Requirements for passing the first year and the mise à niveau (MAN)

Requirements for passing

To successfully complete the first-year cycle, one needs to:

  • obtain a weighted average grade equal or superior to 3,50 for block 1 after the winter exam session, and
  • obtain a weighted average grade equal or superior to 4,00 for each block after the summer exam session (or after the winter exam session during the second attempt at the first year)

In the case of an average grade inferior to 3,50 for block 1 in winter, students are:

  • registered for the cours de mise à niveau (MAN) for the spring if it is their first attempt at the first year, or
  • excluded from the school with a definitive failure at the Bachelor’s program if it is their second attempt at the first year

In the case of an average grade inferior to 4,00 for one or several block(s) in summer, students are:

  • registered for the second attempt at the first year for the following year if it is their first attempt at the first year, or
  • excluded from the school with a definitive failure at the Bachelor’s program if it is their second attempt at the first year

The cours de mise à niveau (MAN) lasts one semester (spring only). At the end of that course, students are:

  • registered for the second attempt at the first year for the following year if they have successfuly completed the cours de mise à niveau (weighted average equal or superior to 4,00), or
  • excluded from the school without a definitive failure at the Bachelor’s program if they haven’t successfully completed the cours de mise à niveau (weighted average inferior to 4,00)

The first year must be successfully completed within a maximum duration of two years, except in the case of a valid motive of prolongation (illness, military duty, etc.). It is therefore not possible to take a break between the first and second attempts, nor before or after the mise à niveau.

Repetition of the first year

Students repeating the first year as a second attempt after successful completion of the mise à niveau (MAN) keep the sufficient grades (4,00 or above) they have obtained in first-year subjects evaluated during the semster. They must retake all first-year subjects evaluated by means of an exam during the exam session, as well as first-year subjects evaluated during the semster for which they have obtained an insufficient grade (below 4,00) in the first attempt.

Students repeating the first year as a second attempt after a first failure at the end of the academic year (average grade below 4,00 in at least one of the two blocks) keep all the grades in the block they have successfully completed (average grade 4,00 or above), should there be one. In the failed block(s):

  • they keep the sufficient grades (4,00 or above) they have obtained in first-year subjects evaluated during the semster;
  • they keep, by default, the sufficient grades (4,00 or above) they have obtained in first-year subjects evaluated by means of an exam during the exam session, but they can choose to repeat these subjects if they so wish, and
  • they must retake first-year subjects for which they have obtained an insufficient grade (below 4,00) in the first attempt.

This document summarizes the above (in English on the second page).

Questions/Answers

May I attend the mise à niveau if my average grade for block 1 in winter was 3,50 or above?

No, only students with an average below 3,50 are registered for the mise à niveau. All other students continue the first year normally.

What happens if I do not attend an exam ?

An exam missed without a valid motive in block 1 of the first autumn semester is graded NA (not acquired). This leads to a first failure and the student must then take the mise à niveau in the spring, followed by his second attempt at the first year the following year.

An exam missed without a valid motive in the mise à niveau is graded NA (not acquired). This leads to a failure and the student is then expelled from EPFL.

Any other first-year exam missed without a valid motive is graded NA (not acquired). This leads to a failure of the block, and therefore to the failure of the ongoing attempt. If it is the second attempt, the student reaches a final failure and is expelled from EPFL.

What happens if I miss an exam for a valid motive ?

If a subject is missed for a valid motive (medical certificate, study duration arrangement, etc.) in block 1 of the first autumn semester, the student may only continue in the spring semester (without going through the mise à niveau) if the average grade would be 3,50 or above even with a 1,00 in the missed subject. The student can then complete block 1 the following year. If the average is below 3,50, the student is put on leave in the spring and must complete block 1 the following year.

If a subject is missed for a valid motive (medical certificate, study duration arrangement, etc.) in the mise à niveau, the student is put on leave the following autumn, and completes the mise à niveau the following spring.

If any other subject is missed for a valid motive (medical certificate, study duration arrangement, etc.) during the first year, the student can continue the current attempt (the usual rules apply) and complete it the following year.

In all of these situations, the student may also accept a failure in the subject, which leads to the failure of the block, with all the usual consequences of such a failure.

What is the maximum duration to complete my first year?

As stipulated in the legal texts, the first-year cycle may not last more than two years, which means that a second attempt at the first-year exam must take place the year following the first failure, unless there are exceptional reasons (e.g., when the student was ill during the exam session and must repeat subjects the following year).

What happens if I am accepted at EPFL after an unsuccessful year in another higher-education school?

If the curriculum at the previous school is deemed equivalent to the first year at EPFL, you will be accepted with a single attempt at the first-year cycle. You will thus be subject to the same conditions as students going through their second attempt at the first-year cycle after a first attempt at EPFL, but without keeping grades from your ‘first attempt’ in the other school, and having therefore to take all first-years subjects at EPFL during this single attempt.

Can I start the Bachelor's cycle without having completed the first year ?

Yes, but only when:

  • the missing subjects were missed for a valid motive (medical certificate, study duration arrangement, etc.),
  • the average of the completed subjects in each block is equal or superior to 4,00, and
  • the missing subjects do not add up to more than 16 coeffcients.

You will then be allowed to start the Bachelor’s cycle, but will be required to complete the first year within a year.

Can I continue in the spring if I successfully complete a block in the winter?

Once a block is successfully completed, it is no longer possible to register for subjects in that block. If you successfully complete a block (or both blocks) in the winter during your second attempt at the first year, you can therefore not continue to take courses in that/those block(s) in the spring. Should you successfully complete the first year after the winter exam session, you will be registered for the Bachelor’s cycle in the spring.

What happens if I leave EPFL during the mise à niveau?

If you withdraw before the deadline to withdraw without a failure (March 31), you will leave EPFL with a simple failure at the first year and will not receive any other transcripts. You will however not be allowed to resume your studies at EPFL, since the maximum duration for the first year (two years) will not allow you to successfully complete the mise à niveau and the first year.

If you withdraw after the deadline to withdraw without a failure, you will receive transcripts at the end of the semester, which will signal your failure at the mise à niveau and exclusion from EPFL.

Should you wish to join another higher-education school after your withdrawal from EPFL, please contact that school to learn about their admission requirements and possible consequences of your situation at EPFL.