Instruments and definitions

All the processes are systematically monitored with the help of specific instruments. Instruments are listed alphabetically and are classified according to quality guiding principles (in red).

Legal framework

Electronic compendium of EPFL laws, ordinances, regulations and directive, here.
Electronic compendium of EPFL laws, ordinances, regulations and directive, here.
The Recueil systématique du droit fédéral (RS) is a collection of current and updated Swiss legislation.

Accountability and access to data

Annual report
EPFL sends the ETH Board an annual report, financial report and risk assessment report every year as part of its accountability requirements. All annuals reports are available here.
EPFL in figures
EPFL academic indicators are available here.
Internal control system (ICS)
EPFL has an internal control system that was introduced in line with Federal regulations. The ICS is overseen by the internal audit team of the ETH Board, as required by Art. 35abis, para. 1 of the ETH Act and Art. 11 of the Federal Audit Office Act. See also Lex 1.7.1.
Performance reviews of EPFL employees
Administrative employees undergo annual performance reviews with their managers. These assessments are carried out in a collaborative manner, and objectives are set jointly for the coming year. The goal is to discuss areas of improvement and identify training opportunities.
Risk assessment
Every year, unit and department heads conduct a risk assessment that evaluates the probability of a risk event occurring and the severity of that event – both before and after factoring in any mitigation measures. The most significant risks are communicated to EPFL’s Direction and the ETH Board. Should a risk event occur, the EPFL’s President informs the ETH Board. See also Lex 1.4.3.
Target agreement and development plan
The target agreement  is based on the EPFL’s development plan, which is aligned with the ETH Board’s strategic plan for the ETH Domain and with the strategic objectives defined by the Federal Council.

Participation in decision process

Academic Dialogue
The Deans of the EPFL Schools and Colleges determine their faculty recruitment strategy with the EPFL Direction during academic dialogues. They also report on the progress of recruitments already initiated.
Administrative Commissions and Committees
Several commissions and committees are in place to oversee administrative procedures (such as for admissions, exams, complaints, etc.). Commissions on research ethics (e.g., the EPFL Animal Research Ethics Committee and the EPFL Human Research Ethics Committee) are overseen by the VPA; the committee on risk management is overseen by the VPF; and the catering commission is overseen by the VPO. This list of commissions is not exhaustive. The Academic Strategic Committee (ASC) stated its activities in 2023. The Global Ethics and Partnerships Committee (GEP) has been launched in 2024.
Dialogue with industrial partners
Bilateral interviews with strategic industrial partners located at the EPFL Innovation Park are conducted to assess the overall satisfaction of the collaboration with EPFL. In addition, all collaboration opportunities with EPFL are documented in a CRM that allows the follow-up of the relationship and satisfaction. Dialogues and tools are the responsibility of VPI.
Dialogue Meeting with the ETH Board
During the Dialogue Meeting with the ETH Board, EPFL’s President and the EPFL Direction submit progress reports and discuss planned strategic developments.
Dialogue with student representatives
Student representatives sit on the EPFL Assembly and play an important role in the governance. They take part in governance-related consultation procedures, for example. For matters related to degree programs, they provide feedback to the Section Directors’ Conference (CDS) and meet regularly with different AVP.
Class delegates within each Section help design and assess course curricula and provide input through surveys. See also the Lex 2.11.7.
Doctoral Commission and PhD Programme Committees
Each doctoral programme is supervised by a committee. It organizes the recruitment of its doctoral students, approves the study plans and the program regulations, sets up the mentoring system, and assists the program director in administrative and academic matters. See also Lex 2.4.1.
All doctoral program directors meet regularly in the EPFL Doctoral Commission (Cdoct).
EPFL Assembly (AE)
Under the ETH Act, all EPFL professors, teachers, students and employees should be involved in preliminary decision-making processes and provide their input on the School’s governance system. This process of collecting comments and suggestions is the main function of the EPFL Assembly.
EPFL Committee of Academic Evaluation and School Committee of Academic Evaluation (CEA)
The EPFL Committee of Academic Evaluation (CEAE) guarantees compliance with standards of excellence at the international level and consistency within EPFL, as part of the promotion process for faculty careers.

Each School has a School Committee of Academic Evaluation (CEA), that interviews the candidate, makes an in-depth evaluation of the candidature and submits its opinion to the School Dean.
EPFL Teachers’ Council (CCE)
The EPFL Teachers’ Council (CCE) represents all EPFL teachers, in accordance with Article 17 of the ETH Board bylaws. The CCE’s role is to advise EPFL Direction on all teaching-related issues.
Faculty Councils
The School Council is the body exercising participation rights, as required in the Lex 1.2.9.

