FAQs for incoming students

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Taking courses

The courses for the next semester are not published yet but I need to fill in my study plan. What can I do?
The courses of the last Autumn / Spring Semester correspond more or less to the courses of the next Autumn / Spring Semester. Please use the course catalogue of the past semester(s) to fill in your study plan.

Changes to your study plan are still possible after your arrival at ETH Zurich, as long as you get permission from your Departmental Exchange Coordinator at ETH Zurich as well as from your home university.

When will the new course catalogue be published?
Please see Publication dates for more information.

How do I use the course catalogue of ETH Zurich?
Please see the help button within the Course catalogue.

When and how can I register for courses?
You will receive an email from us in due time with the subject line «IMPORTANT: Semester enrolment open / WICHTIG: Freigabe der Semestereinschreibung».

The email contains detailed information on how to do the semester enrolment, update your address and telephone number and register for course units (both courses and projects).

Follow the instructions carefully and note particularly the information sheet on myStudies attached to the email.

How do I register for courses at ETH Zurich, and when?
Please see details on the Student portal

What is the deadline for registering for courses at ETH Zurich?
You must register for courses within exactly 2 weeks after the beginning of the semester.

Why can't I register for courses ending with –AAL?
Courses ending with –AAL are "additional requirement courses" and as such are only open to Master students for whom there are such additional requirements.

These courses are not open to any other students. Note that these courses usually do not involve any teaching, but are self-study units.

I am only coming for a research project / thesis. Do I nonetheless have to register the project in myStudies?
Please check with your department’s Study Administration Office if registering for the project is possible and how to select the correct course unit.

A registration is possible only for projects which appear in the course catalogue of ETH Zurich (semester project, bachelor and master thesis) and where the amount of ECTS matches the requirement of your home university.

If this is not the case, make sure to discuss with your supervisor

  • the expected amount of ECTS (workload) of the project and
  • the type of confirmation your home university will require from the supervisor (it is not possible in these cases to issue an official transcript of records). 

When do courses take place at ETH Zurich?
Lecture times depend on the lecture venue and therefore vary.

Lectures generally last for 45 minutes. The different start times of the lectures should usually allow you to commute between ETH Zurich’s two main sites in Zurich, Zentrum and Hönggerberg, if necessary. The sites are connected by a free shuttle bus.

Is it possible to take courses at the University of Zurich?
It is possible to take courses at the University of Zurich. You have to apply online for Studying at more than one university

Please respect the application deadlines for the «Studying at more than one university» as well as the deadlines for booking modules at the University of Zurich. These deadlines vary for each faculty and module. In general the deadline is the last Friday before the semester starts.

Courses taken at the University of Zurich have to be listed in your study plan, and your Departmental Exchange Coordinator here at ETH Zurich must be in agreement.

I have changes to the original study plan I handed in in Mobility-Online. When and how can I update my study plan?
At the end of the second week of the semester we will ask you by email to update your final choice of courses in Mobility-Online. This is necessary so that your department can re-check your study plan, you can integrate courses from other institutions (Language Center, UZH) and we can issue a new Learning Agreement.

Note that your course registrations in myStudies are not automatically transferred to Mobility-Online, i.e. you must manually update your study plan in Mobility-Online to reflect all your changes.

All changes to your original study plan must be reflected in Mobility-Online and need to be approved by the department.

By registering for a course in myStudies, am I automatically also registered for the corresponding exam?
No, you need to register separately for each examination you want to take in myStudies.

Registering for examinations is only possible if you have registered for the corresponding course unit first. It is only possible to register for examinations during weeks 3 and 4 of the semester! You will receive detailed information by email from the Examinations Office as soon as exam registration is open.

Carrying out a research project or a Bachelor/Master thesis at ETH Zurich

I would like to carry out a research project / write my Bachelor/Master thesis at ETH Zurich. Is this possible and, if so, how should I proceed?
Students from partner universities:

If you come from a partner university, find out whether the respective exchange agreement also covers research projects/theses and if your home university will nominate you. If it does, you will need written confirmation for your application from your supervisor at ETH Zurich and can apply as an exchange student.
Students from universities without an exchange agreement:
If your home university does not have an exchange agreement with ETH Zurich or you cannot be nominated, you would need to apply as a fee-paying invited visiting students.

