ENGL_Übersicht HS-Projekte

Since 2015, various projects have been set up to support student refugees. The map shows an overview of all projects at universities and universities of applied sciences in Switzerland . On this page you will find important information about the individual projects.

German-speaking Switzerland


  • University of Basel | Open Lecture Auditorium (Offener Hörsaal)

    This project is open to refugees (N, F or B residence permit) living in Basel who either have attended university in their home country and wish to continue their education or are interested in studying for the first time. 


    • Admission to three lectures at Basel University as an ‘auditor’ (no exams and no academic credits) 
    • Language classes at Basel University Language Centre 
    • Peer mentoring (‘Buddy Programme’) 
    • Social events (meals, regular informal get-togethers etc.)  
    • Access to all university sports facilities and clubs 
    • Discounts at the campus canteen and cafeterias 
    • Payment of travel costs for participants with no means of financial support 
    • Certificate of attendance


    Transition to a degree programme

    • Guidance on possible enrolment in a degree programme/other study options 
    • Payment of tuition fees for the first two semesters of the degree programme for previous participants with no means of financial support 
    • Help with finding other sources of funding 


    Admission criteria 

    • Language skills: German (B1–B2 level or higher) and English (B2 level or higher). No certificate required; proficiency assessed by interview. 
    • Sufficient availability to attend lectures and language classes 


    Contact and further information

    Email: info@offener-hoersaal.ch 


    The Offener Hörsaal Basel  association was founded in November 2015 by University of Basel students. 

  • University of Bern | Open Lecture Auditorium (Offener Hörsaal)

    This project is open to refugees who are interested in studying for a degree or exploring the higher and/or continuing education opportunities available to them in Switzerland. 


    • Admission to five lectures at Bern University as an as an ‘auditor’ (no exams and no academic credits) 
    • 1:1 peer mentoring 
    • Side events: kick-off event, networking events, session with BIZ (careers advisory and information service) and farewell event  
    • Campus account: access to university documentation, email account, library access 
    • Access to university sports facilities and clubs 
    • Language classes at the BoG department of the University of Teacher Education, Bern 
    • Loan of VoCHabular, German language self-teaching materials 
    • SUB Hüsli: access to student union facilities (lounge, kitchen, photocopiers) 
    • Essential study materials: laptop on loan, memo pads, pens etc. 
    • Free counselling service 
    • Certificate of attendance


    Admission criteria 

    • N, F or B residence permit; sufficient language skills (German or English depending on course choice) 


    Contact and further information

    Email: offener-hoersaal@sub.unibe.ch 


    Offener Hörsaal is an initiative of the Bern Student Union (SUB). The mentoring project was launched in autumn 2016.

  • University of Lucerne | Discovery Semester for Refugees


    • Admission to a maximum of four lectures as an ‘auditor’ (no exams and no academic credits) in the following fields: Theology; Humanities and Cultural Sciences; Law; Economics and Management. 
    • 1:1 peer mentoring 
    • Welcome Day (prior to start of semester) incl. introduction to the ‘Discovery Semester’, and Farewell Event (at end of semester) 
    • Social events and excursions, e.g. cooking evenings   
    • Free laptop loan  
    • Access to all university sports facilities and clubs 
    • Access to the central and university libraries  
    • Additional practical courses (e.g. IT skills, CV writing skills etc.)  
    • Payment of travel costs (where budget allows)  
    • Certificate of attendance  


     Admission criteria 

    • N, F or B residence permit 
    • Aged 21 or over  
    • Language skills: German and/or English (B2 level or higher). No certificate required; proficiency assessed by interview. 
    • Place of residence: cantons of Lucerne, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Uri, Schwyz, Zug 


    Contact and further information
    Email: international@unilu.ch
    Project manager: Uta Zehnder

    The Discovery Semester for Refugees was launched in the 2017 autumn semester and is managed by the International Relations Office of Lucerne University. 

  • University of Zurich | START! Study – University Integration Programme

    «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. 


