Who are my students?

Think of your audience when preparing your course

Your students will probably come from a variety of educational and cultural backgrounds and have different reasons to follow your course (e.g., because it is obligatory, because the subject or course activities look interesting, because of the teacher’s reputation, etc.). When planning your teaching, it is useful to have in mind your students’ prior knowledge, their expectations of your course and ways in which they are used to being taught.

This page will first provide an overview of the EPFL student body in general.  It will then introduce the existing resources from which you can gather relevant information about your own students.

In addition to the on-line resources described below, remember that your colleagues will often have already taught the same students. Talking to them can help you understand your students better and may also help you both build links between your courses.

EPFL student overview

EPFL is a Swiss school and Swiss students make up about 50% of the student body. At undergraduate level the population is mostly Swiss (about 70% of new entrants were Swiss in 2013). Most of the remainders are Francophone students (largely from France).

At the same time, EPFL is also a leading European engineering school. Consequently, new entrants at master’s level come from a variety of European countries including France, Romania, Turkey, Italy and others. There are also entrants at master’s level from further afield including China, Iran and India.

At doctoral level, EPFL attracts candidates from around the world. Switzerland accounts for about one-third of doctoral students, with Italy, France, and Germany accounting for another one-quarter. The remainder come from across the globe.

So, while distinctively Swiss and distinctively francophone, EPFL is a very cosmopolitan and multi-lingual engineering school with at least 125 nationalities from all over the world represented in the student body. This provides a unique richness among the student body, as well as some pedagogical challenges for teachers.

Additional information on the EPFL student profile can be found here.

List of registered students in your class

Students can register for a class up to the 3rd week after the beginning of the course.

To get the list of registrations, follow the link for “course timetables and registered students” (on the right of the teaching portal home page) and select “Registrations by lecturer”.  Enter the year, semester and your name to get student registrations in your course.

Registered students are also listed within your IS Academia pages. Log on to isa.epfl.ch, choose “IS-Academia portal (Prof.)”, and then choose a course from the left-hand side of the page.  A list of registered students will be displayed.

Lecturers can get also access to their students’ ID photos, and their course of study, from within IS Academia.  When the list of registered students is displayed, choose the “Trombinoscope” link at the head of the list. (For further information see Rogues Gallery – Trombinoscope).

Students’ e-mail addresses

There are a number of ways for a teacher to access a list of their students’ email addresses:

  • follow the link for “course timetables and registered students” to get a list of registered students as described above. When student registrations are displayed, there is an option on the top right of the screen to “login to access email addresses”.
  • log on to isa.epfl.ch and list the students registered in your courses as described above.  “Mail to all” appears as an option at the head of the list of registered students.
  • get the emails for a whole class though the list of EPFL email lists.

Class representatives

Given the democratic spirit of the institution, every student cohort of EPFL elects one or two class representatives on a yearly basis. They function as the spokesperson for the academic concerns of their section cohort. For teachers, they can provide feedback on how the course is going. Their role is set out in article 4, page 2 of the relevant guidelines.

You can consult the list of class representatives:

You should note, however, that for optional courses there may not always be a class representative taking your course.

UNIL students

Students from the University of Lausanne (UNIL), do attend certain courses taught by EPFL faculty.  For information on these students, please contact the UNIL faculty or head of the relevant educational program.

Auditor (unregistered) students

A person can take EPFL classes as an auditor with the goal of rounding out his or her education. Information on these students can be provided by Educational Affairs.