EDIC Candidacy Exam

The candidacy exam must be passed within 12 months from the date of enrollment. A second attempt is allowed and the retake must be passed within 15 months from the date of enrollment.

The candidacy exam consists of a short write-up, a presentation, and an oral exam in front of a committee including the thesis director(s) and two other members. The exam must be scheduled for two hours although it is expected to last around 90 minutes. The presentation lasts 30 minutes and is public. It is followed by a private exam of around 60 minutes.

The write-up, the presentation and the exam are based on a reading list consisting of three research articles that are related to the thesis topic. The reading list is chosen by the student in collaboration with the thesis director(s) at least two months before the exam. The goal of the exam is for the student to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the articles on the reading list and be able to evaluate them critically, taking into account the background knowledge and research forming the foundations for to the contributions in the articles.

The exam is followed by a discussion of the thesis plan.


The exam jury consists of the following members (3 or 4 in total):

  • Advisor (also called the Thesis Director)
  • Co-advisor (if applicable)

Selected by the student jointly with the advisor:

  • Exam President (should be selected from the list of EDIC Jury Presidents)
  • Co-examiner/expert (should be a professor or a senior scientist [MER] at EPFL)

Both the exam president and the co-examiner must be outside the student and the advisor’s lab/unit.

Start scheduling the exam at the beginning of the spring semester. Book date, time and room (check with your lab assistant if you need help). Schedule the meeting for 2 hours. The exam should take place between May 1 and August 31. The last day it can be scheduled is August 31.

Fill in the form through your IS-Academia portal. Email (scan) or drop the form at the EDIC office (hard copy) at least 2 months before the exam and at the latest by 30 June. The form will appear as “draft” until it is validated.

EDIC approves the jury proposal by email to the exam jury with a copy to the student and the lab assistants. Please be sure to keep EDIC informed of any changes to the date or jury members.

Choose 3 background papers with your advisor. Email titles, authors, references and web links to EDIC, who will announce the exam on the EDIC Memento. The abstract, the background papers and web links will be published.

Complete the abstract through your IS-Academia portal at least 10 days before the exam. EDIC will publish the abstract on the memento.

Use the EDIC template [latex; zip file] to finalize the write-up. Email the write-up to the exam jury about 10 days before the exam with EDIC in copy. Please make sure that EDIC has the final and latest version of your write-up after the exam.

EDIC sends the exam evaluation form and reminders to the jury and student one week before the exam.

Prepare the cover page through your IS-Academia portal and print the document. Please sign it and have it signed by your advisor and co-advisor (if applicable). Submit the form to EDIC (email or hard copy) directly after the exam.

The exam president returns the original exam evaluation form to EDIC (email or hard copy) directly after the exam. EDIC submits the final write-up, the cover page and the exam evaluation form to the Doctoral Students’ Office who registers the exam result.

Complete agenda of events