Details on credit achievements
Before completing a doctoral degree, students enrolled in the LN Doctoral School must obtain a total of 18 credits, respecting these points:
- Min. 2 credits - max. 4 credits for seminars or journal clubs in neuroscience* (12 seminars = 1 credit), validated by sending the seminars sheet (available at the bottom of this page) to the LNDS Coordinator.
- *Max. 1 credit for presenting an abstract at a major international neuroscience conference (i.e. credits for presentations at SFN, FENS, HBM, CNS are surely granted; for potential credits for presentations at other major international conferences please contact the LNDS coordinator before the event takes place).
- Max. 3 credits for workshops and summer or winter courses, validated by the school committee.
- Max. 2 credits for complementary skills, such as science communication events (e.g. Brain Week, exhibitions), courses on scientific writing and presentation skills, career events (Life Science Career days etc).
- Max. 4 credits from introductory MSc courses in neuroscience, serving to complete your neuroscience background and obtain knowledge you have not obtained during your previous university studies).
- Min. 6 credits from LN doctoral courses, including the courses from the EPFL-EDNE program.
We recommend students to obtain at least 9 credits during the first 3 semesters. The PhD can be obtained in a minimum of 3 years, maximum of 5. In the event that a PhD fellowship has ended without a successful thesis defense, the student has a maximum of one year to defend his/her thesis.
Please note that you can ask for reimbursement of train travel costs for if you are visiting a LNDS or EPFL course for which you need to travel between Lausanne and Geneva.
- One ECTS should correspond to 25-30 academic hours (45 min) of work for the student. In general, half of this work comes from attending lectures and the other half from the student's personal work (review of literature + studying + final exam or essay). For example, a course given in 1 period per week during one semester would be granted 1 ECTS (45-60 min periods x 14 weeks = 10.5 - 14 hours of lectures). On the other hand, a one week-long workshop would be granted 3 ECTS.
- To receive full credit for a course, students must fulfill the specific requirements announced by the instructor(s) at the beginning of the semester.
- Relevant MSc courses in Neuroscience are available in Geneva and Lausanne, and represent a good opportunity for PhD students to improve their background knowledge on particular subjects.
These are the forms to use when validating seminars or journal clubs:
How to validate individual seminars from conferences/symposia
When you attend a conference other than the major international ones mentioned above and marked with * (e.g. local conferences and symposia), you cannot validate 1 credit per se, but can include some talks of such events as entries on your "seminar sheet" (= 12 seminar entries will count as 1 credit):
1 seminar for a half-day conference
2 seminars for a one-day conference
3 seminars for a conference longer than one day
How to proceed:
Fill out the correspondent number of lines on your seminars sheet with the name of the conference or symposium. When your seminar sheet is filled, please send it (or a scan) to Ulrike Toepel, together with the certificate of attendance and program of the conference.
We do not allow filling up the seminar sheet with more than 3 talks from one single conference/ symposium, the reason being that you are expected to attend talks on neuroscience topics throughout your thesis on a regular basis to foster your knowledge.
How to validate MOOCs
MOOCs are "massive open online courses" and are often a good way for students to increase their understanding on a certain subject (e.g. if missing a study background in neurobiology) or to explore other fields.
Please find a list (with start and end dates) of links to neuroscience MOOCs here. Course offers are manifold and provide introductory and expert knowledge on many topics.
LNDS students can basically validate participation to MOOCs with doctoral school credits, but apart from the offers below that are already verified by the LNDS this needs to be done on an individual basis (Who is teaching? How many hours should be translated into credits? What is the course level, e.g. master, equivalent to introductory or advanced PhD courses?)
In order to inquire about the potential validation of a MOOC participation in your doctoral program, please send the name and link of the MOOC you would like to take to the LNDS coordinator at least 2 weeks before course start.
After the course, provide the LNDS coordinator with your course certificate (as for summer/winter schools and international conferences) for credit validation.
Already verified MOOC offers
Cellular Mechanisms of Brain Function (Teacher: Carl Petersen, EPFL): introductory level (evaluation by homeworks; worth 1.5 ECTS)
The Fundamentals of Neuroscience (escpecially for students lacking a neurobiological background; counting as introductory teaching) with so far 3 parts
Part 1: Electrical Properties of the Neuron (1 ECTS)
Part 2: Networks and Neurons (1 ECTS)
Part 3: The Brain (1.5 ECTS)
Principles of fMRI (Part 1 and Part 2; 1 ECTS per part)
How to validate external courses and external training stays
To inquire about the validation of doctoral school credits for
a course you want to take external to the LN Doctoral School and not listed on the LN website
a workshop, a summer or winter school or equivalent events in which you want to participate
please send a program, weblink or similar to the LN coordinator BEFORE the event to the LNDS coordinator, and a certificate of attendance for final credit validation.
To inquire about the validation of doctoral school credits for
a training stay outside of your home lab that allows you to learn a new technique or achieve a particular competence relevant for your thesis project
please send a detailed description of the host lab and on the gain of the training stay for your thesis project, which additional techniques/ comptences you will be achieving etc. to the LN coordinator BEFORE your training stay. For final credit attribution, a letter from the host institution/ professor is necessary indicating the period of you stay and your duties/ learning achievements is required. Please keep this issue in mind, sometimes a small "lab logbook" might help the host to remember what you did during your visit ....