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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Below you will find answers to many common questions. Please check this list before contacting us, you might find the answer here.

Questions related to registration

Accepted participants

How to register?
Registration is only possible using the on-line registration form. Registration is conditional until you have paid the invoice (within three weeks of the reception of the invoice. If you applied for the reduced (student) fee a recommendation letter/copy of an official document stating your student status is required to make your registration final.
Who can apply?
Everyone who is interested; there are no formal requirements (besides motivation). The Summer School is targeted towards PhD Students, researchers, teachers etc in the Social Sciences. Note also that many workshops have some prerequisites. The Summer School workshops are conceived for those who need to deepen and widen their methodological knowledge and skills for their research projects and (PhD) thesis. The majority of the participants in the past were PhD students and young researchers (from academia and research institutions both public and private), but it happens more and more that during a career the need for further training in methodology arises. The label “Swiss” only designates the location of the Summer School; in recent years up to 20% of the students came from foreign universities
Can undergraduate students attend?
Although the courses have been mostly conceived to answer the needs of postgraduate students, doctoral students and researchers who need the methods taught in their research projects, there a no formal requirements: anyone who is motivated can apply. As an undergraduate student you might however find it difficult to obtain funds to attend a Summer School.
Is there a deadline for registration?
There is no specific deadline for registration. As long as a workshop is not fully booked, registrations are accepted, only deadline: To confirm your registration, payment has to reach within three weeks after reception of the invoice (or for late registrations a week before the course starts). This being said, most courses fill up quickly and will have a waiting list; and if the waiting list gets too long registration will be closed for that workshops. Popular courses fill up quickly and are usually fully booked a few weeks after registration starts. (Check the “Status” column on the workshop list)


Problems with the on-line application?
Technical problems, like our server not working (problems, maintenance periods), disturbances on the Internet or in your local network, happen. Waiting some time usually makes the problem go away. If you experience other internet related problems (web browsing, e-mail) the problem might be local or even specific to your computer. If nothing helps, drop us a note.
What happens if I send the form more than once?
Unless you have already received your invoice, we will only take into account the last form you have sent. In our experience a number of registrants change their mind or need to make corrections soon after they registered. If you wish to make corrections etc weeks later please do not use on-line registration but send us an e-mail instead. [see this]
When do I receive my confirmation/invoice?
We send out invoices/confirmations weekly after registration opens, less frequently later when the number of registrations decreases (every 10-15 days), a bit longer during the Easter period and during and summer vacations. If you did not receive your invoice/confirmation two weeks after registration, something went wrong (on-line registration problem, e-mail problems [bad e-mail address etc]) and you should contact us.
Do I receive a confirmation of payment (receipt)?
Yes. FORS will send you a confirmation e-mail when payment has arrived. The application is conditional until reception of the payment within 5 weeks. If the payment has not arrived within the five weeks, you will receive a reminder e-mail. Note that we will only send a single reminder. If you do not pay within the deadline specified in the reminder e-mail, your application will be cancelled without further notice.
When I try to register (again) a message tells me that I have already used the application form?. What should I do?
This means that you or someone else has already used the same computer, using the same id (in fact the same browser, as this message is based on a cookie that has been set) to register. Please see the next message on how to proceed.
I would like to change my registration. What should I do?
If you would like to change your workshop selection, add a workshop or cancel one of the workshops, please do not use the on-line application form a second time. Send an email to and explain what you would like to change.
Do I receive information before the Summer School starts?
Normally, other than the invoice/confirmation and the reception of your payment, you will not receive any personal message from us. (Possible exception: a reminder e-mail, if payment does not reach us within the three week period after reception of the invoice.) All information regarding the Summer School can be found on this website
Reduced fee
You can apply for the reduced fee if you are student (any level: bachelor, master, PhD, post-doctoral). You need to send proof of your student status, copy of a (valid) student id, letter of recommendation from your supervisor, or any document that shows that you are currently as student.To whom do I need to send a recommendation letter for the reduced fee?Ask your supervisor to send a recommendation letter either by postal mail to FORS or e-mail to the Summer School director.
Does the Summer School offer any grant or subsidy?
No, the Summer School is financed exclusively by participant’s fee and has no resources of its own. Some advice] for seeking financial support.
Does the Swiss National Science Foundation offer grants for Summer Schools?
No, the SNF does not offer grants to attend Summer Schools. (The SNF offered grants in the past (until 2013), but no longer does).
I have been placed on the waiting list. What does this mean?
When a workshop you have selected is full, you will be placed on a waiting list, i.e. you cannot attend that workshop, unless a place becomes free for that workshop. You will not receive a confirmation/invoice or any message from us, until a place becomes free.When a place becomes free, we will send you an e-mail message informing you (we will also send an invoice/confirmation). When you receive the message, please reply as soon as possible, to let us know if you are still interested or if you have made other plans. This is especially important when a place becomes free, just a few weeks before the Summer School starts and you are not able to accept our offer, to give us the opportunity to inform the next registrant on the waiting list.
I have been placed on the waiting list for one workshop, but have been accepted for another.
You will then receive an invoice/confirmation only for the workshop you have been accepted for. You have to pay within three weeks (or less when you register close to the Summer School) to make the registration final. You cannot wait to find out whether a place becomes available for the other workshop.
I have been placed on the waiting list. What are my chances to attend the workshop?
Places become available when another participant cancels his or her registration or if a registrant does not confirm his or her application by paying the course fees within three weeks of the reception of the invoice (shorter delays for last minute applications).Our experience shows that your chance of being accepted when placed on the waiting list is decreasing over time as the Summer School approaches. Places become free:

