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Pre-College - Our Courses for Prospective Students

If you are interested in studying at the ZHAW School of Engineering, but unsure whether you fulfil the admission criteria, you can put your prior knowledge to the test and find the best preliminary courses here.


There is more than one way to get into a university of applied sciences, including an apprenticeship with a vocational baccalaureate, a specialised baccalaureate, an academic baccalaureate, a foreign diploma or a diploma from a college of higher education.

Youth2Engineers pre-study internship

Do you have an academic or a non-technical vocational baccalaureate but wish to sign up for an engineering programme at a university of applied sciences? And do you still need to complete the required 12-month work experience placements (internship)? Then the Youth2Engineers programme might be the perfect point of entry for you.

Holders of an academic baccalaureate may also consider signing up for a work-study Bachelor’s degree programme.

Pre-courses and literature

We can help you get ready to study in the most effective way, be it with specialist literature or with our courses.

Maths and Physics

We offer two courses each in Maths and Physics for an ideal start:

Refresher courses
These courses are for prospective applicants with a technical vocational baccalaureate who would like to refresh their Maths and Physics skills. The courses take place in August and September, in Winterthur. Refresher courses in Maths and Physics may also be taken individually.

Course description and registration (in german)

Intensive courses
These courses are for prospective applicants without a technical vocational baccalaureate and only basic skills in Maths and Physics. The courses take place over several months in Winterthur. Intensive courses in Maths and Physics may also be taken individually.

Course description and registration (in german)

Maths and Physics literature
We recommend the following titles for self-study:


If you are interested in applying for a Bachelor’s programme in Computer Science but have no or limited basic skills in object-oriented programming, we recommend you take the programming pre-course. 

Programming literature
The programming pre-course is based on the following book:

Java lernen mit BlueJ: David J. Barnes und Michael Kölling, Pearson; ISBN 978-3-8689-4907-0. Weiter empfehlen wir folgende Literatur zur Vorbereitung:

Technical drawing and CAAD

If you are interested in applying for a Bachelor’s programme in Mechanical Engineering but have no or limited basic skills in technical drawing and CAAD, we recommend you take the technical drawing and CAAD pre-course. The course is also open to future Aviation, Systems Engineering and Transportation Systems students.

Language courses

The following language courses are available at the Institute of Language Competence over the course of the degree programmes - they are partially funded by the ZHAW School of Engineering.

English language courses

First year Bachelor’s students who wish to participate in the International Profile who have failed to achieve the required B2 level in the Online English assessment test or who would like to consolidate their existing B2-level skills, have the opportunity to take the “Preparation Course English for International Profile Level B2 (PreIP)” in the spring semester and then retake the English assessment test at the end of the semester.

Starting in the first year, the “Exam Preparation: English C1 (Advanced/CAE)” course is available for students with documented B2+ level English language skills (OET or certificate) as a CAE (C1 level) exam preparation.

German courses for foreign students

Foreign students have the chance to train report writing and arguing in writing in our course “Schreiben für Studium und Beruf” (“Writing for students and professionals”) or to hone their speaking skills in the „Kommunikation im Fokus“ (“Focus on Communication”) courses. The latter are ideal to expand your vocabulary and to learn useful phrases that help you get your point across in discussions and to deliver presentations on topics related to work and everyday life. Free speaking practice and exercises in presentation technique help you prepare for your own presentations.

Your registration goes through if you can provide evidence of your German language skills with a Goethe or telc certificate or if you have successfully completed the ZHAW placement test.