Frequently Asked Questions

Interruption of studies

If you interrupt your studies for one or more semesters to complete your military service (as supported by a copy of your marching orders), the maximum duration of the current cycle may be extended for the same period. During this semester(s), you will remain enrolled at EPFL. Your status is “on leave”, and will be indicated on your enrollment certificate for the semester(s) in question.

For more information, please see the following two pages:

If you decide not to enroll in a Master’s program consecutive to your Bachelor’s degree, you can interrupt your studies at EPFL for a year or more without giving a specific reason. Since you are no longer a Bachelor’s student and not yet a Master’s student, you cannot remain enrolled at EPFL. For special cases, please consult this link.

If you have not attended another study program in the meantime and wish to pursue a Master’s program consecutive to your Bachelor’s degree (Master’s program in the same field of study), simply contact [email protected] (no later than June 30 for enrollment for the autumn semester, or December 31 for the spring semester).

For more information, please see the following two pages:

Progressing from a Bachelor’s to a Master’s program

EPFL Bachelor

     EPFL Master

Computer Science

  • Communication Systems
  • Cyber Security
  • Data Science

Communication Systems

  • Computer Science
  • Cyber Security
  • Data Science
  • Neuro-X

Students with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or Communication Systems may begin their studies in a consecutive Master’s program in the spring semester.  All other students will only be able to begin their studies in the autumn semester, after they have been formally admitted.

Current EPFL students are automatically enrolled in the Master’s program in their field of study and only need to confirm their registration on IS-Academia. They do not need to go through the application process to continue their studies in the same field. If their Bachelor’s degree is consecutive to more than one Master’s program, they can request to be enrolled in one of these programs at the beginning of their first semester at the Master’s level using the FRAC form.

Current EPFL students who wish to change their field of study or enter a specialized Master’s program must go through the full online application process. A minimum grade point average of 4.50 over the entire Bachelor’s program is required for admission. However, this criterion does not guarantee admission, as the quality of the application, the relevance of the completed Bachelor’s degree compared to the desired Master’s program, and the candidate’s motivation are also evaluated. Current EPFL students are exempt from providing referees’ contact information. For more information, please visit the following page: Master admission criteria & application

You can enroll in a IC Master’s program if you lack no more than 10 credits from the last year of the Bachelor’s program. These credits must be made up in the first year of the Master’s program.

  • Minimum of 3 semesters of courses (with an average of 30 credits per semester), maximum of 6 semesters of courses to complete the Master’s cycle;
  • Mandatory internship in industry, of 8 weeks duration during the summer, or 6 months during a semester;
  • A Master’s project of 18 weeks duration (including 1 week of vacation) if conducted at EPFL, or 26 weeks (including 1 week of vacation) if conducted in industry or at another university (30 credits).

HES Pathway

Holders of an HES Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science (from a Swiss University of Applied Sciences) with a grade point average of at least 5.0.

You must submit an online application for one of the IC Master’s degree programs by the application deadline.

Yes, the HES-IC Pathway credits (see HES Pathway requirements) must be acquired before you can be admitted to the Master’s program you are considering. However, it is possible (but not mandatory) to start the Master’s cycle once you have acquired 30 ECTS credits or more in the HES Pathway.

When you start the HES-IC Pathway, you must choose the orientation that will determine your course selection, depending on which the Master’s degree you plan to pursue. Subsequent course selection should be consistent with the study plan.

The HES-IC Pathway is completed when you have acquired 57 to 60 ECTS credits, depending on the study plan. The courses are divided into two blocks: a block of fundamental subjects (“branches de base”) and a block of advanced subjects (“branches d’approfondissement”). Each block consists of 25 to 35 ECTS credits. A block is passed (and thus all the credits associated with the block are acquired) if the subjects in the block have been examined at least once and the weighted average of the block is 4.00 or more.

The HES-IC Pathway must be completed within 2 years. At least 30 ECTS credits must be acquired by the end of the 1st year.

Conditional admission

In your letter of admission, you may have been informed of a certain number of additional credits that you must acquire in your first year of the Master’s program. These credits must be prioritized, as your admission is contingent upon successfully completing these courses in your first year of the Master’s program. These credits will not count towards your Master’s degree. The final list of courses that you must take will be determined upon receipt of your official bachelor’s transcripts, which should be submitted directly to the Registrar’s Office as indicated in your admission letter. The Registrar’s Office will then send you the official decision “Supplement to the decision regarding the admission to the Master’s program”, along with all related details. The procedure for registering in these courses will be communicated to you by the Registrar’s Office once you have received the official decision.  

