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Double Degree Program with Grand Valley State University

This double degree program enables graduate students at the ZHAW School of Management and Law (ZHAW) and Grand Valley State University (GVSU) to pursue a Master’s degree at both institutions simultaneously.

Upon successful completion of the double degree program, graduates are awarded the following titles by the partner institutions:

Students enrolled in the program spend their first year at their home university and the second year at their host university.

About the Double Degree Partner – Grand Valley State University

The Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) is a nationally and internationally renowned business school. It is accredited by AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). In recent years, GVSU has received consistently high rankings among U.S. business schools. In the U.S. News education rankings of 2022 GVSU ranked 27th in the category “Best Regional Universities Midwest”, and in 2021 it ranked 3rd among “Top Public Schools, Regional Universities Midwest”. The SML has enjoyed a fruitful partnership with GVSU since 2015.

Find out more about the university

Program Structure

The regular period of study of the double degree program is 20 months (four semesters of study plus 12 weeks for writing the Master’s thesis). Double degree students spend their first year at their home university and the second year at their host university. Each university provides full information to the other concerning the courses completed by double degree students.

At their host university, double degree students have access to the same courses as the graduate students enrolled in the regular Master’s program. They also enjoy the same rights and privileges and are subject to the same rules and regulations. They are registered as degree-seeking students at the host university only for those parts of the study program that are delivered by the host university. Students admitted for the double degree program complete the study program as set out below.

Study Program for Double Degree Students

Master’s Thesis

In addition to their compulsory coursework at both institutions as set out in the agreement, double degree students are required to write a Master’s thesis. All students of this double degree program write their Master’s thesis at ZHAW. The Master’s thesis is worth 12 ECTS credits (equivalent to 6 U.S. credits). The partner institution ensures that the legal and organizational requirements are met to enable double degree students to start writing their Master’s thesis in their second year of study.

In writing their Master’s thesis, students are supervised by a ZHAW faculty member. The Master’s thesis can be reviewed by a GVSU faculty member, thus ensuring joint supervision. The Master’s thesis must be written in English.

Completing a Master’s thesis at ZHAW also requires students to defend their thesis. If the Master’s thesis is supervised by faculty members from both institutions jointly, both supervisors participate in the thesis defense. The thesis defense is conducted in English.

Selection and Documents

Candidates for the double degree program are selected by their home institution according to selection criteria jointly defined and agreed by GVSU and ZHAW. Due to the higher workload compared to an ordinary Master’s program, only highly qualified students are eligible to enroll in the double degree program. Each institution is entitled to admit up to three students per year to the double degree program.

Double degree candidates must satisfy all admission requirements of the host institution, including the following:


All students admitted to the double degree program under a bilateral arrangement must enroll and pay tuition and other required fees at their home university. The host university provides incoming double degree students with tuition fee waivers.

Students are required to pay any other relevant fees applying to regular degree students at each university, including administrative fees at GVSU and ZHAW.

The host university reserves the right to refuse admission to a double degree candidate from the home institution on academic grounds or for some other substantial reason.

Important Information – Double Degree Grand Valley State University

Please note that only students already enrolled on the ZHAW MSc in International Business can apply for a Double Degree with Grand Valley State University. The specific application arrangement for the Double Degree will be confirmed by the ZHAW degree program head.