  • During the first period (the first six to twelve weeks after registration opens, i.e. February to April/May, later for less popular workshops) up to 25% of the registrants cancel or are removed, for one of the following reasons:
    1. Registrants are unable to get funding to attend the Summer School.
    2. A number of participants cancel for personal reasons (changing plans).
    3. Not paying the fee in time despite a reminder e-mail. There are up to 10% of registrants (especially from outside Europe) who apply, but we never hear from them again, except sometimes an e-mail requesting financial aid, we cannot offer.

    If you register early and are placed on a waiting list, chances are quite good for you to attend. If you are still on the waiting list after late April/early May, chances to attend are decreasing.

  • As the Summer School approaches, cancellations are usually linked to much rarer, unforeseen events (personal life). (A late cancellation implies that the workshop fees are not reimbursed, fully or partially). [See Cancellation rules]
Can I earn ECTS credits from the Summer School?
Currently, the Summer School cannot grant credits. It is organized by FORS, a foundation that does not grant any degrees. However many students were able to obtain credits for attending Summer School workshops at their home institution, i.e. the home institution agreed to recognize the attendance of one or two workshops, and granted credits for it.If you consider using Summer School workshops to obtain credits (ECTS), you will have to investigate at your home institution (contact the person/institute responsible for your degree) to find out whether they recognize the Summer School, how many credits can be earned from a workshop/course with roughly 35 hours of teaching, no graded work and no exams. (We only deliver a Certificate of attendance, i.e. we certify your presence). Make sure to investigate this matter before registering, if this is important to you.
What are the conditions to receive the certificate of attendance?
We will deliver a “Certificate of attendance”, when you assist all five days. Absences (half day increments) will be noted on the Certificate. We do not deliver a certificate to a participant who has attended less than three full days.
Do I have to be present all five days?
Yes. It does not make sense at all to attend a workshop partially. The workshops are very intensive, both the more formal presentations (50% of the time) and the practical work on assignments and project work (50% of the time). Not being here disrupts you learning experience and those of your fellow students. Many workshops will have an important group-project component and these projects are defined at the beginning and presented on the last day.
What are the cancel fees, if I decide to cancel my registration?
See the cancellation rules in this documentFees
What happens if a workshop is cancelled due to too few participants?
If there are not enough confirmed participants by June 1st, a workshop may be cancelled up to that date. If that happens, you will be informed by email. You will then have two choices: (1) Ask us to reimburse the course fees. (2) Attend one of the other workshops, unless they are fully booked.
How do I prepare the Summer School?
Check the section on prerequisites and readings in the workshop description. Consider clearly how the skills and knowledge you will acquire fit into your projects. Depending on the topic and didactic options, some workshop instructors encourage you to present your own data or problems, but – to avoid disappointment – do not expect, time being short, that all your problems will be solved. Again, carefully read the workshop description to understand what to expect.
Do I need to bring a laptop and install software on it?
Unless stated in the workshop description, no laptop is required. All practical work (for workshops using computer software) will be done in the computing labs of the University and all necessary software will be installed there. You can, of course, work on your own computer, if the software the workshop uses is correctly installed and if you have, for commercial software, a valid license for it. Do not forget to have a USB stick handy to copy data and other material the instructor might provide from the lab computers to your personal computer.
Does the Summer School organize drinks (breaks) and meals?
No this is a Summer University. No drinks and meals are provided. There is a restaurant in the main building, as well as various vending machines (drinks, snacks). There is, however, a welcome reception on Monday (first and second week).