Structure of SHS Teaching

Offering an open and structured program

The SHS programme is an integral part of all study plans at EPFL, from the first year of a Bachelor’s degree to the first year of the Master’s degree. It offers students a great freedom of choice, from around 120 courses that cover a wide range of humanities and social sciences.

Complete list of SHS courses: see is-academia.

Bachelor, 1st year

Students attend one of the ‘Global Issues’ courses. Six different issues are offered: climate, communication, energy, food, health, mobility. It starts at the second semester (spring) and carries 2 coefficients. Global Issues is co-taught by one technical and one non-technical teacher in order to increase relevance for students.

Due to the high number of first year students, every thematic issue is given twice, which makes 12 courses in total. Every student is free to choose the course they will enrol for, subject to the number of available places.

Bachelor, 2nd and 3rd years

Second and third year Bachelor students have the opportunity to deepen areas of interest by choosing a course each semester. Again, both general and more detailed themes are explored. Choice can be made each semester, with over 20 courses on offer.

All the 2nd and 3rd year courses are taught over one semester. Every student is free to choose one course per semester, which means four courses in total. 80 students can attend each course (except for a few special courses).

Master, 1st year

Each student attends to a two-semester (automn then spring, in a row) course. They receive in-depth teaching and educational support during one semester (automn). The following semester (spring) is then dedicated to conducting research individually or in groups in line with their chosen teaching. This teaching aims at promoting teamwork in the formulation of a problem and its resolving, in a project logic. Every course offers an interdisciplinary approach of specific issues. More than 20 Master courses are available, places are limited.

Important information:

In case of exceptional admission at the spring semester, no student can attend a Master course whose introduction was given at the automn semester. Those students must begin the Master course in automn with the introduction, before completing the Master project the next spring semester.