Minor in Science, Technology and Area Studies (STAS)

Global perspectives, local realities

The Minor combines project-based learning with fieldwork in Russia or China. Positioned at the crossroads of science, technology and social sciences, it equips you with the tools and skills to communicate across disciplines and across regions.

Practical information 2018-2019

Minor STAS booklet (PDF)

The Minor proposes different projects depending on the region you choose:

China: from idea to prototype

As part of an interdisciplinary team of engineers you will imagine and design a product from scratch.

During your stay in Southern China you will finalize the devices at a local prototyper’s factory (Seeedstudio). In parallel you will pitch the products in front of incubators, accelerators and Chinese makers. You will also have the opportunity to visit some of the leading hardware companies in the region (e.g., Huawei, DJI, etc.).

You can follow the 4 projects from the 2016-2017 edition here.

Russia: investigating climate change in the Arctic

You will be introduced to the problems of climate change via fieldwork carried out either on a research vessel (Arctic Floating University) or in a tundra research station in the Yamal peninsula.

The Arctic Floating University expedition project offers a unique opportunity to carry out complex interdisciplinary research of the Arctic environment aboard of the oceanographic research-vessel “Professor Molchanov”. During the two to three-week long voyage toward the island of Novaya Zemlia, you will explore the impact of climate change in the Arctic territories from the angle of biodiversity, cryogenic processes, pollution, legal frameworks and social and economic challenges.

In the arctic tundra, in the permafrost landscapes of the Yamal peninsula, you will study the relics of a giant railway work of the Stalin era, built under the Gulag regime. Monitoring of the environment, cryology, civil engineering or history of the techniques and sciences are among the different skills needed.

Structure of the Minor

Structure of the STAS

The mandatory project (18 ECTS) includes the development of transversal skills (project management, team management and intercultural management).

A specific SHS course (HUM440 – Global perspectives, local realities) accompanies the Minor. It aims to contextualize contemporary global and regional issues and dynamics. Students are strongly encouraged to enroll in this course.

Who can apply?

Masters students from all faculties at EPFL may apply.

When can I apply?

The regular application period runs between May 15 and September 1 2018. The application form is now available.

What should I put in my application?

Your application should include the following:

  • A transcript of grades at the Bachelor level
  • A short résumé/CV
  • A motivation letter written in English explaning your motivation to follow the Minor, the skills you bring and how it fits in your career plan

Is there a selection procedure?

Yes. The number of participants for each region (China or Russia) is limited to 12.

What are the selection criteria?

The selection is based on the following criteria:

  • quality of the application
  • equilibrium of skills and profiles among candidates
  • coherence between the application and the technical/scientific project

When will I know if I am selected?

Final decisions will be communicated to students one week before the beginning of the fall semester. Once you get the selection confirmation, you will be able to enroll via IS-Academia.

Which optional courses can I select?

The list of courses you can select from can be found here (Excel spreadhseet).

How much does it cost?

Participation in the Minor costs CHF 500.- It includes flights, accommodation and transport in the region.