Currently offered doctoral courses are classified as depth, breadth, or other.

Depth course

Take a depth course in the first semester! This will give you more time in the second semester to prepare for the candidacy exam and to pick your lab and research topic(s). It also leaves you with a backup plan in case the first depth course doesn’t work out—you can take another in the second semester. Use the first two weeks to shop around, and if you still can’t decide, just sign up for two depth courses and postpone the decision of which one you want to pass. You can still drop them later, or even fail one of them, which isn’t a big problem! Sometimes your advisor will also have an opinion about which depth course you should take, so talk to them about it.

Don’t take other courses alongside your depth course unless requested by your advisor. It’s better to focus on a depth course and do well than to overload yourself with additional breadth courses and not pass the depth course. Depth courses are more time-consuming than you expect, so don’t underestimate the workload, in addition to your semester project and generally settling into EPFL.

Breadth courses

Your research workload will get heavier as your PhD progresses, so don’t push off breadth courses too much in your first couple years.