PhD in Computer Science

100%, Zurich, temporary

The research group of Prof. R. Kyng (group website) in the Institute of Theoretical Computer Science is looking for a new PhD student starting in fall 2020. The starting date is flexible and starting sooner is possible. Candidates will be screened continuously until the position has been filled. We are located in the Department of Computer Science, at ETH Zurich.

Job description

Our research is focused on answering foundational questions in fast algorithms, optimization, and fine-grained complexity theory. Modern algorithms often combine optimization and continuous methods with data structures and combinatorial techniques, and our research attempts to push the boundaries of this paradigm. We also connect theory to applied work by developing and implementing provably correct algorithms that perform well in practice. Our group is small and you will work closely with an excellent team tackling very challenging questions, while also having the independence and freedom to develop your own research agenda over time. In addition to the strong research environment in the Theory Institute, you will be able to draw on top research groups in machine learning, statistics & data science, and mathematical optimization.

The salary and general working conditions are according to ETH standards. Your office is located in the heart of Zurich at the beautiful ETH Zentrum campus with cafés, sports facilities, and much more within a five-minute walk, and the whole city is easily accessible via Zurich's excellent public transport system.

Your profile

To enroll in our PhD program, candidates should have a master’s degree by the time they start. Candidates with only a bachelor’s degree may instead apply to our direct doctorate program, which combines a master’s degree and PhD.

Candidates should have a strong mathematical background with training in algorithms. Broader exposure to theoretical computer science is helpful too. Candidates should be competent programmers, although the extent to which this is part of your research will be adapted to your experience and interests. Candidates must be able to communicate clearly in English. Speaking German is not required for your work or to get by in Zurich. Most PhD students do eventually take some German classes if they do not already speak the language.

ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.
Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich Link icon


We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • Your academic CV.
  • Transcripts with detailed grades from your Bachelor's and master's degrees. Use partial transcripts if you are still studying toward your master's.
  • Details of referees who will write letters of recommendation for you. You should tell your referees to send their letters directly to Typically, these letters should be written by 2-4 academics you have worked with or taken courses from. You may not help draft or see the letters.
  • A brief statement of purpose (1-2 pages). You should tell us about your experience with theoretical computer science so far and let us know what sort of topics and work excites you.

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal, and all materials should be submitted through this portal except for  letters of recommendation. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

Further information about the Institute of Theoretical Computer Science can be found on our website For questions about the position, please contact Ms Günthart, Tel +41 44 632 8346 or email (no applications).

Your workplace