Universität Zürich (University of Zurich), Switzerland

The University of Zurich is located in the heart of Zurich in Switzerland. It offers the widest range of courses in Switzerland and so far, 12 scientists from the University have received a Nobel Prize.

University of Zurich website

Who can go?

Postgraduate research students within the School of Divinity.

There is currently a limit of one postgraduate research student per academic year for a period of three to six months. Available places may vary from year to year depending on the exchange balance.

How to apply

Students wishing to apply to this study abroad programme should first identify a potential supervisor at Zurich who will be able to supervise you for the duration of the study abroad placement. 

You must email your application to studyabroad@st-andrews.ac.uk

You will have to be in good standing as a doctoral student and must provide evidence in your application as to why you would benefit from a visiting studentship.

Current students can contact study abroad coordinators to find out more. 

Your studies

The academic year at the University of Zurich runs from the start of September to the end of June and is divided into two semesters:

  • Semester 1: August to January
  • Semester 2: February to July.

Find out more about semester dates at the University of Zurich

Courses at the University of Zurich are predominantly taught in German, however there is a range of courses taught in English.

Students have access to several libraries in Zurich. The most important ones for students are the Zentralbibliothek (Central Library) and the Hauptbibliothek Universität Zürich-Irchel (Main Library of the University of Zurich, Irchel Campus).

Along with the numerous libraries at the University’s departments and institutes, Zurich's libraries have over five million books as well as a large number of journals and electronic databases. In addition, students can borrow books from more than 60 libraries throughout Switzerland by inter-library loan. All libraries offer excellent facilities, including work spaces, computer access, reading rooms and copy machines.

During orientation, all exchange students receive their student ID and the necessary information to gain access to the University's electronic services.

Students sit on a low wall outside Zurich stadium

Passports and visas

Exchange students from EU and EEA countries need a valid travel document (for example, passport or identification card) in order to enter Switzerland.

For exchange students from new EU states, interim regulations apply. Please contact the Swiss embassy or the consulate in the UK for information about the exact documents and procedures that are required.

For exchange students who require a visa, applications for visas are made at the Migrations Office of the Canton of Zurich.

You should ensure that your passport is valid for the duration of your trip, and for at least six months after you return to the UK. You should scan your passport and keep a copy for your records.

If you are a European Union national, you will not require a visa and may enter the European Union countries with your passport or national identity card. Please note that you may have to comply with legal obligations, such as registering your address with the local authorities.

If you are an international student who has a visa to study in the UK, and you have any questions about the implications of studying or working abroad whilst matriculated at St Andrews, you should consult Student Services by emailing advint@st-andrews.ac.uk. You can also check the passports and visas page for further information.

About the University

The University of Zurich is the largest university in Switzerland with more than 25,000 students. It was founded in 1833, and today it is one of the most renowned universities in the German-speaking world.

As a member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU), the University of Zurich is one of the leading European research universities.

Zurich prides itself on being a cultural destination. In addition to the events of the internationally established institutions, which include the Tonhalle opera house and the Kunsthaus theatre. Zurich also has a range of eateries, bars and nightclubs.

Find out more about the University of Zurich.

The Hauptgebaude building in Zurich


As an exchange student, you will not pay tuition fees to your host university, and will only be liable for your normal St Andrews tuition fees.

Research Council students should make sure that they have their funding body’s permission to study abroad, notifying them particularly for any mobility grants that they may be receiving.

Most students are eligible for Swiss European Mobility Placement (SEMP) grant – provided by the Swiss Government – which contributes towards the extra costs arising from studying or working abroad for credit. For 2021-2022, students going to Switzerland were eligible for 1900 Swiss Francs (CHF) for a single semester exchange. SEMP grants are externally funded, and therefore the University of St Andrews cannot guarantee funding will be available in any given year.

Students with special needs can apply for additional subsidies to cover extra costs that can occur during their exchange due to their disability. Find out more about scholarships for students with disabilities.

The University of Zurich provides information about estimated costs of living. You will be responsible for meeting any additional costs accruing from accommodation, food, travel, etc.


The University of Zurich does not own or rent out student residences, and there are no university-managed student accommodation facilities in Zurich. Rooms for students are offered by various independent institutions which are connected with the University, but work independently.

The University has a dedicated accommodation website which provides information on private accommodation for international students.  

Travel and transport

Many major airlines fly to Zurich Airport from all over the world. The airport is less than 30 minutes away from the city centre of Zurich by car.

The city of Zurich has an extensive public transport network. There are buses, streetcars, regional trains and boats. Many public transport networks offer a discount to students.

Bicycles are an inexpensive alternative to public transportation. There are several ‘bicycle markets’ in Zurich which specialise in selling bicycles.

Find out more about travelling to and around Zurich.

Student support

The International Relations Office at the University of Zurich holds a mandatory orientation event to welcome all exchange students. At orientation, exchange students learn about the residence permit and health insurance, and also about life at the University in general.

The University of Zurich provides specific support for international students at the International Scholars Center

For further information on support available, please visit the University of Zurich’s advice and information pages.


Global Office
University of St Andrews
Bute Building
Westburn Lane
St Andrews
KY16 9TS

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2245
Email: studyabroad@st-andrews.ac.uk