How can I find a research project or a supervisor at ETH Zurich?
A good place to start looking for a suitable project is the website of the department or institute you are interested in joining and to contact respective professors directly.

Some projects offered at ETH Zurich are also published by SiROP.

If one of your professors at your home university has research contacts at ETH Zurich and can recommend a suitable project for you and establish contact with a professor here, this would of course be very helpful. So you should also check with your professors about this.

A supervisor at ETH Zurich has already agreed to supervise my research project / Bachelor/Master thesis. What should I do now?
Once you have found a supervising professor at ETH Zurich you will need to apply in the respective programme (see question above to determine the correct status). Your ETH supervisor needs to confirm his/her approval of the proposed research project in written form. In order to be accepted on the exchange programme, it is usually sufficient if the supervisor issues a written confirmation such as a letter or e-mail. Invited visiting students however must use the supervisor form provided on the website (PDF, 55 KB).

The grading and recognition of the thesis or research project undertaken depends on the professors at the home university. Therefore, there should usually not be any problems in counting the thesis/research project towards a students’ studies at his or her home university.

For project work (Bachelor/Master/Diploma thesis, research project), applications will also be processed after these deadlines, but the complete online application has to be submitted at least 2 months prior to the planned start at ETH Zurich. Students who need a visa for Switzerland (see Visa check) should submit their application earlier, because the visa application process may take up to 3 months and cannot be started without the official confirmation of the Student Exchange Office.

I am only coming for a research project / thesis. Do I nonetheless have to register the project in myStudies?
How can I arrange to have my Bachelor/Master thesis appear in myStudies and on my transcript?
Please check with your department’s Study Administration Office if registering for the project is possible and how to select the correct course unit. A registration is possible only for projects which appear in the course catalogue of ETH Zurich (semester project, bachelor and master thesis) and where the amount of ECTS matches the requirement of your home university. If this is not the case, make sure to discuss with your supervisor a) the expected amount of ECTS (workload) of the project and b) the type of confirmation your home university will require from the supervisor (it is not possible in these cases to issue an official transcript of records).

Does ETH Zurich offer specific summer projects at ETH Zurich for international students?
As a rule, students who wish to undertake a research project or Master thesis at ETH Zurich have to find a supervisor by themselves, see the question in the FAQ ‘How can I find a research project or a supervisor at ETH Zurich?’. Apart from undertaking such an individual project (Bachelor/Master/Diploma thesis or a research project), there is also the alternative option to apply for a few special summer research programmes. These are open for students from selected fields of study and regions, see summer projects.

Studying at D-BSSE in Basel

Visas and entering the country

Do I need a Visa for Switzerland?
If you are not sure whether or not you require a visa, please consult the website of the Swiss Federal Office for Migration.

When and how can I get my residence permit?
Further information can be found under Living in Zurich.

If I don`t live or study in the canton of Zurich or Basel-Stadt what does this mean for my visa and residence permit?
Information provided by the Student Exchange Office concerning visa and health insurance only applies to mobility students who live and study in the canton of Zurich or Basel-Stadt. Mobility students with a place of residence or place of study in another canton are responsible on their own to clarify the necessary conditions, carry out the respective formalities and respect the regulations that are applicable. The Student Exchange Office cannot assist mobility students not living in the canton of Zurich or the canton of Basel-Stadt with respective questions.

Do you provide a pickup service from the airport?
No, we don't provide a pickup service from the airport, however it is not difficult to reach the city center. 

Once you have claimed your baggage, follow the signs “Bahn/Railway” to the underground train station on the lowest level of Terminal B. You will find a train ticket office on the floor above the platforms. Most of the office people speak English or French or both.

You need a valid ticket for 3 zones or you can buy a day ticket valid for 24 hours for all trams and buses in Zurich.

Tickets must be purchased before boarding since no tickets are sold on trains.

Trains run between the airport and Zurich Main Station every 10 to 15 minutes, you can take the trains S16 as well as S2 (transfer takes approximately 10 minutes).

