Frequently Asked Questions

Will my MA or PhD degree from The EGS be recognized in the USA, Europe, and elsewhere?

Yes, The European Graduate School (EGS) grants recognized MA and PhD degrees. Since April 2015, The European Graduate School has been accredited as an institution of Higher Education within the European Qualification Framework (EQF) by the State of Malta (license number 2015-007). Many of our alumni have gone on to teach or work in higher education in the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, and elsewhere.  Please see our web page devoted to accreditation here.

It should be noted that laws regarding accreditation are in constant flux throughout the world and unevenly applied, even in Europe. The EGS administration will be happy to provide what information it has on the acceptance of its degrees and the experience of its students.  On the whole, we can affirm that The EGS is recognized worldwide.

The internet has contained some troubling postings regarding The EGS, though some of these have now disappeared.  What is one to make of these?

The entry on Wikipedia has not always been accurate with respect to The EGS. We have been in formal communication with those responsible at Wikipedia over the years and have sought to rectify the problems, which have sometimes been grave and have reflected a puzzling hostility on the part of some editors toward The EGS.  This hostility may be due simply to resistance to the form of theoretical and philosophical work pursued at The EGS.  Or jealousy.

The Wikipedia entry for The EGS is largely accurate at this time, though it describes our structure as largely one of “remote teaching,” when in fact we work in intensive sessions.  The training afforded advanced students far exceeds what one can gain in many parts of Europe, notably the UK (and particularly at an advanced level), even though it is delivered in a concentrated manner.

For an accurate account of study at The EGS, prospective students should consult the student testimonials available here.

Which session should I choose? 

Choosing between our two campuses in either Valletta, Malta or Saas-Fee, Switzerland will depend largely on your specific scheduling preferences. The programs in the two sites are quite comparable (faculty sometimes shift from one session to another, depending on their availability), but certain faculty do tend to gravitate to one or another session by reason of their other academic commitments and lecturing schedules.  The PACT Division strives to make the two sessions equally strong and attractive.  The two locations are profoundly different from one another, but the programs and academic experiences are quite comparable.

Please watch our website closely for scheduling announcements and descriptions of our offerings.  Also, we are beginning to hold events in sites outside Saas Fee and Valletta, and the Saas Fee session of 2020 begins in Bergamo.

What do EGS students do for the rest of the year before and after their session of study?

Students undertaking course work devote their time before their chosen session to preparing for their respective seminars.  After completing the required number of courses, students proceed to supervised independent study.

There is quite a lot of communication between students through social media, and with faculty once students are in a supervisory structure.  EGS events are also organized in the course of the year in various sites.

One of the great virtues of study at The EGS relates to the flexibility its intensive structure provides.  Students may pursue professional paths while undertaking their study, or even pursue other forms of study at the same time.  The EGS structure corresponds nicely to evolutions in the delivery of contemporary higher education.

Can I apply online?

Yes, please look here to apply online: Online Application.

Will the faculty be the same in the Valletta and Saas Fee sessions?

No, the faculty and seminars will differ in the Valletta and Saas Fee sessions.  Occasionally, faculty teach in more than one session.

Is it possible to attend individual seminars at The EGS, without enrolling in the MA or PhD program? 

The EGS does allow for visiting scholars or guests to enroll in individual seminars. These non-matriculated participants follow the same application procedure as the degree-seeking applicants, though their applications need not be as extensive.

Students can also pursue a Certificate of Study (which requires completion of a full course session) or a Post-Doctoral Certificate of Study.

Can students’ family members, partners, or friends come to Saas-Fee, Switzerland,​ or Valletta, Malta, during their studies?

Yes, students sometimes bring their spouses or families to Saas-Fee, Switzerland, or Valletta, Malta, for either part of the session or for the entire session. Guests of EGS students are welcome to join free public evening lectures, which take place most evenings throughout the sessions. However, only enrolled students and visiting scholars who have paid their tuition are permitted to attend our daytime seminars. (Please note that any additional accommodations needed for EGS student guests, family members, or friends should be arranged directly with whomever the student has booked the accommodations.)

What accommodations are available? What are the costs for accommodations in Saas-Fee, Switzerland? 

