University of Zurich

University of Zurich
Universität Zürich
Latin: Universitas Turicensis
Type Public university
Established 1833
Budget 1.377 billion Swiss francs[1]
President Prof. Dr. Michael Hengartner
Academic staff
3,702 (Full-time equivalent)[1]
Administrative staff
2,051 (Full-time equivalent)[1]
Students 25,732[1]
Location Zürich, Canton of Zurich, Switzerland
47°22′29″N 8°32′54″E / 47.37472°N 8.54833°E / 47.37472; 8.54833Coordinates: 47°22′29″N 8°32′54″E / 47.37472°N 8.54833°E / 47.37472; 8.54833
Campus Urban
Affiliations LERU

The University of Zurich (UZH, German: Universität Zürich), located in the city of Zürich, is the largest university in Switzerland,[2] with over 25,000 students.[3] It was founded in 1833[4] from the existing colleges of theology, law, medicine and a new faculty of philosophy.

Currently, the university has seven faculties: Philosophy, Human Medicine, Economic Sciences, Law, Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Theology and Veterinary Medicine. The university offers the widest range of subjects and courses of any Swiss higher education institution.[5]


The University of Zurich was founded on April 29, 1833,[6] when the existing colleges of theology, the Carolinum founded by Huldrych Zwingli in 1525, law and medicine were merged with a new faculty of Philosophy. It was the first university in Europe to be founded by the state rather than a monarch or church.

In the University's early years, the 1839 appointment of the German theologian David Friedrich Strauss to its Chair of Theology caused a major controversy, since Strauss argued that the miracles in the Christian New Testament were mythical retellings of normal events as supernatural happenings.[7][8][9][10] Eventually, the authorities offered Strauss a pension before he had a chance to start his duties.

The university allowed women to attend philosophy lectures from 1847, and admitted the first female doctoral student in 1866. The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine was added in 1901, the second-oldest such faculty in the world. In 1914, the university moved to new premises designed by the architect Karl Moser on Rämistrasse 71.[11]


The university is scattered all over the city of Zurich. Members of the university can use several libraries, including the ETH-library, and the Zurich Central Library, with over 5 million volumes.[12] In 1962, the faculty of science proposed to establish the Irchelpark campus on the Strickhofareal. The first stage the construction of the university buildings was begun in 1973, and the campus was inaugurated in 1979.[13][14] The construction of the second stage lasted from 1978 to 1983.[14] The campus also houses the anthropological museum Anthropologisches Museum,[15] and the cantonal Staatsarchiv Zürich.[16]


The Institute and Museum for the History of Medicine is part of the university.[17]



Main building by Karl Moser as seen from the south

The University of Zurich as a whole also ranks in the top ten of Europe and in the top fifty worldwide. Notably in the fields of bioscience and finance, there is a close-knit collaboration between the University of Zurich and the ETH (Federal Institute for Technology, just across the road).[18] Their faculty of chiropractic medicine is six years.[19]


University rankings
ARWU World[20] 54
Times World[21] 136
USNWR World[22] 88
QS World[23] 73
54th globally and 15th in Europe.
61st globally and 14th in Europe.
57th globally.
  • Professional Ranking of World Universities[27] (Based on the number of alumni listed among CEOs in the 500 largest worldwide companies.)
32nd globally and 10th in Europe.
52nd globally and 1st in Switzerland.

According to Handelsblatt, In 2017 the Department of Economics was ranked first in the German-speaking area[29] and in 2009 the faculty of Business Administration was ranked third in the German-speaking area.[30]

Language policy

Atrium Central
Irchel Campus, newer and more remotely located buildings of the University of Zurich
Statue at the entrance

Bachelor courses are taught in Swiss Standard German ("Hochdeutsch"), but use of English is increasing in many faculties. The only bachelors program taught entirely in English is the "English Language and Literature" program.[31] All Master courses at the Faculty of Science are held in English. In some highly competitive and international programs, such as the Master of Science in Quantitative Finance, all lectures are held in English.

Notable fellows of the university

Student life

The university's Academic Sports Association (ASVZ) offers a wide range of sports facilities to students of the university.