Sections Committees and Boards

The Teaching Committee works within each section to help develop study plans and exam procedures. The committee also makes sure that teaching-related rules are implemented properly, conducts assessments and suggests changes and improvements. As example see, SV teaching commission.

The Sections are free to determine the missions and the responsibilities of the Academic Committees. Usually, they act as peer reviewers, advisory board or assure that the courses included in study plans meet the required learning objectives and that the rulebook is updated. If necessary, the adjustments are proposed and further discussed with the Teaching Committee. As example, see ENAC-SGC.

Each Section has an Advisory Committee comprised of experts representing fields where its graduates are likely to work, whether in industry, academia or the public sector. The committees provide recommendations on the design and improvement of degree programs. See SMA Advisory Board, as example.

Section Directors’ Conference (CDS)

The CDS expresses its opinion on teaching issues and strategies at EPFL and takes a position in consultation procedures, particularly those relating to study plans and the assessment of knowledge. It proposes all useful measures to ensure the coordination of the sections in their actions for education. The CDS publishes all documents on a SharePoint (with restricted access).

Periodic evaluation

Accreditation of Master’s programmes by the CTI
 EPFL engineer Master’s programmes are regularly accredited since 1998 by the Commission des titres d’ingénieur (CTI). They also carry the EUR-ACE label.
Evaluations of EPFL Schools, Colleges, and Centers
Regulary, the EPFL’s Direction commission an independent expert to review their academic performance of EPFL Schools and Colleges. The experts’ findings and the following action plan are communicated to the ETH Board as part of the Dialogue meeting. The follow-up takes place one year later. These evaluations are carried out in three steps: developing the terms of reference, completing a self-evaluation and conducting the assessment. The action plan is presented to the ETH Board for approval. A follow-up is performed one year later. More information here.

EPFL Centers are evaluated every 4 years as required by the Lex 1.2.12.
Internal audits by the ETH Board
The ETH Board’s internal audit team evaluates EPFL’s risk management processes, internal control system and governance processes. EPFL’s Direction then reviews the Board’s findings and takes any necessary corrective actions. See also Lex 1.4.3 and Lex 1.7.1.
Institutional accreditation
EPFL’s quality management system is assessed as part of its institutional accreditation process (as set forth in Article 28 of the Swiss Higher Education Act) using the national standards set by the Swiss Agency of Accreditation and Quality Assurance (AAQ). This process contains three steps: a self-evaluation, a peer assessment and a decision made by the Swiss Accreditation Council. A panel of international experts also conducts an assessment of five areas: quality assurance, governance, education, research and services, resources, and internal and external communications. EPFL went through the procedure for the first time in 2021.
IT Audits
IT security is crucial for EPFL, as stated in Lex 6.5.1. It is also one of the main risks identified during the EPFL’s risk management procedure. EPFL has therefore introduced a series of internal controls, and the ETH Board reviews this risk as part of its audits.
Occupational health and safety audits
EPFL’s Safety, Security and Facilites Operations Domain (VPO-SE) oversees occupational health and safety at EPFL schools and colleges and conducts audits, as specified in Lex 1.5.1. The ETH Board also performs regular audits to make sure all EPFL employees have a safe and healthy place to work, recommending improvements as needed.
Swiss Federal Audit Office (SFAO)
The Swiss Federal Audit Office audits EPFL’s annual consolidated financial statements and, occasionally, finance-related business processes.

Stakeholder satisfaction

Alumni survey and internal evaluation of Bachelor and Master programmes
An internal evaluation of the programs for sections’ steering groups is organized every 3 years. The evaluation of the Bachelor’s programs is based on surveys of Master’s students who have completed their Bachelor’s degree at EPFL, this of Master programs is based on a periodic survey of Alumni.
In-depth course evaluation
For all classes, the corresponding Section asks students for a more in-depth evaluation through a questionnaire covering a variety of topics. See here and 2.5.1.
Job-placement survey
The job placement survey of recent graduates covers topics such as how long it took them to find a job, how many jobs they applied for and what their starting salaries were. The most recent survey is available here (in French only).
Students’ indicative feedback on classes
In an effort to continually improve their classes and teaching methods, EPFL teachers and Sections ask students for their feedback through a single question sent out the 5th week of the semester. This provides a general idea of how classes are going.
PhD student survey
The Doctoral School conducts in-depth surveys (2005, 2012, 2019) to assess the quality of its doctoral education, asking doctoral students about their expectations, experiences and well-being.
Survey of student life at Swiss universities
The Swiss Federal Statistical Office periodically carries out an online, quantitative survey of students at Swiss higher education institutions (SSEE) in order to obtain data on their living and study conditions.


Updated by Ewa Mariéthoz, on May 7, 2024.