How can I deal with challenges in settling in to a new place ('Culture Shock')?
Being confronted with so much new and unfamiliar it is quite normal to feel anxious, insecure or simply overwhelmed. The guide 'Culture Shock' - How to Deal with the Challenges of Studying Abroad (PDF, 201 KB) helps you prevent, recognize and cope with ‘culture shock’.

May I work in Zurich as an exchange or visiting student?
Information on gainful employment.

How much will my expenses be per month during my stay at ETH Zurich?
You will need about CHF 1,750.- per month. This is the amount defined by the Immigration Authorities as the means necessary to support oneself.

The actual amount might be slightly higher or lower, depending largely on the monthly rent for your accommodation.

Please keep in mind that your signature on the application documents guarantees that you have this amount of money available every month.

More information:

Accommodation

Can you help me to find accommodation in Zurich?
Please see Living in Zurich for further information and additional links.

Are there other possibilities for finding accommodation?
Have a look at the Housing Office of the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich. They have a web page with Further search alternatives which is quite extensive. Further offers can be found on the noticeboards of ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich.

Please be careful: There are also dubious accommodation offers. Never make a payment in advance without prior inspection (the only exception is with WOKO contracts).

I have missed the deadline for the allocation of apartments at ETH Zurich. What should I do?
Contact the Housing Office immediately.

Health and accident insurance

Do I need Swiss health insurance?
For this information and further links see Living in Zurich and Health Insurance.

If I don`t live in the canton of Zurich or in Basel-Stadt what does this mean regarding the health insurance?
Information provided by the Student Exchange Office concerning health insurance only applies to mobility students who live in the canton of Zurich or Basel-Stadt. Mobility students with a place of residence in another canton are responsible on their own to clarify the necessary conditions, carry out the respective formalities and respect the regulations that are applicable. The Student Exchange Office cannot assist mobility students not living in the canton of Zurich or the canton of Basel-Stadt with respective questions.

Besides health insurance, what other type of insurance do I need at ETH Zurich?
ETH Zurich is insured against material and property damage, but with a high franchise (this is the amount which you must pay for damages). If instruments and equipment belonging to ETH are damaged by students through negligence (during practical courses, semester projects or thesis work, for example), ETH Zurich may make the persons involved liable for damages. ETH Zurich therefore highly recommends that its students take out personal liability insurance to cover any unforeseen risks. This type of insurance also covers risks outside ETH Zurich that might incur large costs (e.g. damage to rented property or damage to third parties in accidents). We similarly recommend taking out comprehensive household insurance that covers theft (e.g. of laptops, bicycles, etc.).

To what extent am I insured by ETH Zurich?

For more information see the leaflet Health and Accident insurance (PDF, 42 KB).

What do I do in case of illness?
Please see our leaflet What to do in case of illness (PDF, 34 KB) and the Student Handbook (PDF, 1 MB) (pp. 32-34).

IT and technical issues

I have a technical problem or a question regarding IT Services. Whom should I contact?
The IT Service Desk is happy to help you by telephone, email or at their walk-in counter.

What IT services does ETH Zurich offer its students?
For an overview of free basic IT services see the web page IT student services on the student portal. 

May I use the ETH Zurich WLAN (WiFi)?
Here is an overview about the ETH Zurich WLAN; and the information on the configuration. You may log in to the ETH Zurich WLAN using a valid username and password.

How can I connect to WLAN (WiFi) at the University of Zurich (UZH)?
You should be able to connect using eduroam, which is a secure, world-wide roaming access service developed for the international research and education community. Access to eduroam is via login@homeuniversity. For ETH members login is: <username>@ethz.ch

Where at ETH Zurich can I print things out, make copies and scan documents?
Here is an overview of the computer rooms for students at ETH Zurich. Those in Floor E of the Main Building (HG) contain printers. Please see also an overview of the places where documents can be scanned at ETH Zurich.

I have forgotten my personal password for my nethz login. What should I do?
Your nethz password needs to be redefined by IT Services. Please contact them as follows. If you are in Zurich, go to the walk-in counter of IT Services in person (you must make an appointment by telephone beforehand).

If you are not in Zurich, there are two options:

  1. If you entered a security question when you changed the initial password to a personal password, contact the IT Service Desk by telephone. After you have identified yourself using your security question, the Service Desk should be able to help you by email, SMS or telephone.

