PhD Student : teaching duties

Guidelines for PhD Teaching assistants in Physics


Main contact: Yvette Gallay [email protected]



All PhD students at EPFL are required to teach besides their research. All PhD students registered with EPDY and EDPO are required to teach as soon as enrolled in EDPY/EDPO, upon request of their supervisor they can be exempted the last semester of their PhD. The official teaching load is expected to be an averaged 10% over the year.

Every TA is expected to have one teaching duty per semester, and participate to exam supervision/ grading.



Will be initiated by an email of the section – 3 phases

Phase 1 – about 2 months before semester start

Teachers are asked to indicate their needs in TAs. They can indicate the names of TAs they have already selected and informed. PhD students particularly interested in a specific course should contact the teachers early enough and inform the Section about any arrangement already made.

Phase 2 – about 1 month before semester start

PhD students are asked to check their TA on IS-Academia and contact the section if there is any problem.

Phase 3 – about 3 weeks before semester start

The section informs the teachers that the final teaching assignment is available on IS-Academia and they are asked to contact the PhD students assigned to their course.


At this stage the assignment is final and mandatory.



Sessions of teaching should not be missed and the semester of teaching should be planned carefully by PhD students. However, in rare cases, an assigned PhD student is allowed to miss a session of teaching, provided he/she finds a replacement who needs to be accepted by the teacher of the course. The section will not look for replacement. TP classes cannot be missed!


Attribution of assistants to courses

In theory, assistants are allowed only for TP and courses including exercise sessions of

more than 30 students. Exceptions need to be validated by the section during phase 1 of the teaching assistant attribution.

General physics and advanced physics courses : Mandatory assignments will be made for courses with a lack of TAs.


Language issues

Poor knowledge of French is not a problem for teaching assignments.

However, French-speaking PhD students are best assigned to first-year courses.


Teaching excellence award

Every year in Autumn, 10 teaching excellence awards including a diploma and a prize of CHF 1’000 is attributed to TAs. Nomination are made exclusively by the teachers. Each TA can receive the prize only once and needs to have a working contract ending after the ongoing year.