Change of Master’s program in IC after start of studies

For external students (without an IC Bachelor’s degree):

You have been admitted to a specific Master’s degree program in which you have enrolled. External students (i.e., without an IC Bachelor’s degree) who wish to change their field of study (e.g., IN => DS or SC => Cyber) must follow the full online application procedure no later than the end of the 1st semester (deadlines: December 15 or March 31) for possible admittance by the Admission Committee the following September. Students should contact the Deputy Head before the start of the 2nd semester and prior to submitting the online application form.

For internal students (with an IC Bachelor’s degree):

Deadline for a possible change of Master’s program in IC (e.g., SC => DS, Cyber => IN): End of 1st semester of Master’s studies, upon request by email to the section.

Study Plan

They can be found here (click on “IC”).

To the study plan of the academic year that was in force when you started your Master’s studies.

According to the rules, it is not possible to retroactively move a course from one group to another for students who have already started their Master’s studies.

There is no retroactive effect for courses that have undergone a change in credits, and that were successfully completed before the new study plan came into force.


All our master’s programs are designed to be flexible to give students the opportunity to customize their curricula, according to their ambitions and aspirations. All our programs consist of two components: the Master’s cycle (90 ECTS), followed by a one-semester Master’s project (30 ECTS), for a total of 120 ECTS. The courses are organized into three groups: (i) core (or mandatory) courses, (ii) optional courses, and (iii) a block consisting of a research project carried out in an EPFL (or ETH Zurich during the mandatory exchange semester for Cyber Security students) lab and a course/project in the humanities. Core courses form a menu from which a student must earn a certain number of credits, and students may choose any optional courses to round off their program.  

  • 32 ECTS must be taken in Group 1 (core courses). Since each course in this group is weighed at 8 credits, students must select at least four to fulfill the 32 credits. 
  • 40 ECTS must be taken from a large and diversified group of optional courses (Group 2), which can also be completed by extra credits from Group 1. 
  • 12 ECTS must be taken as a mandatory research project. An optional second research project can also be carried out for an additional 8 ECTS (which will then count as part of the 40 ECTS of options – Group 2).
  • 6 ECTS must be taken in a course focusing on transversal competencies in humanities and social sciences (SHS), including a project.

Note for Master’s students in Cyber Security: Master’s students in Cyber Security must meet the “depth requirement”. In other words, at least 30 of the 72 credits must be taken in courses tagged “depth” (security courses), which can be part of Group 1 or 2 and may be taken at EPFL or ETH Zurich.

The SHS course and project span two consecutive semesters. The autumn semester is a preparatory course for the project, which is conducted in the spring semester. Each semester is worth 3 ECTS, totalling 6 ECTS. We strongly recommend that you enroll in the autumn semester of your 1st year when you begin your Master’s program. If you encounter difficulties finding an SHS course/project, particularly in English, you can contact the SHS administrative team for assistance at: [email protected]

You can find the courses relevant to your Master’s cycle on this page. Click on “your field of study”, then click on the “course description”. In the upper right corner (“Exam” column) you will see whether the course is offered in the autumn or spring semester and if the exam takes place during the semester or during the winter or summer exam session.

The study plans are published in July for the entire year. They do not indicate the schedule for each course, only the semester in which it will be offered. The schedule for each semester is published:

  • end of July for the autumn semester
  • mid-December for the spring semester

Before the start of the semester, you will receive an email sent to your EPFL email address announcing the course registration opening. You will need to use your personal student login (Gaspar) to access your EPFL student portal IS-Academia and register for courses. You must register in IS-Academia for your courses no later than 2 weeks after the start of the semester.

You can withdraw from a course during the first two weeks of the semester, under the “Course registration” tab in IS-Academia. After that, you can only withdraw from an exam until Friday of the 10th week of the semester (except for courses marked “pas de retrait autorisé” in the study plans, for which no withdrawal is permitted after the first two weeks).

To withdraw from an exam, under the “Exams” tab in IS-Academia, you must replace the mention “HIV/ ETE” with a “-” for the corresponding course and save your choice on the floppy disk icon. 

Please visit this page for important semester dates.


Yes, excess credits from Group 1 will count towards Group 2. Thus, the student may complete their Group 2 with courses from Group 1.


