Fribourg profile

The Department of History offers a doctoral programme in history which students can take either in French or German, or both. History studies are all about the analysis of human societies of the past, their organisation, achievements and representations. In the context of the doctorate, candidates are called upon to demonstrate their skills in the following fields:
– Putting an original question and pursuing an independent line of thought on a historic theme;
– Collecting and critically analysing a corpus of documents for the needs of historical research;
– Drafting a large-scale work of research and communicating the results of their research in a clear and convincing way.

To this end, candidates attend regular research conferences and are closely mentored by their research supervisor.

Professors who are eligible to supervise theses

History of Antiquity

  • Prof. Cédric Brélaz

Areas of specialisation:
– Greek institutions and political culture
– Roman provincial administration
– Cultural interaction and linguistic contacts between the Greek and Roman worlds
– Hellenistic and Roman East
– Greek and Latin epigraphy

  • Prof. Tanja Itgenshorst

Areas of specialisation:
– Roman Republic and Principate
– Archaic and Classical Greece
– Elites in Antiquity
– Cultural history of Antiquity
– Memory studies
– The history of Classics in the 19th and 20th centuries (particularly in France)

  • Prof. Francesco Massa

Areas of specialisation:
– History of ancient religions
– Religions in Roman Empire
– Late Antiquity
– Religious interactions in the Roman Empire
– Intellectual history

  • Senior Lecturer Dr habil. Olivier Curty

Areas of specialisation:
– The Greek gymnasium in the Classical and Hellenistic Periods
– Benefactors in the Classical and Hellenistic Periods
– Political and institutional problems in the Classical and Hellenistic Periods
– Relations between cities in the Classical and Hellenistic Periods
– History of the history of Antiquity in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Mediaeval history

  • Prof. Olivier Richard

Areas of specialisation:
– Medieval urban history
– Holy Roman Empire in the Middle Ages
– Swiss Confederation in the Middle Ages
– Urban diplomatics
– Disability History

  • PD Dr Georg Modestin

Areas of specialisation:
– Popular heresies in the Middle Ages (particularly Waldensianism) and their repression
– Early witch-hunting in the Alpine region
– Medieval Inquisition
– Regional history of Western Switzerland up to the Reformation
– Writing of history in the Middle Ages (chroniclers and chronicles)

History of Modern Times

  • Prof. Volker Reinhardt

Areas of specialisation:
– History of Modern Times

  • Prof. Claire Gantet

Areas of specialisation:
– Early Modern European history
– History of science and knowledge in the modern era
– Intellectual history, scholarly exchanges in the early modern period
– Cultural history, history of human sciences in the early modern era
– Thirty Years War and Peace of Westphalia

  • Adj.Prof. Thomas Lau

Areas of specialisation:
– Modern Swiss history
– Early modern English and American history
– History of the Holy Roman Empire
– History of towns
– History of diplomacy
– History of emotions
– History of culture

Contemporary history

See list of professors and themes at:

Studies organisation

Structure of studies

No ECTS credits can be earned.

Doctoral school



In order to be admitted to a doctorate the candidate must have been awarded an academic bachelor's and master's degree or an equivalent qualification from a university recognised by the University of Fribourg.

Before applying for a doctorate the candidate must contact a professor who would be willing to supervise the thesis work.

There is no general right to be admitted to a doctorate.

The respective conditions of admission for each doctoral study programme are reserved.

Key points

Degree conferred

Philosophiae Doctor in Historia / Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)

Commencement of studies

An application for admission may be submitted at any time.


http://studies.unifr.ch/go/dGLfK (French and German only)

Application procedure

Candidates with Swiss qualifications

Candidates with foreign qualifications


Faculty of Humanities
Department of History
Prof. Claire Gantet
http://studies.unifr.ch/go/fr-history (French)
http://studies.unifr.ch/go/de-history (German)