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
  • November 1st

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.

Attention: Links for the recommendation letters are only sent to your professors when you submit your application.  Please keep in mind that they need time to write and upload them before the deadline (April 15th or November 1st).

To apply for the EDNE program, you must fill out the EPFL doctoral school application form. For more information, please also consult 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.

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 can be reused if you like.

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

First round Evaluation: The applications are evaluated by the EDNE commission and hiring labs.

Second round evaluation: Applicants who pass the first round are invited to present their Master’s thesis by zoom to the EDNE Commission. The Commission will decide if a student is “admissible” to the EDNE program.

Third round evaluation: The hiring labs will then invite candidates from the list of “admissible” candidates to come to the Hiring Days – 2.5 days of interviews and lab visits.

The November 1st deadline has its Hiring Days in the following January and June Hiring Days is for the April 15th deadline.

After the first round – About a month after the deadline.

After the second round – a few days after the zoom presentations

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

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 or will have a M.Sc. degree (independent of discipline) or the equivalent with a passion for neuroscience is eligible to apply.  If you aren’t sure if your 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 various 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 found admissible to the program, your admissibility is good for one year, meaning that you must start your PhD within one year in an EDNE lab. 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 worthwhile to apply but since your labs of interest aren’t hiring, your chances of being selected will be smaller.  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 within a week, therefore your referees need to upload asap!

For any further questions: [email protected]