PhD timeline

Week 1 –Week 4: Enrolment to the PhD programme and registration with the UNIL

1) The student and their thesis director (supervisor) the C&I enrolment form, for the PhD program  declaring that they accept the specific rules of the programme. This form also requests that the student chooses a  PhD programme representative, who will follow their progress during their thesis. The C&I enrolment form also requires that the student lists the proposition of courses they intend to participate to in the first year of their PhD  to give a total of 4 ECTS. Note: Within the first year, there must be 2 credits obtained from UNIL tutorials or various CIIL courses  out of the 4 credits required. Students must obtain at least 12 ECTS credits before their final thesis defense. Link

 

• The C&I enrolment form needs to be returned to the PhD programme coordinator within the first month of starting your PhD.
• Note: As part of their obligations, PhD students enrolled in UNIL laboratories teach practical classes for Biology and Medicine students of the University of Lausanne (this is indicated in the “cahier de charges” part of your contract).
 

2) Registration procedure at the UNIL when you start your PhD

The student should enrol themselves as a student of the UNIL: This procedure is preformed on- line via the UNIL Imatt. Office. Please check the deadlines  and follow the steps carefully on  

   - with a Swiss undergraduate University degree : click   

   - with a foreign undergraduate University degree: click

 

Note: If the application is sent after the deadlines, the registration will be postponed to the next semester (or, in case the late application is accepted, the prospective student will have to pay an extra fee of CHF 200.-).  For more info

 

Please note that you will be requested by the IMMAT office to pay 200 CHF at the beginning of your PhD, plus 80 CHF at the beginning of each semester.

Within the first 6 months:

The PhD student arranges a short meeting with his selected PhD programme representative to briefly discuss how they have settled into the new environment and into their project.

By the end of the first semester following registration

 

Each PhD student has a thesis committee that follows her/his progress during the thesis period. The committee’s composition must be communicated to the Doctoral School at the latest one semester following your registration, and selected by common consent between the thesis director and yourself. The committee includes:

 

  1. The thesis director (and co-directors, if applicable).
  2. Two experts, with at least one (Expert A) employed outside of the Department of your thesis director. The experts should not have a collaboration on the thesis project. Note that for the final thesis defence, at least one expert of the Jury will have to be from outside the University of Lausanne/CHUV; this can either be a member of the thesis committee or you can add an additional expert fulfilling this requirement.
  3. The president (who can be selected among the PhD representatives, as long as she/he has a title of Professeur ordinaire or Professeur associé)

 

Committee composition form 

 

For questions on this step: phdthesis@unil.ch

 

Within 6-9 months: First year evaluation (Qualifying exam)

Within the first 6-9 months from the official day of starting the PhD there is an qualifying exam with the thesis committee (thesis director, PhD programme representative and an additional member that is external or in a different department but amongst the participating labs of the PhD Programme) to evaluate the student’s performance and potential. The exam consists of a short written report (4 pages maximum, see instructions below), an oral presentation (approx. 30 mins) and a discussion. The report should be submitted to the members of the thesis committee 2 weeks before the exam. A copy of the report should also be given to the PhD programme coordinator (fanny.dubois@unil.ch) together with the composition of the qualifying exam committee form.

 

►Instructions for preparation of the first year evaluation

• Use Arial font 11 for the text and font 8 for the figure legends.
• Total of 4 pages divided in the following sections:
1. Overall working hypothesis, specific aims and brief description of approaches to be used to achieve the goals: 0.5-1 page
2. Summary of significance: max. 4 sentences, bullet point style
3. Background with novelty/significance of the questions to be addressed: 1 page
4. Preliminary results: 1-1.5 pages
5. Project plan: future approaches : 0.5.1 page

 

• The Figures and figure legends are included within the 4 pages. The references may be added in addition to the 4 pages.
 

Please note that the purpose of the first exam (to be held within the first 9 months), is to evaluate the potential, dedication and capacity of the student to focus. The exam is not meant to assess the results already obtained. The committee will inform the student if they feel that the student is unlikely to be successful in completing their first year. Following a potential additional probation period, the student's contract will be terminated (by the end of the first year).

