Agreement with HES-SO

EPFL and HES-SO signed an agreement to have some researchers from the HES-SO being able to supervise EPFL PhD students (September 1st, 2017).

Based on the HES-SO – EPFL agreement certain professors of the HES-SO will submit their file to candidate for an EPFL MER (maître d’enseignement et de recherche) title. A MER nomination would allow them to supervise EPFL PhD candidates as thesis director within an EPFL doctoral program (all regular EPFL rules concerning the MER nomination and the PhD supervision will need to be respected).

The agreement is expected to give EPFL access to projects/theses that are more oriented towards technical applications, which are the expertise of the HES-SO and are often done in close collaboration with local industry.



On the HES-SO side, the interested professors (who hold a PhD and have demonstrated high level of expertise in a certain field) send their files to the HES-SO direction ([email protected]) for validation of their candidacy for an EPFL MER title.

HES-SO sends the validated and accepted files to the Doctoral School ([email protected]), which distributes them over the concerned EPFL faculties for their evaluation. These candidates follow the same procedure as EPFL internal MER candidates (to fulfil the same requirements and meet the same standards).

The external MER becomes part of the concerned doctoral program community. S/He remains an HES-SO employee, but follows EPFL regulations regarding the thesis supervision.

Concerning the admission of doctoral candidates, articles 4 and 5 of the Ordinance are the relevant articles, thus in particular:

  • Doctoral candidates are evaluated on their entire file (there is no guaranteed admission based on a certain diploma, grades, etc.)
  • The required level for starting a PhD at EPFL is the level of an EPF Master’s degree. If needed the doctoral program defines admission conditions (a significant number of courses/ECTS to be succeeded before the candidacy exam)

The doctoral candidates who are supervised by a MER who is affiliated to the HES-SO are regular EPFL doctoral candidates (these EPFL doctoral candidates may be HES-SO employees), and need to fulfil all regular EPFL PhD requirements as specified in the Ordinance, Directives, program regulations, and Cdoct decisions. They belong to one of the EPFL doctoral programs.

They obtain an EPFL doctorate degree if s/he succeeds.