'How Switzerland got rich'
UZH International Summer School
July 9 - 20, 2018


Course Description

This summer school looks at the development of Switzerland into one of the richest and most globalized countries in the world. Find out how some Swiss companies evolved into big transnational corporations and how they manage to export Swiss-made goods under the condition of a strong currency, the Swiss Franc. 

During the two weeks of the program, you will:

  • find out when and how Switzerland, a landlocked country in the mountains, managed to get rich
  • learn about the humble beginnings of Medieval guilds, and the origins of the banking system as well as the associational way of state-building in a world of monarchies
  • hear about early globalizers and industrialisers, looking at hydropower, textiles and heavy machinery
  • study the Swiss labor movement, from class struggle to social partnership and welfare state
  • find out how various Swiss industries, for instance food, finance or watch-making, continue to be successful globally

As part oft he program, you will have the opportunity to travel to some of Switzerland's most scenic locations like Lucerne and Schwyz. You will also discover the country's political roots and its main economic sectors when visiting the legendary Rütli, also called the "Craddle of the Confederation", the capital city of Berne, as well as Nestlé, the largest food company in the world

The program is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Patrick Ziltener, Institute of Sociology UZH, with distinguished guest speakers including:
- Prof. Dr. Tobias Straumann,  History Department (UZH)
- Senior researcher Heinz Gabathuler, Institute of Sociology (UZH)
- Senior researcher Dr. Gisela Hürlimann, History Department (ETH Zurich)
- Senior researcher Dr. Daniel Künzler, Sociology Department (University of Freiburg, Germany)

Participating in this summer school will not only allow you to get to know the University of Zurich but also to experience Zurich as one of the world's most attractive student cities. As part of our social program, we will introduce you to some of the city's most beautiful spots. And since the university is located in the heart of Zurich, you will find it easy to further explore the city on your own.

Hosting Institute: Institute of Sociology, UZH
Course director: Prof. Dr. Patrick Ziltener 
Language of Instruction: English
Credits: 4 ECTS
Target Audience: Bachelor and Master students from all subject areas

Entry Requirements and Application Process

Entry Requirements

  • Good Bachelor and Master students from all subject areas who have completed their first year of study are encouraged to apply. 
  • Applicants must possess a sufficient command of English to be able to actively contribute to the classes. This needs to be visible from your motivation letter, previous studies or work experience.

Application Process

Application is open now.

We have made the application process as simple as possible for you. Just follow these steps:

  1. Compete the Online Application Form and send your documents (PDF, 86 KB) to summer@int.uzh.ch.
  2. We will carefully check your documents and let you know within 4 weeks whether or not we can make you an offer.
  3. Once you have received your offer letter, you will need to accept your place by replying by email and pay your application fee within 2 weeks to secure your spot on the program.
  4. You will need to pay the full tuition fee (as outlined in your offer letter) by June 8, 2018 to successfully enroll on the program. 
  5. Once we have received full payment, we will send you a letter confirming your successful registration.

Application Deadline: April 30, 2018
Application Fee: CHF 200 
Tuition Fee Deadline: June 8, 2018


UZH International Summer Schools 2018 Regulations. (PDF, 96 KB)

UZH Students please note that it is possible to register for this summer program directly via the regular module booking tool. Additional information on the course can be found in the course catalogue. You can register for the course between January 31 (10am) and March 4 (12pm), 2018. The number of UZH participants is restricted to 10 people. Depending on you subject area, the transfer of credit has to be approved by the responsible UZH department.

Fees and Discounts

The regular fee for this summer school is: CHF 2000.

This includes:

  • Tuition and Application Fee
  • Final Certificate
  • Academic Trips to Lucerne, Rütli, Berne, Nestlé and more
  • Social Program (Welcome Dinner, Lake Pic Nic, Film Evening and more)

Not included: Accommodation and subsistence costs.


Students from UZH partner universities, including Strategic Partners and network partners such as Universitas21, may qualify for a tuition fee discount. Once we have received your application, we will notify you of any potential discounts available to you.  

Schedule and Classes

The preliminary program includes:

  • Around 20 hours of classroom teaching per week
  • Full day study trip to Lucerne, Rütli and Schwyz
  • Full day study trip to Nestlé and Berne
  • Study tour through Zurich
  • Various social events including a welcome and leaving dinner, a lake pic nic, a film evening and an optional day hike to the Uetliberg

Note: The program may still be subject to change. A detailed schedule will be provided soon.

Practical Information


Accommodation in Zurich has to be organized by the participants themselves. If you struggle to find a suitable place to stay, the International Relations Office can provide some support. Depending on the desired degree of comfort, you should expect accommodation costs to range from CHF 900 to CHF 1400 for the 2 weeks of the summer school.

Here is a list of low-cost options for temporary living arrangements in Zurich:
Youth Hostel
City Backpacker
Oldtown Hostel Otter
Ibis Budget Hotel
Airbnb Zurich
Advertisements for Student Apartments

Visa Requirements

Depending on your nationality, you may be required to apply for a visa to enter Switzerland. Please make sure you fulfill the visa provisions that apply for your country before traveling to Switzerland.

EU / EFTA Nationals: EU and EFTA nationals may directly enter Switzerland with a valid travel document that is recognized by the Swiss authorities. 

Non-EU / Non-EFTA Nationals: Citizens of non-EU and non-EFTA countries require a visa to enter Switzerland. Please note that some non-EU / non-EFTA nationals do not need a visa if their stay is less than 90 days.

Overview of visa provisions according to nationality
List of Swiss embassies and consulates of Switzerland

Note: Please keep in mind that you will receive the official letter confirming your successful registration for this program only after having paid the full tuition fee. If you require this document for visa purposes, please make sure to plan enough time between the payment and your entry to Switzerland.


Arriving in Zurich

Zurich can be reached easily by train, plane, bus or car. Zurich Tourism's website has all the relevant information on how to reach the city.

Arriving in Zurich (Zurich Tourism)

Arriving at Zurich Airport: Zurich has a very well connected international airport. If you arrive at Zurich Airport, you can take a direct train or tram to the city center. Trains depart from the airport train station in the lower level, the tram and busstops are located outside check-in area 3.

From Zurich Airport to Downtown (Zurich Tourism)

Getting Around in Zurich

The best way to get around in Zurich is by public transportation. Trains are running frequently between Zurich Airport and Zurich main station. A well established tram and bus network will allow you to travel easily between Zurich main station, the University of Zurich and your place of accommodation. 

Public transportation: 
ZVV (Canton of Zurich Public Transportation)
SBB (Swiss Federal Railway)

Ticket Options:
Swiss Travel Pass and more
Zurich Card

Getting to UZH

UZH has different campuses and locations in and outside the city of Zurich. The different addresses and information on how to get there are listed on the University's website. The university's main building is within walking distance from Zurich main station.

How to reach UZH