Yes, you can take courses in Group 1 to obtain the minimum 32 ECTS credits required. However, if you choose courses from Group 2 – options, the credits will not count towards your Master’s degree (Group 2 – options is passed with a minimum of 40 ECTS credits) and the courses will be placed in “Courses outside the study plan”.


Yes, it is possible to fail more than one exam, either in Group 1 – core or Group 2 – options. Please note that grades below 4.0 are taken into account when calculating the average, except for subjects graded NA. For more information, see the following page: Requirements for passing the Master’s degree

If you fail an exam twice, you cannot repeat the subject again. You must earn the missing credits by successfully passing another subject, within the deadline of 6 semesters of courses maximum.

The failed subject must be taken in the academic year directly following the year of the first failure. After this period, the result of the first attempt becomes final. The result of the second attempt replaces the result of the first attempt, even if it is lower. It is not possible to keep the result of the first attempt after the second attempt.

For any absence from an exam, whether it is during the semester or during the exam session, you must provide a justification: a medical certificate, a death or birth certificate, or for elite athletes, a training certificate.

  • For continuous exams graded during the semester: The teacher must be notified of the absence as soon as possible, and the justification must be submitted within three days at the latest. If possible, the teacher will offer a substitute exam before the end of the semester. If this is not possible, the missed exam will be graded “M” and must be retaken the following year. The teacher is not authorized to change the grade distribution in the course and disregard this exam from the final grade.
  • For exams during the exam session: The absence must be announced as soon as possible to the teacher and the justification submitted to [email protected] (with a copy to the teacher) within three days at the latest. The missed exam will be graded “M” and must be retaken the following year. There is no substitute exam session.
  • N.B.: In both cases, it is possible to retake only the exam marked “M”. This means that the student who received an excellent score on the other course evaluations or on the final exam may retake the entire course or only the exam where the absence was justified. Note that if the grading of the course has changed, you may be required to take all the tests rather than only the one you have missed.  

You will find more information on the following page: Withdrawing from subjects and tests and missing tests

Calculation of averages

No, you cannot replace or remove a course for the calculation of the GPA. If you do not want a subject to appear on your transcript, you must ensure that you withdraw from the exam/course (with the exception of courses marked “no withdrawal”) via the IS-Academia portal before the withdrawal deadline. For more information, see the following page: Withdrawing from subjects and tests and missing tests

No, you cannot choose the subjects. In addition, insufficient subjects will be taken into account when calculating the average, even if no credits are earned (e.g., within a group or a block completed by accumulating credits). However, subjects graded R, E, D, or NA are not considered in calculating the average. For more information, see the following page: Transcripts of records and grade sheets

Research project

We recommend that you look for a project at the end of the previous semester. The project lists available on the lab websites are often non-exhaustive and other projects can be found by contacting the labs of interest directly. Reserve your project as early as possible. Meet with the professor or the assistant in charge and define the objectives and work to be accomplished.

For your information: the research project is carried out during the Master’s cycle, grants 12 credits and must be done at EPFL (or at ETHZ for Cybersecurity students during their mandatory exchange semester) and supervised by an authorized professor (if the research project is carried out at ETHZ for Cybersecurity students, the supervision takes place at ETHZ).

Please read the page on this topic where you will find all the useful information.

Only the registration on IS-Academia is valid for the official registration for the research project. Deadline: January 31 for a spring project, August 31 for a fall project.

According to EPFL rules, ECTS credited research projects cannot be paid.

No. The rules do not allow both projects to be done in the same semester.

There is no set order between the two projects.

It is possible to do all the projects (Bachelor research project, Master research project and Master optional research project) in the same laboratory. However, the research project (Master) and the optional research project (Master) cannot be done during the same semester. Moreover, if you fail one of the projects at the Master level, you will have to choose another project and another laboratory to repeat the branch.

No. In our School, the research project must be carried out during the fall or spring semester.

Yes, a project can be done in pairs: two students per project. This possibility is either offered by the labs or you can request it. For details, you should contact the laboratory proposing the project. At the administrative level, each student will have to register for the research project in IS-Academia.

MAKE projects

Yes, it can be carried out as the mandatory research project (12 ECTS) or as an optional research project (8 ECTS), in which case it will count towards your Master’s degree.

MAKE projects are available here. The contact persons for each project are listed on the project website. However, the main contact person for the MAKE projects is Julien Delisle.

You can apply directly via the website of the project you are interested in. Once you have been accepted for a project, please submit an abstract of your project to the Section (general description, the technical tasks and objectives you will undertake, your supervisor/lab, etc.).

