Delete search term


Quick navigation

Main navigation

ZHAW English-medium instruction (EMI) and EMI Quality Management portal

As universities and universities of applied sciences seek to improve their international profiles, the number of English-taught courses, modules and programmes continues to rise. This presents a number of challenges to teachers and students, as well as programme directors and institutions, as all involved attempt to find effective pathways to attain their internationalisation objectives. To help address some of these challenges, we have developed this EMI web-portal. In it you will find a number of useful resources related to EMI and the internationalisation of higher education. In addition, you will also find information on our research activities, our work with our national and international collaboration partners in the field of quality management for English-medium instruction and international programmes, and descriptions of training courses we offer in the form of workshops.

Introduction to EMI

What is EMI? Simply put, English-medium instruction refers to the teaching of subjects through the medium of English. This can, however, take on different configurations. For example, in many European countries, entire degree programmes may be offered through English or even entire universities offer English-taught courses exclusively. In Switzerland, English-taught modules at the university-level may be offered with internationalisation goals in mind, partly to attract international students, partly to prepare local students for future international scenarios or improve their employment chances. These modules may be predominantly taught by local teachers, and most students may be Swiss nationals as well.

EMI Quality Assurance

Management Parameters for International Profiles in Universities of Applied Sciences

Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS) have been developing strong international profiles in recent years, aiming to make themselves attractive partners on the international higher education market and to prepare their students to work in a highly globalised world.

This move towards internationalisation in teaching and learning has led to the implementation of curricular structures and policies that offer support and reward to both teachers and students involved in internationalised education. While these structures and policies undoubtedly have their local merits, no overarching quality guidelines have been established to date that provide schools with concrete parameters they should aim for when implementing international profiles in their programmes.

This project seeks to develop and test sustainable Quality Management Parameters that offer organisational units within Universities of Applied Sciences the opportunity to prepare for, and participate in, a Programme of Excellence in International Teaching and Learning. The Quality Management Parameters underlying the Programme of Excellence will be developed by an international quality management network of schools and will be tested and implemented in relevant contexts at ZHAW and Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH). This research project is funded by SwissUniversities.

Developing Quality Management Parameters for International Profiles in Universities of Applied Sciences (PDF 1,0 MB)

Teacher training and support materials


The challenges of EMI are numerous, each related to the local context. Information on training opportunities and teaching support materials are here provided to help teachers navigate the waters of EMI.

To help lecturers on the road to effective teaching through English, we offer specific training for EMI. Our specialist workshops and seminars focus on the interface of language competence and teacher training for EMI and EMI didactics, and are available to higher education institutions.

If you would like to organise a workshop, please contact Patrick Studer.

Language training

If basic language training is what you need, the ZHAW also offers continuing education General English language and preparation courses for internationally recognised language exams.

Student training

Language training

In addition to English courses that are part of individual departments' study programmes, the ZHAW also offers continuing education preparation courses for internationally recognised language exams.

EMI research

As the number of English-taught university-level courses continues to rise both in Switzerland and abroad, research is needed to better understand the phenomenon and to provide the foundation for principled approaches to dealing with the challenges it presents. The Language Competence and Knowledge Development Research Group is dedicated to examining key areas of EMI.

EMI conferences

ICLHE (Integrating Content and Language in Higher Education) is an association that is concerned with all aspects of the integration of content and language in higher education. The aim of the ICLHE association is to promote exchange of opinions, experiences, initiatives and research concerning the interface between content and language in higher education.

5th ICLHE Conference, 4-7 October 2017, Copenhagen. Theme: Integrating Content and Language in Multilingual Universities.


The EMI team