The HKB offers various possibilities to complete scientific or artistic doctoral studies in cooperation with domestic and foreign universities. 

You wish to do a doctorate in the arts?

The HKB makes this possible!
The doctoral programme “Studies in the Arts (SINTA)” is a collaborative initiative between the Faculty of Philosophy and History at the University of Bern and the HKB. The SINTA assists in developing a dissertation and is aimed at both researching artists and scholars. 

In the SINTA, the doctoral students realise their project in a stimulating environment and gain access to artistic and scientific networks. They profit from synergies between the two higher educational institutions and can establish specific areas of competence. 

About us

Graduates from art colleges come with precise questions and topics and want to gain further academic qualifications, while graduates from universities seek practical proximity to the arts. Most of them have dual talents. Some have more artistic and creative experience, while others have more methodical knowledge and writing routine. 

The SINTA is a collaborative initiative between the Faculty of Philosophy and History at the University of Bern and the Bern University of Applied Sciences, Department of the Bern University of the Arts HKB. It is aimed at researching artists as well as scholars who are interested in artistic practice. SINTA is characterised by a combination of different disciplines within the humanities and social sciences, as well as in the arts and thus promotes research and reflection, especially in relation to artistic practices, design and aesthetic issues as well as the connection between art and science. 

The doctoral students realize their own project in a stimulating environment that introduces them into scientific and artistic networks. They benefit from synergies between the two universities and are able to develop specific competencies. Within SINTA, theory and practice are closely intertwined – as are basic and practice-oriented research. In addition to humanities and social science methods, artistic and design research methods also play a role: prototyping and design methods, re-enactment and embodiment, performance studies and historically informed performance practice all come into play in the dissertation projects. 

About 40 doctoral students from the fields of music, theater and dance studies, art history and graphic design, archeology, social anthropology, German studies and Romance studies are currently realising their projects within SINTA. Many are former students or staff members of the Bern University of the Arts HKB, others come from other Art Colleges or Universities – from St. Petersburg to Harvard and from Basel to Zurich. In addition to the work space and the university libraries, students at the HKB have access to the necessary infrastructures such as recording studios, Medialab, media libraries, workshops and printing studios. In 2016, the first graduates successfully completed their doctorates (see completed dissertations). In 2017, the first dissertation was published (Immanuel Brockhaus: Cult Sounds).


University of Bern
Graduate School of the Arts and Humanities
Muesmattstr. 45
CH - 3012 Bern

T +41 31 631 54 75

Artistic-Scholarly doctoral studies

Since 2021, students have the opportunity to realise an artistic-scholarly or a scholarly doctoral project in cooperation with the Anton Bruckner Private University Linz (ABPU). 

The artistic or academic principal supervision takes place at the ABPU, the academic co-supervision at the HKB. The HKB can only provide the academic and no artistic co-supervision. 

Ongoing doctoral projects with participation of the HKB

  • Enrico Coden, traverso (2023–2026, artistic supervision: Claire Genewein ABPU, academic supervision: Annette Kappeler HKB)
  • Óscar Escudero, composition (2023–2026, artistic supervision: Carola Bauckholt ABPU, academic supervision: Martin Kaltenbrunner Kunstuniversität Linz, Teresa Carrasco HKB)
  • Lara Stanic, composition (2023–2026, artistic supervision: Volkmar Klien ABPU, academic supervision: Thomas Gartmann HKB)
  • Hazal Akyaz, Musicology (2022–2025, academic supervision: Markus Neuwirth ABPU, Claudio Bacciagaluppi HKB)
  • Santiago Díez-Fischer, Composition (2022–2025, artistic supervision: Carola Bauckholt ABPU, academic supervision: Ellen Fallowfield HKB)
  • Karin Hermes, Dance (2022–2025, artistic supervision: Rose Breuss ABPU, academic supervision: Annette Kappeler HKB)
  • Wataru Mukai, Composition/Musical Theatre (2021–2024, academic supervision: Carolin Stahrenberg ABPU, artistic supervision: Leo Dick HKB)
  • Joanna Wicherek, Piano/Musical Theatre (2021–2024, artistic supervision: Barbara Lüneburg/Till Körber ABPU, academic supervision: Leo Dick HKB)
  • Helga Arias, Composition (2019–2022, artistic supervision: Volkmar Klien ABPU, academic supervision: Karin Harasser Kunstuniversität Linz, external third-party supervision: Cathy van Eck HKB)

Admission to the programme takes place once per academic year.

  • An online information event is usually held in October.
  • February: Application deadline
  • April: Admission colloquium in front of the doctoral committee

The number of available places is limited. Interested students are best advised to contact Martin Skamletz as early as possible, who will assist in establishing contact with the supervisors at both universities.

Graduate School Freiburg–Bern for artistic research

In this study program, designed as a three-year integrated bi-national PhD, an MA in Specialized Music Performance (specialization: research) at the HKB is completed in parallel with enrolment in the doctoral program at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg, Germany. The artistic supervision of the doctoral students is usually undertaken by HKB teachers within the framework of the MA Specialized Performance. The scientific supervision is provided by HKB researchers associated with the HfM Freiburg or by researchers of the HfM Freiburg.

Current Doctoral Projects with HKB participation


 Admission to the Graduate School takes place once per academic year.

  • An information session (face-to-face or online) is held in October/November of each year.
    2022 Study Days Artistic Research in Music
  • Registration deadline for HKB entrance examination: March 15
  • Entrance examination HKB: April
  • Acceptance of the dissertation exposé by the doctoral committee of the HfM Freiburg: usually by July


Independent doctorates

In addition to the structured doctoral programmes, which have their own curriculum, there is also the possibility of an independent doctorate.

Initial supervision is usually provided by the university awarding the degree, while secondary supervision can be provided by (doctoral) lecturers at the HKB. The doctoral programme takes three to five years to complete. The dissertations can be linked to (and thus financed by) an SNF project based at the HKB or be independent of it. An independent doctorate is based on a topic chosen by the student and within a given project framework. A doctorate co-supervised at the HKB is usually characterised by an interdisciplinary approach and a close connection to artistic or design issues and practices. 
The HKB carries out a wide range of artistic and scientific dissertations. Partnerships exist within a number of Swiss and European universities and colleges in Basel, Bern, Fribourg, Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich, Freiburg/Br, Halle, Hildesheim, Salzburg, Paris, Milan, Rome etc.
The conditions for admission, course of study, supervision and graduation vary greatly. Information is available from the heads of HKB Research and the individual research institutes.