If the project is related to computer science or data science, chances are good that it will be accepted by the Section. The application for authorization must be sent to the Section’s administrative contacts within the deadlines indicated on the relevant webpage.

The project must be carried out during the fall or the spring semester, but not during the summer. It must follow adhere to the rule for research and optional projects as well as the deadlines for submission, grading, etc. Information available here.


Registration deadline on IS-Academia: end of the 1st semester of Master’s studies.

The added value of a minor is the recognition that you have taken a set of courses that give you a deeper understanding of the field. Do not decide on a minor just to take a few courses in that field. You should think carefully about your choice of a minor, as there may be implications with recuperating the credits for courses you have successfully passed under your Master’s study plan if you decide to drop it, for example, in your 3rd semester. A minor is a significant effort.

The minor should complement your major. Please do not choose a minor aligned with the orientation of your Master’s but rather a minor that complements your Master’s degree.

Computer Science and Communication Systems students can choose either a specialization or a minor. Data Science students cannot enroll in a specialization. Cyber Security students cannot enroll in either a specialization or a minor.

A minor is equivalent to 30 credits that must be earned during the duration of the Master’s program and are taken in courses offered by another section. The 30 credits count toward the 120 credits of the Master’s degree in accordance with section regulations, and replace 30 credits in Group 2. The minor will be mentioned in the Diploma Supplement.


No, every course counts only once and in one place.

No, it is not possible to drop one or more courses for calculating the general average of the minor.

If you do not want a subject to appear on your transcript, you must ensure that you withdraw from the exam/course (with the exception of courses marked “no withdrawal”) via the IS-Academia portal before the withdrawal deadline. For more information, see the following page: Withdrawing from subjects and tests and missing tests

You cannot move subjects (passed or failed) from your minor to “Courses outside the study plan”. Once you have registered, a course remains in the group to which it belongs. For more information, see Art. 5.D of the « Ordonnance sur le contrôle des études menant au Bachelor et au Master à l’EPFL » (only in German, French or Italian):


End of the 1st semester of your Master’s program (M1).

For students who started the Master before September 2023, the registration deadline for the specialization is the beginning of the 3rd semester of studies (Friday of the 2nd week of the semester) => please fill in this form.

You can enroll for a specialization in the “Registration for Courses” tab on IS-Academia by the beginning of the 2nd semester. Once this deadline has passed, please send an email to Antonella Veltro for Computer Science or Carole Dauphin for Communication Systems indicating the specialization you have chosen.

For more information, see the following page: Specializations

Courses outside the study plan

If the course you wish to register for appears in the list of authorized courses, you may register directly in IS-Academia, by searching for it under “Other Subjects”.

For all other courses not on the list, you must submit a request through this form. Once you have received authorization, you must register for the course in IS-Academia by searching for it under “Other Subjects”.

Please find all the useful information on this page.

The number of authorized credits is 15 ECTS. The Deputy Head may increase the 15-credit limit if the request is adequately justified. Should the course credits be authorized, they will be counted in Group 2 – options.

Your priority is to complete the Master cycle (90 credits of courses) and the Master project (30 credits). However, with the section’s approval, and provided that the 90 course credits have not yet been completed and that these courses have not been accepted as courses outside the plan, it is possible to take a few courses of interest outside of our study plans that will not count toward your Master’s degree. These courses will be listed under “off-plan subjects” and will not appear on your official degree transcript.

No, Bachelor level courses cannot be taken during the Master’s program.

Credits acquired in language courses do not count towards your Master’s degree. You are free to take language courses parallel to your studies by registering directly at the Language Centre.

Working regulations for students

Both EU/EFTA and non-EU/EFTA nationals can take on a paid part-time job of up to 15 hours per week during the semester and full-time during university vacations. However, non-EU/EFTA nationals can only start working six months after their arrival in Switzerland. For more information and details, click here

Mandatory internship

 Validation procedures for internships in industry can be found here.

No. Your internship must have been validated before you can carry out a Master’s project in an academic institution (EPFL or another university). If you combine your internship and your Master’s project in a company, you do not need to have carried out an internship before you start your Master’s project.

Please note that the Master’s project in industry can only be carried out upon the successful completion of your Master’s cycle or conditionally if you have up to 8 missing course credits.

Each School or Master’s degree program has appointed an Internship Coordinator who is the main contact for all questions related to internships and their validation. For IC, please contact Patricia Genet at [email protected]

Master’s project

Yes, under the following conditions: you must have no more than 8 missing credits in your Master’s cycle, you must have completed the 12-credit mandatory research project, and you must not have reached the end of the Master’s cycle (i.e., 6 semesters of coursework).

