Doctoral studies at EPFL
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne is one of two federal institutes of technology in Switzerland that grants a doctorate (PhD) as its highest level academic degree.
The Doctoral Programs are at the core of EPFL’s doctoral studies and stand out among Europe’s research universities.
Each Doctoral Program brings together the resources of EPFL’s research units around a specific scientific interest. The program organizes the recruitment of its doctoral candidates, provides them with an administrative and intellectual community on campus, and offers them a menu of advanced courses.
Each program is headed by a Director, and is run by a secretariat and a committee. In order to encourage the transdisciplinarity and cross-fertilization of ideas that EPFL is famous for, the doctoral programs are independent of research institutes and schools.
The content of doctoral studies
EPFL regards the doctorate as your first professional steps as a researcher destined for the public or private sector. Your original doctoral research is at the core of your PhD and is written up in your doctoral thesis. Your research is carried out under the guidance and supervision of your thesis director (and sometimes a co-director) and your progress is regularly monitored by your doctoral program.
To graduate, each doctoral candidate takes a minimum of twelve credit units (one credit unit corresponds to 28 hours of instruction and independent work), in addition to completing and successfully defending their doctoral thesis. The minimum number of credits required by some programs may be higher: you should find out more from the program that interests you.
Every doctoral candidate has the opportunity to take part in teaching activities, from the lecture hall to one-on-one. Teaching is an essential part of learning and develops skills with application in all walks of life.
EPFL places a strong emphasis on the development of your transferable skills and preparing you for your future career. As a doctoral student and research assistant, a huge range of courses are available to you to broaden your skills in everything from languages and communication to management and leadership.
Financing your doctoral studies
EPFL doctoral students are usually enrolled with a dual status as employees of the school. You are paid a monthly salary as a research assistant and receive employee benefits such as professional training courses and social security. EPFL salaries are competitive with the best of Europe’s research universities and reflect Swiss standards of living.
The EPFL does not charge tuition fees for doctoral students. A small administration fee is charged at the completion of your studies.
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