Different steps of the application
If you would like to undertake a PhD in photonics at EPFL, it is essential that you first identify one or a few professors with whom you would like to work with. Please visit the website Photonics @ EPFL for a list of all the laboratories associated to the Doctoral Program in Photonics; check their field of research and determine which appeals most to you. It is important that you clearly identify the field of research you would like to work in; you may also consider contacting some professors directly, to check for available PhD positions in their laboratory; such positions are also often published on the laboratory website.
Once you know the research direction you would like to take for your PhD, please apply on-line here.
It is better to register as early as possible, even before having fully completed your undergraduate studies, because the hiring process can take several months depending on your country of origin. You have one year after being accepted to the doctoral program in photonics for finding a PhD position in one of the laboratories participating in the program.
The application must be completed on time, otherwise it will not be considered. Particularly, the three referees must have completed the assessments and uploaded their reference letter. Moreover, a PDF of the original diplomas (Bachelor and Master) as well as the final grades must complete the application. In case the final degree is not yet available, a certificate of study can be uploaded instead of the final degree. The latter document is however compulsory for the registration at the doctoral school and must be provided not later than the candidacy exam, one year after the date of registration.
To be admitted to the doctoral program, you must still find a supervisor who will direct your research and fund your thesis. The list of supervisors involved in our program can be found here. Please contact directly all professors with whom you want to do your PhD to enquire whether a PhD student position is available in their laboratories. You should mention that you are accepted in the doctoral program in photonics.
You have one year from the date you receive the letter of acceptance to identify a supervisor. After this period, you must reapply.
When you organize your arrival at the EPFL, please keep in mind that unless being a Swiss citizen or having a permanent resident visa and a work permit, paperwork usually takes three months.
I applied last year, but my file was not completed by all referees. Can I use the same application?
No, you must reapply, however, you can use the previous references if you want (tick the appropriate box).
I have not yet finished my Master studies. Can I apply?
Yes, the sooner the better. You have one year after being accepted into the doctoral program in Photonics to find a position.
When will I receive a reply regarding my application?
About a month after the deadline for which you have applied.
When is my file considered as complete?
Our criteria is that an application is complete when the required documents have been duly uploaded, the 3 referees completed their evaluation and have uploaded their letter of recommendation.
When do the doctoral studies start ?
The actual starting date for your thesis depends on the contract of employement of the laboratory in which you work. There is no semester as in the Bachelor / Master studies.
Are there any open positions in the laboratories of the doctoral program in Photonics?
The laboratory directors/thesis directors have the most up-to-date information on available PhD student positions. Please check the open positions on the different laboratories’ websites. Vacancies depend mainly on status of other PhD students who are completing their thesis, as well as the available funding for upcoming projects.The Administration of the Doctoral Program in Photonics does not manage this information and cannot provide any details about possible positions.
What English level should I have? Should I take the TOEFL ? Is there a minimum grade for TOEFL and other language diplomas?
Uploading TOEFL or other English language diplomas on the EPFL online application form is not mandatory but strongly advised .
There is no prerequisite grades for English TOEFL or GRE, but a good level in English is essential to start your doctoral studies in the best conditions.
How can I fund my doctoral studies
You will find the details here.
My referee did not receive an automatic email to send its evaluation and letter, what shall I do?
It happens sometimes that the email automatically generated by the system can be caught by spam filters (junk mail). The candidate has the option in the application to send an automatic reminder to referees who have not yet responded to the request.