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Studying in Switzerland

Personally, it was an extremely helpful experience, both professionally and personally. One of the best experiences I have ever had!  I made so many new friends from different countries through this exchange program. Studying abroad teaches a lot of life skills, like how to be considerate and observant of others and understand a new way of living. It is the perfect combination!

Iluia-Renata Sîruba is a Master student from University Politechnica of Bucharest. Read about her experiences and impressions during her exchange semester.

Academic Information About Your Exchange Semester

Exchange Semester – Bachelor’s Degree Programme

Incoming students study alongside ZHAW School of Engineering students in Winterthur. The ZHAW School of Engineering offers a range of English-taught modules within our ten Bachelor's degree programmes, allowing non-German-speaking students to complete a meaningful semester. Students proficient in German can attend modules taught in German. The excellent infrastructure in our institutes and laboratories supports practically oriented teaching, employing various methods such as lectures, group teaching, practical exercises, industrial placements, blended learning, and e-learning.

Exchange Semester – Master’s Degree Programme

An exchange semester is also available for the Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) students from our partner universities (Swiss-European Mobility Programme / Erasmus+ and other bilateral agreements). The Master’s programme is entirely taught in English. Incoming students study in Zurich alongside students from across Switzerland.

Timeline from Nomination to Start of the Exchange Semester

Exchange students need to prepare their semester in close collaboration with the Incoming Coordinator, Livia Isufi-Nakamura. Be aware of the timeline and important deadlines. Find the timeline for the fall and spring semesters here(PDF 124,6 KB).

Application Deadlines and Semester Dates

Fall Semester:

Spring Semester:


Academic Workload

The ZHAW School of Engineering follows the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). A full-time student’s workload equals 30 ECTS credits per semester, with each credit requiring 25-30 hours of study. The number of credits an incoming student must acquire is determined by their home university. ZHAW expects all incoming students to earn between 15 and 30 ECTS credits during their exchange semester. The normal full semester load is 30 ECTS.

Grading System and Transcript of Records

ZHAW uses a grading scale from 1.0 to 6.0, with 4.0 as the pass grade and 6.0 as the maximum grade. To facilitate credit transfer, an additional ECTS grade from A to F is also awarded.

How to Become an Exchange Student

Nomination by Home University

The International Office of the student’s home university must officially nominate the student via a provided link. Once the nomination is received, application information will be sent directly to the student. After reviewing the completed application, feedback will be provided.


Students from European partner universities participate in the exchange through the Swiss-European Mobility Program (SEMP). Students can apply for a mobility grant ranging from CHF 1,900 to CHF 2,200 per semester, depending on their country of origin.

Bilateral Agreement

The School of Engineering has numerous bilateral agreements with universities worldwide. All active agreements are displayed on our world map. To study at ZHAW, students must receive a formal nomination from their home university.


Bachelor students from universities without an exchange agreement with ZHAW may contact the International Office directly. These students, known as “freemovers,” will pay the ZHAW tuition fee of CHF 1,275 (as of January 2023).

Preparation for Living in Switzerland

Scholarship Grant for Bachelor and Master Exchange Students

To help offset the cost of living in Switzerland, the ZHAW School of Engineering offers a scholarship programme. Students from European universities can receive up to CHF 2,000, and students from non-European universities can receive up to CHF 3,000. Intra-Swiss students and those receiving ERASMUS+ stipends are not eligible. Information about applying for the scholarship will be provided upon registration.

Visa Entry and Residence Permit

Visa requirements vary by country. The following rules apply for stays longer than three months:

A confirmation of study from the host university is required for the visa application. The International Office will assist with obtaining a residence permit upon arrival.

Upon arriving in Switzerland, students must obtain a residence permit within the first 14 days at the Residents' Registration Office (Einwohnerkontrolle) in their place of residence.


The student accommodation cooperative WOKO offers reasonably priced housing. Further information can be found under Student accommodation.

Health and Accident Insurance

For stays longer than three months, basic health insurance is required by law. EU students are exempt if they provide a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Non-EU students must purchase Swiss insurance within three months of arrival. The International Office provides information on this during Orientation Week.

Travel Safety

Refer to this document for travel safety information in Switzerland.

Currency and Bank Accounts

The Swiss currency is the Swiss franc (Fr., SFr., CHF). Credit cards are widely accepted. Students wishing to open a bank account must present their residence permit, passport, and student ID card. Many banks offer favorable conditions for student accounts.

Your Start as an Exchange Student

Orientation Week

One week before the semester starts, orientation week will take place. During this week, incoming students will be introduced to the ZHAW School of Engineering and its campus infrastructure, and they will meet other exchange students. Sessions will cover health insurance, library tours, city tours of Winterthur, and information on Swiss culture and cross-cultural integration. The week will conclude with an event for all Incoming Exchange Semester Students from the seven ZHAW Departments.


I wanted to thank you infinitely, Livia, for your helpfulness and spontaneous kindness.

Having numerous experiences abroad is always complicated because of different documents and procedures that have to be done. In this sense you were really an added value to this experience.

In addition to being a real expert in your work, I am deeply touched by the sincerity of your interest in each of us and how we experienced this time. It is important for us to know that we are not left to our own devices during an experience far from our reality and our world.

For all these reasons, I really want to thank you.

Chiara Mari
Master Student of Fall Semester 2022