Switzerland: Fall Semester Engineering and Computer Science with ZHAW

This program is for CIS and Engineering students

ZHAW is one of the leading universities of applied sciences in Switzerland. There are two options for students to study at ZHAW, Engineering/CIS or Business. This website focuses on the opportunities for Engineering and CIS students. CIS students are strongly encouraged to consider studying at ZHAW during the Fall semester since there are more courses taught in English. Students with a high proficiency in German may apply to take courses in German during the Winter (ZHAW's spring) semester. This program offers students an excellent opportunity to study and get hands-on experiences at a highly reputable Engineering School in Switzerland. With only a small number of exchange students each year, ZHAW faculty and staff get to know each exchange student. Although the ZHAW semester does not officially end until January, students are allowed to leave in December.

Students can sign up for a buddy prior to arrival. Past students strongly recommend students sign-up for this. A ZHAW student is assigned to new international students. These buddies often meet students at the airport, and help new students settle in. The School of Engineering only brings about 25-30 new international students in the Fall. This allows students to more easily get to know each other during orientation.

CIS students who are interested in exploring this possibility should recommend contacting Dr. Paul Leidig, Director, School of Computing and Information Systems, [email protected] Engineering majors who are interested in exploring study options through this program should contact their advisor in PCEC.

Host University Website

VIDEO by GVSU student, Andrew Kruse (January 2020)

GVSU's partner universities are largely independent programs; prospective participants should carefully consider if this form of study abroad suits their needs before registering. These partnerships allow students to experience a more independent international study abroad, but also require students to have a high level of flexibility and the ability to navigate much of the program independently. Those who prefer additional support may wish to consider other study abroad options such as external study abroad providers and our faculty-led options.

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2.5 GPA Required
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Program Dates and Application Deadline

Fall 2023

Estimated Program Dates: September 2023 - February 2024
Application Deadline: February 1, 2023 (Closed)



CIS students should contact Dr. Paul Leidig, Director, School of Computing and Information Systems at [email protected].

Engineering students interested in a semester at ZHAW should contact their PCEC advisor to discuss academic opportunities. Faculty in PCEC are currently in the process of reviewing courses available at ZHAW to determine if those courses will count towards degree-requirements for students in engineering.

EE and CE students take a specific course of study during the fall semester. ZHAW courses will include:

  • Signals & Systems (SISY1 - EN) 4 ECTS  (GVSU equivalency is EGR 323 -3 credits)
  • Electricity 3 (ELS-EN) 4 ECTS  (GVSU equivalency is EGR 314 - 4 credits)
  • Elektronik 2 (EK2) 4 ECTS  (GVSU equivalency is EGR 315 - 4 credits)

In addition, students complete a project, usually Electronics Project I. The GVSU equivalency for this course is EGR 399 Readings in Engineering (1 credit).

Due to different semester schedules, students will need to request from their faculty at ZHAW permission to leave early. In most cases, faculty will allow you to sit your final exam early so that you can return home in December.

All Engineering majors must adhere to  program requirements.

Course Options Use this button to search all available course options and descriptions.

Pre-Approved Courses Note: This course list indicates courses that have been previously approved. It is not a list of available courses on this program.

Course Approval Process Students registering for courses that have not been pre-approved will need to follow the course approval instructions. 

Students interested in satisfying general education courses abroad can find more information on our General Education page.


ZHAW does not offer on-campus housing; however, there are student residences very close to campus which are easy for students to apply for. Students will apply for housing directly to the student residence of their choosing. Additional information on accommodations at ZHAW can be found at: ZHAW Housing Guide.

SWOWI is often a popular location for international students; however previous participants have recommended the WOKO complex for those looking to be more integrated with ZHAW degree-seeking students. SWOWI Camp Axa is one of the closer housing options to the School of Engineering campus; although all of the housing complexes are within a reasonable distance to campus. In addition, Technikumstrasse 36 is across the street from the School of Engineering.

Meal plans are not common in Switzerland. Students can expect to prepare meals on their own throughout the semester. DO NOT WAIT to reserve your housing. It is strongly recommended that you reserve your housing soon after you are accepted into the program by the Padnos International Center. In most cases, there is no fee at the time the reservation is made. Students will be given a deadline for paying a deposit which confirms the reservation. Students who do not pay the deposit by the deadline may be dropped for the housing list.

Student Accommodations Website

Cost and Scholarships


Cost Breakdown

NOTE: "Other Expenses" listed above Cost Breakdown are general cost estimates. Due to COVID-19, costs may increase for basic goods and housing. These estimates are provided as a guide to help students in their planning, but they are subject to change.


ZHAW SCHOLARSHIP: 3000 CHF (approx. $3,000)

Questions? Contact [email protected] or 616-331-3898

Additional Scholarships



No Covid Restrictions for entry

Additional Information

Host University Website


Campus Info / Campus Life

ZHAW Impressions


Google Map

Already Applied

Visa Requirements

Students going to Switzerland for a semester or longer will need to apply for a student visa. This is a lengthy process and takes a minimum of 10 weeks from the date that the Swiss Consulate in New York receives your paperwork. Students are encouraged to start gathering necessary paperwork early to avoid stress at the time of application for the visa. Please consult our student visa guide for additional information. Please note that the Swiss consulate in New York will always have the most up to date information for student visas.

Arrival Information

Students can sign-up for a buddy prior to arrival. In many cases, the buddy will meet you at the airport and help you get settled in during your first couple of weeks. For students who do not want to connect with a buddy, you will be able to access the train to Winterthur from the airport. The train ride will be about 15-20 minutes. Winterthur only has one stop, so once you will have arrived once you reach this station.

CDC Report

CDC Report

US State Department Information

US State Department Country Information (Switzerland)

US State Department - Students Abroad

US Embassy in Switzerland

Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) Report - Crime and Safety Report


Application Timeline

ZHAW Website for International Students

Manual on Application Process for Incoming Students

Quick Facts 

2022 Fact Sheet

Incoming Student Brochure

*Past participants have strongly recommend students purchase the 1/2 pass. This pass costs around $140, but having this past will cut all of your train fares in half. This will quickly pay for itself if you plan to use the train to go into Zurich or visit other places in Switzerland.



Resources for Emergency Situations

Health and Safety Resources

Reporting an Incident

PIC Emergency Procedures

Contact Information

Padnos International Center
130 Lake Ontario Hall
[email protected]

"I earned credit for five courses towards my major by studying applied computing in Zurich, became exposed to cultures and languages from all over by living in an international setting, and learned more about my Swiss family heritage by visiting relatives and exploring beautiful Switzerland." -Michael Baldwin

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