The Hotel Allalin is our accommodations partner in Saas-Fee. They provide hotel rooms and apartments for our students, faculty, administration, and staff near our campus and dining facilities. The accommodations include lodging for the duration of the session as well as three meals per day with fellow students. The mandatory accommodation fee must be paid directly to the Hotel Allalin upon arrival in Saas-Fee. It may be paid in cash (CHF/Swiss Francs) or by credit card (add 3%).

Accommodation Fee:  Variable (80-130 CHF) according to the chosen accommodation.

For more information please contact:

Silence Hotel Allalin
Zurbriggen-Pozzi
CH- 3906 Saas-Fee
Tel: +41.27.958.1000
Fax: +41.27.958.1001
Email: info@allalin.ch

What accommodations are available and what are the accommodation costs in Valletta, Malta?

Students make their own accommodation arrangements. For private apartment rentals see: Airbnb; for more standard hotel and pension bookings, please visit accommodation search engines such as: Booking.com.

Average accommodation cost: EUR 60-80.00/day.

What are the best ways to travel to Saas-Fee, Switzerland? 

Please see our detailed travel information page here: Travel to Saas-Fee.

For more information about Saas-Fee, Switzerland, look here: About Saas-Fee.

For travel to Bergamo, Italy, and then to Saas-Fee, look here.

What are the best ways to travel to Valletta, Malta? 

Valletta is easily accessible from most European capitals and serviced by numerous airlines, as well as via ferry from Sicily, Italy.

Please see our detailed travel information page here: Travel to Valletta.

For more information about Valletta, Malta, look here: Valletta.

Do students need a travel visa to attend courses at The EGS, in Saas-Fee, Switzerland or in Valletta, Malta?

This depends on your nationality and/or country of residence. Students must approach their embassies/consulates to inquire about travel restrictions, if any. If a travel visa is required, students should apply well in advance for a short-stay tourist visa, but NOT a long-stay visa. Courses in both sites take place over a short period of time (approximately three weeks), therefore a short-stay tourist visa is sufficient and generally easy to obtain. The EGS will provide letters of enrollment/admission to support students’ short-stay visa applications.

Is it possible to apply to The EGS even if the applicant’s previous undergraduate or graduate degree does not involve special study in philosophy, art, or critical thought? 

Yes, The EGS welcomes applications from students with diverse backgrounds and professional interests.  Students are sometimes concerned that they might not have the preparation for study with some of the high-powered faculty of The EGS, but our faculty know that they are addressing a highly diverse group (and enjoy this) and thereby present their thinking in a manner that makes it publically accessible.  The work of “translation” involved actually makes this a very interesting teaching experience for the faculty.

What is the language of instruction at the EGS?

English.

Does the EGS require TOEFL, IELTS, or English language test scores for application and/or entry? 

Applicants who have not completed a university degree where English was the language of instruction must submit English language test scores. Results should be equivalent to a 95 or higher on the TOEFL or 7 or higher on the IELTS.

In addition to English, is a second or third language required for study at the EGS? 

No. Outside of English, second or third languages are not a requirement for application to The EGS.

Must all application materials be submitted via online and via postal mail? 

We do not require postal submissions.  Please carefully review our application process and follow the application instructions.

Is it possible to apply to the Master’s program at The EGS without having yet obtained a Bachelor’s Degree (or equivalent)? 

Students wishing to begin their MA at The EGS should have completed a BA before beginning coursework at The EGS. However, in exceptional cases, students may apply on the basis of other experience and accomplishments.

If an applicant’s BA degree is incomplete at the time of application but the applicant expects to graduate before beginning seminars at The EGS, the applicant can apply with the following documentation: proof of the applicant’s current undergraduate status including the expected date of graduation, as well as all transcripts to date. Upon completion of the applicant’s BA degree and before beginning coursework at The EGS, the final BA transcripts and a copy of BA diploma must be submitted.

How long does it take to complete the MA degree at The EGS? 

MA students must complete two full sessions of coursework (in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, or Valletta, Malta).  Some students submit an MA thesis quite quickly after the completion of their seminar work, but the normal course of study involves six months to one year of MA thesis supervision. Attending further courses in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, or Valletta, Malta, during a MA student’s third year is optional.

Is it possible to apply to the Doctoral program at The EGS without a Master’s degree? 

Students wishing to enter Doctoral studies at The EGS should have completed their Master’s before beginning coursework for the PhD. In exceptional cases students may apply on the basis of other experience and/or accomplishments.

