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START! Study – University Integration Program at UZH

The application window for START! Study in the academic year 2022/23 is closed. No further applications will be accepted.

"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 prepares participants 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 mathematics and IT where required as well as in academic work methods;
  • gain an insight into the demands of studying in Switzerland;
  • learn about higher education opportunities in Switzerland;
  • take part in social activities and meet with other students.


11 August 2022 – 2 June 2023

Application Deadline

01 May 2022

Target Group


(N, F, B, S) with good a good level of German


2500 CHF / semester


The START! Study program has a modular structure. It includes a wide range of courses as well as individual advice, information events, workshops and a social side-program. 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 each participant’s timetable will be different depending on the courses they choose.

Depending on the individuel 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 (information events, extra tuition, etc.).

Please find here (PDF, 84 KB) an example of participant's timetable.

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 courses taught at UZH can be found at:

  • Courses at the Faculty of Medicine and the Vetsuisse Faculty cannot be taken.

Language courses



  • Two-week German intensive course before the start of the Fall Semester (60 lessons)
  • Two German courses, each comprising two lessons a week during the Fall and Spring Semesters at the Language Center of UZH and ETH Zurich
  • If required, an English course comprising two lessons a week during the Fall and Spring Semesters at the Language Center of UZH and ETH Zurich (requirement is assessed at the start of the program)

IT and mathematics courses

  • If required, IT block courses before the start of the Fall and Spring Semesters (e.g. MS Word or MS PowerPoint)
  • If required, two lessons per week in basic mathematics skills during the Spring Semester (requirement is assessed at the start of the program)

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 one IT course per semester from the range of courses provided by the Central IT at UZH (usually 1-3 days, depending on course choice)
  • Individual counseling
  • Individual support for questions on studying in Switzerland
  • Information events on the higher education opportunities in Switzerland
  • Exchange with UZH students
  • Access to university sports
  • Social events


  • At least upper secondary school-leaving certificate (e.g. Matura), ideally completed Bachelor’s degree
  • Good level of German (at least B1)
  • Good level of English is an advantage
  • Residence permit N, F, S or B (refugee)
  • Residence in Switzerland
  • Agreement of the case management office (see Declaration of consent (DOCX, 301 KB))


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 new support system for refugees (IAZH). START! Study is listed in the cantonal catalog of integration programs IAZH.
  • 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 September 15 2022 at the latest, the registration fees will be refunded minus a processing fee of CHF 100. If participants dropout of the program between September 16, 2022 and March 15, 2023 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

  1. Have the declaration of consent (DOCX, 52 KB) signed by your case manager or social services officer.
  2. Fill out the application form until 01 May.
  3. Your application will be reviewed by the Coordination Office.
  4. A selection of applicants will be invited for a personal interview between 02 May and 17 June.
  5. The decision to admit applicants to the START! Study program will be announced by 01 July.

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.

Dates and Deadlines

01 February - 01 May 2022

Applications are accepted via the online application form.

02 May - 17 June 2022

Suitable candidates are invited to an interview.

01 July 2022

Decision will be announced.

11 August 2022

Welcome-Morning & official start of the program

23 December 2022

End of Fall Semester 2022

20 February 2022

Start of Spring Semester 2023

02 June 2022

End of Fall Semester 2023 and end of program

Funding Partners

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



Stiftung Solidaritätsfonds für ausländische Studierende in Zürich