Nota Bene: Students in Digital Humanities are encouraged to do an internship in a wide variety of places such as organisations, federations, cultural institutions, libraries, archives or industry in general. Please note that to simplify our text, we have only used the word “company” below.
FAQ for students
Is the internship mandatory?
Yes! An internship in a company is a mandatory step to acquire your master degree.
Are there alternatives to the internship?
No, the internship is mandatory.
What is the minimum length of the internship?
For students having started their DH Master program prior to 2022/23 academic year: The internship must last at least 17 consecutive weeks at 100% occupation. The upper limit is fixed to 6 months.
For students starting the DH Master program as of 2022/23 academic year: the internship can be done for a duration of 2 months over the summer, during a full semester (4 to 6 months) or by doing the Master Thesis Project in a company.
Where can the internship take place?
There is no geographical limitation for the internship provided it is done in a company.
What are the specific conditions?
By internship, it is understood taking part in the activity of a company during which the student can apply her/his personal skills and the knowledge acquired during his/her studies at EPFL. “Summer jobs” having strictly no relationship with the training are excluded (life guard at a pool, ski monitor, pizza delivery, etc.).
What is a “company”?
A company is any institution (including non-profit) that is not involved in higher education. In the case of European institutions, those that attribute ECTS credits are excluded. At institutions such as a University Library for example, acceptable internships are limited to service areas of the library (IT, advertising, etc.). Fundamental research labs within the library setting are not acceptable.
Can I propose an internship that I have arranged?
Absolutely! Just like for your theoretical and practical skills, your personal initiative and your relational network are an important part of your future career. Do use them! A personal proposal also gives you the largest chances to find what is the most convenient for you.
As for every internship, its content should be accepted in order to be validated in your cursus. Please inform the DH section about the proposed internship topic prior to accepting an offer.
Do I have to provide an activity report?
There is no need to write a report for internships. However, you will have to provide a 3 minute video about your internship. This video should not contain any confidential information and can be posted on the DHI website.
If a report is part of your duties towards the company, a copy will be welcome for a confidential and internal use in order to appreciate the type of activity that you have been executing at the company.
Although there is no need to write an activity report for the Section, a written evaluation from your internship supervisor, as well as your evaluation of the internship is mandatory for the validation of the internship (by the DH section ). The evaluation process is automated by filling out an electronic file. An editable form is also available at http://internships.epfl.ch
What salary can be claimed?
On the one hand, you will be relatively close to your engineer title and have consequently a large spectrum of academic knowledge. On the other hand, you will certainly lack significant practical experience when you start the internship. This influences the considerations about salary. Theoretically, the monthly salary should be in the range of CHF 1500-3000. This amount is the lower limit for the delivery of a working permit by the Employment Service (Vaud) for all foreign students (excluding EU). Salaries for internships in European Countries and Swiss start-up companies are generally much lower (600-900 Euros).
Is there any insurance from EPFL?
No. It is your responsibility to check if you have appropriate insurance covering sickness and professional and non-professional accidents.
What type of contract has to be signed?
EPFL requires an internship agreement to be signed by the company, the student and the EPFL (represented by the DH section). An editable word file of the internship agreement is available here. This convention covers all the issues of an internship position, in most cases satisfactory for the company. If a company is not willing to sign this document and proposes another form of contract, please verify their document with the DH Section.
What will happen to the students who did not do an internship before their Master’s thesis?
Students will not be able to start their Master thesis.
Does EPFL propose internships to their students?
EPFL is constantly contacting companies in Switzerland and in Europe to make them aware of the mandatory internships for EPFL students. Many companies publish their positions in the “internship” portal of IS-Academia, but sometimes also through direct contact with EPFL students and Professors.
Other companies, with their own “career” website, are willing to receive internship applications directly from students.