 

For questions on this step : fanny.dubois@unil.ch

 

By the end of the first year

 

A short report summarizing the thesis subject, the thesis milestones/plan & the research progress must be prepared by the end of the second semester for a first evaluation by the full thesis committee. The report should then be sent by e-mail to ALL the members of the thesis committee with in copy (Cc) the thesis director and the Doctoral School (phdthesis@unil.ch).

 

If the report for the qualifying exam (first year evaluation) matches the criteria, it can be considered as a first-year report. Please make sure you send it to all your committee members, if they differ from the people who participated in the qualifying exam.

 

For questions on this step: phdthesis@unil.ch

Mid-thesis exam: two years following the start of the PhD assistant contract or 3 semesters after the official enrolment date

 

The mid-thesis evaluation must be held at the latest two years following the start of the PhD Assistant contract or 3 semesters after the official enrolment date. During this exam, the student presents the progress of her/his research project in front of the thesis committee. The PhD student, together with the thesis director(s) and committee members (including the PhD Programme representative who also acts as president of the thesis committee), choose an examination date.

 

At least 15 days prior to the mid-thesis exam, you should forward the following information to the Doctoral School (phdthesis@unil.ch):

 

  • The mid-term report presenting the results and research progress (max. 20 pages, double-spaced, 30 references max.). This document should be signed by you and the thesis director and then sent by email to ALL the members of the thesis committee with a copy (Cc) the thesis director and the Doctoral School (phdthesis@unil.ch).
  • An e-mail to phdthesis@unil.ch mentioning the date, hour and place of the exam. For more details (exam duration, format of the report...), check our Directives 2017 for the PhD in Life Sciences, section "Evaluation intermédiaire”

 

For questions on this step: phdthesis@unil.ch

Three to 3.5 years (36-42 months):

If the student anticipates that their thesis will last more than 4 years they are required to complete and submit the form “ Request for an extension of the thesis deadline” (Available from the PhD Programme Coordinator). The maximum period of extension is 6 months.

 

For questions on this step : fanny.dubois@unil.ch

End of the program: usually in the 3rd, 4th or 5th year of your PhD

 

You need to fulfil the following program requirements: minimum 12 ECTS, according to the specific conditions of The Cancer & Immunology programme. Please forward the documents for validation of courses at any time during your thesis, but at the latest 4 weeks before depositing the thesis manuscript to the Doctoral School Secretary's Office (=manuscript for the oral private exam). Please forward the ECTS documents (minimum 12 ECTS) to the FBM Doctoral School (phdthesis@unil.ch), possibly by postal mail, or if abroad e.g., by e-mail, in PDF with all the relevant documents merged in the appropriate order.

 

Should you have any queries on the requirements of the program in which you are enrolled, contact: phdthesis@unil.ch

 

Are you ready to defend your thesis? Private exam and public defense

In brief, you will have to write your thesis and then defend it at the “private defence” session in front of your selected jury.

 

A thesis jury needs to have a minimum of 4 members and a maximum of 6 and should include:

  • The thesis director (and co-directors if applicable)
  • Two experts (or three if in the initial thesis committee composition there is no expert from outside the University of Lausanne/CHUV and therefore an additional expert has to be selected). Note that none of the experts can have collaborated in the thesis project or published with the PhD student.
  • The PhD program representative (who also acts as president of your thesis jury)

 

Please make sure the composition of your thesis jury is validated by Professor Fabio Martinon, Director of the PhD program in Cancer & Immunology.

 

Do not forget

  • 9 weeks before the private exam date : to ask for your ECTS final certificate of your exam (phdthesis@unil.ch)
  • 5 weeks before the private exam date: to provide the Doctoral school with documents listed under the checklist available on the Doctoral school website: select Checklist deposit under the section “Milestones of your Thesis”

If you pass your private exam, you will then be allowed to present you research in a public defense in a format accessible to non-scientists in front of a public audience.

 

Detailed information on these exams are available in sections 7, 8 and 9 of the Milestones.

 

For questions on this step: phdthesis@unil.ch

 

After the public defence

 

Detailed information on these exams are available in section10 of the Milestones.

 

For questions on this step: phdthesis@unil.ch

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