If an applicant’s MA degree is incomplete at the time of application but the applicant expects to graduate before beginning seminars at The EGS, the applicant can apply with the following documentation: proof of the applicant’s current academic status including the expected date of graduation, as well as all transcripts to date. Upon completion of the applicant’s MA degree and before beginning coursework at The EGS, the final MA transcripts and a copy of the MA diploma must be submitted.

How long does it take to complete the PhD degree at The EGS? 

The general length of a PhD degree is five years years, although students may complete their work in four and can take up to seven years. During the first two years of study, PhD students attend two sessions of seminars (in either Saas-Fee, Switzerland, or Valletta, Malta), followed by two or three years of PhD Dissertation Supervision. Attending further seminars is optional in a student’s third and fourth year of study.

Can I apply and be admitted to both the MA and PhD programs at The EGS at once? 

No, before gaining entry to the PhD program at The EGS, students must successfully complete their master’s degree and apply for admission to the PhD.  Students can plan to move immediately from their MA course work to their PhD course work, provided they submit their MA thesis before undertaking the PhD study.  They should signal their intentions to the Dean or Assistant Dean.

How many seminars are taken during each summer session at The EGS? 

Students enroll in and attend six seminars per session.  It is possible to attend more than one session to complete the 6-seminar requirement, though this requires permission from the Dean.  We urge our students to pursue a full session if it is possible for them to do so because the curriculum is based on the experience involved in a suite of seminars.

What is the structure of a seminar?  Do students have direct contact with all faculty?

Seminars unfold over a three-day period, and last 18 hours in all.  The structure of any given seminar depends on the teaching style of the professor.  Some are more “magisterial” in form (involving more lecturing), some are more based in discussion.  Faculty enjoy complete freedom in designing their seminars.  The normal seminar, however, usually involves a significant portion of lecturing and frequent opportunities for discussion.  Faculty tend to find The EGS teaching experience quite inspiring, and this is due to the contributions of the students.  At the same time, students get a quite substantial teaching contribution from the professors.  The model for a PACT seminar derives from the “North American graduate seminar,” or the professor-led seminars found traditionally in European universities that follow a Humboldtian inspiration.  But it should be underscored that there is a strong cross-disciplinary commitment at The EGS, and that seminars have quite diverse compositions.  This means that seminars do not suffer from disciplinary “specialization” in their structure and manner.  Yes, there are quite concentrated discussions regarding selected texts, questions, or works of art, for example, but these are undertaken in such a way that they are open to everyone who seeks to make the effort.  No particular form or level of academic preparation (beyond the established admission requirements) is needed for study in the PACT program.  Commitment and curiousity are all that are required.

Prospective students have occasionally questioned whether the distinguished faculty of the PACT Division actually teach in the seminars.  We can assure all prospective students that if the professor’s name is attached to a seminar in our course schedule, that professor is directing it and is present (barring health issues or other occasional impediments, in which case we have appropriate professorial substitutions).  Our celebrated faculty would not allow their names to be attached to the institution (and return year after year) if our publicity were not wholly accurate.

We should also note that while we endeavor to bring the leaders of the various fields of research represented by our institution, we sometimes engage professors of lesser recognition.  There is no compromise in quality in such cases.  Frequently, we are bringing in new talent in an effort to stay on the edge of developments in the respective disciplines.  We are more interested in quality than in celebrity.  This follows from the fact that the PACT Division is as much an intellectual society as a degree-granting institution of higher education.

It is also important to emphasize that every EGS session is “curated” in such a way that an overall experience for students (in the course of a session) is prepared in planning.  We do not offer a simple series of seminars; instead, there is a carefully constructed cross-disciplinary curriculum.  This does not prohibit non-matriculated students from joining us for only a few seminars.  But the core of the program has a curricular design.

Finally, as regards the structure of the curriculum: the standard 3-day sessions are complemented by evening lectures (most professors in residence normally present these) and by workshops.  A PACT session is thus quite rich in content and students enjoy more than the seminar work.  In the course of a 24 day session, a strong intellectual and social community emerges.

How do students choose their seminars? 