Each School or Master’s degree program has an appointed Internship Coordinator as the main contact for all questions related to the Master’s Project. For IC, please contact Patricia Genet at [email protected]. Information about the Master’s project can be found on this page.

No, you cannot start your Master’s project before completing your internship. However, you can combine the internship and the Master’s project by conducting the Master’s project in industry.

Please note that the Master’s project in industry can only be carried out upon the successful completion of your Master’s cycle or conditionally if you have up to 8 missing course credits.

The mandatory internship in industry must have been validated beforehand.

You must find a professor at EPFL and a professor at the other university who will supervise your project. You are responsible for organizing the administrative aspects related to your Master’s project at another university in Switzerland or abroad. Relevant information and FAQs can be found on this page.

According to EPFL regulations for the Master’s project (see here), your academic supervisor at EPFL must send an email to [email protected] explaining the circumstances of the interruption or delay of the project and stating the reasons beyond your control. They must also specify the exact period affected. The possibility for you to work on other aspects of the Master’s project (full-time or part-time) during this period must be considered. This application cannot be used to request an extension of the deadline for a project that is behind schedule. The Registrar’s Office will review the request and decide whether or not the deadline for the Master’s project report can be postponed.

You must provide the Student Services Desk with a valid medical certificate and copy the Section’s administration before the submission deadline of your Master’s project report. Based on this document, which attests the reason for your absence, the Registrar’s Office will decide whether the submission deadline for your Master’s project report can be postponed.

The due date will be postponed by the duration of the attested interruption (e.g., a two-week delay for a four-week work incapacity at 50%). A work incapacity above 50% is deemed incompatible with studies at EPFL. In such cases, you must interrupt your Master’s project for the entire duration of the incapacity, and the due date will be extended accordingly, as if it were a full-time incapacity. More information can be found under this link.

The oral defense must take place within a maximum of four weeks from the date the report is submitted.

Your academic supervisor at EPFL is responsible for organizing the oral defense. They will set the date for the oral defense in consultation with you and select an expert based on their expertise of the subject. The expert can be an experienced EPFL staff member or an external person to EPFL, but they cannot be a member of the EPFL academic supervisor’s unit or a PhD student. They must enter the details in IS-Academia at least one month before the defense.

For detailed information, refer to LEX 2.6.1, particularly Section 4, Art. 12, and Section 5, Arts. 16, 17, and 18.

No, the oral defense is not open to the public. The jury consists of the EPFL academic supervisor, and an exam expert nominated by the EPFL supervisor and approved by the Registrar’s Office. The exam expert appointed is authorized to intervene during the oral defense.

Only the EPFL academic supervisor may invite other individuals to the oral defense. These individuals have no right to intervene or ask questions. The EPFL academic supervisor should discuss this with you beforehand and obtain your agreement as the oral defense of the Master’s project is not public.

You must have successfully completed your Master’s cycle (i.e., 90 credits of coursework), and the grade for your oral defense of your Master’s project must be submitted at least one week before the graduation ceremony so that you can receive your diploma in the same year. Nevertheless, you will be able to download your final transcripts and the Diploma Supplement confirming that you have been awarded your Master’s degree from your IS-Academia portal in the days following the successful defense of your Master’s project.

After the Master’s degree

Yes, the Registrar’s office will immediately modify your status in IS-Academia.

You have the opportunity to carry out an internship in an EPFL lab to enhance your Master’s degree. The conditions are:

  • The internship must start within 12 months of obtaining your degree and last 6 to a maximum of 12 months at EPFL.
  • A temporary staff hiring proposal must be sent by the lab to the EPFL HR department.
  • The intern will be paid a gross flat-rate salary of CHF 2,500 per month (full-time).
  • The position is full-time; part-time employment is not allowed.
  • At the end of the internship, the intern must either leave EPFL or be hired for a position (with a fixed-term or unlimited-term contract) or as a PhD student. Note: For a position as a PhD student, you must apply and be admitted to a PhD program at EPFL.

You will need to approach and discuss this opportunity directly with an EPFL professor/lab that is of interest. The lab is responsible for funding and processing the HR paperwork. The section is not involved in this process.

After completing your Master’s degree, you can apply for a six-month residence permit to search for a job in Switzerland that matches your qualifications. For more information on conditions and details, click here