2016 EDAR PhD Guide
For thesis supervisors and co-supervisors
The EDAR committee evaluates applications from PhD candidates three times a year. Candidates deemed eligible based on scientific merit may begin their dissertation once they have found a supervisor.
Completion of a dissertation typically takes 48 months:
- A first, qualifying year during which the student takes courses at EDAR (4 ETCS credits), finds a dissertation supervisor, develops a research plan under the latter’s guidance and defends it at the qualifying exam.
- Three years during which the student does dissertation work and takes courses at EDAR (10 ECTS credits).
- Students have 36 months in which to complete their dissertation after successfully passing the qualifying exam, but may defend it prior to this deadline (however, not before 24 months after immatriculation).
PhD students and their supervisors must submit an annual progress report to EDAR. This report describes the progress and quality of the work, for which the supervisor takes personal responsibility.
If a dissertation does not progress as expected, or the supervisor has doubts regarding the quality of the work, the annual report is an opportunity for him or her to bring the matter to EDAR’s attention.
Contractually, three possibilities exist for PhD students:
1. The PhD student is enrolled at and employed by the EPFL
Students may have a PhD assistant status for a period of no longer than six years. This status entails:
- Full-time employment status.
- A specific salary scale starting at 51,900 CHF gross annually.
- 20% annual working time devoted to teaching.
- No involvement in other professional activities.
EPFL PhD students employed by the EFPL are to be funded for the entire duration of their dissertation.
The supervisor agrees to finance the student for the duration of his or her dissertation at the time of hiring.
Internal PhD students have teaching duties they may fulfil by acting as workshop assistants one semester a year, which corresponds to the 20% teaching time required for the year.
2. PhD students enrolled at the EPFL and employed by a third party
The student is not employed by the EPFL. This status entails:
- Employment status at another academic institution (HES, etc.), public administration or company.
- A foreign PhD fellowship.
In order to be accepted by the EPFL and EDAR, third-party financed students must:
- Prove they have annual revenues equivalent to the minimum salary paid to EPFL PhD students.
- Prove they have the time needed to complete a dissertation. If employed, candidates must provide a written statement from their employer stating that they shall devote at least 50% of their working time to their dissertation (if the candidate is employed half-time for a sufficient salary, this proof is not necessary).
Third-party financed students enrolled at the EPFL complete their dissertation in 48 months, like EPFL PhD students financed by the EPFL.
The arrival of these PhD students, must in all cases, be reported to the ENAC’s human resources department (or the relevant school, if not ENAC).
3. External PhD students received at the EPFL
These students are enrolled in a PhD at a university other than the EPFL, and is hosted by the EPFL in exchange.
This status entails:
- Funding from a source other than the EPFL, though the salary scale need not necessarily correspond to that of an internal PhD student.
- A minimum monthly income equivalent to 1,600 CHF net, required by the Swiss government to issue a work permit.
- The arrival of these PhD students must, in all cases, be reported to the ENAC’s human resources department (or the relevant school, if not the ENAC).
Lausanne, May 9, 2016
This document was co-written by the human resources departments of the EDAR, EDOC and ENAC.