CERN Summer Student Internship in Switzerland (Geneva) 2023


Company Description

At CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. Using the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments, they study the basic constituents of matter – fundamental particles that are made to collide together at close to the speed of light. The process gives physicists clues about how particles interact, and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature. Find out more on

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Diversity has been an integral part of CERN’s mission since its foundation and is an established value of the Organization.

NOTE: The Organization reserves the right to hold the 2022 edition in an online format, should the situation around the Covid-19 require so.

One of CERN’s key missions is education. Our professionals very much enjoy sharing their knowledge and expertise with students who are committed and passionate about their chosen field. And there’s no better way to learn than on-the-job: when that job happens to be with a world-famous research organization and centre of scientific excellence, it’s even better.

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Are you currently studying for a Bachelor or Master degree in Physics, Engineering, Computer Science or Mathematics? Are you looking for a training period during the European summer (June – September)? If so, this could be the opportunity for you: apply now for the CERN  Summer Student Programme!

Job Description

Take part in CERN’s Summer Student Programme! 

Over a period of 8 to 13 weeks, you will work on an advanced technical project in an experimental or engineering team.

During this unique and exciting time, you can attend a series of lectures specially prepared for you where experts and scientists from around the world share their knowledge about a wide range of topics in the fields of theoretical and experimental particle physics, engineering and computing. Visits to the CERN facilities, as well as discussion sessions and workshops are also key features of the programme.

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In order to qualify for a place on the programme you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • You are a Bachelor or Master student (not PhD) in Physics, Engineering, Computer Science or Mathematics and should have completed, by the European Summer 2023, at least three years of full-time studies at university level.
  • You will remain registered as a student during your stay at CERN. If you expect to graduate during European summer 2023 (as of May), you are also eligible to apply.
  • You have not worked at CERN before with any other status (Technical Student, Trainee, User or other status) for more than 3 months and you have not been previously a Summer Student at CERN.
  • You have a good knowledge of English; knowledge of French would be an advantage.

Candidates of all nationalities are welcome to apply for this Summer Student Programme.

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Important information for you to know:

  • The duration of the internship is minimum 1 month and maximum 6 months.
  • You will need to have full insurance cover valid in the Geneva area (France and Switzerland) for medical expenses, work and private accidents as well as any disability arising from professional and non-professional illness and accidents.
  • You will receive a monthly allowance of 1,516 Swiss Francs: please note, however, that the cost of living in Geneva is high and this allowance is just a compliment. You should have adequate financial resources to support yourself in the local area.

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Additional Information

CERN would very much like to benefit from your expertise, commitment and passion. 

In return, CERN will provide you with:

  • A contract of association of 8 to 13 weeks* to work on a technical project.
  • An extensive physics lecture programme (students will also be able to attend a series of IT lectures organized by Openlab).
  • A 90 CHF per calendar day (net of tax) subsistence allowance to cover the cost of accommodation and meals in the Geneva area for a single person for the whole contract duration.
  • A travel allowance on a lump sum basis paid at the end of your stay to help you with the cost of travel between Geneva and your residence at the time of the selection committee.
  • Coverage by CERN’s comprehensive Health Insurance scheme (contribution already deducted from allowance).**
  • Assistance to find accommodation on the CERN site or nearby.

* Candidates coming from a CERN Non Member State country can stay for a duration of 8 weeks only. (Find here the list of CERN Member and Associate Member States).

**The few students who are paid directly from a national funding agency have to come to CERN with their own insurance coverage.

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Students talk about their summer at CERN

Possible arrival dates (starting contract dates):

Every Monday from beginning to end of June, namely 5 June, 12 June, 19 June, 26 June and 3 July 2023.

Required documentation:

You will need the following documents, clearly labelled (e.g. “CV”, “Motivation letter”, “Academic transcript”, etc.) and in PDF format to complete your application:

  • A CV.
  • A copy of your most recent academic transcript giving an overview of your marks (if you download it from your university portal please make sure there is no protection so that we can open it).
  • Two mandatory reference letters (dated less than 12 months), from your lecturers and/or previous internships.

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If you are a national of either Canada, Japan or United States, please apply via the following websites:

Please make sure you have all the documents requested to hand when you start your application on our career portal as they cannot be added after its completion (only reference letters can be submitted afterwards). Please note that all the documents you upload will remain attached to your Smartrecruiters profile. You do not need to upload them again for other applications you might submit.

Once your application has been submitted, you will receive a confirmation e-mail which contains a link. If you have not yet uploaded your reference letters when applying, you should  forward this link to at least one referee, so that they can upload their recommendation letter. Please note that this must be done before the application deadline (Monday 31 January 2022 12 noon CET time).

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Tips for writing your CV

Do submit your CV!

Your CV is like your signature, your opportunity to convince us that you may be the right person for the job.

Content: keep it relevant.

