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Application and preparation

This page lists all the important information regarding studying at the ZHAW School of Engineering, including everything from application deadlines and forms to accommodation.

Application deadlines and semester dates

The fall semester begins in mid-September in calendar week 38, while the spring semester begins mid-February in calendar week 8. Each semester lasts 14 weeks. The teaching is conducted primarily in the form of lectures, group teaching, exercises and laboratory placements.

The following deadlines apply to applications to the ZHAW School of Engineering:


A range of bachelor courses in English are available for non-German-speaking exchange students. Internationally recognized certificates at B2 level serve as proof of the required German or English language skills.

Academic Workload, Grading System and Transcript of Records

The credit system used at the SoE is based on the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). The workload of a full-time student at the SoE equals 30 ECTS credits per semester, with one credit requiring 25-30 hours of study. The number of credits an incoming student must acquire is determined by his or her home university. However, the SoE expects all incoming students to earn between 15 (min.) and 45 (max.) ECTS credits during their exchange semester.

Like most Swiss universities, the SoE uses a grading scale ranging from 1.0 to 6.0. The pass grade is 4.0, and the maximum achievable grade is 6.0. In order to help your home university to transfer your credits, an additional ECTS grade between A to F is also awarded.

Nomination and admission

After the International Relation Office of your home university has nominated you via our link, we provide you with the application information.

After we have received your complete application, it will be reviewed and a feedback will be given.


Most incoming students from Europe complete their study abroad semester on the basis of the Swiss-European Mobility Program (SEMP). Within the context of the SEMP, you can apply for a mobility grant of between CHF 2'000 and CHF 2'300 per semester, depending on your country of origin.

Bilateral agreement

Besides the partner universities in Europe, the SoE has numerous bilateral partnership agreements overseas. To study at SoE you need the formal nomination from your home university.


Students from institutes which do not have an exchange agreement with ZHAW School of Engineering may directly contact the International Relations Office of ZHAW SoE as so-called “freemover”. As a freemover, you will pay the ZHAW tuition fee of CHF 1’295 (as of January 2023).

Foundation grant for Bachelor and Master exchange students

The cost of living in Switzerland represents a hurdle for many guest students. As a result, the ZHAW School of Engineering has set up its own funding programme from which students can receive up to CHF 2’000 or CHF 3'000 depending on home university origin (excl. intra-Swiss students and students who are granted by ERASMUS+ at their home university). Exchange students on the Bachelor’ s and Master’ s degree programme will receive the necessary information about applying for a grant when they register.

Visa, entry and residence permit

Visa requirements for studying abroad in Switzerland vary from country to country. However, the following always applies if they intend to stay in Switzerland for longer than three months or 90 working days:

A confirmation of study from the host university is required for the visa application. This is issued by the International Office of the SoE. Upon arrival in Switzerland, the International Office assists incoming students with the formalities for obtaining a residence permit at the Residents' Registration Office (Einwohnerkontrolle) of the City of Winterthur.


The student accommodation cooperative WOKO (Studentische Wohngenossenschaft Zürich) offers reasonably priced accommodation. Detailed information and additional accommodation possibilities can be found under: Student accommodation

Health and accident incurance

Basic health insurance is required by law in Switzerland for stay periods longer than three months. Students from the European Union are exempt from this obligation, provided they submit a copy of their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which must be valid for the entire duration of their stay. Students from non-EU countries, on the other hand, must buy a Swiss insurance policy in Switzerland. They must do so within three months after their arrival in Switzerland. The SoE cooperates with Swiss insurance companies specialized for foreign students’ needs, and the International Office provides detailed information about the application for Swiss health insurance during Orientation Week.

Currency and bank accounts

Switzerland's currency is the Swiss franc, abbreviated to Fr., SFr. or CHF. Credit cards such as Visa or MasterCard are accepted almost everywhere. Students wishing to open an account with a bank in Switzerland must present their residence permit, passport, and student ID card. Many banks offer student accounts with favorable conditions.

Orientation Week

One week before semester start, the Orientation Week will take place. In this week you will be introduced into ZHAW School of Engineering and its offers, such Campus, infrastructure, and you meet other exchange semester students.

Furthermore, you will have the opportunity to attend provided sessions as health insurance, library tour, city stroll in Winterthur and Swiss culture & cross-cultural integration. The Orientation will be completed with the invitation to an event for all Incoming Exchange Semester Students from 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