FAQ for Students

Obligation to Wear Masks:

Who has to wear a mask?

The obligation to wear a mask applies to anyone present at UZH (UZH members as well as visitors and external service providers) in indoor and outdoor spaces.

Do I have to wear a mask all the time?

Yes. From 29 October, masks must be worn in all indoor and outdoor areas of UZH and may only be removed in order to eat or drink.

Where can I buy masks at UZH?

You can buy masks at various ZFV cafeteria sites (as of October 2020)

  • Irchel Campus: Seerose, Café Complet
  • City Campus: Platte 14, Café Complet, UniTurm, Cafeteria Rämistrasse
  • Oerlikon Campus: Cafeteria Binzmühle, Cafeteria Cityport, Restaurant Forum
    Locations of UZH Cafeterias

At Irchel Campus there is also a vending machine with masks (in front of building Y23 / Facility Management Irchel Campus info counter).

On what grounds can someone be dispensed from the obligation to wear a mask?

Children under age 12 and people who can prove that they cannot wear a face mask on specific grounds (particularly medical grounds) are dispensed from the mask requirement.

What is the mask-wearing requirement based on?

The mask-wearing requirement is based on the social distancing and hygiene recommendations of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

What types of mask should be worn?

In medical areas hygiene masks (surgical or medical masks) are to be worn. In all other areas of UZH, hygiene masks or industrially produced textile masks (community masks) may be worn. The COVID-19 Task Force has recommendations for these masks designed to ensure a certain level of protection.
Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) recommendations

Home-made masks may not be used.

Assessments and Exams:

Assessment for my course is tied to my presence in class. Will that change as a result of the conversion to digital teaching?

Assessments that currently require the presence of students will be adapted such that presence at UZH is no longer required. For their part, students are responsible for ensuring that they have suitable infrastructure in place to take part in distance learning/assessments or that they can get hold of such infrastructure. This includes hardware (a computer) and a stable internet connection.

Will examinations that were planned to take place during or at the end of the semester still be held?

Written and oral examinations scheduled to take place by the end of June 2020 will be held digitally on the regular dates wherever possible. Written and oral examinations that cannot be transferred to digital formats for compelling reasons will be held at in May, June, in the first half of July or between 9 August and 4 September 2020 with presence at UZH. Further details will be provided by your faculty as soon as possible.

To which period of time will exams that cannot be held digitally be postponed?

The faculties are required to hold exams planned until the end of June 2020 in a digital format. Exams, which can not be held digitally for subject-specific reasons, will be held in May, June, in the first half of July or between 9 August or 4 September in presence at UZH.

You will be informed of the new dates for postponed exams directly by the faculties. Faculty leadership and the Executive Board of the University are monitoring the situation and the official requirements on an ongoing basis. At present, however, it is not possible to make any predictions about the situation in August. The faculties also have the option of deferring repeat examinations that are normally held in the same semester. Students who fail the exam will have to repeat the module at a later point in time.

What form will digital exams take and are they fair?

Everyone responsible for module exams knows about the special conditions under which this semester has been held thus far and will continue to be held. These circumstances will be taken into account in the development of the digital examination formats. In many cases, assessments will be digital open book exams, which place all participants on a level playing field.

UZH assumes that its students will continue to take responsibility for themselves in the current situation and that they are willing to act fairly, including in unusual exam situations. In future professional practice, it will no longer be the exam result that counts but the knowledge or skill that the exam evidenced.

Furthermore, students are responsible for ensuring that they have suitable infrastructure in place to take digital exams or that they are able to get hold of such infrastructure. This includes hardware (a computer) and a stable internet connection.

Why is the decision about holding exams being left to the individual faculties? Wouldn’t a university-wide ruling be fairer and simpler?

The types of examinations held at the University of Zurich vary as much as the courses the faculties offer. The requirements for medicine degrees differ from those for German studies, for example. Just as varied as the requirements are the teaching and examination formats and the times of the exams. Many departments review learning progress by means of written exams at the end of the semester that are sat by a large number of students. Other departments primarily assess their learning objectives alongside the courses or by means of papers. For that reason, there are no general solutions that would be both fair and appropriate for such a diverse higher education institution. That is why the decision as to how to appropriately implement the jointly resolved principles has been left to the faculties. The Executive Board of the University has complete confidence in the faculties’ ability to develop solutions that take into account the students’ situation while simultaneously ensuring the education objectives in their respective subject areas.