    • Improving German and English language skills 
    • Developing academic expertise 
    • Strengthening skills in mathematics, IT and academic work methods 
    • Learning about higher education opportunities and gaining insight into the demands of studying at UZH


    Course program: 

    • English and German courses 
    • Academic courses 
    • Course in basic mathematics skills if required 
    • Methodology course focusing on academic and professional skills 
    • Individual counseling and support 
    • Information on higher education opportunities in Switzerland 
    • Exchange with UZH students 



    • 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 or B (refugee) 
    • Residence in Switzerland 
    • Agreement of the case management office 



    Information about the fees and the funding opportunities can be found on the website. 


    START! Study lasts two semesters; entry into the program is only possible in the Fall Semester. Classes begin in mid-August and end in early June of the following year. 


     Information about the application process and the deadlines can be found on the website. 


    University of Zurich 

    Coordination Office START! Study 

    Global Affairs  

    Rämistrasse 71 

    8006 Zürich 

  • Zurich | «SEET – Support Education, Empower Together»

    SEET is a programme for women refugees in Switzerland who wish to enter higher education for the first time or continue their education. It helps to facilitate their access to degree courses.  


    • Coaching and support with admission and funding applications 
    • Group meetings 
    • Workshops 
    • Financial assistance (in certain cases)

    SEET is primarily a mentoring programme. 

    Admission criteria 

    • Sufficient language skills to embark on a higher education programme within one/two years. 
    • Educational background 


    Contact and further information

    General enquiries: seet@seet.ch 

    Applications: mentoring@seet.ch 

    Website: SEET – Support Education, Empower Together 

    SEET – Support Education, Empower Together is an independent association which was founded in early 2020. 

Universities of Applied Sciences

  • INVOST | Integrationsvorstudium an Fachhochschulen

    INVOST – Integrationsvorstudium an Fachhochschulen is a new collaborative programme between the Swiss Students’ Unions (VSS), the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (HES–SO) and the FHNW School of Engineering. Its aim is to prepare highly qualified refugees for admission to a course of study at a UAS by means of targeted support measures. Two cross-cantonal UAS – the FHNW School of Engineering (Integral Project) and the HES–SO – have seized the initiative and are taking concrete action to make equal access to higher education a reality. 

    INVOST – Integrationsvorstudium an Fachhochschulen is supported by the Volkart Foundation and the Mercator Foundation Switzerland. 


  • School of Engineering Brugg-Windisch (HT FHNW) | Project Integral (INVOST)

    Applicants will be invited for an interview. The aim is to identify the right solution for the applicant: direct admission to a UAS course of study or admission to a preparatory course first or alternative study options. aufnahmeverfahren-integral-ht-fhnw.png


    The preparatory course consists of a range of support services. The choice of services provided to the participant is determined by the results of their individual assessment and their specific needs: They include: 

    • Counselling & support service 
    • Assistance with finding internal and external traineeship positions 
    • Language classes 
    • Mentoring 
    • Admission to modules as an ‘auditor’ (no exams and no academic credits) 
    • Financial support 

    Admission criteria 

    • High level of motivation for (re-)admission to a technical course of study  
    • Command of German (proficiency assessments on an individual basis) 
    • Prior education in the home country (school-leaving qualifications, e.g. Baccalaureate, or higher). Checks are carried out by the Integral Project Coordination Office (FHNW)  in cooperation with the competent cantonal and local authorities and advisory services. 

    Contact and further information

    Stefan Czarnecki | Head of the Integral Project Coordination Office 

    Phone:+41 56 202 78 56 

    Email: stefan.czarnecki@fhnw.ch


    INVOST – Integrationsvorstudium für Geflüchtete:  

    Integral is a pilot project which is implemented as part of the wider cross-cantonal project INVOST – Integrationsvorstudium für Geflüchtete and in cooperation with the Swiss Students’ Union (VSS) and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (HES–SO). 

  • Bern University of the Arts (HKB) | AG Creation for All

    This project is aimed specifically at refugees with a background – educational or professional – in art, music or design. 


    The project gives refugee artists an opportunity to expand their network, experience university life at the HKB (Bern University of the Arts) and familiarise themselves with its admission requirements if they wish to start regular stuides. It is free of charge. 

    Participants can attend several classes – visual communication, fine arts, music, theatre etc. here on overview of the offer – as an ‘auditor’ (no exams and no academic credits). 

