04 — Courses & Programs


"The principle goal of education in the schools should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done."

Jean Piaget, Swiss psychologist and education pioneer

Our courses are designed to provide deep, effective training that move you from digital dabbler into the level of knowledge and expertise required to keep you relevant in your current and future roles.

We recommend our introduction courses for anyone looking for a solid understanding of the internet and the web or how to most effectively work with and extract value from data. If you don’t yet know what areas interest you, these courses provide a solid foundation in two key areas of digital technology.

Our Thinking and Creating with Code course is for learners who seek to begin to master the tools of the digital age. This course is emphatically not a “programming” course, though you will learn to program! Rather, we’ll walk you through how to think about problems in the way that computers do, and how to speak the languages that get a computer to do what you want it to do.

For those looking to acquire professional-level expertise, we offer certificate programs that focus on critical areas in harnessing digital technology for the business world today. These multi-course programs build critical digital skills by giving you both hands-on experience and theoretical understanding.

Importantly, there are no prerequisite educational requirements for any courses or programs of the EPFL Extension School: our courses and programs are open all. But keep in mind, these are university-level courses. Successful learners will actively engage in the materials through project work and will take advantage of the various support services that are provided by the EPFL Extension School to help you in your grasp of the materials. We offer multiple kinds of learner support throughout every course, but it is your effort that earns you the certificate!

Unlike most other online courses, the EPFL Extension School has no peer-graded assessments: your work is graded by experts from our staff and our partners. You will have projects, quizzes, exercises and other measurable performance-based indicators that allow you to demonstrate your mastery of the materials. But you aren’t working alone; we provide a unique opportunity for weekly one-on-one coaching with the course instructors, using scheduled, web-based video-conferencing, and other tools within each course to help you master the topic.

For each course, you will receive a digital certificate of completion once the course has been completed with a passing grade on the course project. When you have finished an entire program, validated by a passing grade on your capstone project, you will receive a printed Certification of Open Studies and a digital copy. The Certificate of Open Studies is an officially recognized academic credential within the Swiss system of continuing education.

Time Commitment

Each course has an expected number of hours that it will take a typical learner to complete the course work, based on learning materials, project work and study time. You may find however, that the time you need for the materials is slightly longer or shorter than what is expected, based in part on your previous knowledge of the materials being taught.

Our experience indicates that learners move through the coursework most easily when they can commit to a minimum of 5-10 hours per week. A regular pace ensures that you remain in an active learning mode, without the need to go back to review subjects which have already been covered. If you find you do need to take a break, the materials you have already seen are available for review at any time.

You must complete all course and project work, including the capstone project, within 18 months. We strongly recommend that you work to complete the courses within a year.

Course Structure

Courses are designed by our experts from the EPFL Extension School staff and industry partners who bring deep knowledge in their areas of expertise. The course materials include videos, texts and training tools, as well as hands-on, project-based work.

The courses are all self-paced, interspersed with online quizzes and exercises, to ensure you are understanding the material. Each course ends with a final assessment in the form of a project or an exam, so please refer to the individual course descriptions for more details.

Program Structure

Each certificate program is structured to have four or more courses and a capstone project. As the workload associated with each program is significant, we recommend that learners do not enroll in more than one program at a time.

The courses within each program can only be followed in sequential order, and you’ll need to complete all coursework, including a course project, in order to be able to advance to the next course. Courses within the certificate programs cannot be taken a la carte and are only available to learners pursuing the complete certificate program.

You can end your enrollment in the program at any time; however, your financial commitment terminates only at the end of the month of your choice to quit the program. We do not offer pro rata reimbursement for monthly enrollment fees.