Intermediate (Midterm) evaluation

Goal, Format & How to prepare | Thesis committee

Goal, Format & How to prepare


The intermediate evaluations are organized by each PhD candidate who has been working on the project for 2-3 semesters, but not later than 18 months after the reception of LNDS acceptance letter. The goal is to evaluate the first part of the thesis project. Eventually, the thesis advisory committee could make suggestions about the continuation of the project and the publications.

If the midterm evaluation is judged insufficient, a second meeting will be scheduled with the candidate, the thesis director and the thesis committee members.


The exam normally lasts around 2 hours, for details check the section “Oral presentation” below. The intermediate evaluation is based on:
• the quality of the report provided by the candidate,
• the quality of the oral presentation of the candidate,
• understanding of the field of research (literature, methodology, importance of the work, limits, etc.),
• the originality and the advance of the experimental work,
• the projects formulated for the continuation of the thesis work.

In addition, the thesis committee asserts on the potential for publication of the results in the form of original articles in international journals with editorial policy, and makes recommendations thereon. In the end of the exam and after deliberation, the thesis committee issues its conclusions, recommendations and other remarks in an ad hoc document signed by the parties involved and transmitted to the LNDS.


At least one month before the exam, both the PhD candidate and the thesis director are asked to submit a report to the LNDS coordinator by e-mail, using the official forms:

The candidate's report should describe how the thesis project has started and how it will develop in the next 1-2 years. The thesis project description (max 10 pages plus references) is organized as follow:

  • Aim of the project: 0.5 to 1 page
  • Background: 2 to 3 pages
  • Already published results (if applicable) and on-going work: 2 to 5 pages
  • Perspectives and timeline for completion and defense: 1 to 1.5 pages
  • References

The thesis director's report should describe the progress of the student, both academically and project-related, and the state of the student's publications.

Both the candidate and the thesis director can report any minor or major problems and describe in detail what these problems are. Yet, there will also be the possibility to discuss problems with the thesis committee during the exam session in private (see section “Oral presentation” below). The reports and presentation should be in English.

Oral presentation

The presentation of the candidate should not last more than 30 minutes, and elaborate on the thesis project, goals, hypotheses, methods and results obtained so far. During the following discussion (moderated by the jury president),  thesis committee members will pose questions to the candidate, e.g. about the research plan, results obtained, the next project steps and timeline towards PhD completion, as well as on the state of publication(s). Questions can also touch topics beyond the actual thesis topics in order to evaluate the camdiadate's knowledge in neuroscience in general.

Note: The LNDS expects candidates to be able to discuss multidisciplinary neuroscience research with colleagues coming from different research backgrounds.

Before the thesis committee deliberates, the doctoral student and the supervisor are heard separately by the committee.

The exam is held in the presence of the personalized thesis committee of the PhD candidate (see section below for details).


Thesis committee

Around the end of the first year of the PhD studies, students (after discussion with their supervisor) must communicate the members of the stduent's thesis committee to the doctoral school. This committee will be present during the intermediate exam, and follow the student’s progress during the thesis period.

The committee includes:

  • The thesis director, and co-directors if applicable
  • Two experts in the domain, who are professors or MER with PhD or MD. At least one is PhD; at least one is employed outside of the department the thesis director is attached to. None of the experts should have collaborated in the project
  • The president, who will be a representative of LNDS

Thesis committee composition must be communicated to the LN coordinator, using the official form below, once the date of the intermediate exam has been fixed, but at the latest 1.5 months before the exam takes place. The LN coordinator will send the student’s and director’s reports to the committee. The exam date must not be later than 18 months after LNDS enrollment.


FBM Doctoral School - Amphipôle 316 - CH-1015 Lausanne
Tel. +41 21 692 40 14
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV) Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève (HUG) Université de Genève Université de Lausanne École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)