Notable alumni and faculty

Politics, law and society

  • Johannes Baumann, President of the Swiss Confederation
  • Johann Jakob Blumer, Swiss statesman and historian
  • Ernst Brugger, President of the Swiss Confederation
  • Emil Brunner, Professor of Systematic and Practical Theology
  • Carl Jacob Burckhardt, Swiss diplomat and historian
  • Felix Calonder, President of the Swiss Confederation
  • Ignazio Cassis, member of the Swiss Federal Council
  • Adolf Deucher, President of the Swiss Confederation
  • Alphons Egli, President of the Swiss Confederation
  • Philipp Etter, President of the Swiss Confederation
  • Sigi Feigel (1921-2004), Swiss attorney, president of the Israelitische Cultusgemeinde Zürich (ICZ) and notable for his campaigns against antisemitism and racism
  • Ludwig Forrer, President of the Swiss Confederation
  • Kurt Furgler, President of the Swiss Confederation
  • Jonas Furrer, President of the Swiss Confederation
  • Athol Gill, Australian theologian
  • Balthasar Glättli, Grüne Partei der Schweiz politician
  • Bernhard Hammer, President of the Swiss Confederation
  • Robert Haab, President of the Swiss Confederation
  • Heinrich Häberlin, President of the Swiss Confederation
  • Joachim Heer, President of the Swiss Confederation
  • Arthur Hoffmann, President of the Swiss Confederation
  • Fritz Honegger, President of the Swiss Confederation
  • Eugen Huber, Swiss jurist and the creator of the Swiss Civil Code
  • Max Huber, Swiss lawyer and diplomat
  • Daniel Jositsch, law professor and SP politician
  • Jakob Kellenberger, Swiss diplomat and the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Stephan Klapproth, Swiss journalist and television presenter
  • Elisabeth Kopp, Swiss politician and the first woman elected to the Swiss Federal Council
  • Ursula Koch (born 1941), Swiss politician
  • Moritz Leuenberger, President of the Swiss Confederation
  • Doris Leuthard, President of the Swiss Confederation
  • Rosa Luxemburg, Marxist theorist, philosopher, economist and activist of Polish Jewish descent
  • Min Li Marti, Swiss politician and publisher
  • Albert Meyer, President of the Swiss Confederation
  • Max Petitpierre, President of the Swiss Confederation
  • Carl Victor Ryssel, theologian
  • Roger Sablonier (1941-2010), Swiss historian and writer (faculty, Emeritierter Ordinarius für Geschichte des Mittelalters)
  • Leon Schlumpf, President of the Swiss Confederation
  • Ernst Sieber (born 1927), Swiss pastor, social worker, writer and former EVP politician
  • Cornelio Sommaruga, Swiss humanitarian, lawyer and diplomat
  • Willy Spühler, President of the Swiss Confederation
  • Walther Stampfli, President of the Swiss Confederation
  • Hashim Thaçi, prime minister of the Republic of Kosovo
  • Wangpo Tethong (born 1963), Swiss-Tibetan activist, writer, spokesperson of Greenpeace Switzerland and member of the 15th Tibetan Parliament in Exile
  • Daniel Thürer, Swiss jurist
  • Klaus Tschütscher, former Head of Government of Liechtenstein as Prime Minister
  • Ernst Wetter, President of the Swiss Confederation
  • Sigmund Widmer (1919-2003), Swiss politician
  • Dölf Wild (born 1954), Swiss historian and archäeologist

Economics, business and management

  • Stephan Schmidheiny, Swiss businessman and billionaire
  • Christoph Blocher, Swiss politician, industrialist and former member of the Swiss Federal Council
  • Martin Ebner (born 1945), Swiss billionaire businessman
  • Walter Haefner, businessman and a Thoroughbred racehorse owner/breeder in Ireland
  • Peter Kurer, Swiss manager and lawyer
  • Markus U. Diethelm, Swiss businessman and Group General Counsel at UBS AG
  • Marc Faber, an investment analyst and entrepreneur
  • Marcel Rohner (banker), Swiss businessman (UBS AG)
  • Karl Brunner (economist), Swiss economist
  • Bruno Frey, Swiss economist
  • Raynold Kaufgetz, Swiss economist
  • Adriano B. Lucatelli, Swiss manager and businessperson
  • Dominique Rinderknecht, Swiss model and Miss Switzerland 2013
  • Alan Frei, Swiss businessman