My exam was postponed. When can I expect to receive my results?

Faculties that postpone their exams will endeavor to mark them and communicate the results as quickly as possible and are currently in the process of planning the postponed examination session. It is not expected to be necessary to postpone the booking deadlines for Fall Semester 2020. You will receive your exam results via the usual channels (summary of credits or “My results”).

The faculties that are postponing exams are following the situation and the regulations issued by the Federal Council and will react appropriately to the official requirements.
Faculties of the University of Zurich

Can PhD/thesis defenses be held at the moment?

In principle, PhD/thesis defenses can be held digitally, with all participants taking part remotely using digital tools. Since 30 June 2020, PhD/thesis defences may also be held as on-site events again, with few members of family allowed to attend. Social distancing rules must be observed and a list of attendees and their contact details must be made to enable contact tracing.

How will failed attempts be handled?

Failed attempts will have no consequences for all modules that you have enrolled on in Spring Semester 2020. This applies irrespective of whether you are taking the exam for the first time or are already repeating the module after a failed attempt in a previous semester. In the case of modules with a repeat examination in the same semester, the first failed attempt will be cancelled. If you fail the repeat examination a second time, this failed attempt will remain on your transcript of records.

Will failed attempts be included in my transcript of records?

Canceled failed attempts will not be included in your transcript of records. The exam results will be visible for a short time in the summary of credits or in “My results” and will then be cancelled.

Which deadlines apply for papers such as final theses?

Deadlines for papers that cannot be completed in the originally intended form as a result of insufficiently available sources, data or literature can be extended. Alternatively, the papers can be adapted to the new situation. Further details will be provided by your faculty.

I have been drafted for military or hospital duties and probably will not be able to complete all the requirements for my modules. What should I do?

Please get in touch with your faculty and ask about how to proceed. The faculties will assess how students can submit alternative assessment work or, if this is not possible, will review whether the module can be cancelled outside of the cancellation deadline. This has to be assessed on an individual basis for the modules booked. There is no plan to allocate ECTS credits for military service itself.

Semester Fees:

Can I expect a refund or a reduction of the semester fees?

No, the semester fees will remain unchanged both this semester and next semester. Students who get into financial difficulties due to the current situation can contact the Student Financial Aid Office.


Where can students find places to study?

Study spaces are available at the following locations:

  • Irchel Campus: Y03 G / Y13 G, H, M / Y15 G, H / Y24 G
  • City Campus: KOL E, F, H, K, L, Computer room L, Foyer West, Café Rondell, Lichthof, Catacombs / RAA UG / HAH EG
  • Oerlikon Campus: AFL E 24, E26, Olivenhalle / BIN West, East

Empty lecture halls and classrooms can be used any time for studying (at your own responsibility), provided they are available (“Frei” shown on room display).
UZH Room Management

Other study spaces are available in the UZH libraries.

Are the libraries open?

Since  Friday, 17 March the university’s libraries are closed. The libraries provide UZH staff and Students with the literature necessary for research or study as far as possible.

They offer:

Corona Crisis – Services of the UZH Libraries

Depending on general developments, libraries plan to make it possible to borrow and return books and other information carriers on site again from 8 June onwards. Whether reading and workstations can be used again from then on is not yet certain.

Are the cafeterias and cafés open?

Some UZH cafeterias and cafés are open and offering limited services. For up-to-date information, please visit the ZFV website:

UZH Cafeterias and Cafés

How are cafeterias ensuring that the hygiene and protective measures are observed?

As the operator of cafeterias and cafés, the ZFV has drawn up site-specific safety concepts with the necessary hygiene and protective measures and is responsible for ensuring that these are observed. All customers must adhere to the applicable rules communicated on site.

What about the sports facilities?

Due to developments regarding coronavirus the ASVZ Sport Centers (including outdoor facilities and counters) will be closed until at least the end of spring semester 2020 (31.05.2020).
Akademischer Sportverband Zürich (ASVZ)