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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 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.


Mid-August 2023 until beginning of June 2024

Target Group

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


The application window for the program 2023/24 opens in February 2023


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.).

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


Program fees

  • For the participation in START! Study a participation fee is charged.
  • 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.    

Funding Partners

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



Stiftung Solidaritätsfonds für ausländische Studierende in Zürich