Language Requirements

Foreign-language applicants for a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree or teaching diploma program must prove that they have a sufficient command of the main language of instruction of the study program in which they wish to enroll.

Proof of proficiency at the C1 or a higher level in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) must be submitted for the respective main language of instruction.

Foreign-language applicants are those whose first or primary language is different from the main language of instruction of the study program in which they wish to enroll.

The first or primary language refers to the language a person uses with the highest level of competency and without difficulties when writing, speaking, and understanding written and spoken language. This corresponds to the C2 or a higher level in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

What is the Main Language of Instruction?

The main language of instruction is the language in which the program is primarily taught. The main languages of instruction at the University of Zurich are German for Bachelor's and Teaching Diploma programs, and German, English, French, Italian, and Spanish for Master's programs. Below you will find more information about the main language of instruction of the various study programs.

Many study programs also offer modules that are taught in other languages. For example, the main language of instruction of all Bachelor’s programs is German, but many Bachelor’s programs at the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics also have modules in English. For more information, please refer to the overview of degree and study programs and the course catalogue.

When Does the Language Certificate Need to Be Submitted?

We recommend submitting the language certificate with the application, if it is already available. But the language certificate does not necessarily have to be provided at the time of application. In the case of admission, it can also be submitted after receipt of the admission decision up to one week before the begin of the lecture period at the latest. Matriculation, however, can only take place once the language certificate is available.

Foreign-language applicants who wish to take up a Bachelor's degree program and who, according to the country-specific admission requirements, have to attend the Complementary Examination set by the Swiss Higher Education Institutions (ECUS), usually acquire the required language certificate as part of the ECUS examination. A waiver of the ECUS partial examination German is only possible if a recognized German language certificate is available at the time of registration for the ECUS examination (15 June). Registration for the ECUS examination can only be made via the University of Zurich.

Who Is Exempt from Having to Prove Language Proficiency?

Applicants who have one of the following qualifications do not need to prove their language proficiency:
  • A federal or Swiss maturity certificate, or federally or Swiss recognized maturity certificate.

  • A Federal professional maturity certificate in combination with proof of passing supplementary examinations.

  • A specialized maturity certificate recognized in all of Switzerland in combination with proof of passing supplementary examinations.

  • Attestato cantonale di maturità commerciale.

  • A Bachelor’s degree from UZH.

  • A Bachelor’s or comparable degree in the relevant language of instruction from a university or a university of applied sciences located in a region where the official language is the same as the language of instruction (does not apply to distance learning or studies at campuses in countries where the official language differs from the language of instruction).

  • Completion of the last three years at an upper secondary school in the language of instruction relevant for the studies and in a region where the official language is the same as the language of instruction.

Study Programs with German as the Main Language of Instruction and Recognized Language Certificates

Study programs with German as the main language of instruction

The following study programs have German as the main language of instruction:

  • All Bachelor’s study programs.

  • All study programs for the training of secondary school teachers.

  • All Master’s study programs of the Faculty of Medicine, the Vetsuisse Faculty, and the Faculty of Theology.

  • The Master's study programs at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences with German as the main language of instruction are specified in the list of Master's study programs and main languages of instruction at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (PDF, 28 KB).

  • At the Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics: All Master’s study programs in business administration.

  • At the Faculty of Law: Master of Law UZH Rechtswissenschaft; Master of Law UZH Double Degree Rechtswissenschaft; Master of Law UZH UNIL Joint Degree Rechtswissenschaft; Master’s minor study program Rechtswissenschaft

Recognized Language Certificates for German

The University of Zurich recognizes the following language certificates for German that correspond to level C1 or higher in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR):

Goethe-Zertifikat C1

Goethe-Zertifikat C2: Grosses Deutsches Sprachdiplom

Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang ausländischer Studienbewerber an Deutschen Universitäten, DSH2 und DSH3

Deutsches Sprachdiplom der Kultusministerkonferenz (KMK), level II, DSD II

Zertifikat telc Deutsch C1 Hochschule

TestDaF with an average result of TDN 4 and at least TDN 3 in all sub-tests

ÖSD Zertifikat C1

ÖSD Zertifikat C1 – Jugendliche
ÖSD Zertifikat C2
ÖSD Zertifikat C2 – Wirtschaftssprache

UZH German language test (held for the final time in Spring Semester 2018)

Study Programs with English as the Main Language of Instruction and Recognized Language Certificates

Study programs with English as the main language of instruction

The following study programs have English as the main language of instruction:

  • At the Faculty of Law: Master of Law UZH International and Comparative Law; Master of Law UZH Double Degree International and Comparative Law; Master’s minor study program Rechtswissenschaft

  • All Master’s study programs of the Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics, except business administration.

  • All Master’s study programs of the Faculty of Science.

  • The Master's study programs at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences with English as the main language of instruction are specified in the list of Master's study programs and main languages of instruction at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (PDF, 28 KB).

  • The Master's study program Religion and culture in contemporary societies at the Faculty of Theology.

Recognized Language Certificates for English

The University of Zurich recognizes the following language certificates for English that correspond to level C1 or higher in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR):

Certificate

Required Score

IELTS Academic

7

TOEFL iBT / MyBestTM Scores to TOEFL iBT*

100

C1 Advanced (formerly Cambridge English: Advanced, CAE) **

-

C2 Proficiency (formelry Cambridge English: Proficiency, CPE)**

-

* We must receive the TOEFL test results directly from ETS (institution code: 0348).

** You can send Cambridge results via the Candidate Results Portal provided by Cambridge Assessment. Click on ‘Send my result’ and, under ‘Institution/organisation name’, select ‘University of Zurich, Admissions Office’.

Due to the current situation, the University of Zurich also accepts the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition with a minimum score of 100. Other language certificates such as the TOEFL ITP Plus for China, IELTS Indicator, PTE Academic, or Duolingo are not accepted.

Study Programs with French, Italian or Spanish as the Main Language of Instruction and Recognized Language Certificates

The Master's study programs with French, Italian or Spanish as the main language of instruction are specified in the list of Master's study programs and main languages of instruction at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (PDF, 28 KB).

 

Recognized Language Certificates for French, Italian and Spanish

The University of Zurich recognizes the following language certificates that correspond to level C1 or higher in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR):

French

DALF C1

Italian

PLIDA C1

CELI C1

CILS C1

Spanish

DELE C1