EGS students are normally assigned to seminars on the basis of their degree program (PAS or LMVT).  The Dean will sometimes assign them to particular seminars (outside the normal track of seminar study for their program) on the basis of their special interests, and it is possible for students to request assignments.  These can be made if space is available.

During the required two or three years of PhD dissertation supervision, do students attend courses in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, or Valletta, Malta?

Many PhD students return to Saas-Fee, Switzerland, or Valletta, Malta in their third or fourth year of studies to attend individual seminars and achieve extra credits, as well as to meet with fellow students, faculty, and advisors.

If a PhD student does not complete the dissertation by the fifth year, are extensions permitted? 

Yes, because many of our students are busy with their professional/academic lives, we do allow for extensions (up to seven years, and with the permission of the Dean of the the PACT division).

Do PhD students at The EGS select their own PhD Supervisor? And, when? 

PhD supervision works much as in traditional academic contexts.  Students gravitate to professors whose field of research or special expertise in some way match their own.  In some cases, it is a matter of personal chemistry.  Professors must agree to undertake supervision (almost all PACT professors serve as supervisors), and in most cases the connection is made smoothly.  In situations where students are not sure who is most appropriate for them, or some difficulty emerges with respect to a research proposal, the Dean helps to arrange supervision.  Suitable arrangements are always found.  The Dean is in fact the default supervisor during those times when students are for some reason without a formal supervisory relation.

Students normally identify a PhD supervisor in the course of their second year of seminar study.

For the processes involved in PhD supervision, one may consult the PhD guidelines.

Are students allowed to attend two intensive seminar sessions in one year? 

Yes.

Can students transfer credits from another school to The EGS? 

A limited number of transfer credits may be possible after a close evaluation of the complete application submitted to the Office of Admissions.

Can students defer coursework between their first and second year? 

Students can only withdraw from the regular schedule of study with permission from the Dean.

Does the PhD Defense take place in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, or Valletta, Malta? 

Yes, Defenses are generally scheduled in Saas-Fee, Switzerland or Valletta, Malta.  They can also be arranged elsewhere with the permission of the student’s Supervisor and the Dean of the PACT division at The EGS.

How much is tuition at The EGS? Does the EGS offer scholarships, grants, financial aid, or other types of funding?

The EGS is a small, non-profit institution funded almost entirely by the tuition of its students, though it has a “matching scholarship” scheme that allows students to augment scholarship money they have secured elsewhere. The EGS is not currently able to offer direct funding. Information regarding current tuition fees as well as Canadian and U.S. Financial Aid (external scholarship opportunities and partnerships to come) can be found on our Admissions page.

Can I complete my degree at The EGS through distance learning/online study?

No. The EGS is a low-residency graduate degree program, but requires attendance in seminars required for degree or certificate study.  All coursework for both the MA and PhD degrees must be completed on-site, in the locations in which the EGS offers its credit-bearing seminars. The EGS does not offer online courses or degrees.

Is there an age limit to apply to The EGS? 

No, our student body comprises a wide range of ages.  We consider this to be a considerable virtue in our program.

Is there some relation between The EGS and institutions such as The Saas Fee Institute or GCAS, which appear to copy or evoke its precedent?  How do you deal with imitators?
There is a marvelous story about a Japanese potter living on a mountain who is told that imitations of his work are being sold in the town below under his name.  The potter, with a smile, tells his informer in this matter not to be concerned:  “The good ones will be attributed to me.  The rest will be dismissed as cheap fakes.”
Ideas for institutions work in a similar way.

Is it possible to apply to and attend The EGS while simultaneously enrolled in another MA or PhD program elsewhere?

Yes, it is possible to apply and attend The EGS while simultaneously enrolled in another MA or PhD program but only if it does not interfere with attendance at The EGS or violate the terms of scholarships that students have obtained from other agencies.

How do current and past EGS students request transcripts? 

Please direct all transcript requests to: admissions@egs.edu.

How do current students obtain letters of enrollment? 

Please direct all requests for “letters of enrollment” to: admissions@egs.edu.

 

For further questions, please write to the Assistant Dean (Nemanja Mitrovic, nemanja.mitrovic@egs.edu), or the Dean (Christopher Fynsk: christopher.fynsk@egs.edu).  You can also direct questions regarding the application and admissions process to Sarah Hannis (admissions@egs.edu).  We will be most pleased to answer any questions or concerns you might have.