These are the EDCB Program specific application guidelines
Students are required to have strong quantitative background.
The program is designated to students with degrees in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and engineering and computer science. Biology students need to have a proven quantitative background.
Eligible candidates must have a Masters Degree or equivalent. Candidates with a four-year Bachelors Degree may be considered as well (depending on the undergraduate institution and performance there); these students may be admitted with special requirements, depending on their background.
You can indicate on your application form which labs and/or Professors you are interested in. Furthermore, please feel free to contact the Professor(s) of interest as well to see directly with them if they have any open positions, as it’s always good to have a personal contact and as new PhD opportunities become available throughout the year.
We recommend that EDCB candidates provide us with the results of their GRE test.
Much more than an English test, the general GRE test evaluates your general skills. This is helpful to the evaluators as without it, it is difficult to have a proper basis for comparison in the selection process. If you are NOT planning on taking the GRE, please mention this in your application, as well as the reason for this.
The TOEFL test is highly recommended for students who have not followed more than three years of study in English.
For details on the GRE as well as the TOEFL tests, please check their websites directly.
April 15 and November 1 each year
The application process includes an online candidature completed with 3 reference letters and academic records.
You can also view the Frequently Asked Questions
All required documents, including the referee evaluations, must be received before the application deadline (April 15th or November 1st). Therefore, please contact your 3 referees enough in advance before the application deadline and validate your application well before the deadline. In doing so, request letters are automatically sent to them via email.
STEP 1 – EDCB review commission
The applications will be reviewed by the EDCB Program Commission members on a competitive basis. Some applications will be rejected at this stage.
STEP 2 – Personal interviews & matching you with a host lab
Should your application get a first positive evaluation from the PhD Program Commission, you will receive an invitation to come to the EPFL for personal interviews or to participate in a joint selection process (Hiring Days) taking place approx. 10-12 weeks after the application deadline on the EPFL campus.
During hiring sessions where the EDCB Program participates in joint Hiring Days, the applicants have the opportunity to present their Master work in front of a review panel that will decide on the final acceptance into the program. Our lab heads hiring PhD candidates will present their labs and the project for which they have an open position. A wonderful opportunity to meet other EPFL PhD students.
During hiring sessions where the EDCB Program decides that individual interviews will be conducted by the hiring lab heads, you will also present your Master work and they will recommend you to the EDCB Committee that will make a final decision (admission into the program or rejection).
In order to facilitate the matching process, we STRONGLY recommend that you contact by email the head of the lab(s) you are interested in before or while you apply. You will find some keywords about the research areas of our affiliated thesis directors on the EDCB Program Members page.
The candidates will be informed of the decisions shortly after the Hiring Days. Candidates who have successfully passed the 2 selection steps and been matched with a host lab will be admitted. Those who have not would be rejected. A minority may be deemed admissible into the program provided that they find a host lab within a few months.
Interviews and lab visits held in January and June.
Due to the Coronavirus, the 16-18 June 2021 Hiring Days will take place remotely. Invited applicants will not need to be available during the whole period and their individual presentations will take place on Thursday 17 and Friday afternoon June 18, 2021. The program will follow as soon as possible (update of 14.05.2021).
There are 2 rounds of evaluations – application evaluations and interviews at the Hiring Days. If your application is positively reviewed by the commission, you will be invited to the Hiring Days which take place approximately 2.5 months after the deadline.
The standard Hiring Days last 2.5 days.
Day 1 – half day of general information about EPFL, the School of Life Sciences and EDCB, as well as the presentations of the PhD positions offered.
Day 2 – Student presentations of their Master’s work for the EDCB review panel, Lausanne city tour, first round of individual interviews with Professors hiring & Lab visits.
Day 3 – Individual interviews with Professors hiring & Lab visits – students usually visit several labs, based on their interests and on the availability of the Professors
The majority of housing, food and travel costs are covered by the program.