Doctoral Students’ salary

The vast majority of doctoral candidates are employed and paid as doctoral assistants. They conduct research towards their doctorate, participate in teaching undergraduates, and help in the smooth running of their research unit. They therefore benefit from a dual status of student and employee.

Various funding sources

Funding for assistant positions comes from various sources, including grants from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), the Commission for Technology and Innovation, and the European Research Council, as well as other national and international research agencies, from other public sources, and from private industry. The basic starting salary of an EPFL doctoral assistant is CHF 54’550.- gross per annum (valid from 01.01.2024). The full salary scale is available here.

A registration fee (at the beginning of your studies), and a doctoral tax (at the completion of your studies) are charged (see Ordonnance sur les taxes and the webpage « Doctoral Studies »). If you receive a scholarship from your home country, EPFL has a policy of ensuring you receive an income equivalent to that of internally-funded doctoral students.

Please note that you must be admitted by a doctoral program before you can be hired as a doctoral assistant. In some cases, candidates will be admitted by a doctoral program that does not have a corresponding funded position available. Those candidates remain eligible for hiring during 1 year if funding occurring. They also have the possibility to look for individual scholarships and funding.

  • Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships: Only if you are admitted by a doctoral program that does not have a corresponding funded position available, the PhD Scholarship is an interesting option.
  • Fellowships: if you are admitted by a program that does not have a corresponding funded position available and your field of research can relate to a field of humanities or social sciences, the fellowships is an interesting option.

Some of our doctoral students are employed by external research labs. If this situation applies to you, please contact your doctoral program for further information.