Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)

EPFL, situated in Switzerland, is among the most dynamic and diverse science and technology institutions in Europe.

The École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) is a renowned research institute and university in Lausanne, Switzerland that specializes in natural sciences and engineering. EPFL's origins can be traced back to a private school founded in 1853 with just 11 students, but today, it is one of two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, with over 10,000 students in Lausanne.

EPFL is twinned with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) and is one of the few universities that runs a nuclear reactor, a fusion reactor, a Gene/Q Supercomputer, and has P3 bio-hazard facilities.

EPFL has a unique admissions process that is not selective for Swiss nationals, but at the end of freshman year, students must pass a block exam to continue their studies. EPFL's campus on the shores of Lake Geneva consists of 65 buildings across 136 acres and includes banks, museums, bars, restaurants, and cafeterias.

The student body at EPFL is diverse, with students from 112 different countries, although women made up only 27 percent of the student body as of 2014. Life on campus is vibrant, with numerous student-formed clubs and associations providing social and recreational opportunities. EPFL also offers a wide range of sports and leisure facilities, and there is an active student media that publishes a monthly newspaper and broadcasts on a student radio station.

EPFL places a high priority on the arts, and the university hosts several music festivals each year, with the largest being the Balélec Festival, where 15,000 visitors attend to watch 30 concerts on multiple stages.


EPFL, or the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, was established in 1853 as the École Spéciale de Lausanne, inspired by the École Centrale de Paris. The private school aimed to provide high-level education in Switzerland, focusing on chemistry, physics, mathematics, drawing, architecture, and civil engineering. The school began with 11 students, five of whom graduated in 1855. In 1857-1858, the school moved to a new building on Rue de la Tour 8. In 1869, the school became the Technical Faculty of the Académie de Lausanne, and in 1890, it changed its name to the École d'ingénieurs de l'Université de Lausanne. In 1902, the school began offering a special mathematics course for students who lacked the required level.

In 1943, the school established an architecture section and moved to the former Hôtel Savoy building on Avenue de Cour and the adjacent Cèdres estate in Lausanne. In 1946, the school became the École Polytechnique de l'Université de Lausanne (EPUL) and established a physics section. In 1969, the EPUL became a federal institution and changed its name to the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). The school became one of the six autonomous public institutions that form the domain of the Écoles Polytechniques Fédérales and depend on the federal government. The construction of the EPFL's current campus in Dorigny, Ecublens, began in 1974 and was completed in 1991. In recent years, EPFL has strengthened its involvement in the life sciences, with the "Sciences, Vie, Société" (SVS) program established under the presidency of Patrick Aebischer from 2000.

EPFL’s commitment to research and innovation has also been evident in the School’s partnership with industry. In 2009, EPFL launched the Innovation Square project, which provides startups and established companies with access to state-of-the-art research facilities and expertise. This initiative has been instrumental in the growth of the Lausanne and Swiss economies, with many successful startups emerging from EPFL’s ecosystem.

The School has also been at the forefront of addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges. In 2015, EPFL launched the Swiss Energy Center – a collaboration between EPFL and eight other Swiss universities – with the aim of developing sustainable energy solutions. The School has also been active in developing technologies to combat climate change, such as its involvement in the Solar Impulse project, which created a solar-powered airplane that completed a round-the-world flight in 2016.

Today, EPFL continues to push boundaries and expand its impact. With a focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and a commitment to innovation and sustainability, the School is well-positioned to address the challenges of the 21st century and beyond.


EPFL, or École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, is a leading research university located in Switzerland. The university offers four types of education programs: Bachelor's, Master's, doctoral, and executive education.

The Bachelor's program lasts three years and is awarded upon completion of the first year of introductory studies and two years of the Bachelor's cycle. EPFL offers 13 Bachelor's degree programs, all of which are taught in French, within the 13 academic sections of the university. Upon successful completion of the program, students earn a Bachelor of Science degree and 180 ECTS credits.

EPFL's Master's program is offered in 22 fields of study, most of which are taught in English. The program lasts for 3 or 4 semesters, with students earning either 90 or 120 ECTS credits, respectively. Upon completion of the program, students earn a Master's degree and the title of EPFL engineer. The university also offers eight minor programs within the Master's program.

EPFL's doctoral program allows students to conduct research for three to five years in one of the 19 doctoral programs offered by the university, leading to the title of Doctor of Science.

The EPFL Executive Education program offers professionals the opportunity to obtain an Executive MBA or an Advanced Studies Master's degree.

All degrees awarded by EPFL are recognized by the Swiss Higher Education Accreditation and Quality Assurance Organization (OAQ). Additionally, EPFL's engineering programs are accredited by the French Engineering Titles Commission (CTI). EPFL has agreements with other leading universities around the world for exchange and double-degree programs.

EPFL's student success rates vary by program, with the first-year success rate ranging from 31.6% for the electrical and electronic engineering program in 2013/2014 to 52.1% for the architecture program in the same year. The overall success rate for the university was 41.8% in 2013/2014. However, 58% of EPFL students ultimately graduate, with 58% of them doing so in the minimum amount of time.

Global MBA rankings

 EPFL, or École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, is a renowned public research university located in Lausanne, Switzerland. The university has consistently ranked highly in various international university rankings, reflecting its excellence in the field of science and engineering.

In the QS World University Rankings 2023, EPFL ranked 16th globally across all fields, further cementing its position as one of the world's leading universities. EPFL has also been consistently ranked as one of the top universities for engineering and technology, with the Times Higher Education World University Rankings placing it 19th in this field in 2023.

EPFL's excellent performance in these rankings is attributed to several factors, including its high faculty-to-student ratio, international outlook, and significant scientific impact. In fact, in the 2013 rankings by the CWTS Leiden Ranking, which aims to measure the scientific impact of universities accurately, EPFL ranked 13th in the world and first in Europe across all sciences.

However, due to the university's relatively young age and small size, it tends to rank lower in name-brand surveys, such as the Times 2017 reputation ranking, where it was ranked 45th globally.

Nevertheless, EPFL has received numerous accolades over the years. In particular, it has been ranked first in the Times 100 Under 50 Rankings for three consecutive years, from 2015 to 2017, and second in 2018 and 2019. This ranking recognizes the top 100 universities in the world under 50 years old, and as EPFL was formed in its current form in 1969, it is eligible for inclusion.

Moreover, the university has been ranked as the most international university in the world by Times Higher Education for two consecutive years, in 2014 and 2015, further highlighting its global reach and influence.

Overall, EPFL's consistently high rankings in various international university rankings underscore its reputation as a world-class institution for science and engineering education and research.

Job integration rate

The École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) is a leading research institution in Switzerland, with a strong emphasis on science, engineering, and technology. It has an excellent reputation for preparing its students for the job market, and many graduates have gone on to successful careers in their respective fields.

EPFL has a dedicated Career Center that helps students and recent graduates find job opportunities and internships, connect with potential employers, and develop their job search skills. The center also offers career counseling, workshops, and networking events to support students in their career development.

EPFL publishes an annual report that includes data on the employment outcomes of its graduates. According to the latest available report from 2020, 94% of EPFL graduates found employment within six months of graduation. Of those, 80% secured a job in Switzerland, while 14% found work abroad. The remaining 6% pursued further education or opted for entrepreneurship.

General information

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Campus: Urban

Rte Cantonale, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)

Paul Joseph Dyson

Écublens (near Lausanne), Canton of Vaud, Switzerland
Rte Cantonale, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
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Fri Mar 01 2024

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