  2. If you did not enter a security question when you changed the initial password to a personal password, contact the IT Service Desk by email or telephone. The Service Desk will then send a letter to your postal address. Note that in some cases this may take a few weeks.

Please adhere to the ETH Zurich Acceptable Use Policy for Telematics Resources and SafeIT rules, in particular the provision that all passwords are strictly confidential and may never be passed on to others.

I have forgotten my password for Mobility-Online. What should I do?
On the login page of Mobility-Online you may request a new password by clicking on “Forgot your password?”. To do this you must know the login which you chose for yourself (if you do not remember it, contact the Student Exchange Office). The new password will be sent to you by email (if you have not yet enrolled in myStudies it will be sent to your private address, and otherwise to your ETH email address).

Please adhere to the ETH Zurich Acceptable Use Policy for Telematics Resources and SafeIT rules, in particular the provision that all passwords are strictly confidential and may never be passed on to others.

What is the difference between the nethz login and the login for Mobility-Online?
Exchange and visiting students have two logins at ETH Zurich: the ETH login (“nethz” login) and the login for Mobility-Online.

The “nethz” login is a central login ID for authentication and authorisation which regulates access to various IT services at ETH Zurich: ETH email addresses, wireless LAN, myStudies, public computer rooms, etc. The nethz login is therefore used for any general IT systems and services at ETH Zurich which are not directly linked to your mobility. You receive your nethz login from the Student Exchange Office at the right time by email, together with information and instructions. The nethz login is predefined and cannot be altered ; however, you will need to change the initial password you are given to a personal password.

The login for Mobility-Online is used exclusively for the “Mobility-Online” application platform ,which is dedicated to the administration of mobility students. As an exchange or visiting student you apply via this platform after gathering information on conditions and programmes on the website of the Student Exchange Office. During your stay at ETH Zurich Mobility Online supplies the information and documents you need for your mobility period, including an overview of any associated upcoming tasks. You select the login for Mobility-Online yourself during the application process, and also set your own password.

For how long can I access myStudies after having left ETH Zurich, and for how long can I use my e-mail account?
You can access myStudies for 3 months after your deregistration. Your ETH Zurich e-mail account will be accessible for 5 months after your deregistration. You will receive a warning one month before your account is closed. Further information can be found on the website of the IT Services.

Examinations and Grades

I have general questions regarding examinations, postponing examinations, etc.
Visit the Examinations Office website. Its FAQ page is very well organised and comprehensive.

What are end-of-semester examinations and session examinations?
Please see here.

I can’t stay until the end of the semester. What should I do?
At the beginning of the semester, all incoming exchange students receive an e-mail containing comprehensive information on this topic. In justified cases, an application can may be made to postpone the examinations. For further information see here.

I want to move my examination (incoming student). What should I do?
For end-of-semester examinations and session examinations please see here.
Please be aware that visiting students cannot shift their examinations!

I have failed an exam. Is a repetition possible?
In many cases it is not possible to retake any exams. Repetitions are often only allowed during the next exam period (a semester or even a year later) and sometimes only after retaking the course unit. You may only sit exams while you are still enrolled as a student at ETH Zurich. For further questions regarding examinations, please refer to the Examinations Office.

I have missed the deadline to register for an examination. What should I do?
If you have missed the deadline to register for examinations, please contact the Examinations Office.

How can I identify the number of ECTS credits generated by my ETH Zurich courses?
The credits (KP) indicated in the ETH Zurich course programme are equivalent to ECTS credits.

Can ETH Zurich transpose my grades to the grading system of my home university?
No, this is not possible. However, ETH Zurich provides detailed information (PDF, 54 KB) on its grading system.

Transcript of Records

Where and when do I obtain my transcript of records? Is it sent to me automatically?
To receive your transcripts of records you need to contact the study administration office of your department before you leave ETH Zurich. It is your own responsibility to request your transcripts and make sure they reach you in time. The transcript of records is not sent to you automatically. Please note that the study administration office can only issue your transcript of records once all grades are published in myStudies (Autumn semester: February; Spring semester: September).

Should your home university require an official transcript in a sealed envelope directly from ETH Zurich, please inform the study administration office about the exact address where your transcript has to be delivered to.

