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Across Europe in Three Years

The Una Europa joint Bachelor’s degree program in European studies enables students to study at up to three universities in Europe. UZH will take part in this unique study program starting in 2025. (UZH News, 11 Apr 24)

They are making cross-border study possible by setting up the joint Bachelor’s degree program in European studies at UZH: Annika Martin (project leader), Martin Dusinberre (professor of global history), Peter Finke (professor of ethnology and designated director of the study program), and Andreas Heinemann (professor of commercial, economic, and European law). (Image: Dan Cermac)

Traveling, customizing one’s studies to one’s career interests, and getting to know different cultures and languages: Francesca, like many other students, is excited by the prospect of an international exchange. She wants to discover Europe and would like to benefit from the expertise of renowned universities.

The challenge

An international education substantially improves students’ career prospects because worldliness and intercultural skills and insight are in demand in the global job market. Multicultural teams at UZH or exchange semesters at foreign universities provide training possibilities to acquire those skills. The University of Zurich is committed to fostering diversity in the UZH community and to promoting student mobility.

Making it happen

University networks are a major driver of innovative, internationally oriented teaching formats. UZH has been a member of Una Europa since 2022. The partner institutions in this leading alliance of European universities work together in the areas of teaching, research and administration, with one of their objectives being to promote student mobility. The alliance enables students at UZH to benefit from courses offered by other Una Europa universities.

One very special program offered is the Bachelor of Arts in European Studies (BAES), which was launched two years ago by eight of the eleven Una Europa universities. UZH will be the ninth university to join in, and preparations for that are currently underway. Starting in 2025, UZH students will thus also be able to pursue the unique joint Bachelor’s degree program. In addition, a joint Bachelor’s degree program in sustainability is planned for 2026.

The solution

The Bachelor of Arts in European Studies program enables students to immerse themselves in European studies for three years at three different universities. The program deals with fundamental aspects and values of European states and societies and teaches students to examine and ponder Europe’s role in the world from multidisciplinary perspectives. “The great thing about the program is that its form reflects its contents,” explains Annika Martin, who is organizing the project on the part of UZH. “The possibility of studying at up to three universities enables participants to experience Europe up-close and intimately.”

BAES students begin their Bachelor’s studies in Leuven, Bologna, Madrid or Kraków, where they complete a three-semester sequence of common core courses and then chose one major and one minor from seven specialized fields of study. The special study tracks are also offered in Paris, Helsinki, Edinburgh and Berlin, as well as in Zurich starting in 2025. Thirty of the 240 Bachelor’s students in total will thus have an opportunity to complete part of the program in European studies at UZH. The participants in the degree program come from all around the world. “That’s both a challenge and an enrichment,” says Peter Finke, the designated director of the study program at UZH.

UZH will initially offer four of the seven specialized fields of study: politics, philosophy, history and law. An additional study track – languages and cultures – is planned for 2026. Finke and Martin are currently putting together the course offerings in consultation with the respective faculties involved. The program draws mainly on existing modules alongside some new courses. With its wide-ranging scope, the joint Bachelor’s program meets the growing demand for flexible, international curriculums. “Students acquire knowledge specifically at universities with the corresponding focus areas,” Martin explains. Taking part in the study program thus also presents UZH with an opportunity to draw international attention to the university’s strengths and to thereby attract talented students. “UZH, for example, possesses a lot of expertise on Europe’s relations with the rest of the world,” Finke says. Democracy, the rule of law, human rights, art and culture – those are all relevant subject areas in the context of European studies, and UZH has a lot to offer in each of them.

Our teaching community

The Una Europa university alliance enables the institutions involved to jointly develop innovative teaching formats and to concertedly rethink university education. Thanks to the collaboration, the Bachelor of Arts in European Studies is able to offer a wide range of pertinent subject areas. “I see incredible potential for teaching, especially in smaller subject areas that a single university alone cannot cover in all of its aspects,” Finke summates.

However, ambitious projects of this kind seldom get by without extra exertion: the Bachelor’s degree program, which is administrated mainly from Belgium, requires a lot of organizational effort: “Reconciling the varying conceptions of the Bologna system and the different academic calendars is very complex by itself,” Martin says. Nevertheless, taking part in the BAES gives UZH an opportunity to actively participate in shaping the future of teaching at the international level.

Find out more here about the Future of Teaching at UZH initiative.


Project: Una Europa Joint Bachelor of Arts in European Studies
Funded by: UZH Teaching Fund (ULF), global innovation
Level: Degree program
Project leaders: Prof. Dr. Peter Finke, Dr. Annika Martin
Faculties: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Law.