Frequently Asked Questions

Are the Language Centre modules open to everyone?

The Language Centre is a service provided by the Ecole Polythechnique Fédérale. Therefore, the language-learning program it offers is reserved exclusively for the EPFL students and personnel, for their spouse (paying French courses only) and for collaborators of the Confederation.

In addition to the online registration, members of personnel must obtain a validation from their superior and partially pay for their course – detailed information is available on the page Who is eligible for our programme?. The Language Centre can neither take their pre-registration into consideration nor place them in a group module unless this authorisation has been provided.

If, according to the categories, you are not eligible to participate in the program of the Language Centre, you can contact the “l’Université populaire” or the “Association vaudoise des écoles privées” (see question Find a school in Lausanne).

When I want to register online, the program asks me for identification. What does this mean?

To register online you have to identify yourself by entering your username and your password for your Gaspar account.

The Language Centre sends all information (confirmations, room changes, absence of teachers, etc.) to its participants electronically (on EPFL email).

I can't manage to register online. What should I do?

You must use your account GASPAR. If you have any difficulties with your identification (you’ve lost your password, etc.), go to the EPFL Password and Authentication Manager for complete details or call 1234 (intern number).

For those of you who do not have a Gaspar account (see page Who is eligible for our program?): if you are registering online for the first time, the first step will be for you to set up an account; you will then receive ID which will allow you pre-register (keep this ID, as you will be able to use it later).

What is the timetable?

The timetable is set up at the beginning of the year according to the availability of the people who register. It is not freely available on the Internet; in fact, you have to determine your level (by doing a placement test and answering various questions) before you can know which group module you might be able to join. Nevertheless, everyone can consult their file by following the same procedure as for the online registration.

Is it possible to join a group module once it has already started?

If you have pre-registered and depending on your avaibility, it is possible to join a group module that has already started, but only within the first two or three weeks of the semester. If your level and your availability match the group that you are interested in, you will be placed (if there’s still room) – or your name will be added to the waiting list.

If, however, you could not be placed in a group, register again for the next semester, following the same procedure (it is not necessary to do the placement test again).

Am I allowed to register for several language modules or for several different groups?

We would like as many people as possible to benefit from our program: for this reason, particularly at the beginning of the semester, we are sometimes obliged to limit the number of placement to one language or one module per person. However, upon receipt of notification that you have not been placed in a module, please come immediately to the Language Centre to explore other possibilities (change module, time schedule, etc.). Depending on the number of places available, participants may be placed in more than one group. (see page General conditions)

I am unable to register for two courses in the same language.

It is only possible to choose one module per language for the semester modules.  However, if you are not placed in your chosen module and receive an email informing you of your non-placement, you can come immediately to the Language Centre to explore other possibilities (change module, time schedule, etc.).

Where is the Language Centre located? When is reception open?

The Language Centre reception is located in CE 2 445.

You can find out when reception is open on the homepage of the Language Centre. During the first weeks of the semester, reception has longer opening hours.

Can I prepare for an external exam in one semester only?

If you want to do modules at the Language Centre preparing you for an external exam (Goethe Institute, University of Cambridge, DELF/DALF, CELI), the complete program is divided into 2 semesters. For optimal preparation, it is therefore necessary to attend both modules (autumn and spring semesters).

External examination: how to enrol? Is it possible to enrol without following a preparatory course?

It is possible to take external exams without doing any of the preparation modules. See below for the addresses of the examination centres:

Examinations for English (FCE, CAE, CPE, TOEFL)
University of Cambridge Examination centre for Lausanne, Vaud West and Geneva
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
IELTS (International English Language Testing System) British Council
ielts@britishcouncil.ch
Examinations for German (ZD, Goethe-Zertifikat B2 or C1)
Goethe Institut Examination Centre (at l’UNIL)
pz-rc@unil.ch
Examinations for French (DELF, DALF)
The French Minister for Education and Culture Exam Centre Lake Geneva
Examinations for Italian (CELI)
Università per Stranieri di Perugia
CELI
CPSI – Centro Pro Scuola Italiano
info@cpsi.ch

Can I register at the Language Centre on UNIL site if I want to learn a language that is not offered at the EPFL / the group module I have registered for is not opened / the group module timetable does not match my availability?

You may not register for any of the languages offered at the EPFL (German, English, French and Italian) at the Language Centre on the University of Lausanne site – even if the group module you registered for at the EPFL cannot be opened or the timetable does not suit you. The independent language learning modes (free access to the Multimedia Centre, Tandem: see page Independent learning) allow you to pursue your language learning even if you have not been placed in a group.

You may register for languages not offered at the EPFL (Chinese, Spanish, Russian, Swiss German) at the Language Centre UNIL. However, the members of the UNIL community are given priority. Please see the following webpage for details: www.unil.ch/cdl.

Find a school in Lausanne

The language-learning program at the Language Centre is reserved for the EPFL community. If this does not apply to you, you can contact the following institutions located in the Lausanne area:

How can I get hold of second-hand books for my language module? How can I sell those I don’t need any more?

We suggest you go to the following site https://studybooks.ch