You are on page 1of 12


Section des Sciences et Technologies du Vivant (SSV) School of Life Sciences and Technology



Master's Project in Life Sciences and Technologies (LS&T) Master's project in Bioengineering and Biotechnology (Bioeng&BioTech)
DIRECTIVES 2009 / 2010
(For students, professors and host labs in universities or companies)

APPENDIX I: Code of ethics for citing information sources APPENDIX II: Master thesis cover page APPENDIX III: Publication in INFOSCIENCES APPENDIX IV: Evaluation form for student


The Master's project is the culmination of a student's work of study, analysis, design and implementation, which proves his/her engineering capacities. In the context of a Master's Project, the student works on a problem defined by the head of the laboratory where the project will be carried out, whether that is at EPFL, at another university where he/she is doing a mobility program, or in a company. The head of the laboratory must ensure that the student can carry out the necessary analysis and design work that will subsequently allow the EPFL advising professor to evaluate the engineering capacities of the student. The Master's project leads to a written report (thesis) and an oral examination, both of which are graded. The Master's project is officially done during the 4th semester of the Master's programs but, in fact, it is recommended that the research project is started during the 3rd semester (M3) to allow sufficient time to students to learn lab practices and harvest enough data to do a good project. The topic of the Master's project can be proposed by 1. a professor from the SV school, or another EPFL School 2. another university with an advising professor in the SV School 3. a company with an advising professor in the SV School The EPFL advising professor must approve the topic of the Master's project. The student is responsible for obtaining this approval and for registering the project with the section.

The Master's project must be supervised by a professor in EPFL's School of Life Sciences. The professor is responsible for monitoring progress and evaluating the project. For those students doing a minor in biomedical engineering or another specialization, the director of the Life Sciences Section may confer, upon the request of the student, this responsibility upon a professor in another EPFL Section. When a student is on exchange at another university or a company, the head of the host laboratory is responsible for monitoring the progress of the student. This laboratory host will also be the main contact for the SV professor, who remains the official academic advisor for the Master's project.

Formal registration for the Master's project in IS-ACADEMIA is the responsibility of the student, who must respect the deadlines specified in the academic calendar and, of course, on the condition that he/she has already obtained the 90 master's credits necessary. The choice of project is made in agreement with a SV professor or a professor from another EPFL section, in accordance with the advising conditions outlined above.

For the two Masters programs, the master project has an official duration: At EPFL: 4 months (17 weeks); in house master project are due for the 25th of June In Companies or exchange universities: typically 6 months (25 weeks); they are due for the 20th of August.


Even though they remain registered as EPFL students, when students do their masters' projects while on an academic or industrial mobility, they are subject to the rules of the host institution or company: work schedule, holidays, confidentiality, salary, etc. The contractual link between the student and the host institution or company does not bind EPFL to the entity in question. The student remains nonetheless subject to the registration deadlines and thesis submission deadlines specified in EPFL's academic calendar.

In order to be able to evaluate the capacities of the student and the progression of the project, it is important for the EPFL advising professor to be involved and to verify that the project is going smoothly. In the case of students in mobility, in agreement with the hosting laboratory in the university or company, the advising professor must ensure that the project corresponds with all the criteria for EPFL Master's projects such that the student will be able to develop his or her own capacities in the specialized domain. For projects carried out at EPFL, the advising professor must meet with the student mid-semester to verify the progress of the project. For students on exchange, this interview must be done either by phone or by requesting the student a short intermediate report. In case of a problem, it is mandatory that the advising professor inform the section director. In this case, in agreement with the section, he or she must find a solution, if possible including a re-orientation of the project in order for it to come to a successful conclusion. The Master's project involves the production of a written thesis by the student. The student must anticipate the time he/she will need to write the thesis, in order to be sure to submit it in accordance with the deadlines specified in the academic calendar.

The student is expected to write his/her master's thesis in English, in accordance with the following guidelines and in conformity with the ethics rules concerning plagiarism. This includes: - The title (see the page at the end of this document) - The student's contact information (last name, first name, address) - The name of the EPFL lab, or the university or company in which the Master's project work was done - The name of the EPFL advising professor or head of the laboratory where the work was done - The name of the EPFL advising professor and the name of the head of the host laboratory (mobility) - An introduction with a brief literature review - Materials and methods used - Results - A discussion of results, with a conclusion - Complete references must be cited for the validation of the work. - A short summary (max 2000 characters with spaces) done in a single paragraph. Do not include citations to the literature refer tables and figures. Just point the Goal of the work Mention of methods used Enumeration of the most important results Conclusions that could be drawn 5 underlined keywords Reminder: the thesis must represent the work done by the student, and must be clearly differentiated from work done by other collaborators in the laboratory where the work was done. This is obligatory in order to be able to judge the work accomplished by the candidate and his/her capacities that will earn the Master's degree. All work presented and written in the form of a scientific article, even if the candidate is first author, will be rejected.


