EDNE How to apply?

How to apply

Applicants must hold a Masters or the equivalent before starting a doctorate in the Neuroscience Program at EPFL.

There are two deadlines every year:

  • April 15th 2022 with Hiring Days on 15 – 17 June 2022
  • November 1st 2021 with Hiring Days on 19-21 January 2022

The deadlines are not linked to a specific start time or semester. A successful candidate will decide the official start date with their thesis director. The student must start within one year of the Hiring Days.

Open positions are posted about 6 weeks before each deadline.

Candidates should keep in mind to indicate “hiring labs” when filling in the 3-5 labs in which they are interested in the on-line application.

To apply for the EDNE program, you must fill out the EPFL doctoral school application form. For more information about the PhD admission criteria & application.

In addition to filling out the form, you will be required to upload your:
CV, Letter of motivation, Passport, Diplomas and transcripts.

EDNE does not require TOEFL or GRE. However, a master’s is necessary before starting a PhD.

If your re-applying, you may update your application from a previous deadline by signing into the application platform using the same email address used for the previous application.  The system should recognize you and bring up your old information.  Go through and update your application. If it hasn’t been more than one year, your referee letters maybe reused if you like.

Questions about filling out the application? Please consult the general Doctoral School Application FAQS before contacting the Program Administrator.

Interviews and lab visits held in January and June.
During the restriction imposed due to the pandemic, EDNE is holding virtual Hiring Days.

There are 2 rounds of evaluations – application evaluations and interviews at the Hiring Days. If your application is positively reviewed by the commission and a hiring thesis director finds that you maybe a good match for the lab, you will be invited to the Hiring Days which take place approximately 2.5 months after the deadline.

If no COVID restrictions, the on-campus Hiring Days last 2.5 days.
Meeting Place on Day 1 at SV reception desk

Day 1 – half day of general information about EPFL, the School of Life Sciences and EDNE.

Day 2 – Lab immersions/visits – usually students visit 2 labs, interviews, presents their work

Day 3 – Student presentations of their Master’s work for the EDNE commission – 8 minute presentation followed by questions

The majority of housing, food and travel costs are covered by the program.

After the first round – 2 weeks up to 1 month after the deadline.

After the Hiring Days – immediately after up to 2 weeks after.

Once you have confirmed your place in the EDNE program, you will determine your start date with your thesis director and you will begin your course work at the next appropriate time. There is no official start date tied to the application deadlines.

Please communicate the start date to the program administrator who will organize your matriculation and orientation to the program.

At EPFL, you will have two statuses – one as an EPFL employee and one as a doctoral student. HR takes care of all questions related to your employment and visa while the EDNE program administrator helps with any questions related to coursework and exams.

Who is eligible?
Anyone who has a Master’s degree or the equivalent of one and a passion for Neuroscience. If you aren’t sure if your Master’s degree is considered at a high enough level, please contact the administrator, sending a copy of your diploma and transcripts.

What if I did my master’s in a subject area that isn’t closely related to Neuroscience?
EDNE doctoral students come from many backgrounds.  If you show passion and potential for doing a PhD in Neuroscience and lack the necessary background, you will be asked to take one or two Master’s level courses in Neuroscience to fill that gap at the beginning of your PhD.

What if I haven’t finished my Master’s degree yet.  Can I still apply?
Yes!  If you apply while you are finishing your Master’s degree, upload a certificate from your University stating that you are currently a Master’s student in place of the Master’s diploma. If possible give an approximate graduation date.

If you are accepted to the program, your acceptance is good for one year, meaning that you must start your PhD within one year. This gives you time to finish up your Master’s and start your PhD.

To start your PhD, we need proof from your university that you have successfully finished your Master’s.

What are my chances of being selected?
It differs every deadline.  Six weeks before the deadline, the Open Positions are posted.  You need to check out these positions and contact the lab to let them know that you are interested and planning on applying for the next deadline.  If the open position is popular creating more competition, then your chances are smaller.

In general, the success rate is close to 10%.

What if I am interested in labs that do not post a position for the deadline that I am applying for?
It is still worth while to apply but because your labs of interest aren’t hiring, your chances of being selected will be less.  Occasionally, a professor will not advertise a post but in the end may decide to hire a student if the student has the right kind of profile for the lab.

Note: It is best to always indicate in your on-line application at least one lab that is hiring.

When should I fill out the application?
You can start filling in the application at any time, but it is best to wait to see who is hiring before you finish it. If you only indicate labs in the application who are not hiring, then your chances of being selected are reduced.
When you finalize you application, a link will be sent to your referees inviting them to upload their letter and fill out a short form. If short of time, alert the referees in advance so that they can start preparing your letter and plan their time. The referee portal remains open past the deadline, but the formal evaluation will start after about 3 days, therefore your referees need to upload asap!