He studied at the University of Basel, University of Heidelberg, University of Bern, and University of Paris.
He received his doctorate in law, summa cum laude, from the University of Heidelberg in 1867.
Gobat practiced law at Deleinont from 1868 to 1882.
In the latter year he became a radical member of the Great Council of Bern.
Two years later he became a member of the Federal Council of States, and a member of the National Council in 1890.
He was famous as an advocate of international peace, and for his work in this direction he shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Elie Ducommun in 1902.
He recorded his impressions of a visit to America in Croquis et impressions d'Amériqued'Amerique (1904). He became head of the International Bureau of Peace at Bern in 1907.