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Children's University of Zurich

What is What? – A Glossary

How long has the University of Zurich existed?

The University of Zurich (UZH) was the first university in Europe to be founded by a democratic state – back in 1833. Today it is the largest university in Switzerland with seven faculties and over 26 000 students.

What is a faculty?

A faculty is a group of related fields of study at a university. The University of Zurich has the following faculties: Theology; Law; Business, Economics and Informatics; Medicine and Veterinary Medicine (Vetsuisse Faculty); Arts and Social Sciences; and Science. You can find out more about the individual faculties from the University of Zurich website:

What is a lecture hall?

Lectures are held in lecture halls. Lecture halls are usually larger than a classroom, sometimes holding over several hundred students. At the University, each lecture is given in another hall and the students walk from one to the next. That’s different to a school where each class has its own classroom.

What is a “Legi”?

A “Legi” is the abbreviation for “Legitimationskarte” (student ID card). This is a card that confirms that a student is enrolled at UZH.

What is a lecture?

A lecture is one form of teaching at university. Similar to a lesson at school, things are explained in a lecture that you should know in order to earn a certificate and later to graduate from university.

What is a professor and why is he or she “full”?

Some people teaching and researching at the University have been involved in scientific or academic activity for a long time, and others have just finished their studies. The series of lectures that you attend are generally given by “full” professors. That doesn’t mean that they always have plenty to eat, but that they are experts in their field and are employed by the University.

What is the meaning of Bachelor and Master and what is a doctoral degree?

These are titles awarded at the University in the same way as you get a certificate when you pass your exams at school. When enrolled at the University, students attend lectures or seminars and collect points when they pass their exams. The Bachelor’s program provides students with a basic knowledge of their subject; it is also the qualification to move on to a Master’s degree.

After earning a Master’s degree, student who would like to continue researching can write a doctoral thesis that examines a subject from all aspects. The doctoral title (PhD) can be earned in all the faculties: for example, Dr. phil. for those who wrote their doctoral thesis in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences or Dr. med. if they wrote their thesis in the Faculty of Medicine.

Who is the President and who are the Vice Presidents?

Like at a school, the University has a principal. This person is called the President and is responsible for ensuring that everything runs smoothly at the University. The Vice Presidents’ job is to help the President.

What is a semester?

A university year is divided into a Fall and Spring Semester. The summer vacation comes in between.

Weiterführende Informationen

Theologische Fakultät

Faculty of Theology

The Faculty of Theology looks at the meaning of religion.

Rechtswissenschaftliche Fakultät

Faculty of Law

The Faculty of Law at UZH is the largest law school in Switzerland.

Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät

Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics

The Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics  at UZH combines economics and business administration, banking and finance, and informatics.

Medizinische Fakultät

Faculty of Medicine

The Faculty of Medicine trains doctors, dentists and chiropractors.


Vetsuisse Faculty

The Vetsuisse Faculty trains veterinary surgeons.

Philosophische Fakultät

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences studies contemporary issues, culture, history, and society, all from a global perspective. The three most popular subject areas are psychology, German studies, and history.

Mathematisch-naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät

Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science is one of the top European centers for scientific research and education.