FAQ: Students

General Information

What are my chances of obtaining a place on the Summer Student Programme: I study in a Member State but come from a non-Member State. Which country will influence my eligibility?

 

If you are not a national of a CERN Member State but you have been residing in a CERN Member State for the last 5 years and are enrolled in a Member State educational establishment you may apply to the "Summer Students Programme – Member States".

I am looking for a doctoral placement to complete my PhD in Experimental Physics. Is it possible to apply to the CERN Doctoral Student Programme?

 
We regret that we cannot accept candidates in Experimental and Theoretical Physics onto the Doctoral Students Programme. 
Candidates studying in the following fields only may apply: accelerator physics, computing, mathematics, electrical, electronic, mechanical or civil engineering, instrumentation for accelerators and particle physics experiments, low temperature physics and superconductivity, materials science, radiation protection, solid state and surface physics, safety and environmental protection, and ultra-high vacuum.

If selected at the next Technical Student Committee, when would it be possible to start my appointment at CERN?

The earliest possible date for an appointed Technical Student to commence his or her contract is two months following the date of the Committee, on the first working day of a month. Contracts usually start within the 6 months following the committee.

My son is eighteen years old and is currently studying towards his A-levels. He would like to be involved in training or research in physics at CERN during the summer. Is this possible?

We regret that we cannot accept students onto the Summer Students Programme who are not yet registered at university or higher technical school. Students must have been studying in higher education for the last three years or more in order to be considered; students may also apply if they are graduating in the year they wish to participate in the Programme.

Do I need to have a thesis subject already set out before I start my application to the Doctoral Student Programme?

 
It is not necessary for applicants to have already decided the topic of their thesis before applying. Applicants can either choose to start their placement with a thesis subject already agreed upon by their university, or they can select one from the list of proposed subjects on the CERN website. In the latter case, the home institute and CERN share supervision of the written work.

I am a student in Biology or Chemistry at my university and I would like to know whether it is possible to complete a training period at CERN in this field?

Candidates wishing to apply for the Programme must be studying one of the following subjects: applied physics, computing, mathematics, electrical, electronic, mechanical or civil engineering, instrumentation for accelerators and particle physics experiments, material science, radiation protection, safety and environmental protection, surveying, ultra-high vacuum.
There are no work experience possibilities in chemistry or biology.

On average, how many students apply for the Summer Students Programme and how many are selected?

 

Every year about 1000 candidates apply for this programme, and of these only 140 are selected.

As part of the Bologna process, credits from specialised graduate courses are now required to be able to finish a PhD thesis. Does the Doctoral Students Programme give the possibility to earn credits whilst at CERN or must this be done at the University?

CERN is not an educational establishment and therefore does not give out any study credits. However, in the past, supervisors have certified the attendance at lectures of his/her student and this has been accepted by some universities.

Is it necessary to receive financial support or a grant from my Institute during my stay at CERN?

 
No, technical students receive a monthly subsistence allowance from CERN to cover the expenses of a single person living in the Geneva area.

I have applied for this year's Summer Students Programme and have not yet received a response. Could you let me know when the results will be made known?

 

The results of the selection for the Summer Students Programme are made available by mid/end April. Everyone will receive an email informing them of the results of their application after this time.

I will not be registered on a course at the time I intend to start my placement at CERN. Am I eligible to apply?

 
Candidates must be registered with a university or higher technical school throughout the entire duration of their stay at CERN.  The work completed at CERN often forms part of the student's final year studies.

What fields of study are covered by the Summer Student Programme?

 

Topics covered include: Applied, Theoretical and Experimental Physics as well as Engineering and Computing. Students in all these fields are eligible to take part in the Programme.

 

 

When I apply for this programme, will I be able to choose my project?

 
In your application form you have the possibility to indicate your fields of interest. However, you cannot choose the subject. Selected technical students are always assigned to a specific project with a CERN supervisor and the student can then decide to accept or to refuse the offer.
You can also use this placement to do your final project (Bachelor or Master thesis).

I am currently studying in an administrative field and I am required to complete a placement in industry. I would like to know if you have any placements for such students?

 

CERN has an Administrative Student Programme which is designed for undergraduates studying translation, human resources, advanced secretarial work, business administration, logistics, law, finance, accounting, librarianship, engineering management, science communication, education, communication and public relations, psychology, or audit. These placements are for minimum of two months and a maximum of 12 months. Applications have to be made online.

There are two Committee meetings a year, usually in June and December. You can check the exact dates on our website. Deadlines for application will respectively be in April and October.

Is the Summer Student Programme open to CERN non-Member States students?

 

CERN offers two Summer Student Programmes, one for nationals of a CERN Member State and one for those nationals of any State other than a CERN Member State. Please make sure that you apply for the correct programme.  

I am not enrolled on a PhD course but wish to apply for the Doctoral Students Programme. Am I eligible?

 
Unfortunately we only accept students who are registered with a University or Higher Education Institute and who are studying for a PhD. Those not registered at the time of the application but who will be by the time they would start at CERN can also apply.
A student's work on this programme must be followed by a Professor at their Educational Institution whilst at CERN. They are expected to gain their PhD only upon return to their home institute.

Is there a nationality restriction on candidates wishing to apply for the Administrative Students Programme?

This programme is open to all nationals from CERN Member States. Nationals of the non-Member States can however apply if they have been residing in a Member State for at least the last five years (at the time of the application).

How often do the Selection Committees meet to appoint candidates for the Technical, Administrative and Doctoral Students Programme?

There are two Committee meetings per year, usually in Decembre and June. You can check the exact dates on our website. Deadlines for applications will respectively be in October and April.

I would like to know how candidates are selected for the Summer Student Programme. Is there a test? Or do you select by GPA scores?

 
Candidates are selected over the period of a week in the middle of March every year.  Potential supervisors at CERN can browse the CERN website during this time to consider the completed applications and select their student online. There is no test involved for candidates.

Is there a nationality restriction on candidates wishing to apply for the Doctoral Students Programme?

 
This programme is open to all nationals of the CERN Member States.  Nationals of the non-Member States can however apply if they have been residing in a Member State for at least the last five years (at the time of the application).

I have a child who is sixteen years old and I am keen for him/her to take part in a period of work experience at CERN to encourage his/her interest in Physics.

It is possible for children aged between 16 and 18 years old to undertake a job shadowing of maximum 2 weeks. They must address their request directly to recruitment.service@cern.ch specifying their fields of interest and availability. They can only be considered if they will have a legal parent/guardian accompany them in the region. Note: places are extremely limited and only the CERN traineeship agreement will be signed.

 

I have applied to the next Technical Student Committee. When will I know whether or not I have been selected?

 
E-mails are sent out to every candidate being considered to inform them of the outcome of their application within the week following the date of the Committee.  

Application process

Is there a nationality restriction for candidates wishing to apply for the Technical Students Programme?

 
This programme is open to all nationals from the CERN Member States.  Nationals of the non-Member States can however apply if they have been residing in a Member State for at least the last five years (at the time of the application).