Jobs for Medievalists

PhD Candidate/Assistant (50%) or Postdoc (80%) IN MEDIEVAL ENGLISH STUDIES
STARTING JANUARY 2021 (negotiable)

Prof. Annette Kern-Stähler is looking to select a Postdoc or a PhD candidate/assistant (with an MA or equivalent degree) interested in pursuing their Post-doc / PhD in medieval English literature and culture under her supervision while working part-time as teaching-cum-research assistant in the Department of English at the University of Bern, Switzerland.


  • 50% PhD Candidate/Assistantship or 80% Postdoc starting January 2021 (or later, negotiable).
  • The duties typically include:


  • A moderate amount of teaching and supervision (BA level). Postdoc assistants may occasionally teach at MA level.
  • Semesters run for 14 weeks mid-Sep to mid-Dec, mid-Feb to end-May.


  • Research support for Prof. Kern-Stähler.
  • Modest administrative/service duties for the department.
  • The rest of the working week is allocated for your own research.


  • The annual gross salary for the position of a 50 % PhD candidate/assistant is CHF 39’516.
  • The annual gross salary for the position of an 80 % Postdoc is CHF 70’340 in the first year with modest annual rises.

Salary does not include:

  • tuition fees of CHF300 per semester (same for all students regardless of citizenship) (only for PhD candidates).
  • 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.


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. 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. Doctoral students will have the opportunity to apply for the interdisciplinary doctoral programme at the Graduate School of the Arts and Humanities (Walter Benjamin Kolleg).

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 Medieval Studies or English 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;
  • 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, please submit by 30 October 2020 the following documents as a single PDF to Prof. Kern-Stähler:

  • a cover letter, motivating your application (addressed to Prof. Kern-Stähler)
  • a Curriculum Vitae
  • the names and email addresses of two academic referees (no letters needed at this point)
  • a research proposal (800-1500 words) with bibliography

In addition, please send a representative sample of your academic writing in English (e.g. your MA thesis, a chapter from your PhD 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 2021.

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