EDCH For PhD Students

To be formally admitted to start a doctoral thesis at the EPFL, the PhD student must successfully pass the candidacy examination at the end of the 1st year of doctoral studies (art. 6 and 8 al. 1 let. a of the Ordinance on the Doctorate and art. 8 al. 1 and 2 of the Directives concerning doctoral studies at the EPFL). The candidacy examination is an oral presentation of 20 minutes by the PhD student about the research proposal. It is followed by questions from the jury regulated by Jury President. The PhD student must demonstrate the originality of thesis subject, the objectives and methods envisaged, as well as the hypothesis and related scientific arguments, including the general context of the thesis subject, state of the art of research in the area, position of the doctoral students work within the research area, plan and methodology for the research project as well as the timeframe for its completion.

The jury proposal should be filled minimum 2 weeks prior to the exam date. The research plan (= pdf report ), included signed cover page (PhD advisor(s) and PhD student), should be sent to the EDCH program administration min. 7 days ahead of the exam date before noon. Failure to meet this deadline could result in cancelling of the exam. Postponement of the exam due to failure of meeting this deadline is up to the jury and who will notify EDCH office. In case of EDCH administration absence notification the research plan should be sent directly to the jury members copying EDCH administration office.

Structure your research plan (report) – see guidelines Research Plan if needed.

The jury of the candidacy exam is composed of a PhD advisor and the thesis co-advisor (if any), as well as one expert. The expert must be external of the laboratory affiliated with one of the Doctoral programs at EPFL, proposed by the PhD advisor(s) and approved by the EDCH program director. The chair of the jury  must be from the EDCH pre-validated list of possible chairs. The mentor cannot be jury member.
Where The exam is preferably in person. However, the chair has the discretion to deviate (hybrid/zoom) if the PhD student agrees. The EDCH program must be informed ahead of the exam.

Travel Award: PhD students can apply up until the end of the month following their oral thesis exam. The event must take place no later than within this timeframe.

The 6 month report (check-list) should be filled, signed by the PhD student, PhD advisor(s) and mentor and handed in 6 months after registration into the program. Maximum possible deadline is 8 months. This is the ideal moment for the PhD student to meet with his/her mentor.

Deadline Group 1: November 1st
Deadline Group 2: May 1st

Visit our webpage dedicated to mentoring

EDCH PhD internal coaching program.

Help 1st year PhD students discover PhD life in EDCH -moving to Switzerland, candidacy exams, activities to do in Lausanne, lab culture, anything useful or new! We will send an email for each new round of coaching, every 3 months, for which coaches will be able to sign up to coach one or more students.
IMPORTANT: There will never be any obligation, and you can stop being a coach anytime.


Towards the end of your PhD, if for a valid reason the oral thesis exam cannot take place within the four year time-limit, you need to ask  for a prolongation using this form. Any request for prolongation beyond 6months needs careful monitoring. Assignment of a mini-committee within EDCH to follow-up the timelines.

Before the given deadline for jury proposal submission. You can find this information on your ISA portal.

Fill this form and submit to [email protected]. Your request will be automatically approved if a date of the oral exam is fixed, if not we  get back to you for a short meeting to discuss your particular situation.

Request length:
Please be aware that maximum 6months can be granted per request. For requests beyond 6months the program committee will be involved.

The candidacy exam takes place in your 12th month. However, if due to exceptional circumstances your exam may cannot take place during the 12th month after registration into the program contact  [email protected].

Due to exceptional circumstances your first year ECTS situation has not been fulfilled prior to the candidacy exam? contact [email protected]