FAQ for students

In case of a 2-6 month internship:

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 MT 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 MT 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 start-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 MT 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.

STI Internship Coordinator
Dr Sebastian Gautsch
sebastian.gautsch@epfl.ch
+41 (0)21 693 10 58