    • One to one mentoring 
    • 2 events per year (informal events, presentations by artists & networking) 
    • Language exchange (“tandems”)
    • Certificate of attendance (upon request) 


    Admission criteria 

    • N, F or B residence permit 
    • Previous experience in the field of art, music or design 
    • No specific language skills required; beginners may also apply. Where necessary, the appropriate language classes will be sourced for the participant. 


    Contact and further information

    Email: ag.kulturesk@gmail.com 

    Project manager: Coline Ardouin 



    The Creation For All programme is an initiative of students at the Bern Academy of the Arts (HKB). 

  • University of the Arts Zurich (ZHdK) | Trial Semester for Refugee Art and Design Students

    This one-semester programme is open to refugees who had studied/planned to study art or design in their home country. 


    • Admission as an ‘auditor’ (no exams and no academic credits) 
    • Farewell Event at end of the semester; other social activities, e.g. visits to art exhibitions and movie nights. 
    • German-language courses 
    • Professional field assessment 
    • The contact point for refugees provides information on education- and student-related projects and initiatives for refugees and asylum seekers. It also runs the website artistcontact.ch, which serves as a networking platform for local and refugee artists. 
    • ECTS credits may be awarded for this programme should the participant transfer to a degree programme. 
    • In certain cases, payment of travel expenses and costs of materials  
    • Certificate of attendance 

     Admission criteria

    • N, F or B residence permit 
    • Educational or professional background in art or design 


    Contact and further information

    Email: zugang.gefluechtete@zhdk.ch 

    Phone: +41 43 446 20 57 

    Project manager: Lorenz Hegi 


  • School of Engineering Zurich (ZHAW) | Contact point for Refugees

    The Status project provides a point of contact for refugees before and during their studies at ZHAW. 


    • Counselling, support and networking opportunities for refugees before and during their studies 
    • Assistance with ZHAW enrolment & organisation of extra tuition  
    • Mentoring 


    Contact and further information

    Phone: +41 (0)76 570 97 84
    Email: status@alias-zhaw.ch

    Office hours: Monday and Tuesday, 4pm – 6pm; Wednesday, 8.30am12pm; 1pm –5pm 

    Status is a ZHAW Student Association (Alias) project. 

  • Schaffhausen University of Education (PHSH) | CAS "Bildung und Flucht"

    « As a teacher, carer and caregiver, how can I specifically support refugee children, young people and young adults on their educational path and enable them to participate in social and societal life? » 


    The CAS “Bildung und Flucht” (Education and Asylum) is aimed at persons working in education, social work, or related fields. The CAS offers differentiated answers to questions about the educational opportunities of refugee children, adolescents, and young adults. The contents are both theory- and research-based as well as practice-oriented and is intended to stimulate the reflection and professionalisation of work in the context of education and asylum. 

    The CAS is also explicitly aimed at persons with a migration or asylum background.  


    Contact and further information: 

    Contact person: Bettina Looser 

    E-mail: bettina.looser@phsh.ch 

French-speaking Switzerland


  • University of Fribourg | Orientation - Education - Integration (OFI / OBI)

    OFI/OBI is a student association project which seeks to facilitate the access of refugees and asylum seekers to higher education. 


    • Help for refugees in Switzerland to access higher education 
    • Assistance with administrative procedures and integration in campus life 


    Contact and further information 

    Email: ofi-obi@unifr.ch 


  • University of Geneva | Horizon Académique

    Horizon académique is a modular programme which aims to facilitate the labour market integration of refugees and other sections of the population with comparable needs. It prepares participants for admission to higher education. 


    Target public: 

    • Holders of a residence permit (N, F, B or C). 
    • Holders of a B (family reunification) residence permit 
    • Swiss nationals returning from abroad. 



    • 1:1 academic and occupational assistance and guidance 
    • Intensive French classes  
    • Access to academic courses with option of sitting exams and acquiring ECTS credits 
    • Participation in university life and access to cultural and sports events and activities 
    • Peer mentoring and appropriate support from faculty staff 
    • Administrative assistance (registration as and ‘auditor’, i.e. no exams and no academic credits; enrolment in degree programme) and financial support. 


