related to study programmes or admission: prospective@graduateinstitute.ch
For help in the application process, please contact the Migration Initiative: GISA.migrationscholarship@graduateinstitute.ch

Specific Scholarship

Refugee Scholarship Flyer

Specific Scholarship

Bourse de l’IHEID pour réfugiés

Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships for PhD candidates


The Swiss government awards various types of scholarships to foreign doctoral students, through the Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students (FCS).

The list of countries in which you can apply for a Swiss government scholarship, along with country-specific application deadlines, as well as details of the application procedure, are available on the web pages of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, under Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.

The Excellence Scholarship application deadlines are generally earlier than the Graduate Institute's application deadlines. We will do our utmost to expedite the evaluation of your application for admission so that you may meet the Swiss Government's deadline in your country. Therefore, your complete application file must reach us as early as possible and you must let us know that you are applying for this particular scholarship.

Each programme's evaluation committee may decide to evaluate your application with the regular pool of applications along the usual time line, rather than expedite the evaluation. It may therefore not be possible to make an admission decision in time for you to meet the Swiss Government's deadline for your country.

Application procedure

  1. Note the application deadline for the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship in your country.
  2. Apply to one of the Institute’s PhD programmes between 1st October and 15 November.
  3. Be sure to complete the financial aid application page on the Graduate Institute's application for admission.

    This will ensure that, in the event that you are admitted and that your Swiss Government scholarship request is unsuccessful, you can still be considered for financial aid from the Institute.
  4. Inform the Graduate Institute's Admission Office that you are applying for the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship.
  5. Submit an application for the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship by contacting the Swiss embassy in your country of origin.
  6. If you are admitted to the Graduate Institute, we will supply a letter of support from your anticipated research supervisor. You will need to include this letter of support, along with your admission letter, in your Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship application file.

    Your PhD programme will assign you a research supervisor. Please do not contact members of the faculty at this stage; you can direct all your enquiries to the Admission Office.
  7. The Swiss government will only consider Excellence Scholarship applications from students who hold an offer of admission and a support letter. Their evaluation process may take several months.



The Graduate Institute, Geneva offers Master and PhD scholarships to support the brightest postgraduates from the Middle East  and Africa to study at the Institute.  Among its alumni, the Graduate Institute is proud to include Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General, Sibusio Bengu, the first black Vice-Chancellor of a South African university, and Osita Eze, former Director General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs.


Candidates must have a diploma from a Middle East or African university or hold citizenship of a MEA country. They must demonstrate financial need and an excellent academic interest and performance.


To be considered, candidates must send their application to one of our programmes and complete the financial aid form.



To strengthen our collaboration with academic partners, the Institute offers one scholarship per year to students currently enrolled in partner universities listed hereunder, who intend to pursue a Master or PhD programme at the Institute. Candidates need to demonstrate financial needs and academic excellence.  

Partners in Africa

  • American University, School of Global Affairs, Cairo, Egypt
  • Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal
  • University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana

Partners in Asia

  • Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University, School of International Studies, New Delhi, India
  • KIMEP University, Almaty, Kazakhstan
  • University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Partners in Latin America

  • El Colegio de Mexico, Mexico, Mexico
  • Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru, Lima, Peru
  • Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia

How to Apply


Complete the online application for admission, including the general scholarship application pages.

Admitted candidates, whose profile match the specific eligibility criteria for these scholarships, will automatically be considered. Applicants are not required to contact their home universities. Foundations do not accept direct solicitations.