Epfl Phd Application Essay

Each PhD student in physics is hired directly by a research group to work on a specific research project, under the supervision of a thesis director associated with the doctoral program. The lists of physics topics with active research at EPFL, of research units in physics, and of current thesis directors in physics, can be viewed on Research expertise (or by clicking on the menu "Applicants" on the right).

The admission of a candidate in the Doctoral Program in Physics can only occur once the following two conditions are satisfied:

  1. the candidate applied to the program, and is selected by the selection committee on the basis of the application documents;
  2. the candidate found a thesis advisor associated with the program, in a research unit that decided, after an interview, to offer him/her a PhD student position

As shown in the diagram below, this can be achieved through two different routes, which differ mostly by the order in which the above two conditions are met:

  • Apply first, then find a position
    Applications must be submitted electronically through the web site of EPFL Doctoral School. This can be done at any time. Please read the general information and follow the application instructions. The deadlines for applications to the physics program are April 30 and October 31 of each year. After each deadline, complete applications submitted for that deadline will be reviewed by a selection committee. Each candidate will be informed by e-mail about the decision of the selection committee within a month. Eligible candidates will be encouraged to look for a thesis advisor and a PhD student position; in parallel their application file will be made available to all thesis directors associated with the Program, for consideration by those in search of a PhD student.

  • Find a position first, then apply
    If a candidate finds a PhD advisor and a position before being selected by the committee, then the advisor may request that the application be examined by the selection committee outside of the official deadlines. Before this is requested, the candidate should submit an electronic application through the EPFL Doctoral School (see the general information and application instructions) and make sure that all the reference letters have been submitted as well, regardless of the deadlines indicated by the system. The selection committee will then take a decision about the admission in the program.

The selection committee may decide to admit a candidate under conditions.

Re: PhD in EDPR of EPFL - A bit disappointed

While the frustration is clear to see, I'm sorry to say, but you'll need an attitude shift.

"...unnacceptable..." they are the employer. If you don't like what they do and how they do it, don't apply.

In terms of employment... if there are hundreds applying for positions, then employers have a need to differentiate. If someone has proven knowledge/experience they'll be selected over someone who "can adapt to all situations".

There are pros and cons of both of course, but in PhD/Postdoc situations, my experience is that the view taken is often limited to "they must have experience in this particular field".

Rarely have I come accross Profs willing to take a punt on someone with a different view to broaden their thinking. Indeed, I only know of one person who is now doing a postdoc in Neurosciences having studied maths. They were looking for someone to broaden their thinking processes. (Which is my tip as to how you can sell your skills rather than the "I can adapt" which is weaker.)

Good luck.

Never let right or wrong get in the way of a good opinion

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