How many transcripts can I receive?
You are entitled to receive maximally three official transcripts (for free) issued by the study administration office of the department you were enrolled in.

Please be aware that your achievements during the mobility programme are not a ‘stand alone’, rather, they become part of the final academic record at your home university. Once your home university has received the ETH Zurich transcripts they are responsible for issuing the final academic record that should include information about your mobility studies at our university. Universities have different ways by which the results of mobility studies become integrated into the diploma, e.g. they appear as part of the diploma supplement. The ETH Zurich transcript is only the basis by which your home university can do this integration.

Will courses taken at the University of Zurich appear on my ETH transcript of records?
Yes, taken courses at the University of Zurich will appear automatically on the ETH transcript of records. You find further information in the following fact sheet.

Will language courses taken at the Langauage Center of the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich appear in my ETH transcript of records?
No, however the Language Center issues a separate language certificate (including ECTS-Credits).

How can I arrange to have my Bachelor/Master thesis appear in myStudies and on my transcript?
You will find the answer in the following section "carring out a research project or a Bachelor/Master thesis at ETH Zurich".

Departure

For how long can I access myStudies after having left ETH Zurich, and for how long can I use my e-mail account?
You can access myStudies for 3 months after your deregistration. Your ETH Zurich e-mail account will be accessible for 5 months after your deregistration. You will receive a warning one month before your account is closed. Further information can be found on the website of the IT Services.

What should I do when I receive a Residence permit expiration notice?
Normally the City of Zurich Residents‘ Registration Office sends an expiration notice around 4 weeks before the residence permit expires. It is essential not to ignore this letter, but to immediately contact the respective district office (Kreisbüro) in the City of Zurich or the Residential Registry Office (Einwohneramt) outside the City of Zurich. If you wish to extend your residence permit, fill in the residence permit expiration form correctly and submit it with all of the required documents to the respective office. If you do not wish to extend your residence permit, inform the respective office of your date of departure by email or in person. Then follow the instructions of the office. If you ignore the expiration notice, you may be fined.

General questions

I have received an invoice from ETH Zurich. How and where can I pay this bill?
For detailed information please see the website payment options.

Where can I get support if I have personal or academic problems?
For academic problems please contact the Departmental Exchange Coordinator of your department (PDF, 122 KB).

If you have problems in the everyday student life – e.g. low motivation, time and exam management, learning or deadline with pressure and stress -, the Student advisory service/Coaching is available for you. The conversations are confidential and free of charge.

For personal problems please get in contact with the Psychological Counseling Center of the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich. Their services are free of charge, completely confidential and available in several languages.

If you suffering from exam stress or you just need someone to speak with, please contact the Zurich Nightline - a telephone helpline for students by students.

Studying with a disability: Where can I get help and advice?
Please contact the Disability advisory service at an early stage for information on support options and procedures. This is particularly important with regard to study conditions, examination arrangements and the housing situation in Zurich.

Where can I get support and advice for studying with disabilities?
Please contact the 

Where can I deposit my luggage while travelling, before or after my studies at ETH Zurich?
Private operators can be found at MYBOX (Website only available in German) or at the Zurich International Airport.

What is the ETH Zurich TOEFL / GRE code?
The TOEFL code is 9038; the GRE code is 3331. Test results labelled with one of these codes are sent to the ETH Zurich Admissions Office.

What is the official ERASMUS Code of ETH Zurich?
CHZURICH07

With which universities do you have exchange agreements?
In our Mobility-Online portal you can search for exchange agreements to see if we have an existing student exchange agreement with your home university and, if so, in which study programmes.

Does ETH Zurich offer courses during the summer or summer schools?
No regular courses are offered during summer, see information on the academic calendar and exam schedule. A list of summer schools offered by different groups at ETH Zurich can be found on the website on summer schools.

Who will translate my certificate?
For ETH certificates, the Registrar's Office provides transcripts and sample translations. However, ETH does not offer any translation services apart from these transcripts. Information regarding the acceptance of certificates abroad may be found at the Swiss Information Centre for Academic Recognition Matters/Swiss ENIC.

Where can I find information on public transport in Zurich / in Switzerland?
Please see Living in Zurich for information on public transport.

 
 
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21.07.2017
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