EPFL students’ studies are based on an academic calendar beginning in mid-September and ending in mid-June. The year is divided into two semesters: Fall semester (from September to January) and Spring semester (from February to July).
Depending on the academic program, students may have different periods available for their internship. They may be available during the semesters including breaks (period 1 or 2 in the table below) whereas others may only be available during shorter periods, generally summer break (period 3 in the table below). In addition, some students fulfill their internship requirement by doing their master’s thesis within a company at the very end of their studies.
Posting periods for internship proposals
To reach the highest number of students looking for internships, companies should post their proposals:
– from the start of the academic year end of September and ideally before November, for the internships to be undertaken between mid-February to September (period 1) or between mid-July to February (period 2) or during the next summer (period 3),
– from February and ideally before April, for internships to be undertaken between mid-July and February (period 2) or during the next summer (period 3).
Please note that the School of Computer and Communication Sciences would like to get the internships proposals before end of September, respectively end of February, to ensure the successful running of their student’s selection process.
Internships may be posted at anytime outside of these periods, but they may not receive as many applications.
The table below summarizes, for each master, the internship models and the periods when students are usually available.
Differences between internships and master’s projects at a company
- Internships are exclusively under the supervision of the companies Project’s Supervisor. The supervisor will evaluate the student’s professional skills through a simple questionnaire at the end of the internship. Academic credits will be given according to the master program rules. Often, the student will have to provide EPFL with a report.
All internships are regulated by an internship agreement that can be added to the company’s own contract.
- Master’s projects in a company are under the close supervision of an EPFL professor who will follow the student’s activity at the company and receive reports in order to evaluate the student’s progress. A master’s project at a company always requires a master’s thesis and an oral defense.
- The Schools of Engineering (STI) and Life Sciences (SV) have initiated a project to promote strategic master projects in industry. The initiative uses a preparatory step for discussions between la research lab and the company before publishing the content to students. More information on the project and the requirements can be studied here.
In order to address every aspect of the engineering internships, the EPFL proposes a tripartite internship agreement binding the company, the student and EPFL for the duration of the internship. This contract provides clear information about issues such as confidentiality or intellectual property etc. The student is responsible for acquiring three signed copies of the agreement by the company and EPFL to provide each partner with a copy. The master projects within a company do not necessarily require an agreement to be signed.
Architectes have a specific internship agreement.
For information purposes, the Swiss authorities (service de l’emploi) expect an internship being paid about CHF 2’000 a month in Switzerland. This will be a requirement to deliver the working authorization for students coming from countries located out of European Union.
Master projects, in contrary to internships, do not have necessarily to be paid.
Working authorization in Switzerland for foreign students
Pursuant to art . 39 OASA (art. 30 para. 1 let. G FNA ), foreign students registered at EPFL and in aid of a valid residence permit can do a full-time paid internship, provided that the internship is a mandatory part of their studies. However, they need to have an authorization issued by the authorities of labor market to do so.
– For a student from third countries (non UE/AELE), the company must ask the competent authorities of labor market for the permission to employ the Student as an intern and submit the working conditions to such authorities. EPFL issues an attestation stating that the internship is a mandatory part of the Student’s studies, and that the Student is still registered as an EPFL student during his internship. The authorization shall be granted if the working conditions are valid. The Company and the Student must wait for the positive decision of the authorities of labor market before starting the internship.
– Students that are EU citizens and EFTA get the principle of mobility and the ability to perform an activity for the duration of the internship. The internship must, however, be announced to the control of the inhabitants of the town of the Student or in the canton where the internship will take place. The internship can begin as soon as the announcement is made.
Master projects in a company do not require a working authorisation since they are done under the supervision of a EPFL professor.
For further information, please contact the relevant cantonal authorities.
Canton de Vaud:
Service de l’emploi: vd.ch/emploi
Service de la population: vd.ch/population