Keep any job-unrelated material to a minimum. A typical CV contains five sections, usually in the following order:

  • Personal details (name, address, your digital footprint (e.g. Linkedin, a personal webpage) etc.). Don’t feel obliged to tell us about your gender and family situation, this is not job-related.  A picture is not necessary either: it doesn’t tell us anything about your competencies and we’re not hiring on looks!
  • Profile summary at the top of your CV: a brief statement that summarises your journey and key skills for the job you’re applying for.
  • Key skills: be selective, focus on those that are relevant to the job. An overloaded list will lose its impact.
  • Relevant work experience, in reverse chronological order. This is the most important section, as past experience will inform us about your potential for the position. Refer as much as possible to specific  achievements e.g. size of team you have managed, length/budget/scope of projects you have worked on, gain in efficiency you have achieved etc.
  • Educational background, languages, training courses: mention only background which is relevant for the job (if you have a university degree, we guess you went through high school before that!).

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Format: keep it short, clear and concise

  • Aim to fit your CV on no more than two A4 pages, whatever the length of your experience.
  • Avoid using standard CV templates you find on the web. Writing a CV is personal, so an opportunity to convey your unique strengths and skills: make the most of it and tailor it!
  • Take care of layout, headings, spacing and font: your CV must look attractive, easy to read and professional: avoid overloading with colours or quirky formatting.
  • Check any spelling, grammar and other mistakes: a CV littered with errors affect the credibility of your application.
  • Use bullet points to explain your duties and achievements. Keep them simple and impactful by using action verbs. Avoid narrative style: recruiters have little time to read it.. Efficiency and clarity are key!
  • Please submit all application documents either in French or in English, the two official working languages used at CERN.

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And now come the tips: how to stand out from the crowd!

It is key that you catch the recruiter’s attention within the first seconds. Here are 3 tips to make your CV stand out of the crowd.

  • Tailor your CV to the position in question: if you have many years of professional experience you may want to share all of it: as a result your may  end up with a 15-page CV which is not advisable. Short and concise is key: succeeding in focusing on and highlighting what is relevant for the post you apply for is a great  asset for your application.
  • Read the vacancy notice carefully, tailor your wording to the job and emphasise those experiences that are relevant to it! If you have been waiter at a restaurant, that’s great, but it’s probably not very helpful in designing superconducting magnets.  Recruiters at CERN don’t use software search for key words, nevertheless their eyes unconsciously seek them out when they have to read over 200 CVs.

The sooner the recruiter identifies keywords that relate to the job, the higher the probability you will make it through this first stage.

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About CERN

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, is a European research organization that operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world. Established in 1954, the organization is based in a northwest suburb of Geneva on the Franco-Swiss border and has 23 member states.

Address: Espl. des Particules 1, 1211 Meyrin, Switzerland

Study in Switzerland

Switzerland at a glance

Switzerland is home to much more than chocolate and cuckoo clocks. Spectacular Alpine mountain ranges are flanked by crystal-clear bodies of water such as Lake Geneva. You will also be in for a treat in regards to the culture to be found here. The history of Switzerland can be traced back to at least 450 BCE and these lands have been occupied ever since. Thanks to influences of nearby nations such as France, Italy and Germany, this country boasts a truly international flavour; the country’s four official languages are German, French, Italian, Romansh (with only some 60,000 speakers today).

Universities in Switzerland

You will regularly see many Swiss universities in the world’s top 100 ranked universities – most notably ETH Zurich, EPFL, the University of Zurich and the University of Geneva.

ETH Zurich, with a clear focus on technology, is often considered the best university in Switzerland. Originally founded in 1855, it is renowned for its cutting-edge research and its wide selection of courses in different areas of science and technology. There are more than 19,000 students enrolled here, with nearly 40% international students.

The École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) was incorporated in 1853 and, like ETH, specialises in technology. The majority of courses are offered in French, but there are many Masters and Doctorate programmes offered in English.

With some 25,000 students, the University of Zurich is the largest institution of higher education in the country. You can choose from a selection of courses including science, law, philosophy, theology, medicine. Many of their Master’s degree programmes are offered in English.

Founded in 1559, the University of Geneva is the third oldest university in Switzerland, and also the third largest, with around 16,000 students. 40% of the student body are international.

Universities in Switzerland

  • Bern University of Applied Sciences
  • Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
  • ETH Zurich
  • EU Business School
  • IFM Business School
  • International University in Geneva
  • Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts
  • Swiss IM&H
  • University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW)
  • University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland
  • University of Basel
  • University of Bern
  • University of Fribourg
  • University of Geneva
  • University of Lausanne
  • University of St. Gallen
  • University of Zurich
  • USI Università della Svizzera italiana

Once your application has been submitted, you will receive a confirmation e-mail which contains a link. If you have not yet uploaded your reference letters when applying, you should  forward this link to at least one referee, so that they can upload their recommendation letter. Please note that this must be done before the application deadline (Monday 30th January 2023 12 noon CET time).

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