Course credits and validation

1) Details on credit achievements
2) How to validate individual seminars from conferences/symposia
3) How to validate e-learning courses
4) How to validate external courses and external training stays

1) Details on credit achievements

Before completing a doctoral degree, students enrolled in the LN Doctoral School must obtain at least 18 ECTS credits, respecting the following points of the official LNDS study plan (“Plan d’études du Doctorat en neurosciences“):

  • Min. 6 credits from Lemanic neuroscience doctoral courses, including those offered by the EPFL-EDNE program. (The validation of external PhD scientific courses can/should be discussed with the LNDS coordinator).
  • Min. 2 credits – max. 4 credits for seminars or journal clubs in neuroscience* (12 seminars = 1 credit), validated by sending the seminars sheet (available at the bottom of this page) to the LNDS coordinator.
  • *Max. 1 credit for presenting an abstract at a major international neuroscience conference (i.e. credits for presentations at SFN, FENS, HBM, CNS are surely granted; for potential credits for presentations at other major international conferences please contact the LNDS coordinator before the event takes place).
  • Max. 3 credits for workshops and summer or winter courses, validated by the school committee.
  • Max. 2 credits for complementary skills, such as science communication events (e.g. Brain Week, exhibitions), courses on scientific writing and presentation skills, career events (Life Science Career days etc).
  • Max. 4 credits from introductory MSc courses in neuroscience, serving to complete your neuroscience background and obtain knowledge you have not obtained during your previous university studies.

We recommend that students obtain at least 9 credits during the first 3 semesters of the thesis work and/or before their intermediate (midterm) evaluation.

Please note that you can ask for reimbursement of train travel costs if you visit an LNDS or EPFL course for which you need to travel between Lausanne and Geneva.

  • One ECTS should correspond to 25-30 academic hours (45 min) of work for the student. In general, half of this work comes from attending lectures and the other half from the student’s personal work (review of literature + studying + final exam or essay). For example, a course given in 1 period per week during one semester would be granted 1 ECTS (45-60 min periods x 14 weeks = 10.5 – 14 hours of lectures). On the other hand, a one week-long workshop would be granted 3 ECTS.
  • To receive full credit for a course, students must fulfill the specific requirements announced by the instructor(s) at the beginning of the semester.
  • Relevant MSc courses in Neuroscience are available in Geneva and Lausanne, and represent a good opportunity for PhD students to improve their background knowledge on particular subjects.

Please use the forms below for validating seminars or journal clubs:

2) How to validate individual seminars from conferences/symposia

When you attend a conference other than the major international ones mentioned above and marked with * (e.g. local conferences and symposia), you cannot validate 1 credit per se, but can include some talks of such events as entries on your “seminar sheet” (12 seminar entries = 1 credit):

  • 1 seminar for a half-day conference
  • 2 seminars for a one-day conference
  • 3 seminars for a conference longer than one day

How to proceed: Fill out the correspondent number of lines on your seminar sheet with the name of the conference or symposium or lecture. When your seminar sheet is filled, please send it (or a scan) to the LNDS coordinator, together with the certificate of attendance and program of the conference.If you do not have signatures or attendance proofs for each entry, please let your thesis supervisor sign in the end of the seminar list before sending.
Seminar sheets cannot be filled with more than 3 entries from the same conference or symposium as you should attend talks on various neuroscience topics throughout your thesis on a regular basis …
For online seminars you follow (for example those listed by WorldWideNeuro ), please put entries on your seminar sheet. To prove you attended, take a screenshot of your zoom/webex window, combine several screenshots in ONE document and send it to the LNDS coordinator together with your filled seminar sheet.

3) How to validate e-learning courses

E-learning or Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and are often a good way for students to increase their understanding on a certain subject (e.g. if missing a study background in neurobiology) or to explore other fields.
Website crawlers helping you to find suitable offers (of neuroscience, programming and other courses) are here and here .

Other e-sources for neuroscience training:
FENS (Federation of European Neuroscience Societies) hosts a website with a collection of recorded courses and other training events, as well as a list of third-party offers on many neuroscience topics, but also career development and scientific dissemination. In order to receive information first hand, consider becoming a member of FENS (or the Swiss Society of Neuroscience SSN)!

INCF Training Space “is an online hub that aims to make neuroscience educational materials more accessible to the global neuroscience community developed by the Training and Education Committee  composed of members from the INCF network, HBP, SfN, FENS, IBRO, IEEE, BD2K, and iNeuro Initiative.” For example, you can do introductory study tracks on Neuroethics, Computational Neuroscience, Neuroinformatics, Neurobiology. Please contact the LNDS coordinator with the link to your chosen course to inquire for credits.

LNDS candidates can validate the participation to several e-learning events with study credits, but decisions are taken on an individual basis (Who is teaching? How many course hours? What is the course level, e.g. master, equivalent to introductory or advanced PhD courses?). To inquire about the validation of a course not yet listed by the LNDS (see link below), please send the name and link of the MOOC to the LNDS coordinator at least 2 weeks before course start.
ECTS validation: Provide the LNDS coordinator with your course certificate (as for summer/winter schools and international conferences). The LNDS cannot take over fees for certificates, but many courses have so-called “audit tracks” that are free of charge. Once you take such an audit track, please send a screenshot of your detailed (weekly) course session completion to the LNDS coordinator; your name and the name of the course you completed must be clearly visible, too. Please combine multiple screenshots in ONE document!

Please find here a selection of LNDS-verified MOOC offers on neuroscience topics, programming and statistics skills etc. Please do not hesitate to suggest further additions …

E-training offers on research ethics and legislation:

4) How to validate external courses and external training stays

To inquire about the validation of doctoral school credits for

  • a course not listed on the LNDS website
  • a workshop, a summer or winter school or equivalent events

please send a program, weblink or similar to the LNDS coordinator BEFORE the event, and a certificate of attendance for ECTS validation.

To inquire about the validation of doctoral school credits for a training stay outside of your home lab that allows you to learn a new technique or achieve a particular competence relevant for your thesis project please send a detailed description of the host lab and on the gain of the training stay for your thesis project, which additional techniques/ comptences you will be achieving etc. to the LNDS coordinator BEFORE your training stay. For final credit attribution, a letter from the host institution/ professor is necessary indicating the period of you stay and your duties/ learning achievements is required. Please keep this issue in mind, sometimes a small “lab logbook” might help the host to remember what you did during your visit ….