The deadlines are indicated in the academic calendar. The thesis must be turned in by 12h00 on the indicated day (Lausanne time!), and the student must provide 3 bound paper copies and one electronic copy (on CD) of the Master thesis to the SSV. The thesis must be signed and dated. All submissions after this deadline will be considered failing. In case of sending these documents by mail, the date of the post office or the private courier will be considered. Nevertheless, in this latter case, a PDF version of the master thesis should be transmitted within the

aforementioned delays to the SSV. A copy of the master thesis and the electronic version will be archived in the section. A printed version must be archived in the laboratory of the advising professor. The thesis must not contain confidential data, except in particular circumstances. The date of the defense can not be fixed within the two weeks after the hard and electronic copies have been delivered at the SSV. This time is considered as minimal for the reviewing process by the expert and professor and also to allow the student to prepare her- /himself for the oral exam. We call students' attention here to the strict measures taken by EPFL in our policies to combat plagiarism. The electronic version of the document will permit a verification of plagiarism using ad hoc programs. Any work found to contain significant plagiarism will be simply rejected. (For your information, consult the rules on plagiarism in the appendix at the end of this document, which are also available on the web at:


Together with the student, the EPFL professor fixes the date of the exam and chose the external expert. This information must be transmitted to Mrs. Maureen Coleman: Please check also for the form concerning the data for covering expert costs to be filled at least one month before the exam. If the professor would like to invite his/her lab, he/she should obtain a formal written agreement by the student. This document must be transmitted thereafter to the section together with students score. The thesis defense takes place in principle at EPFL. All exceptions must be requested specifically at the SSV, and must have the approval of the Director of the Section. For students on exchange, the oral exam may also be done via video conference or telephone conference call.


The defense of the Master's thesis project by the student is in English and should last 30 minutes. Its goal is to permit the final evaluation of the project. The defense is followed by an oral examination in the same language of at least 30 minutes in front of the advising professor and an expert from outside EPFL designated by the advisor in agreement with the director of the section. These two people are the jury. The jury must evaluate the written report as well as the student's presentation. As long as the written thesis is not confidential, the oral presentation is not confidential. In exceptional cases where the written thesis is confidential, the thesis supervisor must indicate this to the advising professor from the start of the Master's project. A solution must be found between the advising professor at EPFL and the company. The jury takes into account the following elements: 1- project management; it consists in evaluating the way in which the student defined the topic, has analyzed the steps to take; the supervisor should assess students progress at regular intervals (in particular by regularly communicating with the academic advisor) or, possibly, how he/she managed unforeseen events (modifications of the topic, delays in experiments, etc) ; 2- the academic content of the Master's project, i.e. the analytical approach, presentation of results, formal discussion and bibliography; 3- the quality of the written report (presentation of the report, clarity, precision, references, grammatical accuracy and absence of plagiarism); 4- the quality of the oral presentation (quality of slides, ability to synthesize, clarity of expression, pertinence of demonstrations and responses, if applicable).


The Master's project is considered passing when the student has submitted the work within the specified deadlines and received a grade equal to or greater than 4.

If the quality of the written thesis is considered inadequate, the EPFL advising professor can request that the student revise it within a six week period (including the oral examination) with the agreement of the director of the section. The modifications are to be made to the format, and not the content (new data) of the thesis.

A Master's project cannot be abandoned mid-route, unless for exceptional reasons, and in agreement with the EPFL advising professor and the head of the hosting lab in a company or academic institution. The section must be absolutely informed. Withdrawal is considered failing. In the case of failing, a new master's project can be proposed. A second failure is eliminatory.