    Admission criteria 

    • Interest in a study programme offered by one of the higher education providers in the canton of Geneva. 
    • Application completed and submitted in full (more details) 


    Contact and further information 

    Email: horizonacademique@unige.ch 

    Phone: +41 (0)22 379 77 83 

    Website: Horizon Académique 

  • Graduate Institute Geneva | Refugee Scholarships

    The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) offers student refugees a scholarship to help cover their living expenses and tuition costs. 

    Award criteria 

    • Enrolment at the IHEID 
    • F or B residence permit 
    • Application completed and submitted in full

    More details on scholarships 

    Contact and further information 


    Scholarship application queries: Dr Laurent Neury laurent.neury@graduateinstitute.ch 

    Enrolment queries: GISA.migrationscholarship@graduateinstitute.ch 


  • University of Lausanne | UNIL without Borders

    Unil sans frontières (Usf) provides support and assistance to refugees (N, F or B residence permits) who are interested in studying for the first time or continuing their education at Lausanne University. 


    • Range of free-of-charge services: administrative assistance (enrolment in degree programme/registration as ‘auditor’); help with scholarship applications; improving proficiency in language of study; integration in campus life. 
    • Social and other outreach events 
    • Establishment of channels of communication and cooperation with university teaching and integration service staff 


    Contact and further information

    Email: unilsansfrontieres@asso-unil.ch 


  • University of Neuchâtel | CAS in Integration

    The Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Integration aims to facilitate migrants’ access to the Swiss labour market by enabling them to validate their higher education qualifications obtained in another country. 

    Admission criteria 

    • Holder of a BA/MA 
    • French language certificate: B2 level  
    • Refugee/asylum seeker status (N, F or B residence permit) 


    Contact and information

    The CAS offers 15–20 ECTS credits and costs CHF 75/semester. 

    More information on the website (may vary according to chosen specialisation). 


Universities of Applied Sciences

  • University of Applied Sciences Valais-Wallis (HES-SO) | Road to Study Social Work (INVOST)

    The aim of this project is to implement the first programme at the HES-SO Valais-Wallis, School of Social Work which is aimed specifically at refugees and asylum seekers. The two-phase preparatory programme runs for 12 months (or two semesters) and is designed to facilitate the integration of participants in the Bachelor’s programme by equipping them with the skills and academic knowledge required for admission. 

    Admission criteria

    • N, F or B residence permit (refugee status) 
    • Demonstrated interest in social work, i.e. academic/practical experience in the field 
    • Motivation to embark on a social work degree programme 
    • Motivation and time to follow the programme for the entire 12-month duration 
    • Language skills: French/German (B2 level or higher) are an advantage; however, language courses are also provided. 


    Participants are assigned ‘auditor’ status (no exams and no academic credits). They also receive a student card and an AAI account. Where necessary, they can also borrow a laptop computer from HES-SO Valais-Wallis.  


    • Language courses at HES-SO Valais-Wallis 
    • Individual coaching for 12 months by our team of professional coaches 
    • Short social work internship 
    • Three modules from the social work programme, including exam admission. In the event where the participant passes the exam(s), they will be awarded virtual ECTS credits. If the participant enrols in a Social Work degree programme, these virtual ECTS credits will be taken into account. 
    • Student mentor 


    Further information


  • School of Social Work Fribourg (HETS) | AlterEgauZ (INVOST)

    The Fribourg School of Social Work (HETS-FR) programme offers refugees (N, F or B residence permit) the opportunity to attend academic courses as an ‘auditor’ / guest student. The insights into university life enable participants to get to know student life and the educational culture in the university environment. The programme aims at both social and academic integration and offers support in preparing for studies. The offer is aimed at people who wish to take up or continue studies in the field of social work. 


