Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne commonly known as EPFL, is a prestigious public research university situated in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Founded in 1853, EPFL has established itself as a leading institution with a specialized focus on engineering and natural sciences.

It operates within the ETH Domain, a network of Swiss federal institutes, and falls under the direct jurisdiction of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education, and Research. The École Polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne,

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne draws its inspiration from the esteemed French engineering school, École Centrale Paris, and was founded with the mission of nurturing Switzerland’s promising engineering talent.

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The university boasts an urban campus that stretches along the picturesque Lake Geneva, encompassing not only academic facilities but also the EPFL Innovation Park, as well as various university research centers and affiliated laboratories.


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Lausanne is a picturesque city located in the western part of Switzerland, on the northern shore of Lake Geneva (Lac Léman). It is the capital of the Vaud canton and the fourth-largest city in Switzerland. Lausanne is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and as the headquarters of various international organizations. Here are some key aspects of Lausanne:

Scenic Location: Lausanne is known for its breathtaking location along the shores of Lake Geneva, with the majestic Swiss Alps serving as a stunning backdrop. The city’s hilly terrain provides visitors and residents with panoramic views of the lake and mountains.

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Cultural Hub: Lausanne boasts a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, theaters, and music venues. The city is home to the Olympic Museum, celebrating the history of the Olympic Games, as the International Olympic Committee is headquartered in Lausanne.

Historical Charm: The old town of Lausanne, known as the “Cité,” is a charming and well-preserved medieval quarter filled with narrow winding streets, historic buildings, and quaint cafes. The Lausanne Cathedral, an impressive Gothic structure, is a notable landmark in the old town.

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Education and Research: Lausanne is a hub for education and research, hosting institutions like EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne), one of Europe’s top technical universities. The University of Lausanne (UNIL) is another prestigious institution in the city.

Olympic Capital: Lausanne holds the prestigious title of being the “Olympic Capital.” It’s home to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and various other Olympic organizations. The Olympic Museum in Lausanne is a must-visit for sports enthusiasts.

Multilingual City: While French is the official language of Lausanne and the surrounding Vaud canton, the city’s international nature means that you’ll also hear many other languages spoken here, including English and German.

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Green Spaces: Lausanne is known for its beautiful parks and green spaces, including the Parc de l’Hermitage, which offers a serene environment for leisurely walks and picnics.

Cuisine: Swiss cuisine is prominent in Lausanne, with fondue and raclette being popular dishes. The city also offers a diverse range of international dining options, reflecting its multicultural population.

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Transportation: Lausanne’s well-connected public transportation system makes it easy to explore both the city and the surrounding region. The city is also a major transportation hub in Switzerland, with easy access to other Swiss cities and neighboring countries.

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Festivals and Events: Lausanne hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, including music festivals, cultural celebrations, and sports events.

Overall, Lausanne combines natural beauty, rich history, and a dynamic international atmosphere, making it an attractive destination for residents, students, and visitors from around the world. Whether you’re interested in culture, sports, or simply enjoying the serene beauty of Lake Geneva, Lausanne has something to offer everyone.

EPFL history

EPFL history. The Evolution of EPFL: From Humble Beginnings to Global Excellence
The origins of the present-day EPFL can be traced back to the establishment of a private institution called École spéciale de Lausanne in 1853. This visionary endeavor was spearheaded by Lois Rivier, a graduate of École Centrale Paris, and John Gay, who served as the professor and rector of the Académie de Lausanne at the time. In its early days, this fledgling institution enrolled just 11 students and operated from premises on Rue du Valentin in Lausanne.

In 1869, it evolved into the technical department of the Académie de Lausanne. Subsequently, as the Académie underwent reorganization and attained university status in 1890, the technical faculty was rebranded as École d’ingénieurs de l’Université de Lausanne. The year 1946 marked a significant transformation when it was renamed École Polytechnique de l’Université de Lausanne (EPUL). Then, in 1969, EPUL gained autonomy from the University of Lausanne and adopted its current name, EPFL. Much like ETH Zurich, EPFL operates under the direct jurisdiction of the Swiss Federal Council, distinguishing it from other Swiss universities, which are overseen by their respective cantonal governments.

Under the leadership of President Patrick Aebischer, who assumed office in 2000, EPFL embarked on a journey of expansion, particularly in the field of life sciences. In 2008, it incorporated the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC) into its framework.

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne’s growth trajectory is evident in its student and faculty numbers. In 1946, it had 360 students, and by 1969, this figure had surged to 1,400 students with 55 faculty members. Over the past two decades, EPFL has experienced rapid development in terms of both its reputation and size. As of 2023, it boasts a thriving community of over 13,000 full-time students.

Today, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne’s vibrant environment is truly global, attracting students and researchers from across the globe. The campus represents more than 125 countries, and the university functions seamlessly in two official languages, French and English, reflecting its international character and excellence.