Student selection Good students are encouraged to pass one year in mobility. The FSV has developed, with the help of its professors, a stimulating mobility program for its students at the master level. It occurs essentially during the 2nd year of the master cycle when this training takes place. Students have thereby the possibility to spent one year either in academic lab or in industry. The organizational process of these exchanges is such that there is no available list of academic institutions to perform such training period in contrast with industry. The rules are the following: each student should motivate one professor to sponsor and introduce her/him to a desired lab of his/her field of research. To this end professors and students should respect the following guidelines: 1. To go abroad, students should have an average score equal or superior to 5.0 in the matters representing the skills necessary to work in a lab in the related field. 2. They should obtain 60 ECTS during the 1st year of Master and be with no matter on hold to be examined from the 3rd year of Bs 3. In order to submit their mobility proposal to a professor , students should spontaneously present their grades to the contacted professor. 4. It is the responsibility of the professor to check that the student fulfil the aforementioned prerequisites. 5. Students then write a motivation letter and fill the SSV mobility form. 6. In case of agreement with the professor, then both the student and the professor sign the form and submit it to the SSV for approbation. 7. We remind you all that there are deadlines for submitting this form: for oversea: 15th of May + a contact with the EPFL Mobility office + filling their specific form before December 15th to obtain the fellowship for travel expense. for Europe and Switzerland: 15th of June + a contact with the EPFL Mobility office + filling their specific form before December 15th to obtain the fellowship for travel expense.

8. Students making their mobility in industry are not granted by a fellowship since there are paid by the host industry.

Rules Students doing their master's projects while on academic or industrial mobility over a one-year period are subject to the same regulations as students who are doing their projects at EPFL (see the regulations on mobility in the SSV syllabus). However, because these students associate their credits from "introduction to lab methods and practices" with their master's project, they must turn in to their EPFL responsible professors, two intermediate reports during the M3 semester to obtain these credits. EPFL professors are requested to evaluate these reports and to give to each one a score. These scores should be transmitted to the SSV before January 10th. In addition, an evaluation on student lab work and progress (at the end of the M3 semester) is done by the head of the laboratory in which the students are spending their mobility. This evaluation is collected directly by the SSV. The average score given to the two reports together with the evaluation made by the host lab supervisor, each count for 50% of the grade for this period to obtain the 30 M3 ECTS credits. The 2 intermediate reports should each be maximally 10-15 A4 pages in length, including illustrations, figures and bibliography. The EPFL advising professor is responsible for collecting the reports. The two reports must therefore be sent to him/her, with a copy for the SSV, to: These reports must be signed by the student and countersigned by the head of the host laboratory. The reports must be sent in PDF format with a scan of the page containing the signatures. The dates for turning in reports are: 1st report - 15 November 2nd report - 10 January (semester grades are due before 15 January 2010)


The first report must include: a) a brief description of the host laboratory and the host institution; b) the student explains briefly in which domain he/she is doing his/her work, with a short introduction to the problem and its current bibliographic context; c) he/she describes the direction being taken and the questions being considered, then d) the techniques that he/she is using and preliminary results. At the end of the report the student is also asked to provide e) an outline for the following months including experiments planned and f) a summary of expected results. The second report is a progress reports containing: a) questions addressed during the previous months, b) a description of the materials and methods used, then c) a list of results obtained, as well as d) conclusions reached by the student based on those results; finally, e) a brief paragraph of self-evaluation written by the student on his/her adaptation to the laboratory and his/her progress in mastering the techniques/technologies used. The SSV also expects that the topic of the Master's project to follow will be briefly but clearly defined in the last report.



In order to promote the work done by our students, the SSV organize every year at the end of September a Master promotion day which is different from the Magistrale ceremony. This promotion day aims to permit to judge by all students and teachers from our school, the quality of the work done by our master students. The program starts usually by some words from our president Patrick Aebischer or another member from EPFL Direction, from our dean and from institute directors and, last but not least, by representatives from industry. Thereafter a poster session pexposing the different works accomplished by our students is organized with some drinks and food. The student travel organization led by the third year students has the habit to start on this occasion their collect of funds for their travel study by selling the wine offered at the aperitif.

Poster preparation (rules)

How to build your poster: Your poster should contain a brief summary of the aim of your study, the methods used and the salient data and conclusions drawn from your master thesis. Figures supporting the methods and results are also required. It is obvious, in case of a confidentiality agreement or patentable sensitive data, these ones must not be disclosed on the poster. Please consult your supervisor. The Repro office can give you advises and explain on how to proceed for formats and resolution (format :A0; resolution: minimum 300dpi ) on the following internet link:

Poster title: Title of the master thesis Master in: School of Life Sciences Name of the Student Name of the advisor EPFL Professor Laboratory Only for the students gone in mobility Poster title: Title of the master thesis Master in: Name of the Student Name of the supervisor of the host laboratory Name of the host laboratory Name of the advisory EPFL Professor Once your poster is done and accepted by your supervisor, please send it to the SSV to the following address:

The dead line for the reception of posters is fixed every year on September 1st . The SSV thanks you in advance to respect those delays. For any further information please contact:

