EDNE FAQs

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!

How do I choose courses?
First discuss with your thesis director which courses are most appropriate to complement your background and the research that you are undertaking. If you are coming from a background that is outside of Neuroscience you will be required to fill that gap with one or two Master’s level Neuroscience courses at the beginning of your PhD. Check with the your thesis director and the program administrator to see if you need to fill a gap.

How do I sign myself up for courses in my student portal?
Once your matriculation is complete, your student portal will be activated and you can sign yourself up for courses.

Cannot find the course:
– Go the the section of your study plan for the type of course it is (EPFL PhD, Master’s etc)
– Click on the small downward pointing triangle opening a small search window.
– Click on the small red hand to see the search filters
– Once you find the course, click on it, and the course will be added to the correct place in your study plan.

For more help, see….FAQ Doctoral School Courses and Enrolment for Classes and Exams

When does the semester start?
Many PhD level courses do not follow the semester dates, but are in the form of short courses or symposiums.
Master’s courses, however, do meet during an entire semester. The academic calendar (semester and exam dates) is found in Momento.

EPFL PhD level courses – 600+ level
If the course you need is an EPFL Doctoral course, you may sign yourself up in your student portal.

EPFL Master’s/ Bachelor courses – 300-400-500 level –
maximun 8 credits allowed towards 12 credits required

If the course is a lower level than a Doctoral course on the EPFL campus, the you must ask the Program Director’s permission to take the course 3 weeks before the course starts.

Use the External Course Request Form on the ENDE site and return it to the program administrator 3 weeks before the course starts.

The program administrator will notify you if the EDNE program director’s agrees that you take the course and the number of credits you will receive.

External Courses – non EPFL Courses – both Master’s level or Doctoral level –
You must use the External Course Request Form to ask permission from the program director.  See above under EPFL Master’s /Bachelor courses.

Annual Meeting Neuro-Lemanic Network Doctoral Schools
Held in Les Diablerêts, gathering Neuroscience Phd students and PIs in the Lake Leman region.
Students can present a poster or do a presentation to earn one credit. Up to 2 credits can be earned this way.

What if I have just started my PhD and missed the deadline to sign up for the Master’s courses?
Please see the EDNE program administrator to fill out a form to avoid paying the 50CHF late fee.

If you need a signature from the EDNE Program Director, please bring the form to the Program administrator. 

Who is on the jury?
The jury consists of your thesis director (and co-director), an expert in the field and the jury president.

Who can be the president?
The list of presidents is found on the EDNE site.
Your mentor cannot play the role of your president.

Who can be the expert?
Discuss with your thesis director who would be an appropriate expert for your exam.  It must be someone who can play an objective role so they must not have any links to the lab and have not published with the lab in the last 5 years.
Your mentor cannot be an expert but can come to the exam if the President agrees.

Date for the exam – Can I get an extension?
Aim to do your Candidacy Exam within 2 weeks of your one year anniversary of your matriculation date.  If your date is more than two weeks late, then you need to fill out the Extension Request Form.  

Remember that you MUST pass your Candidacy Exam within 15 months after your matriculation date and you only have 2 tries.  If you extend your first try too long, you may not have enough time to revise for a second try before the 15 months is up.

How do I generate my Jury Proposal and Cover page?
Help found here

Can I use video conferencing?
Only the expert can attend the candidacy exam by video conferencing. Your president and thesis director(s) must be physically present in the room with you.
Either video conferencing equipment or Zoom may be used.  Skype is not acceptable.

What if I haven’t received all 4 credits before the exam?
If you are waiting for the final credits from a class that you have taken or finishing up, please fill out the extension form. See above.  If you pass your candidacy exam, only once you have received your 4 credits will you be accepted as a “definitive” PhD candidate in the EDNE program.

What if I fail my first attempt?
You have two chances to pass your Candidacy Exam.  If you fail the first time, work really hard with your thesis director and prepare for another try.  If you fail the second time, then unfortunately you will leave the program.

General Doctoral School FAQs – more information on the Candidacy exam.

If you need a signature from the program director, please bring it to the program administrator.

Read carefully End of Thesis FAQs several times and memorize the Timeline and Check List.
Also, to be fully informed, read President of the Oral Exam FAQs

Your Jury –
EDNE’s current list of jury presidents is found under the EDNE Internal Forms and Regulations page, under General Planning.
The composition of your jury (experts, thesis director(s) and president) is explained well in the End of Thesis FAQs. (see above)

Important!
You must clear your choice of president and jury members with the program director BEFORE you finalize your Jury Proposition in your student portal. If the director does not agree with your choice of jury, it is much easier to fix before rather than after you have finalized it.

Extension –
The program director gives extension 6 months at a time.
Fill out the Request for Extension form ±6 months before your Oral Exam date and give it to the Program Administrator.
Explain well why you are asking for the extension in the provided area.

How to – Help
– Fill out and generate your Jury Proposition
– Submit a draft of my thesis
– Submit my final version of my thesis

I do not feel comfortable in the lab, what should I do?
There are different places to find help.

Your mentor
The program director
The program administrator
ADSV coaches

Compliance Guide EPFL – good resource, including research ethics on p. 38

My director/co-director is leaving EPFL before I graduate.  What should I do?

Your present thesis director will become your co-director and you will need to find another primary thesis director at EPFL. Contact the EDNE program administrator for the appropriate form.

Every year you need to have an evaluation of your progress towards your PhD.

Please download the appropriate form and type them so that they are legible.

1st year Candidacy exam. You need to still meet with your mentor and report to the program administrator the number of teaching hours you have achieved. Form generated in your student portal.

2nd year Scientific Discussion
You need to reassemble your jury from your candidacy exam for a constructive discussion of your progress and challenges ahead. Skype and Zoom are approved for this.
Download the form and take it to the discussion.
Return it to the EDNE administrator.

3rd and 4th year reports
Fill out the form completely and return to the EDNE program administrator

Final report – Before the Oral exam
If you have had an extension for your Oral Exam, please fill out this form as your final annual report.