Master Project

The Master project aims to develop deeper knowledge, understanding, and capabilities on a topic related to the student’s program of study, and to demonstrate the ability to conduct independent work in research or advanced development.
SV doctoral assistant | © EPFL Alain Herzog

In the context of their Master project, students work on a problem defined by the head of the laboratory where the project is carried out, whether that is at EPFL, at another university where they are doing an exchange program, or in a company. The head of the laboratory must ensure that the student can carry out the necessary analysis and design work that will subsequently allow the EPFL advising professor to evaluate the engineering capacities of the student.

The Master project is the last step in the SV Master Cycle. It is worth 30 ECTS.

Discover the newly online list of Master projects currently available in the School of Life Sciences!
Interdisciplinary projects (co-supervised by two labs from different EPFL Schools) are also available.

Opportunities for student projects are available on the websites of SV laboratories or discussed with a head of lab.

and other faculties, within EPFL, with the approval of the Section.

Duration of the Master project

  • 18 weeks (1 week holiday included) within EPFL
  • 18 weeks (1 week holiday included) or 26 weeks (1 week holiday included) outside EPFL in a company or academia

Deadlines of the Master project

Official registration deadlines

Students may start their Master projects earliest on January 1st (Spring) or August 1st (Fall).

Students have to register into the Master thesis on IS-Academia, latest 2 weeks after the start of the semester (as any other course).

They also have to provide the Section with a registration form (useful documents below) validated by an EPFL supervisor. The completed form has to be sent for final signature by Igor Allaman on the LSE support platform at the latest:

– on May 15th or December 15th if a visa is required

– on June 15th or January 15th if no visa is required

Starting and ending dates can be moved upon justification.

You will be invited by email to send the electronic pdf version of your Master thesis by the dates indicated on your IS-academia. You do not need to print it. Submission time is latest 12:00 (noon, Swiss local time). Use web transfer if the file size is too large for email.

Any change to the title of the Master project must be submitted to Igor Allaman via the LSE support platform at latest on the day of the exam. The title is mentioned on the student’s diploma supplement.

The SV section no longer requires posters from its students.

Tuition fees

During their project the students remain registered at the EPFL and continue to pay the EPFL tuition fees. For exchanges in non-partner universities, certain taxes or tuition fees can be claimed by the host institution. It is therefore highly recommended to ask the host university about their policy as soon as possible.

Funding opportunities

  • Bertarelli Fellowship: Program in Translational Neuroscience and Neuroengineering PTNN. The goal of the program is to push basic discoveries in biological mechanisms in neuroscience toward translational to clinical impact by creating stronger ties between basic neuroscientists, engineers and clinicians. The Program bridges two of the world’s great universities, namely Harvard University Medical School (HMS), with more than two centuries of leadership in alleviating human suffering caused by disease, and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).
  • International Student Exchange Program of the EPFL Brain Mind Institute (BMI): As part of its effort to promote and enhance scientific collaborations with its strategic partners, the BMI is launching an exchange program aimed at supporting Master students from the BMI and partner institutions.
  • The students who will do their Master thesis in a EPFL partner university in Europe, at ETHZ or in one of the 4 Institutes of the ETH Board can ask for an allowance.

Other possible grants

Students and supervisors are responsible for organising the oral defense of the Master project.

All information to the students about their grades have to be provided by the Registrar Office.

Master thesis rules 22-23 for students, professors and institutions

Reasons for considering that content of the Master thesis to be confidential include, but are not limited to: data that have been submitted, but not yet accepted for publication; data that are the subject of a patent application; the work is the subject of a confidentiality agreement signed with an industrial partner.

If the data in the Master thesis are considered confidential at the time of the submission/examination, then you must tick the relevant box on your IS-academia page. Your EPFL supervisor will be asked to confirm that the data presented are considered confidential.

If the data presented in the thesis are not confidential, the final version that is uploaded to IS-academia will be checked for plagiarism. The results will be communicated to your EPFL supervisor.