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EPFL Admission

EPFL Admission, Academic Journey, and Entrepreneurship Culture

  • Swiss “maturité gymnasiale” holders are directly accepted into their chosen Bachelor’s program without additional conditions.
  • Swiss Professional “Maturité” or specialized “Maturité” holders are admitted to the Cours de mathématiques spéciales (CMS) within available spots.
  • EPFL has a non-selective undergraduate admission process for Swiss residents.
  • International students must have a final grade average of 80% or higher in their national upper secondary school system.
  • EPFL operates within the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH) Domain, with a significant budget allocation.
  • The real selection process takes place during the first year of undergraduate studies known as the propaedeutic cycle, with a block examination at the end.
  • Students with insufficient averages may need to repeat the entire first year.
  • Approximately 60% of students fail the first year across all majors, with varying failure rates by major.
  • Foreign students face a stringent selection process, with French proficiency (B2 level, C1 recommended) due to most courses being in French.
  • The typical duration for a Bachelor of Science degree is six semesters (3 years), followed by four additional semesters (2 years) for a Master of Science degree, including a thesis.
  • However, only 58% of graduates complete their programs within the expected timeframe.
  • EPFL offers study abroad opportunities during the 3rd year, including long-standing exchange programs with universities like Carnegie Mellon and ISAE.
  • Entrepreneurship is actively promoted at EPFL, with the EPFL Innovation Park integral to the campus.
  • EPFL students and faculty have a history of creating start-ups, averaging 12 per year since 1997, with a total of 105 million CHF raised by EPFL start-ups in 2013.

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne supports students financially

Supporting Students Financially at EPFL
EPFL offers several financial aid options to support students during their academic journey. These options include:

  • Scholarships: EPFL provides various scholarships to help students cover tuition fees and living expenses. These scholarships are awarded based on academic excellence, financial need, or specific criteria set by donors. Some of the scholarship programs include Excellence Fellowships, Master’s Fellowships, and ETH-D scholarships for international students.
  • Student Jobs: EPFL offers part-time job opportunities on campus, allowing students to earn money while studying. These jobs can help cover living expenses and provide valuable work experience.
  • Loans: EPFL offers loans to students who require financial assistance. These loans are designed to help students meet their educational expenses and are typically repaid after graduation when students are in a more stable financial position.
  • Emergency Aid: In cases of unexpected financial hardship, EPFL provides emergency aid to students facing immediate financial difficulties. This aid can help students address urgent needs and continue their studies.
  • External Scholarships: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne encourages students to explore external scholarship opportunities offered by government agencies, foundations, and organizations. These scholarships can supplement EPFL’s financial aid programs.
  • Student Support Services: The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne has dedicated student support services that can provide guidance and advice on financial matters. Students can seek assistance in managing their finances and exploring available resources.
  • Work-Study Programs: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne may offer work-study programs that allow students to gain work experience related to their field of study while earning money to support their education.
  • Research and Teaching Assistantships: Graduate students at EPFL may have opportunities to work as research or teaching assistants. These positions often come with a stipend, tuition waivers, or other forms of financial support.
  • Fellowship Programs: Some research projects and academic programs offer fellowships to students, providing financial support for their participation.
  • Financial Counseling: EPFL may provide financial counseling services to help students create budgets, manage expenses, and make informed financial decisions.

It’s important for students to explore these financial aid options and apply for scholarships, loans, or other forms of assistance that match their individual needs and circumstances. EPFL is committed to ensuring that financial constraints do not hinder students from pursuing their education and academic goals.

The tuition fee for a bachelor’s degree student at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne

The tuition fees for a bachelor’s degree student at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (École Polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne) in Switzerland vary depending on your nationality or residency status. Tuition fees at EPFL are generally lower for Swiss students, students from the European Union (EU) or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, and higher for international students from outside the EU/EFTA.

Please note that tuition fees are subject to change, and it’s essential to check EPFL’s official website or contact their admissions office for the most up-to-date tuition fee information. As of my last update, here’s a general breakdown of the tuition fees:

  1. Swiss and EU/EFTA Students: Swiss students and students from EU/EFTA countries typically have lower tuition fees. The fees for these students could range from approximately CHF 3000 to CHF 6000 per academic year.
  2. International Students: International students from outside the EU/EFTA generally pay higher tuition fees. For bachelor’s programs, the fees for international students could range from approximately CHF 8000 to CHF 20000 per academic year.

It’s important to note that these figures are approximate, and the exact tuition fees for each program may vary. Additionally, some programs or courses may have specific fees, so it’s crucial to check the official EPFL website or contact their admissions office for precise information regarding your chosen program and the most current tuition fees.

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne also offers various scholarships and financial aid options to help students, including international students, offset the cost of tuition and living expenses. These scholarships can vary in terms of eligibility and award amounts, so be sure to explore the scholarship opportunities available to you.