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.

Where outdoors do I have to wear a mask?

Masks must be worn in outdoor areas at UZH wherever the required minimum distance of 1.5 meters can't be observed, in particular in busy pedestrian zones, in front of buildings, when going to/leaving campus, in waiting areas, in seating and standing areas (benches, tables, etc.).

Do I have to wear a mask all the time?

Masks may be removed to eat or drink. But removal of masks should be kept as short as possible.

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).

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.

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.

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.
Study Spaces 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.