FAQ: General Information
I would like to speak to someone in HR department about job opportunities that are not answered here. What should I do?
We didn’t answer your question here? Email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try our best to get you an answer. Please note that due to the high level of interest we cannot respond individually to all queries. If it is a question we have seen before and we think would be useful information for other people, we will consider adding it to our FAQ’s.
How many people work at CERN?
There are over 2,250 staff members employed by CERN but there can be up to 13,000 people on site at any one time. This includes users, students, fellows, sub-contractors and visiting scientists from around the world. To learn more about the people who give CERN its international spirit go to cern.ch/People/
How do I learn about current job opportunities?
Visit our cern.ch/jobs page where all our vacancies are published. We also publish positions through our sourcing network on a diversity of web portals across all 20 member states.
Does CERN offer internships?
CERN has a comprehensive group of programmes including summer students, technical students, doctoral students, administrative students as well as a full range of Fellowships and more. Visit cern.ch/Programmes for further information.
I don’t speak French, can I still apply?
CERN is a bilingual organization: both English and French are the official languages. Good knowledge of either English or French is compulsory and a basic knowledge of the other language or an undertaking to acquire it rapidly is highly desirable. Any other language is a bonus!
I would like to speak to someone in HR department about job opportunities that are not answered here. What should I do?
We didn’t answer your question here? Email your question to email@example.com and we will try our best to provide you with an answer as soon as possible. Please note that due to the high level of interest we cannot respond individually to all queries. If it is a question we have seen before and we think would be useful information for other people, we will consider adding it to our FAQ’s.
How often are new jobs posted on the website?
New vacancies are published regularly, and the frequency depends on the needs of the Organization: see cern.ch/jobs.
How long are vacancies posted on the website?
Posts are published between 4 – 6 weeks on cern.ch/jobs but can be published for longer depending on the profile sought.
I only have a technical diploma but would love to challenge myself with a role at CERN, what opportunities are available to me?
We recruit for a broad range of positions from entry level to professional and beyond. We seek people with diplomas ranging from apprenticeships through to technical diplomas, to Masters and PhD. There are opportunities for all! The Organisation is at the forefront of scientific and technical development, and posts open regularly in a vast array of fields and levels. Visit this link for more information.
Do I have to have a PhD to work at CERN?
No. CERN requires a diversity of profiles, some require a PhD, others an apprenticeship. Whatever their level of education, we encourage individuals to meet their full potential. We have roles requiring various diploma levels, check out our opportunities to see whether one which corresponds to yours is open now.
I don’t live near Geneva, can I still be considered for a post?
We recruit from across the 21 member states with no discrimination based on your current location.
Does CERN hire candidates from outside the 21 member states?
For ‘staff’ positions, we can only consider applications from nationals of CERN Member States, for more details http://home.web.cern.ch/about.
How should I choose which position to apply for?
Browse through the opportunities, and choose a role that you feel best matches your experience/qualifications. Note however, that if your qualifications/competencies don’t match, you will not be considered.
What is career progression like at CERN?
Once you have a contract with CERN we take performance very seriously:, structured review processes, training and educational resources are in place for you to shape your future. It’s a place where you can get the guidance you need in order to do your job well and develop your skills for the future. Visit cern.ch/your career
What is the difference between the Fellows Programme and the Graduate Engineering Training (GET) scheme?
CERN is a world-class reference when looking for employment in the physics community. However, CERN also offers many opportunities in a wide variety of engineering fields. The GET scheme was introduced at the end of 2009 to encourage Fellowship applications from excellent engineers. This scheme has strong support from CERN Management and the Member States. Applications from eligible candidates are automatically considered for both types of position. The GET scheme has been fully integrated with the Fellows programme in terms of application procedure, selection procedure, contractual conditions, etc.
What are the eligibility criteria for the Fellows and GET Programmes?
The eligibility criteria are the same for both programmes: If you are applying in experimental or theoretical physics, you have a PhD (or are about to finish your thesis). If you are applying in applied science, computing or engineering, you hold a university degree (BSc level or above) or a technical engineer qualification (or are about to graduate). Candidates with an MSc or higher diploma should have no more than 10 years relevant experience (after the MSc). Candidates with only a BSc or technical engineer diploma should have no more than 4 years relevant experience.
What are the nationality restrictions on candidates wishing to apply for the Fellows Programme?
Junior Fellows must be nationals of one of CERN’s Member States. There are NO nationality restrictions for candidates applying for a Senior Fellowship. It is true that the majority of Fellows come from the Member States, but since CERN aims to attract candidates who are the best in their field, Fellows come from all over the world.
How often do the Selection Committees meet to appoint candidates onto the Fellows Programme?
There are two Committee meetings a year in May and November with deadlines in March and September respectively. You can check the exact dates on our website.
What are the contractual/financial conditions of a Fellow contract?
CERN Fellows benefit from attractive conditions including a regular employment contract with health insurance and pension contribution; the monthly stipend is paid net of internal taxation.
How much can I expect to be paid as a CERN Fellow?
The monthly stipend range is reviewed every year in January. Fellows are classified according to their qualifications and years of experience. Currently monthly stipends range from about 5000CHF per month to 8000CHF. Health insurance and pension fund contributions are deducted from this stipend.
Is my spouse/partner covered by my health insurance?
Yes. Your spouse or partner can be covered by your health insurance at no extra cost according to certain criteria (such as he/she does not have a gross monthly income over a certain limit and he/she is not covered by a similar health insurance).
Will CERN cover my travel expenses when I start my Fellow contract?
Yes, if at the date of the selection committee, you did not have a contract of any type with CERN for more than 50% of your working time. If you are entitled to travel expenses, then you are also entitled to an installation allowance which is a one-off payment at the beginning of your contract to help you to settle in the local area.
Will CERN cover my removal expenses when I start my Fellow contract?
No. Fellows are not entitled to removal expenses.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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".
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.
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.
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 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 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).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.