Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich
  • Founded :1855 year
  • StudyQA ranking: 2131 pts.
  • Offered programms: 29 Master
  • No. Students: 19233
  • No. Staff: 9026
  • Study mode: 29 On campus
  • Languages of instruction: German, English
  • Phone:
  • +41446321111

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About ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich) (German: Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich) is a science, technology, engineering and mathematics university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Like its sister institution EPFL, it is an integral part of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain) that is directly subordinate to Switzerland's Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research.

ETH Zurich is consistently ranked among the top universities in the world. It is currently ranked as 5th best university in the world for the subject of engineering and technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Cambridge University and National University of Singapore in the QS World University Rankings by Subject . It is ranked 8th in the world in the 2016 edition of the QS World University Rankings, while the QS World University Rankings by Subject has ranked it as the best university in the world for Earth & Marine Sciences in both 2015/16 and 2016/17's editions.

Twenty-one Nobel Prizes have been awarded to students or professors of the Institute in the past, the most famous of whom was Albert Einstein with the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics, along with Niels Bohr who was awarded the 1922 Nobel Prize in Physics, both for work dealing with quantum physics. It is a founding member of the IDEA League and the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) and a member of the CESAER network.

The school was founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, serve as a national center of excellence in science and technology and provide a hub for interaction between the scientific community and industry.

History of ETH Zurich

ETH was founded in 1854 by the Swiss Confederation and began giving its first lectures in 1855 as a polytechnic institute (Eidgenössische Polytechnische Schule). It was initially composed of six faculties: architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, forestry, and an integrated department for the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, literature, and social and political sciences. It is locally still known as Poly, derived from the original name Eidgenössische polytechnische Schule, which translates to "Federal Polytechnic School".

ETH is a federal institute (i.e., under direct administration by the Swiss government), whereas the University of Zürich is a cantonal institution. The decision for a new federal university was heavily disputed at the time, because the liberals pressed for a "federal university", while the conservative forces wanted all universities to remain under cantonal control, worried that the liberals would gain more political power than they already had. In the beginning, both universities were co-located in the buildings of the University of Zürich.

From 1905 to 1908, under the presidency of Jérôme Franel, the course program of ETH was restructured to that of a real university and ETH was granted the right to award doctorates. In 1909 the first doctorates were awarded. In 1911, it was given its current name, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule. In 1924, another reorganization structured the university in 12 departments. However, it now has 16 departments.

ETH Zurich, the EPFL, and four associated research institutes form the "ETH Domain" with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.


Institutional Accreditation or Recognition - Staatssekretariat für Bildung, Forschung und Innovation, Schweiz

Other Specialized or Programmatic Accreditations - Swiss Center of Accreditation and Quality Assurance in Higher Education (OAQ)


  • ETH Zurich is ranked among the top universities in the world. Typically, popular rankings place the institution as the best university in continental Europe and ETH Zurich is consistently ranked among the top 1-5 universities in Europe, and among the top 3-10 best universities of the world.
  • Historically, ETH Zurich has achieved its reputation particularly in the fields of chemistry, mathematics and physics. There are 21 Nobel Laureates who are associated with ETH. The most recent Nobel Laureate is Richard F. Heck who was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010. Albert Einstein is perhaps its most famous alumnus.
  • In 2016, the QS World University Rankings placed ETH Zurich at 8th overall in the world.
  • In 2015, ETH was ranked 5th in the world in Engineering, Science and Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Cambridge University and National University of Singapore.
  • In 2015, ETH also ranked 6th in the world in Natural Sciences, and in 2016 ranked 1st in the world for Earth & Marine Sciences for the second consecutive year.
  • In 2016, Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked ETH Zurich 9th overall in the world and 8th in the world in the field of Engineering & Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, Princeton University, Cambridge University, Imperial College London and Oxford University.
  • In a comparison of Swiss universities by swissUP Ranking and in rankings published by CHE comparing the universities of German-speaking countries, ETH Zurich traditionally is ranked first in natural sciences, computer science and engineering sciences.
  • In the survey CHE ExcellenceRanking on the quality of Western European graduate school programmes in the fields biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, ETH was assessed as one of the three institutions to have excellent graduate programmes in all considered fields, the other two being the Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge. ETH Zurich had an endowment of 1.56 billion CHF(approx. 1.62 billion USD) in the year 2014 to support its cutting-edge research.

Student life @ETH Zurich

ETH students were found to be the busiest students of all institutions of higher education in Switzerland. The undergraduates' tight curriculum consists of as much as twice the number of lectures as comparable courses of other Swiss universities.

ETH has well over 100 student associations. Most notable is the VSETH (Verband der Studierenden an der ETH) which comprises all department associations. The associations regularly organize events with varying size and popularity. Events of the neighboring University of Zürich are well-attended by ETH students and vice versa. The VSETH organizes events of greater public attention, such as the Polyball, the Polyparty (does not exist any more) and the Erstsemestrigenfest, the first two housed in the main building of ETH. Sometimes, the annual Erstsemestrigenfest takes place at extraordinary locations, for example the Zürich Airport. All freshmen enjoy special treatment at that event.

There are several student associations, most notable of those are the ETH Entrepreneur Club and ETH Model United Nations. Both organisations enjoy high international standings and are regularly awarded for excellence in their field.

The Academic Sports Association of Zürich (ASVZ) offers more than 80 sports. The biggest annual sports event is the SOLA-Stafette (SOLA relay race) which consists of 14 sections over a total distance of 140 kilometers. More than 760 teams participated in the 2009 edition. The 40th edition of the SOLA, held on May 4, 2013, had 900 enrolled teams, of which 893 started and 876 were classified. In 2014 ASVZ celebrated their 75th anniversary.


At the ETH Zurich Zentrum and Hönggerberg campuses, ETH members and visitors will find a wide array of products and services for their daily needs: from books, stationery, products bearing the ETH logo to printed products, groceries and ATM machines.
Campus Info at the Zentrum and Hönggerberg can answer any general questions you may have regarding the range of products available.


Renting accommodation is the norm in Switzerland, where high land prices and building costs keep the home ownership rate at a consistently low level of less than 40%. As a result, accommodation in Zurich is expensive and hard to find.

Searching for accommodation is a time-consuming process, but it is easier if you are able to carry out your search in the local area itself. You may find it helpful book a hotel room, rent a place in a student house or rent a shared flat to start with. This will give you time to look around for suitable accommodation. Students in Switzerland often organise flat-shares, not least because living on campus is not as common here as it is in English-speaking countries, for example.

You should expect to pay 400 to 1,000 Swiss francs per month for a room with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The cost of renting a one- to 2.5-room flat is significantly higher – between 800 and 1,600 Swiss francs per month depending on location and furnishings.

It is worth looking for accommodation outside Zurich too. Rents outside the city are more affordable and there are quick public transport links to ETH Zurich.

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Study programs at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich :