Navigation auf


Equal Opportunities for People with Disabilities at the University of Zurich

The University of Zurich (UZH) is committed to promoting equal opportunities and inclusion and fully subscribes to these values. UZH is aware of the challenges faced by its members with disabilities. The UZH community is committed to ensuring that all students and staff, regardless of their individual circumstances, have equal opportunities and receive the best possible education.

UZH systematically removes existing barriers according to the principle of Universal Design for Learning. By providing academic accommodations, UZH offers people with disabilities appropriate and individualized measures for their studies and exams. This commitment to ensuring accessibility also applies to the working conditions of our staff. UZH provides an accessible working environment by adapting workplaces and working conditions to the specific needs of its employees. Moreover, support and advice services are available to employees and line managers who are part of or lead a team that has a member with a disability or a chronic health issue.

UZH strives for continuous and measurable improvements across all areas.

UZH has already implemented a number of measures and projects in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, including the following:

  • Establishment of a Disability Office in 1976. This office has the legal mandate to advise the university on matters of equal opportunities for people with disabilities,
  • Preliminary project for a barrier-free UZH (“Hindernisfreie UZH”) in 2020, which aimed to better assess the need for action in the areas of building infrastructure, technology, organization and culture,
  • Teaching and Doing Research at the University – Barrier-Free! research project, which ran from 2018 to 2021 and aimed to improve accessibility for teaching staff and researchers,
  • Accessible Teaching in Higher Education research project, which has been running since 2022,
  • Swiss Digital Skills Academy project, in which UZH has been working together with various other higher education institutions on the Provide Access for All work package,
  • Establishment of the Swiss Center for Disability at UZH, and
  • Diversity Policy, according to which UZH has been committed to inclusion as a value since 2018.

Inclusion is a university-wide duty that concerns everyone

Implementing and embracing inclusion is a university-wide duty that involves several of the university’s organizational units. When it comes to academic accommodations, for example, the Disability Office works hand in hand with those affected to assess barriers and recommend concrete measures to the faculties. Academic accommodations provided by the faculties must be designed in such a way that the core requirements of degree programs or modules can be assessed.

Over the past few years, applications for academic accommodations have been increasing steadily. At the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, applications for academic accommodation have almost tripled since the 2019 Fall Semester, with a corresponding increase in the resources required to process applications. Despite this, in the 2023 Spring Semester, almost 90% of applications at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences were able to be processed within the available period of six weeks. In addition, all applications for academic accommodation that had been submitted on time were approved.

Podcasts are one of the specific accommodations recommended by the Disability Office. The effectiveness of providing podcasts was confirmed in a survey on studying with a disability at UZH (“Studium und Behinderung an der UZH”), in which 64% of respondents said that digital teaching formats (incl. podcasts) improve access to tertiary education. UZH endeavors to promote such digital teaching formats without compromising the personality rights of its teaching staff and its understanding as an on-site university.

Services continuously expanded

UZH has upgraded its UZH Accessible project (previously “Hindernisfreie UZH”) to the status of a strategic project of the Executive Board of the University. From January 2024 onwards, existing barriers in the areas of building infrastructure, technology and teaching materials as well as organization and culture will be identified and removed step by step. Students and staff directly affected by this as well as the relevant organizational units will be actively involved in defining and prioritizing measures.

UZH has increased the staff of the Disability Office in order to step up its advisory capacity, particularly in its assistance service.

In addition, from the summer of 2024, the Office for Gender Equality and Diversity will have an explicit mandate for the inclusion of people with disabilities.

Studying and working at UZH with a disability

In mid-March 2024, UZH, on behalf of the President of the University, invited all interested parties to attend a public information event which focused on the then state of affairs, the immediate measures taken and the medium and long-term perspectives for development in the area of equal opportunities and inclusion of disabled people.Report in UZH News: Studying without Barriers

UZH is continuously improving its inclusive educational environment, in particular with the aim of meeting the needs of people with any kind of disability. With our shared commitment to equal opportunities and inclusion, we can make sure that our university continues to be a place where all staff and students feel welcome and supported.

Michael Schaepman
President of the University of Zurich


Benjamin Börner, UZH Disability Office: