FAQ for CSE master

Notice: this FAQ may contain errors. In case of doubt please refer to the official rules.

What is the length of the master?

The CSE master is a 120ECTS master and it’s average lenght is two to two and a half year. You will probably take two – three semesters to complete the courses and semester projects. Then you will do the internship. You should count one semester for the internship. Then one semester for the thesis.

You will most likely take 2,5 years to graduate. But this depends on the internship. If it’s an 8 weeks internship, you might be able to do it during the summer break.

What is the length of the internship? and how to find it?

You can find the list of all internships offered for CSE students on ISA. Duration of the internship: between 8 weeks and 6 months are allowed in the CSE master. The company decides of the lenght of the internship, most of the proposed internships last 5 to 6 months.

I don’t know how to select the core courses (block)

You have to take at least 24 credits in the core block. This means that you can skip one or two courses (dependind on the credits) in this list. It is suggested to take most of the core courses during the first semester. The block is “passed” if the average of the courses is at least 4 (worst grade is 1, best one is 6, passed is 4).

I don’t know how to select the optional courses (groups)

You first have to select three lists out of the four available. In each these three lists you have to take at least 8 credits, for a total of 36. The “earning” of credits within a group is different then in a block. In fact, each course has to be passed independently. The group is passed  if the total of the credit of passed courses is at least 36.

I would like to know if it is possible to make this master with a minor?

Unfortunately for the moment it is not possible to take a minor beside the CSE master.
In contrast, it is possible to complement another EPFL master with a minor in CSE.

Can a micro-technician follow this Master? Does he have the necessary knowledge in mathematics and data processing to this master? Which are the required qualities in order to choose this way?

The master is open for any holder of BSc in natural science or engineering. The admission is done on file, including also a letter of motivation which serves to understand the reasons of the choice and the determination of the candidate. Of course, we also consider the results obtained in programming and mathematics, but that is not determining. Concerning mathematical knowledge, it is essential to have good results in the mathematical branches of your section and to follow courses which give you additional bases in applied mathematics. For knowledge in programming, of course it will be necessary to learn how to program (some special courses are necessary).


Semester projects evaluation

Is a report or a user guide necessary?

The responsible professor decides, there is no formal list. The section would like to have a copy of the report, if it exists.

Is a presentation necessary?

Usually yes, but the responsible professor decides. 

What are the deadlines?

See Academic calendar


What if I have a 3 in an optional course?

If you take the same exam again, the 3 is replaced by the new grade. If it is at least 4, you earn the credids of the course and the old grade disappears from your marks. If you fail it again, the latest grade appears in your grade reports and you have to take another course to complete the credits of the group.

I have earned all my credits, even if I failed one or more exams. I am allowed to retake the exams that I failed?

No, once you earned all the credits for a group or a block, you can not (re)take more exams on the same group or block.

What are the requirements in terms of topic, degree of difficulty, etc?

The main requirement is that the student will be doing mainly research in Computational Science and Engineering. The student is not supposed simply to follow instructions from someone else. He/she has to do an autonomous work, which requires his/her skills in CSE, analysis of the work carried on, and originality of his/her work.

A professor from EPFL has to validate the scientific contents of the student’s work and this porfessor has to supervise the work during the project.

In the end, a detailed scientific report has to be submitted to EPFL.

How may I register practically for the Master project?

On IS-Academia, similarly to what you did for the semester projects. Once the document is signed by an EPFL professor, it has to be forwarded to the CSE secretariat.

Is EPFL involved in the contract with a company?

No, the contract is established between the student and the company only.

Which is the procedure for the PdM?

1. The professor and the student decide together about the date/hour. Then the professor has to communicate it to the SAC via the portal for teachers of is-academia. It will also be necessary to plan an external expert, for example a supervisor of the company.

2. The report has to be delivered in 3 exemplars to Valerie Kormann, secretary of the MA section before noon of the deadline. One copy is for the CSE, 1 for the supervisor and 1 for the external expert.

Can the thesis of Master be undertaken in a company?

The thesis can be done in enterprises provided that a professor follows you and guarantees the scientific contents of the thesis.
It is also possible to undertake an internship of 8 weeks in a company (generally between the first and second year). Note that it is compulsory to do at least one experience in a company.

When does the internship take place?

The 8 week internship (or more) takes generally place during summer (between mid-July and mid-September). The 17 week Master Project dates range from mid-Februrary to mid-july (or from mid-September to mid-January for some students).

Should the intern be paid ?

The EPFL recommends a monthly salary is paid, which ideally should cover the cost of living and extra-expenses for travels and housing.

What are the differences between an internship and a Master project ?

The internship meets a business objective as defined by the company unlike the Master project, which must be an independent and original research work.

The internship is supervised by a professional within the company, whereas the Master project is under the responsibility of an EPFL professor. The internship work can be done in various departments, where the expertise of a CSE engineer is needed (R&D, quality, production, purchasing, etc…).

What are the deliverables of the internship project ?

The internship is supervised by a professional within the company. The Mathematics Section validates the subject area beforehand. The student must produce a technical report at the end of the internship. The document is then sent to the Mathematics Section with the required respect of confidentiality clauses.

EPFL requires an evaluation report (short questionnaire) is filled in by the intern’s supervisor in the company. As well, a non-technical report of the student will have to be provided to EPFL.