16. Publication of the PDMs in INFOSCIENCE.

Many students from the 1st year of master and 3rd year of bachelor have asked to the SSV if they could get access to the master thesis presented during the previous years. This access is considered by them as a good opportunity to judge what they are expected to do in a master thesis and also to get a good orientation on the different types of projects performed in the different labs both at EPFL and abroad. To this end, the SSV has decided to publish all PDM references (title, authors, directors, summary, etc.) on Infoscience ( If possible, the SSV also suggests that these references should be accompanied by the full text .Students and professors are encouraged to answer positively the suggestion done by the SSV*. They should state that they do agree by their signature (see specific form in APPENDIX III) to publish the full text of the written PDM on INFOSCIENCE. *We know that some data might be sensitive to be disclosed (in particular for work done in industry or for some research leading to patentable concepts and processes). In this case, only the summary and the abstract are published. For PDM whose full text is not available on Infoscience, we should envisage the possibility for our students to consult the written thesis in the PI lab after a formal demand.

Appendix 1

Code of ethics for citing information sources

Plagiarism is unanimously considered a major breach of ethics, meriting sanctions on EPFL's part, possibly legal proceedings. Committing acts of plagiarism is incompatible with the honor code and ethical charter in force at EPFL. In the educational environment, an author begins work by assembling and reading the results and ideas published by other authors. The quality of his/her work depends on the quality and the variety this gathered information. Today, the increasing proliferation of information underlines the importance of the issues of 1 conscientious use and correct citation of these sources . In order to guarantee conscientious use of sources of information on the part of EPFL students and staff, the EPFL Direction has enumerated the following rules: 1. Use of information must respect simple but strict ethical guidelines: the respect of intellectual property and truth forbids that one passes for one's own, even by omission, work that one has not accomplished. 2. Sources must be clearly cited, in such a way that an outside reader can verify for him/herself the quality and origin of the information. 3. In particular, students, researchers and teaching staff must be careful to distinguish between information coming from others and that which is their own: a) Author citation must be indicated by quotation marks or styles used in the discipline; b) Comments that reflect a text or are simple adaptations must be indicated as such ("here, we follow the ideas of X, adapting them to our context"); c) Personal contributions should be indicated as such and are encouraged; d) Sections of computer code that are copied, modified or even simply inspired from existing code must be mentioned as such. A comment must accompany the code. 4. The bibliography must be precise and allow a reader to locate the source (books, articles, etc.) 5. It is common courtesy to indicate important non-written information received orally. 6. Scientific information gathered on the internet must be identifiable. Texts, images, computer code and other information copied from a site must be referenced. The current method is to identify the URL and date referenced. 7. The user of an information source must respect its copyright. The use of copyrighted material is subject to 2 3 precise rules . Copyright rules also extend to the educational domain . Computer code is also copyright 4 protected .

For writing this ethics code, EPFL has used, with specific authorization, the ethics code of the University of 5 Lausanne of June 27, 2005, concerning borrowing, citations and use of various sources, itself inspired by the Ethics Code of the Universit catholique de Louvain for students concerning borrowing, citations and use of 6 various sources, of February 9, 1998 . 1 (6.6.2007) 2 (6.6.2007) 3 (6.6.2007) 4 (6.6.2007) 5 (6.6.2007) 6 (6.6.2007) VPAA 06/06/2007 1

Cover page, Master's thesis


Master's project in Life Sciences and Technology Master's project in Bioengineering and Biotechnology


ONLY for exchange students

Carried out in the laboratory of ( lab name) at (place, Institution) Under the supervision of (name, title (Prof, PhD,.head of lab if on exchange) Done by


Under the direction of PROF. First name, last name EPFL External Expert
(advising Prof EPFL)

In the laboratory of (lab name)

(First and last names, title of the expert at the Master's project thesis defense, if different from your lab supervisor in the foreign lab and already mentioned above)


Appendix III


Section des Sciences & Technologies du Vivant EPFL SSV-SV-GE SG 1310 Station 15 CH-1015 Lausanne Phone : +41 21 693 9601 @mail : Internet:

Publication on Infoscience SSV Master Project Students name :__________________________ I do authorize the publication of my masters thesis on Infoscience If I do not authorize the publication of my masters thesis on Infoscience, I do authorize the publication of my masters thesis abstract Date : Signature : YES NO



Professors name :__________________________ I do authorize the publication of the masters thesis made under my direction on Infoscience If I do not authorize the publication of the masters thesis made under my direction on Infoscience, I do authorize the publication of the masters thesis abstract Date : Signature :






Appendix IV