Prof. Dr. Gabriele Rippl is looking to select a post-doc or doctoral student (with an MA or equivalent degree) interested in pursuing their post-doc / PhD in North American Literature under her supervision while working part‐time as teaching‐cum‐research assistant in the Department of English at the University of Bern, Switzerland. You should be interested in undertaking research in one of Prof. Rippl’s own areas of interest.


  • 50% PhD assistantships starting January 2019 (or February, negotiable).
  • A 50% appointment is equivalent to two and a half days (or 21 hours) a week.
  • The duties of a PhD assistant typically include:


  • One and a half courses per year, at BA level (i.e. three classes over two years with the fourth semester teaching‐free). Post-doc assistants may occasionally teach at MA level.
  • Courses are either organized as a lecture series or as a seminar, meeting once‐a‐week for 90 minutes.
  • Semesters run for 14 weeks mid‐Sep to mid‐Dec, mid‐Feb to end-May.


  • Research support for Prof. Rippl
  • Modest administrative/service duties for the department and section.
  • The rest of the working week is allocated for your own research.


  • The salary for this position is a minimum of around CHF 39’437 per year (gross) (about GBP 29’885 / EUR 33’810 / USD 39’475).
  • Salary is subject to modest annual rises in accordance with Cantonal (i.e. local government) policy.

Salary does not include:

  • tuition fees of CHF 200 per semester (same for all students regardless of citizenship) (only for PhD candidate) plus a registration fee of CHF 100;
  • personal health insurance (roughly CHF 200 to 300 per month depending on age, etc.). Health insurance is compulsory in Switzerland and is not organized by your employer.

NB: Annual renewal of contract is dependent on satisfactory progress with your (post-)doctoral studies/research project, and on the fulfilment of your core teaching/service duties.


Doctoral research in Switzerland – like in much of Europe – is thesis‐driven and relies on students being mature, self-reliant, motivated, and well organized. You work under the supervision of a dedicated faculty advisor/mentor and are expected to participate in the research culture of your home department and our allied research centres (e.g. Faculty’s Graduate School). By the same token, you will find yourself with a lot of freedom, independence and collegiality, quickly becoming a valuable member of the department’s academic faculty/staff.


For more information about life (including cost of living) in Bern, see:

For more information about the Department of English:



  • The University of Bern strives to become an equal opportunities employer;
  • You must hold an MA (or equivalent) in North American Literature;
  • You will need to demonstrate a track record of successful academic study;
  • You should already have a reasonably well‐developed research proposal;
  • You should have an outstanding command of written and spoken English; your PhD thesis should be written in English;
  • While the administrative (and teaching) language of the Department of English is English, the administrative language of the Faculty and the rest of the University is German, and Bern is a (Swiss)German-speaking city. You should either already have some competence in German, or actively commit to learning German when you arrive. The University of Bern provides courses for learners of German;
  • To be eligible for a doctoral assistantship, you must meet the University of Bern’s basic admission criteria for doctoral study:
  • Non-Swiss candidates will be responsible for applying for relevant work permits/visas.


To apply for one of these assistantships, please submit by 30 September 2018, the following materials as a single PDF:

  • a cover letter, motivating your application (addressed to Prof. Rippl)
  • a full Curriculum Vitae/Résumé
  • the names and email addresses of two academic referees (no letters needed at this point)
  • a research proposal (a minimum of five pages) with bibliography

In addition, please send a representative sample of your academic writing in English (e.g. your MA thesis or a substantial stand‐alone paper/essay).

In your cover letter, please explain what your writing sample is and why you have chosen to submit it. Please also explain who your referees are and why you have chosen to ask them for a possible recommendation. Please indicate clearly your citizenship and whether you will be able to begin the assistantship in January 2019. Your materials should be emailed to Prof. Rippl ( Please feel free to contact her in advance of the deadline if you have any questions about these positions.