Admission to our program is centralized and highly competitive. The program is entirely in English with a duration of 4-6 years. During their first year, students should take at least one advanced course, participate in research projects, and pass a candidacy exam. Doctoral students also participate in the teaching activities of the school as teaching assistants and therefore acquire teaching skills. The program supports all admitted students financially at competitive salaries.
Admitted students enter the program in September.
New! Our current EPFL IC PhDs (EPIC) edited an applying to PhD guide, which includes tips and words of wisdom from their direct experience. They also gathered volunteers to review the application material (SoPs and resumes), of applicants who might lack mentorship.
Applications must be submitted prior to December 15. This is the primary deadline for admission to the program, with an invitation to our Open House for the fellowship recipients. There is a second round of admissions with the deadline of April 15 where a relatively much smaller number of candidates who did not apply in the first round are considered.
Application, Step by Step
At the time of enrolment with this doctoral program, an applicant should have a four or five-year Bachelor’s or Master’s degree with a rigorous background in computer science, communication systems, electrical engineering, mathematics, physics and/or related fields.
Admissions decisions in the EDIC program are made by a centralized committee. This means that you do not need to contact faculty or find an advisor in order to apply. Instead, we strongly recommend that you go through the webpages of the EDIC affiliated labs to identify the research areas and to familiarize yourself with the work of the faculty members that are of most interest to you. You will need to include this information in the application form as well as your statement of purpose.
Grade records* from all attended universities, at undergraduate (BS) and graduate (MS) level. Upload to your application unofficial copies (PDFs) of transcripts for all university-level coursework. Transcripts must include all grade records and the grading scale used by the institution. If you are admitted into the EDIC program and you accept our offer of admission, the registrar’s office at EPFL will require an official transcript of your most recent degree. They will contact you directly with instructions, after your enrollment in September.
Diplomas* (as far as already available) or an attestation issued by your registrar’s office stating that you are in their undergraduate or graduate program, and when your degree certificate is expected to be issued. If your registrar cannot provide an official attestation, please upload a brief note (PDF) detailing when you will complete all the requirements to obtain your degree (be sure to include the date).
Curriculum Vitae (CV), in English. Outline your education, relevant internships, research and industry experience, publications, scholarships awarded, prizes and honors received, and extracurricular activities.
Statement of Purpose, in English. Prepare a concise one or two-page essay that describes your primary areas of interest, the faculty you would like to work with, your related research experience and your objectives in pursuing a PhD with EDIC. When describing your interests, you should explain why you think they are important areas of study and why you are particularly well-suited to pursue them.
Three letters of recommendation. Recommendations from professors are highly preferred, however, letters from employers in industry are acceptable. Regardless of who your referees are, the letters should demonstrate your academic and research ability and potential. Character references do not carry much weight. As a courtesy, you should ask your referees ahead of time if they are willing to supply a recommendation letter to support your application.
A copy of your passport or official identity document showing your name in full.
All documents must be uploaded in unprotected PDF format, max. 2MB per document.
(*) If diplomas and grades are not originally in English, French, German or Italian, please provide copies of certified translations into English.
When submitting the form, specify the cumulative GPA at the time of application exactly in the format provided by your school on your transcripts, without attempting to rescale it to 0-100 or 0-4 or adapt it to any specific system. Do not give the GPA of the last semesters only, nor the GPA of your major only, but use the cumulative GPA. If your school does not compute an official GPA, please simply compute an average of all your grades, ideally with grades weighted by the number of credits of the courses. If you come from the German system, do not worry: we are aware that 1.0 is the best possible grade.
We expect that you are proficient in spoken and written English. If you are not a native speaker of English or have not received your degree from an institution where the only language of instruction is English, we require that you submit the results of a recognized English-language test (see list below) by the chosen application deadline: December 15 or April 15.
Self-reported scores should be recorded on the application form. A scanned PDF copy of the test results should also be uploaded when submitting the application.
Accepted English-language tests and minimum score requirements:
- TOEFL iBT internet-based: 100 (*)
- TOEFL iBT® Special Home Edition: 100 (*)
- IELTS Academic: 7.0
- Cambridge C1 Advanced: grade B
- Cambridge C2 Proficiency: grade C
- TOEIC (L&R): 850
- Michigan ECPE: 840
(*) Applicants should request ETS to send their scores electronically to EPFL. EPFL’s institution code is 3253 for both TOEFL and GRE reports; no department code is needed. Supplementary paper copies from ETS are not required.
The result of the GRE general test is optional, and the lack of a GRE score will not harm your application.
In the online portal, you will be asked to identify your referees and their email addresses. Please include your referees’ institutional email address on the application form. Submissions from anonymous email addresses (e.g., Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.) may be subject to additional review.
An automated email will be sent to your referees when you submit your application; they will then be invited to complete their recommendation online. Please submit your application early enough in order to leave your referees enough time to complete this task before the chosen deadline (i.e., December 15 or April 15).
To help you with your follow-up, you will be automatically informed each time one of your referees has submitted their letter.
Please note that whilst the online portal can continue to receive recommendation letters, the review process begins immediately after the deadline. If the admissions committee has already reviewed your application before your referee has submitted their letter, your application will not be reviewed again.
No, even if you submit the application before the deadline, you cannot update your application after you have submitted it. Please make sure to check that your application is complete and all information and materials are correct before you submit.
To be admitted as a doctoral student in the EDIC program, two conditions must be fulfilled:
1. You are accepted by the EDIC admission committee.
2. You are awarded an IC school fellowship or are declared eligible for direct hiring by a lab.
The preliminary selection by the EDIC admission committee (condition 1 above) takes place shortly after the application deadline.
Among the accepted applications, the best ones are offered a one-year IC School Fellowship. In 2020, 40 fellowships were available. If you are offered a fellowship from the first admission round (December 15 deadline), you will receive an invitation to visit EPFL for a few days to participate in the EDIC Open House.
Fellowship students are unaffiliated during their first year. This gives them the opportunity to take courses and get acquainted with various labs they are interested in. For fellowship students, hiring into a lab occurs at the end of the first semester or later in the year.
The accepted applications which are not awarded a fellowship are made available to the EDIC affiliated labs for direct hiring. If a professor is interested in your application, he/she will contact you and might invite you for an interview. Based on the outcome of this interview he/she might make you a hiring offer.
In total (fellowships and direct hires), around 50 doctoral students start in EDIC each year.
The application process is fully electronic, including the recommendation letters. All application material must be submitted by the chosen deadline (i.e., December 15 or April 15). The admission committee begins the review process immediately after these deadlines. Late applications will not be accepted. In addition, incomplete applications will be subject to denial.
Submitting an application is free of charge.
Please proceed to the online application portal and follow the instructions.
For any further questions, contact: [email protected]