  • Herbert West, Neuroscientist
  • Wilhelm Röntgen, physicist and engineer who discovered X-rays
  • Alfred Kleiner, experimental physicist
  • Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist who was awarded his PhD from the University of Zurich in 1905 and was appointed associate professor at the university in 1909
  • Albert Hofmann, Swiss scientist and discoverer of LSD-25
  • Peter Debye, Dutch physicist and chemist
  • Erwin Schrödinger, Austrian physicist who was professor from 1921 to 1927
  • Max Holzmann, Swiss cardiologist
  • Jean Lindenmann (1924–2015), Swiss immunologist and virologist; co-discoverer of interferon
  • Heidi Wunderli-Allenspach (born 1947), Swiss biologist and first women rector of ETH Zurich
  • Hugo Iltis, Biologist, Biographer of Gregor Mendel
  • Natalie Grams, German physician, author and science communicator

Nobel Prize laureates

Associated with the university are 12 Nobel Prize recipients, primarily in Physics and Chemistry.

Year Field Laureate
1901 Physics Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen
1902 Literature Theodor Mommsen
1913 Chemistry Alfred Werner
1914 Physics Max von Laue
1921 Physics Albert Einstein
1933 Physics Erwin Schrödinger
1936 Chemistry Peter Debye
1937 Chemistry Paul Karrer
1939 Chemistry Lavoslav Ružička
1949 Medicine Walter Rudolf Hess
1987 Physics Karl Alex Müller
1996 Medicine Rolf M. Zinkernagel

Associated institutions

See also

  • List of largest universities by enrollment in Switzerland
  • List of modern universities in Europe (1801–1945)

Notes and references

  1. 1 2 3 4 "Facts and Figures 2015". The Executive Board of the University of Zurich. 2015.
  2. "University of Zurich". Coursera. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  3. "University of Zurich Facts & Figures 2016". University of Zurich. 2016. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  4. "University of Zurich". Times Higher Education. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  5. "Profile: At a glance". University of Zurich. 2008. Retrieved April 26, 2008.
  6. "Dies academicus". University of Zurich. August 26, 2009. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  7. The Life of Jesus, Critically Examined by David Friedrich Strauss 2010 ISBN 1-61640-309-8 pages 39–43 and 87–91
  8. The Making of the New Spirituality by James A. Herrick 2003 ISBN 0-8308-2398-0 pages 58–65
  9. Familiar Stranger: An Introduction to Jesus of Nazareth by Michael J. McClymond (March 22, 2004) ISBN 0802826806 page 82
  10. See Douglas R McGaughey, "On D.F. Strauß and the 1839 Revolution in Zurich" Archived February 1, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. Ganz, Michael T.; Stucki, Heinzpeter (2008), History in brief, University of Zurich, retrieved January 31, 2010
  12. Stadt Zürich (Map). 1:1000. University of Zurich. April 4, 2006. Archived from the original on January 27, 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2010.
  13. "Irchelpark" (in German). Universität Zürich. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
  14. 1 2 "Irchelpark" (in German). Grün Stadt Zürich. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
  15. "Anthropologisches Museum" (in German). Universität Zürich. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
  16. "Kleine Zürcher Verfassungsgeschichte 1218–2000" (PDF) (in German). Staatsarchiv Zürich. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
  17. "UZH - Universität Zürich". Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  18. "Google Maps". Google Maps. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  19. Staff Writer. "Chiropractic medicine". University website. University of Zurich. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
  20. Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018
  21. World University Rankings 2018
  22. U.S. News Education: Best Global Universities 2018
  23. QS World University Rankings 2018
  24. "THES – QS World University Rankings 2009 – top universities". Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings. Archived from the original on January 25, 2010. Retrieved January 31, 2010.
  25. "QS World University Rankings® 2014/15". September 11, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  26. "The 377 leading higher education institutions in 2009". International Professional Ranking of Higher Education Institutions. Mines ParisTech. 2008. Archived from the original on January 22, 2009. Retrieved January 31, 2010.
  27. "URAP – University Ranking by Academic Performance". URAP. December 2014. Retrieved February 15, 2011.
  28. "Handelsblatt Ranking". Handelsblatt. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  29. "Handelsblatt Ranking Betriebswirtschaftslehre 2009". Handelsblatt. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  30. "Studying". Retrieved January 14, 2018.
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