FAQs

Who is eligible?

The Summer Research Program (SRP) enrolls students who have finished two years of a Bachelor’s degree up to the first year of a Master’s degree.

What if I have finished my Bachelor’s degree and I am not yet in a Master’s program?

If you are actively applying for a Master’s program in a life sciences related subject and planning to pursue a life sciences related career, you are eligible up to one year after you finished your Bachelor.

The program dates do not match my university’s academic calendar. Could I come from May to July?

To be eligible, you must be on-site for the entire time between the program dates i.e., July and August. It is impossible to come a month early and leave a month early. We regret that our summer program dates do not correspond well with some country’s academic calendars.

My gpa is almost a 3.75/4.0. Will my application be evaluated?

Yes, it will be evaluated, but the SRP is very competitive and your chances of being selected are low.

My background isn’t mainstream Life Sciences. Can I still apply?

Yes, students come with all kinds of backgrounds, but you should have at least a few mainstream Life Science courses on your transcript as e.g., cell biology, biotechnology

Do I need to have research experience already?

Most participants do already have lab experience, but some do not. It is not a requirement.

What are my chances of being selected?

The SRP is very competitive! We receive over 650 applications and offer 25 places. Your chances of being selected also depends on how many candidates choose the same top three lab choices – Popular labs have more applications from which to choose.

When will I hear back?

All applicants will receive an email about three weeks after the deadline with the result of their application.

Transcript

Does my transcript/grade sheets need to be translated into English?

We accept transcripts in English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and Italian.

If your transcript is in another language, please translate it into English.

Do I need to have an official translation?

You may translate your transcript(s) yourself and have a faculty member sign it to verify that it is a true translation. Include the original transcript in your upload.

Do I need an official transcript?

Yes, if possible and not too expensive.

If it isn’t possible or too expensive, then unofficial transcripts or screen shots from your university student portal can replace the official transcript.

What do I do if my school has a completely different kind of grading scale?

Please upload an explanation of your grading scale and how difficult it is to achieve each grade.

I haven’t received my last transcript. What should I do?

Please make a list of your classes that you are currently doing and/or for which you are waiting for a transcript. Explain on the document why your transcript is unavailable at that time.

Recommendations

Can I upload the recommendations to my application myself?

No, your referee needs to use the link that is automatically sent to them after you have filled in their contact details and invited them through the on-line application.

Whom do I ask for a reference?

Ask someone who knows you well enough to assess your potential to do research, if possible a lab head and/or professor.

Motivation Letter

What should be in my motivation letter?

We want to know why you are applying, what has drawn you to want to do research, what you bring to the program and what you hope to get out of it.

CV

I have never done a CV before! How do I do it?

There are many helpful CV methods available on the internet. Make your CV no more than 2 pages long, emphasize your education and lab experience, make it clean and easy to find the most important information that is useful for the selection committee to evaluation your scientific potential.

Lab Choices

How long should this document be?

Please write 2-3 sentences about each lab choice. We want to know that you have thought about your choices and that they make sense based on your background.

How am I assigned to a lab?

When you apply to the SRP, we ask you to give us your top three choices from the participating lab list. We evaluate your application with the input from your top three labs.,. When we make our final selection, lab assignments are also finalized. 

Why are some of the labs located in Geneva?

EPFL has extended campuses and several labs are at the Campus Biotech in Geneva. This requires you to travel back and forth most days. Your extra travel costs will be covered by the lab.  Usually you are still housed in Lausanne so that you have the “living together” experience that is an important part of SRP. To find out if your lab is in Geneva, please consult the lab website.

What is the dress code?

Everyday is very informal (jeans etc.) but you must wear clothing that covers your legs and closed shoes in the lab for protection. 

What is the working language?

Work, lab meeting and seminars are all in English.

Socializing can be often in French, or other languages.

What are the working hours?

Usually you work ± 40 hours a week in lab related activities. Depending on the project, you may have to work some on the weekends e.g., cell culture.

Friday Afternoon Workshops

Do I have to participate in the Friday Workshops?

Yes. Most Fridays you will be required to participate in a workshop on a relevant subject such as science communication, lab visits, applying to graduate school etc. The goal is to help prepare you for a future career in science.

Closing Symposium

What happens at the symposium?

You will be required to make a poster and attend the Closing Symposium that is held on the last day of the program. Besides the good food and drink, you will have the chance to explain your work to the Life Sciences Scientific Community and some of our program sponsors.

Housing

Do I have to find my own housing?

Your housing will be arranged for you and paid from your 3,200 CHF stipend before you arrive. Usually your housing is in Lausanne, a short metro ride from the EPFL campus.

Money

Do I need to bring extra money?

Normally, if you are careful e.g., eating picnic lunches and eating-in, you can manage to live on the money left over after your housing is paid. You will most likely need to bring your own money for weekend travel and tourism.

Visa

I come from a country that requires a visa to enter Switzerland. What do I do?

We will help you get a visa. The rules change frequently, so we will provide you with an invitation letter and directions as to what to do to help you navigate the process. It can take up to three months to obtain your visa.

Asking for more Information

After reading all the website and the FAQs, what if I still have questions?

Please contact the coordinator with your questions, only if you have read all the information available on the website and the FAQs.

Remember! When you ask for information, it is not an SMS message, it is a professional communication and you want to make a good impression, therefore write in full sentences without slang or shortened forms of English words 

Example of an inquiry –

Dear Ms Goodman,

My name is XXXXXX and I am interested in applying to the SRP.

I have a question about XXXXXXX.

Thank you your time.

Sincerely,

Your name.

Are there other summer programs at EPFL?

Yes there are!  Students also have the possibility to apply to the following programs (distinct eligibility rules):