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START! Study – University Integration Program at UZH

"START! Study – University Integration Program at UZH" is a two-semester educational program at the University of Zurich (UZH) for refugees with the potential for pursuing higher education. The program helps participants prepare for the demands of studying in Switzerland: They receive support in improving language and organizational skills as well as their academic expertise. The START! Study program thus offers refugees the support that matches their potential and the chance to become long-lasting participants in the Swiss labor market.

The START! Study participants

  • improve their German and English language skills;
  • develop their academic expertise in selected university modules;
  • strengthen their skills in IT and in academic work methods;
  • gain an insight into the demands of studying in Switzerland;
  • learn about higher education opportunities in Switzerland


Mid-August 2023 until beginning of June 2024



2500 CHF/semester


Applications for START! Study 2023/24 are accepted online from 1 February to 1 April 2023.

Target Group

Refugees (N, F, B, S) with good a good level of German and the potential for pursuing higher education


The START! Study program has a modular structure. It includes a wide range of courses as well as individual advice, information events and workshops. The range of courses include some which are exclusively for START! Study participants. START! participants also attend courses from the regular UZH curriculum. The structure of START! Study is thus very similar to a regular study program at UZH, and START! Study participants arrange their timetables – in consultation with the START! Study coordination office – individually and according to personal interests and needs.

Depending on the individual course selection, START! students attend approximately 12-20 lessons per week. For each lesson of instruction, one lesson of preparation and/or follow-up is also to be expected. This results in a weekly effort of approximately 24-40 plus participation in the accompanying program.

Please download here (PDF, 25 KB) an exemplary timetable for the Fall or Spring Semester.

Academic courses

  • Up to 14 lessons per semester in a subject of choice. Courses are offered by the following faculties:
    • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
    • Faculty of Science
    • Faculty of Theology
    • Faculty of Law
    • Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics
  • An overview of all study programs offered at UZH can be found at:
  • Courses at the Faculty of Medicine and the Vetsuisse Faculty cannot be taken.

Language courses



  • 2-week German intensive course before the start of the Fall Semester (60 lessons)
  • German course(s) of 4 lessons a week during the Fall and Spring Semesters at the Language Center of UZH and ETH Zurich
  • English course of 2 two lessons a week during the Fall and Spring Semesters at the Language Center of UZH and ETH Zurich (level A0-B1)

IT courses

  • If required, IT block courses before the start of the Fall and Spring Semesters (e.g. MS Word or MS PowerPoint of about 9-12 lessons)

Methodology course



  • Methodology course to to teach academic work methods comprising one lesson per week (academic writing skills, presentation skills, learning techniques, etc.)

Additional program



  • Free use of the Self-Access Center of the Language Center of UZH and ETH Zurich
  • Access to the courses provided by the Central IT at UZH (usually 6-18 lessons, depending on course choice)
  • Individual conselling
  • Individual support for questions on studying in Switzerland
  • Information events and workshops on the higher education opportunities in Switzerland
  • Access to university sports


  • At least upper secondary school-leaving certificate (e.g. Matura)
  • Good level of German (at least completed A2 level)
  • Residence permit N, F, S or B (refugee)
  • Agreement of the case management office (please submit a signed declaration of consent (DOCX, 303 KB) with your application)
  • Residence in Switzerland


The fulfillment of the following criteria are an advantage:

  • Good level of English is an advantage
  • Competence assessment regarding your study options at a competence assessment center (e.g. Kompetenzen-Check biz/LBZ or HEKS MosaiQ Kompetenzabklärung) is an advantage
  • Realistic study and/or training goals, good abstraction and argumentation skills, as well as a high level of motivation, independence and resilicence are an advantage


Program fees

  • The program fees are CHF 2500 per semester.
  • In the canton of Zurich, the participation fees can be settled via the cost ceiling available to the municipalities as part of the support system for refugees (IAZH) for people with status F or B. START! Study is listed in the cantonal catalog of integration programs IAZH (nr. B-01-012).
  • Applicants from other cantons can inquire with their case manager about possible financing in the frame of the cantonal integration program.  

Applicants who are not (or no longer) in the asylum welfare structures and who are not entitled to integration support benefits should contact the Coordination Office START! Study.

Cancellation policy

Withdrawal of the registration is possible without any costs until the final admission to the program. After final admission, if the registration is cancelled or the program is discontinued by 15 September 2023 at the latest, the registration fees will be refunded minus a processing fee of CHF 100. If participants drop out of the program between 16 September 2023 and 15 March 2024 at the leatest, the fees for the fall semester are owed in full; the program fees owed for the spring semester will be refunded

Application Process

  • Have the declaration of consent (DOCX, 303 KB) signed by your case manager or social services officer.
  • Fill out the online application form from 1 February to 1 April 2023.
  • Your application will be reviewed by the Coordination Office.
  • Applicants will be contacted should the Coordination Office have questions on the application.
  • A selection of applicants will be invited for a compulsory information event in mid-May 2023 and will take a German assessment between mid-May 2023 and the beginning of June 2023.
  • The decision to admit applicants to the START! Study program will be announced by 1 July 2023 to the applicants and their case manager.

Please note: The admission procedure to the START! Study program is not equivalent to an admission examination to a regular study program and does not entitle the applicant to a facilitated admission to a regular study program. Applications for Bachelor's, Master's or Doctoral degree programs must be submitted to the chosen university following the regular admission procedure.

Important Dates

1 February 2023 Applications are accepted via the online application form
1 March 2023, 12:15-13:00, or 16 March 2023, 17.00-18:00 Online information event about START! Study for interested applicants or case managers
1 April 2023 Application deadline START! Study
16 May 2023

Online information event (only for invited applicants, participation is mandatory) 

17/22/23 May & 5/6 June 2023

German assessment for invited applicants 

1 July 2023

Decision on admission to START! Study will be announced.

10 August 2023

Start of START! Study

18 Septemer 2023 Start of Fall Semester 2023
22 December 2023 End of Fall Semester 2023
19 February 2024 Start of Spring Semester 2024
31 May 2024 End of Spring Semester 2024 & end of START! Study

Frequent Questions

Do you still have questions? Then go visit our FAQ page.

Funding Partners

START! Study – University Integration Program at UZH is supported by:



Stiftung Solidaritätsfonds für ausländische Studierende in Zürich