FAQ for Students

Student Financial Aid / Semester Fees :

Does UZH support students who have got into financial difficulties due to the Corona crisis?

Yes. UZH has set up an emergency assistance scheme for students. Further information can be found on the website of the Student Financial Aid Office.
Student Financial Aid Office


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.

Booking / Cancellation Deadlines :

Can I book new modules?

You can cancel modules, but you cannot enroll on new ones. It is now too far into the semester and you have not attended a substantial proportion of the course in question, meaning that you have already missed out on a large part of the knowledge imparted/the practical courses (“Übungen”).

Can I miss an exam or cancel a module due to the coronavirus situation?

You can cancel your enrollment for courses or assessments between 4 May and 17 May 2020, without giving a reason, should you feel unable to complete the assessment requirements or take a digital exam under the current circumstances. This applies to all modules that you have not already completed in this semester.

If exam content changes due to the new situation, the teaching staff will inform you of this as early as possible. They will definitely do so before the cancellation deadline. This will make it easier for students to decide whether to cancel the module before the new cancellation deadline.

If you do not cancel the module, you will remain registered for the exam and will be expected to attend it. If you do not attend it, a failed attempt will initially be recorded but will subsequently be canceled.

Canceled modules can be taken in a subsequent semester.

Assessment / Exams / Failed Attempts :

Assessment for my course was until now 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.

When can I expect to receive the results of postponed exams?

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.

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.

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 (final theses, etc.)?

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.

Courses :

Will all courses now take place online?

Classroom teaching has been suspended at UZH until the end of the lecture period on 30 May 2020 to slow the further spread of coronavirus as much as possible.

If you have any questions about digital teaching, please contact the teaching staff directly. The module coordinator and/or the director of your study program can also provide you with further information.

We ask students to stay away from the UZH campuses. This is for your own protection and the protection of people in high-risk groups. In addition, please always adhere to the protective measures recommended by the authorities, such as social distancing.

Will courses be held during the summer?

The faculties are free to hold supporting courses in June and the first half of July if they believe such courses are necessary or useful to help students prepare for exams. This decision will be made by the faculties, taking into account the examination requirements. Further information on this will be provided by your faculty.

It is also possible that courses which cannot be transferred to a digital format will be held or repeated in the summer (e.g. clinical courses in small groups, lab training sessions). An appropriate offering is currently being planned. Please contact your faculty for more information.

Libraries / Work Places / Sporting Activities: 

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.

Can I continue to use the libraries’ electronic media?

Yes, electronic media can continue to be used as before without restrictions (external access via VPN).

I am a student and am also employed at the university. Do I still have to come to work?

UZH is operating on a skeleton staff. This means that members of UZH continue working from home. Please consult with your line managers, who will decide which tasks must be maintained on-site as far as possible. Those who are required to work on UZH premises must follow the measures issued by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the Canton of Zurich’s Department of Health (social distancing and further measures). There are separate guidelines for members of UZH who are at especially high risk:  Protective Measures for People at Especially High Risk

I am a PhD candidate – may I continue to come to the university to do research?

There are currently no on-site events for PhD candidates. On-site research activities will also be reduced. Please consult with your line managers, who will decide which tasks must be maintained as far as possible. In addition, please always adhere to the protective measures recommended by the authorities, such as social distancing. There are separate guidelines for members of UZH who are at especially high risk:
Protective Measures for People at Especially High Risk

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)