The Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) is one of the leading universities in Switzerland. The ZHAW's degree program are practice-oriented and scientifically based. Several of the University's 27 Bachelor’s and 16 Master’s degree program are unique in Switzerland. In its work in research and development, the ZHAW concentrates on important societal challenges, with a particular focus on energy and social integration. With locations in the canton of Zurich, in Winterthur, Wädenswil and Zurich itself, the ZHAW is firmly integrated in the local region while also collaborating with international partners. There are eight Schools in the University: Applied Linguistics, Applied Psychology, Architecture, Design and Civil Engineering, Engineering, Health Professions, Life Sciences and Facility Management, Management and Law, and Social Work. Freeman students study at the ZHAW School of Management and Law (SML). The SML is one of Switzerland’s leading business schools. The School's internationally acclaimed BSc and MSc programs as well as their range of continuing education programs are scientifically grounded, interdisciplinary, and practically oriented. As part of a university of applied sciences, the SML is devoted to the applicability of theoretical knowledge. The SML's research and consulting activities are theoretically sound and have practical value, focusing on immediate, efficient feasibility. The School's main principle “Building Competence, Crossing Borders” reflects its commitment to quality degree programs and further education, as well as a global mindset. The SML has formal partnerships with over 150 universities worldwide.
Winterthur, home to the ZHAW, is a university town. With a population of about 100,000, it is Switzerland’s sixth largest city and home to many Swiss and international companies. Winterthur has a dynamic cultural scene with a range of events hosted here every year, including a music festival, an international festival of short films, and a festival of world music and African culture. With its 16 art galleries and the recent expansion of its renowned museum of photography, Winterthur’s art scene has achieved international recognition. In addition, the city boasts a science museum and several theaters as well as a diversity of concert halls, clubs, and alternative cultural venues. The old town and the nearby industrial zone offer a variety of restaurants, bars, night clubs, cafes, cinemas, and shops. A wide range of sport activities and expansive green spaces add to the attractiveness of this town. Zurich, the cultural, commercial, and financial heart of Switzerland, is very close to Winterthur and can be reached easily by public transport. From Winterthur it only takes 12 minutes by train to the airport and 19 minutes to Zurich’s main station. More information can be found on the websites of the Swiss Railway Company (www.sbb.ch) and the Zurich Transport Network (www.zvv.ch).
Switzerland is one of the most fantastic destinations for study abroad. With not one, not two, not three, but FOUR native languages including French, German, Italian and Romansh, Switzerland offers multilingualism like no other. Students have the opportunity to hone current language skills or learn something completely new. Global companies have long been attracted to Switzerland for its location, economic stability, safety, talent and governmental policies. Switzerland is surrounded by Europe's major economies: Germany, France, Italy, and Austria. It's right in the heart of Europe's most densely populated area and also a great hub for travel to the rest of Europe. The International Olympic Committee, the Red Cross and the World Economic Forum are just a few of the global organizations located in Switzerland. Switzerland’s geography is postcard perfect. The iconic Swiss Alps, cow-dotted pastures and serene blue lakes offer a breathtaking scenic backdrop for academic life. But Switzerland’s charms aren’t just natural. From the jaw-dropping architecture of historic castles to major cities with advanced facilities and cutting-edge technology, Switzerland balances rural charm with urbane sophistication.
The ZHAW Students' Association (VSZHAW) is a lobby group for supporting students. It performs political tasks and is dedicated to student life. The VSZHAW organizes events for students such as the end of term parties, the “Studitreff” meeting place and campaign days. "Brainstorm Magazin" is the students' official means of communication, a magazine by students for students.
The sports activities at the ZHAW are coordinated by the Academic Sports Association Zurich ASVZ. As members of ASVZ, students profit from a wide-ranging sports programme with numerous team and individual sports at the facilities in Winterthur, Zurich and Wädenswil. For those interested in music, the alpha-cappella welcomes any student who wishes to sing in a choir at the ZHAW.
ZHAW also offers a buddy program for incoming international students. A local student assigned to each incoming student and provides pick-up from point of arrival (Zurich/Winterthur area) to accommodation.
Overall, the program at ZHAW allows Tulane students to experience the best Switzerland has to offer.
The regular Fall semester takes place September - February but some electives, typically in Marketing, Management, Legal Studies and International Business, have early exams (before Christmas) or distance exams or papers. Students are also required to take German language at the ZHAW. Students that study at the ZHAW in the fall can ask the German teacher for an early exam. (Note: Unfortunately most Finance courses offered at the ZHAW in the Fall do not have early exams.)
Ranking and Rigor
Past participants report that courses at the ZHAW are generally more difficult than courses at Tulane.
On this exchange program, students take the same courses undertaken by Swiss students and other international exchange students. All courses are taught by ZHAW faculty. Students can take courses in English or German. For a list of courses commonly offered at the ZHAW and their Tulane equivalents, please see Courses Offered. Those courses listed as Fall courses typically have early exams or distance exams or papers.
The ZHAW offers an Intensive German Language course during Orientation Week and German courses during the semester at different levels. Language classes are mandatory and free-of-charge.
Study proposal must be submitted along with application form and serves as pre-registration. Final registration takes place during Orientation Week. The add/drop period takes place the first week of classroom instruction.
The courses at the ZHAW are called "modules". A full time workload for students is typically five classes, including the German language class.
One of the first things that students notice about the academic system in Switzerland are the differences in teaching and learning styles. Classes in Switzerland tend to be presented in one of two major formats: they may be large lectures, with relatively little interaction between students and professors, or they may be very small, active discuss groups in which students debate readings or one of the course's major themes. Participation in these sessions is heavily emphasized.
