Q&A: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and protective measures for PhD Students

This Q&A explains the special measures for PhD Students taken in light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The information may change to account for future decisions taken by the School as the situation evolves.

Solutions will be found so that you can finalize your PhD under good (properly financed, deadlines extended, etc.) conditions. So please:

  • Discuss with your thesis Director the consequences of a possible delay in your thesis
  • If this does not lead to a reasonable solution, contact your Doctoral Program or EPFL’s Doctoral School ([email protected])


  • Deadlines for the Candidacy Exam and the Oral Thesis Exam can be postponed when there are delays related to COVID-19. An extension request can be submitted on the Doctoral Program

Teachers will get in touch directly with their PhD students to inform them of the resumption of those courses and conditions.

For specific questions on a certain doctoral course, please contact the concerned Doctoral Program.

You will be required to show a COVID certificate to attend all classes and exercise sessions. This takes effect on 21 September.

All classes will be taught in hybrid mode, which means that students who don’t have a COVID certificate will not be excluded. For lab work, project work and practicals, students without a COVID certificate may participate provided that they wear a face mask and maintain an appropriate distance from others.

Candidacy/Oral Thesis exams can be held by videoconference or in person with a hybrid format (in person and by Zoom for some participants). For those attending in person, a COVID certificate is required.

By videoconference: The Jury President is responsible for the management of the exam (Candidacy/Oral Thesis exams). The best option is that the Jury President initiates the videoconference (e.g., have the “host” role on Zoom). This allows the president to mute/unmute participant(s).

Public thesis defences can be held on campus

Requests for public thesis defenses must be submitted to Mediacom Events via the online form at least five business days in advance. A COVID certificate is required. All information, including the online form, protection plans, and consumption of food and drinks, can be found on the Events page.

All information can be found on the Studies information Q&A page.

For any questions about the objectives of EPFL’s continuity plan, such as the health & safety guidelines, study-related activities, work- and association-related activities, outside speakers & visitors, please consult the Current directives page.

For any of those questions, please consult the Human resources section and Travel page.

Social and psychotherapeutic support is always available (see especially the Support for PhD students page).