Engineering Internship

The industrial internship is an integral part of your Master cursus in Mechanical Engineering. It is an excellent opportunity for you to get a crucial insight into the day-to-day work-flow in industry and also offer to the company your broad expertise and skills in Mechanical Engineering.

The internship has several aims such as: the immersion of the student into the professional world, emphasizing the importance of team work, getting acquainted with a company’s processes and requirements expected from a professional engineer in Mechanical Engineering. The internship experience should test the student’s abilities and skills acquired at the EPFL.

Within the framework of the Master’s study plan, several forms of internships are possible :

  • Internships lasting between 2 and 6 months. It occurs in most of the company’s departments where the student’s knowledge can be profitable. Depending on the available time, the activity could have a more advanced objective, and should call for the skills acquired by the student during his cursus.
  • Master projects should be a personal and original work covering theoretical and practical aspects of a Mechanical Engineering project. The supervision by an EPFL professor is a guarantee of quality for the student as well as for the company, which remains nevertheless fully owner of the intellectual property of the result of the internship.

The internship in industry is a mandatory step of your Master degree and has to take place prior to starting your Master Project in a Laboratory.

In case of a 2-6 month internship:

  • Find an internship position and in case you have found it by yourself, without using the IS-A portal, have the subject validated by your section deputy.
  • Inform the STI coordinator that you have found your internship.
  • Cancel all ongoing applications by gently notifying the companies. This step is extremely important to keep a good relationship with future employers.
  • Transmit the EPFL internship agreement to the employer and have it filled out and signed by the employer and the section deputy of GM. The signing of the agreement is mandatory.
  • Transmit a copy of the agreement to the secretariat of GM.
  • If you are a non-swiss/EU citizen, ask the company to request a work authorization for the duration of the internship. More information here.
  • Once all the details of your internship have been settled, enter or edit the details of your internship on the IS-A internship portal. Upload a copy of the signed
    internship agreement.
  • If your internship takes place during an academis semester, make sure to update your FRAC according to the following table.
  • At the end of the internship, fill out the evaluation report that will be sent to you by e-mail. The evaluation procedure starts 2 weeks prior to the official ending of the internship. Both the student and the supervisor will fill out an evaluation report.

In case of a master project in industry:

  • Find a master project in industry by contacting the professors of GM.
  • A master subject can also be found through the IS-A Internship portal. In this case, it is mandatory to find a professor willing to supervise you before you accept the offer from the company. Make sure to comply with the following directions: Coordinated Master Thesis in Industry
  • Official starting dates for master projects in industry are as follows:
    Other starting dates can be obtained on special request to your section.
  • All administrative details of your master project in industry have to be settled between the employer and the professor supervising your work. A special Master project agreement can be signed on request of the supervising professor or the partner company.
  • Once all the details of your Master project have been settled, register your project in your study plan.
  • Update your FRAC according to the following table

FAQ for students

Is the internship mandatory?
Yes! An internship in a company is mandatory step to acquire your master degree.

Are there alternatives to the internship?
In case you plan to do your Master’s project in a company, this period is considered as replacement of the mandatory internship. Master’s projects in a company can be for both the Fall and Spring semester.

Which is the minimum length of the internship?
The internship must last at least 8 consecutive weeks at 100% occupation. The upper limit is fixed to 6 months.

Where can the internship take place?
There is no geographical limitation for the internship provided it is done in a company.

What are the specific conditions?
By internship, it is understood taking part of the activity of a company during which the student can apply her/his personal skills and the knowledge acquired during his/her studies at EPFL. “Summer jobs” having strictly no relationship with the training are excluded (life guard at a pool, ski monitor, pizza delivery, etc.).

What is a “company”?
A company is any institution (including non-profit) that is not involved in higher education. In the case of European institutions those that attribute ECTS credits are excluded. At institutions such as University Hospitals, acceptable internships are limited to service areas of the hospital (central laboratory, imaging, nuclear medicine, pharmacy, etc.). Fundamental research labs within the clinical setting are not acceptable.

Can I propose an internship I have arranged?
Absolutely! Just like for your theoretical and practical skills, your personal initiative and your relational network are an important part of your future career. Do use them! A personal proposal also gives you the largest chances to find what is the most convenient for you.

As for every internship, its content should be accepted in order to be validated in your study’s cursus. Please do inform the Adjunct of GM section about the proposed internship topic prior to accepting an offer.

Do I have to write an activity report?
No. There is no need to write a report for internships. If a report is part of your duties towards the company, a copy will be welcome for a confidential and internal use in order to appreciate the type of activity that you have been executing at the company.

Although there is no need to write an activity report for the Section, a written evaluation from your internship supervisor, as well as your evaluation of the internship is mandatory for the validation of the internship (by the adunct of GM section). The evaluation process is automated by filling out an electronic file. An editable form is also available at http://internships.epfl.ch.

Which salary can be claimed?
On the one hand, you will be relatively close to your engineer title and have consequently a large spectrum of academic knowledge. On the other hand, you will certainly lack significant practical experience when you start the internship.
This influences the considerations about salary. Theoretically, the monthly salary should be in the range of CHF 1500-3000. This amount is the lower limit for the delivery of a working permit by the Employment Service (Vaud) for all foreign students (excluding EU). Salaries for internships in European Countries and Swiss strat-up companies are generally much lower (600-900 Euros).

Is there any insurance from EPFL?
No. It is your responsibility to check if you have appropriate insurance covering sickness and professional and non-professional accidents.

Which type of contract has to be signed?
EPFL requires an internship agreement to be signed by the company, the student and the EPFL (represented by the adjunct of GM section). An editable word file of the internship agreement is available here. This convention covers all the issues of an internship position, in most cases satisfactory for the company. If a company is not willing to sign this document and propose another form of contract, please verify their document with the internship coordinator.

What will happen to the students who did not do an internship before their Master’s thesis?
Students won’t be able to start their Master thesis.

Does EPFL propose internships to their students?
EPFL is extensively contacting companies in Switzerland and in Europe to make them aware of the mandatory internships for EPFL students. Many companies publish their positions in the “internship” part of Is-Academia, but sometimes also through direct contact with EPFL students.
Other companies, having their own “career” website, are willing to receive directly internship applications from students. You can be assisted by the faculty’s internship coordinator in your quest (personal letter from EPFL, recommendations for your CV /letter of motivation etc).

Is it possible to take into account an internship done before the EPFL’s Master’s program?
Yes. An internship in a company done after your Bachelor degree, can be evaluated and potentially recognized as the mandatory internship. You have to provide an internship certificate including, in addition to an evaluation of your internship activity, the name of your internship supervisor, the title of the internship describing the internship and the dates of the internship.

Documents

Contact

STI Internship Coordinator

Dr Sebastian Gautsch