Language Requirements

Who Needs to Submit a Language Certificate?

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 is most competent in when communicating in written and spoken forms. This corresponds to the C2 or a higher level in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

When Does the Language Certificate Need to Be Submitted?

A language certificate that the University of Zurich recognizes must be submitted at the latest before matriculation. We recommend submitting it with the application already, if it is available.

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

 

What is the Main Language of Instruction?

For applicants up to and including the Fall Semester 2018

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 and English. Below you will find information about which main language of instruction is used for 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.

 

For applications as of Spring Semester 2019

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, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian. 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.

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 subjects of the teaching degree program
  • All Master’s study programs of the Faculty of Medicine, the Vetsuisse Faculty, and the Faculty of Theology
  • At the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences: All Master’s study programs, except Master’s study programs in English linguistics and/or literature. Further exception as of Spring Semester 2019: All Master’s study programs in French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian linguistics and/or literature
  • At the Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics: All Master’s study programs in business administration
  • At the Faculty of Law: All Master’s study programs except the Master of Law double degree programs in English that are listed below
 

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):

New Goethe Certificate C1 (examination from September 2007)

Goethe Certificate C2: Grosses Deutsches Sprachdiplom

Goethe Institut Zentrale Oberstufenprüfung

Goethe Institut Kleines Deutsches Sprachdiplom

Goethe Institut Grosses Deutsches Sprachdiplom

Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang ausländischer Studienbewerber an Deutsche Universitäten, result categories 3 and 2

Deutsches Sprachdiplom der Kultusministerkonferenz (KMK), level II

telc Deutsch C1 Hochschule certificate

TestDaF with an average result of TDN 4 and at least TDN 3 in all partial examinations

Österreichisches Sprachdiplom, Oberstufe Deutsch, level C1

Österreichisches Sprachdiplom, Wirtschaftssprache Deutsch, level C2

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:

  • Master of Law UZH double degree (general studies), Master of Law UZH double degree (European and international law) and Master of Law UZH double degree (international business law)
  • 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
  • All Master’s study programs in English linguistics and/or literature
 

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 or Designation

IELTS Academic

7

TOEFL*– Physical (paper)

600

TOEFL*– Digital

250

TOEFL*– Online

100

Cambridge Proficiency (CPE)

CPE

Cambridge Advanced Certificate (CAE)

CAE

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

For Applications as of Spring Semester 2019: Study Programs with French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese or Romanian as the Main Language of Instruction and Recognized Language Certificates

Study programs with French as the main language of instruction
All Master’s study programs in French linguistics and/or literature
 
Study programs with Italian as the main language of instruction
All Master’s study programs in Italian linguistics and/or literature
 
Study programs with Spanish as the main language of instruction
All Master’s study programs in Spanish linguistics and/or literature
 
Study programs with Portuguese as the main language of instruction
All Master’s study programs in Portuguese linguistics and/or literature
 
Study programs with Romanian as the main language of instruction
All Master’s study programs in Romanian linguistics and/or literature
 

Recognized Language Certificates for French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian

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

Portuguese

DAPLE (Diploma Avançado de Português Língua Estrangeira)

Romanian

C1-level certificate from the Institutul Limbii Române