One major difference you will notice is that there is little daily homework in Switzerland, but this does not mean that you will not have to work! Instead, you should plan on motivating yourself to keep up with suggested and required readings throughout the semester, as your final grade may be determined in its entirety by a final project or exam which will cover the material discussed both in class and in the readings!
In order to be successful academically during your time in Switzerland, we recommend you do two things: first, take advantage of any and all services the International Office provides for foreign students. Second, follow the example of your Swiss classmates! Don't be afraid to ask them, or your lecturers, what you can and should be doing to keep up with the work being done. This includes asking for help with language issues and adjusting to the Swiss style of classroom writing.
In Switzerland, as in the U.S., teaching styles vary greatly as do quality of the courses. The final exam will make up a large portion of your grade. Attend class because you will find you learn just as much listening to other students comments as you do from the teacher and their notes.
One final examination at the end of the course is the most common form of student learning assessment at the ZHAW.
Grading Scale and Conversion Guide
Grades awarded by the ZHAW School of Management and Law use the Swiss school grading system, ranging from 6.0 to 1.0. 6.0 is the highest grade and a grade of 4.0 or higher is required to gain a pass mark for a module. Below please find the U.S. equivalents for grades earned at the ZHAW. Tulane works with World Education Services (WES) for credit evaluation and grade conversion.
For Freeman semester abroad programs, students must:
complete their lower division business core requirements prior to their semester abroad;
earn a 2.5 GPA in the lower division business core courses;
be in good academic, financial and disciplinary standing.
Students who are on disciplinary probation, academic probation and/or honor board probation during the semester or term in which they intend to study abroad are not eligible to participate in a Tulane study abroad program. Approvals are revoked for students who are placed on probation after being approved to study abroad.
Students on disciplinary, academic and/or honor board probation during time of application are considered only if the probation period ends prior to departure for study abroad. Such applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis by Study Abroad & Exchange in consultation with Tulane's Division of Student Affairs and/or Academic Affairs. If the application is approved, the host institution will be notified of the probationary status. It is within the discretion of the host institution and/or Tulane to place additional restrictions on a recently-disciplined student's participation in a study abroad program.
Requirements for Courses Taught in German
If you wish to take courses taught in German with local students, you must have an advanced command of the language.
Freeman Semester Abroad Application
To access the Freeman semester abroad application, please attend a Semester Abroad Info Session and make an appointment for follow-up advising with a Study Abroad & Exchange advisor.
Some exchange programs are more competitive than others. Students can list up to 10 school on the semester abroad application, in order of preference. All qualified applications are reviewed on a competitive basis based on GPA; completion of 3010s; academic, personal and professional relevance of study abroad programs; and academic, linguistic, personal and cultural preparation.
Upon nomination, exchange participants are required to submit secondary application materials to the host university. Please see the ZHAW Factsheet for more information. The secondary application is due by the host university's deadline.
Exchange program participants pay their regular Tulane tuition plus a $1200 study abroad fee but do not pay Reily Center, Health Center or Student Activities fees. Housing is not charged by Tulane University but rather paid directly to the housing provider abroad. Students are responsible for additional expenses, including international airfare, passport, visa, meals, local transportation, books and supplies, and personal expenses. See the budget sheet for more information.
Some countries (e.g., Australia, France, Hong Kong, Switzerland) require that students participating in study abroad programs purchase local health insurance in that country. Students are responsible for purchasing this insurance if it is a requirement for the country where they will be studying. The estimated cost is included in the budget sheet.
ZHAW Scholarship for Semester Exchange Students
The ZHAW is offering two scholarships of 2000 Francs to business majors who choose to study at the ZHAW in Fall 2019. The purpose of the scholarship is to cover travel costs to/from Switzerland and make a contribution towards living costs while students study at the ZHAW. The scholarship will be paid once the student starts their study abroad semester at the university. For more information, please see https://freemanabroad.tulane.edu/?go=zhawscholarship. The ZHAW Scholarship application is due February 5, 2019.
Past participants recommend WOKO Levitt but do not recommend WOKO Camp Axa. Residents are primarily incoming exchange students, but approximately one quarter are Swiss locals.
Note: WOKO has a minimum rental period of 6 months, but they also allow their students to temporarily sublet their rooms to others. Another option would be to look for a private room or apartment as subtenant or to take one of the host family offers that are available each semester.
The ZHAW offers exchange students the unique opportunity to live with a Swiss host family. After you have been nominated to the program and have completed your secondary application documents, the ZHAW will send out a list with all vacant rooms/apartments and host family options to future incoming students.
Listings of other accommodations available in Winterthur and Zurich can be found at:
Note: Study Abroad & Exchange does not endorse any of the housing listed on the above links. Students are responsible for checking the condition of the property before signing a lease or making a deposit.
Past participants recommend living in Witherthur. In particular, students recommend the residence hall called Camp AXA. According to one past participant: "All ZHAW classes are in Winterthur. It's an incredibly charming Swiss town with everything, including great bars and your classic old European town with a main pedestrian market street. Camp AXA is a mostly international dorm, though a few Swiss students live there. Overall I loved the experience because of my exposure to kids my age from around the world. Living at AXA let me have an experience where I would sit at breakfast lunch and dinner and we would all try each other's native foods. There's a roof deck where we barbecue and a few hikes around the town through hills, farms, and forests."
Zurich is a 19 minute train ride away, and many students choose to live in Zurich (most Swiss students commute from wherever they're from as the train systems get you where you need to go in comfort and on time. Students that live in Winterthur get to visit Zurich as much as they want. Some past participants say they wish they would have spent more time in Zurich because it is such an incredible city, but wouldn't trade it for their experiences in "Winty".