EDCH For PhD Students

To be formally admitted to start a doctoral thesis at the EPFL, the doctoral student must successfully pass the candidacy examination at the end of his/her 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 doctoral student about his<her research proposal. It is followed by questions from the jury regulated by Jury President. The doctoral student must demonstrate the originality of his/her 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), 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.

The jury of the candidacy exam is composed of a PhD advisor and the thesis co-advisor (if any), as well as two experts (external of the laboratory and minimum title Docteur ès Sciences) proposed by the PhD advisor(s) and approved by the EDCH program director. One of the experts chairs the jury and must be internal of the EPFL.

The bi-annual 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.

During his/her doctoral thesis work, the doctoral student has the obligation to submit an annual report, the first time one year after the candidacy exam, on the progress of his work to the PhD advisor, who in turn provides written input and reports to the EDCH program director within a deadline of one month (art. 10 al. 3 and al. 4 of the Ordinance on the Doctorate).
The coverpage
Will be made available to the PhD student in due time.
Lenght: 3-5 pages
Deadline Group 1: November 1st
Deadline Group 2: May 1st

Visit our webpage dedicated to mentoring

EPFL has set up the Self Care program to support all employees during this particular time caused by COVID 19.All staff members, including PhDs, are entitled to benefit from 2 coaching sessions, 45 minutes each, in French or in English, without having to submit any request.The objective is to allow each employee to maintain the right personal and professional balance, during this particular period that is likely to continue for some time.

The coaching sessions offer support, practical tools and concrete tips to cope with the difficulties typical to the situation we are all currently facing.

This service is strictly confidential and no prior authorization is required. This service is provided by external coaches who are bound by strict confidentiality agreements. EPFL will not have access to names nor any information shared with the coaches.

To benefit from this support, please contact your coach directly: [email protected].

The Happy-at-Work team will get back to you within 24 hours to schedule your first coaching session on Zoom, Skype or WhatsApp.



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.

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. Subsequent requests will either require a date of the oral exam or a detailed plan with the timeline for the completion of the thesis

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]