Requirements for passing the Master’s degree

Requirements for passing the Master’s cycle

The Master’s cycle is made of several blocks and groups. Each block or group weighs a given number of ECTS credits. Each block or group contains one or several subjects. Each subject weighs a given number of ECTS credits. The complete Master’s cycle weighs 60 or 90 ECTS credits, depending on the study plan. In the case of a 60-ECTS-credit cycle, registering for a minor or specialization brings the total to 90 ECTS credits.

A block is passed (and thus all the credits associated with the block are acquired) when all the subjects it contains have been examined at least once and the weighted average of the block is 4,00 or above.

A group is passed when enough subjects in the group are passed (final grade 4,00 or above) to reach the number of credits associated with the group. Although an average is calculated, it has no bearing on the passing of the group.

Failed subjects (final grade below 4,00) in a failed block or group may only be repeated once, in the academic year following the failed exam. Passed subjects (final grade 4,00 or above) and failed subjects in a passed block or group may not be repeated.

To pass a 60-credit Master’s cycle, a student must have acquired all the required credits within four semesters of the admission to the Master’s cycle. To pass a 90-credit Master’s cycle, a student must have acquired all the required credits within six semesters of the admission to the Master’s cycle.

Requirements for passing the internship and the Master’s project

Please check the webpages dedicated to the internships and to the Master’s projects.


What happens if I do not attend an exam ?

An exam missed without a valid motive is graded NA (not acquired). This counts as a failed attempt to pass the subject. For subjects evaluated by means of several tests, missed tests are graded 0,00 and the final grade is calculated normally. Should that final grade be below 1,00, the subject is graded NA as well.

A block cannot be passed if one or more subjects in that block are graded NA. These subjects must be repeated for the NA to be replaced by an actual grade. In the case of an NA at a second attempt, the block is definitely failed. In the case of a compulsory block, this leads to the definitive failure of the Master’s cycle.

NAs have no particular bearing on the passing of groups, provided that you can either repeat the subject or take another subject to acquire the required credits.

When can I repeat a subject I have failed?

You may only repeat a failed subject during the academic year immediately after the year of the failed first attempt at that subject. Once that deadline has passed, the result of the first attempt is final.

The result of the second attempt replaces that of the first attempt and becomes final, even when it is below that of the first attempt. It is not possible to keep the first result after the second attempt.

What happens in case of failure at an optional subject?

Just like compulsory subjects, optional ones may be repeated during the academic year immediately after the first failed attempt. You may also choose to take another optional subject within the same group or block. In any case, the final result of every subject will be visible on your final transcripts, including the failed ones. 

How can I combine my SHS project with an internship or Master’s project outside EPFL?

If it is absolutely impossible for you to take your SHS project because of an intership or Master’s project outside EPFL in the spring, you may either delay the project for a year, or (with the approval of the teacher and the College of Humanities) condense the two semesters of SHS (course and project) during the autumn semester.

Can I start the Master’s project without having completed the Master’s cycle?

Yes, but only provided that:

  • no more than 8 ECTS credits are missing in your Master’s cycle;
  • you have completed all the subjects that are prerequisites for the Master’s project (such as the engineer’s internship, the énoncé théorique in Architecture, or the pré-étude in Civil Engineering), and
  • you have not definitely failed the Master’s cycle.

The period when you have started your Master’s project and not yet completed the Master’s cycle counts for the maximum duration of both your Master’s cycle and Master’s project. Furthermore, the grade of your Master’s project will not be communicated to you until you have successully completed the Master’s cycle.