    • Access to modules of the Bachelor programme as an ‘auditor’ / guest student (no fees)   
    • Possibility of taking exams and earning virtual ECTS credits 
    • Mentees are supported by students (peer-to-peer) 
    • Individual mentoring by a professor or member of academic staff 
    • Access to HES-SO services, including the Contact Study counselling and HELP psychological and social counselling 
    • Access to HES-SO language courses (program Altissima) 
    • Student card, access to a laptop (contractual loan) 
    • Convention with organisations for the professional integration of refugees 
    • Partnerships with institutions for internships  



    • Interest/motivation for professions in the field of social work  
    • Participants must be able to express themselves in French 
    • Support from an integration organisation (Caritas, SASSOC, ORS) 
    • Residence permit N, F, B or C 

    Two possible programmes  

    • Audi’libre program: Auditor/guest student status for one semester (spring semester) in the BATS Social Work programme. The aim is to familiarise participants with the formation at HES.  
    • Program Passerelle Audi’Versité: Auditor/guest student for one year (spring and autumn semester). The aim is to prepare for entry and study in social work at the HES. 

    The selection procedure includes the submission of a dossier with CV (and diplomas) and an interview. A fee of CHF 100 is charged for processing the dossier. 

     Contact and further information: 

    Marie-Christine Ukelo-Mbolo Merga 


  • School of Social Work and Health Lausanne (HETSL) | Education without borders (INVOST)

    The Lausanne School of Social Work (HETSL) launched Formation sans Frontières in 2017. Every year four refugees/asylum seekers have the opportunity in the second semester to attend two modules of the first year of its degree programme. They may also attend additional classes, upon request. 

    The aim of the project is to enable and facilitate the integration of refugees/asylum seekers. It is designed according to a holistic model of integration, i.e. socialisation, acquisition of knowledge and skills, empowerment & independence, recognised status etc. 

    All selections are made in close collaboration with the institutions who have entered into a convention with the HETSL (EVAM, CSIR & SSL). 


    Programme participants receive a student card (‘auditor’/student status). 

    Mentoring IN: first-year students who can incorporate this work in the development of a training module worth 3 ECTS credits. 

    Mentoring OUT: final-year students or former students who assist participants with their application or provide regular support during the participant’s first year on a degree programme. The HETSL is in charge of commissioning these mentors. 


    Contact and further information

    Oana Ruxandra Ciobanu, Professor at HETSL Oana.ciobanu@hetsl.ch

    Website is under construction. 

  • The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) | Information for Refugees

    The École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) offers holders of a N, F or B residence permit: 

    • the opportunity to attend lectures as an ‘auditor’ (no exams and no academic credits) 
    • 1:1 mentoring 


    Contact and further information

    Email: services.etudiants@epfl.ch 

    Phone:  +41 21 693 43 45 

  • USI

Italian-speaking Switzerland

  • Franklin University of Switzerland | Scholarships without Borders

    The aim of Scholarships without Borders is to facilitate the access of refugees to higher education (up to BA or MA level). To this end, it awards two students a scholarship which covers the costs of their education.  


    Scholarships without Borders covers all courses of study offered by Franklin University as well as other stages of the undergraduate programme: 

    • Two semesters: provisional admission to undergraduate programme 
    • Confirmed admission: BA programme (or MA programme, where applicable) 
    • Mentoring by a fellow student; or two peers, where necessary. 
    • Intensive English-language classes 
    • Classes in one of Switzerland’s national languages 
    • Academic Travel Programme: allows all students to undertake one 10-day study every trip once a semester as part of a course. 
    • Access to libraries and electronic resources 
    • Access to university sports facilities and clubs (handball, football, fitness centre) 
    • Payment of the costs of their tuition and academic travel. Registered students in the canton of Ticino also receive a Borsa di Studio 



    • F or B residence permit; school-leaving qualifications (e.g. Baccalaureate) from country of origin 
    • English language skills: B1 level or higher 

    To date, the programme has accepted students who live in the canton of Ticino. However, Scholarships without Borders is open to all student refugees (provided that a solution to their residence status can be found). 


    Contact and further information

    Point of contact: Caroline Wiedmer 

    Email: cwiedmer@fus.edu  

    Website: fus.edu 

  • USI | Access for refugees

    The project at the USI aims to facilitate access to university studies for qualified with a refugee background. 


    The USI offers  

    • the possibility to access to courses as a guest student  
    • pre-enrolment access to Italian and/or Englisch language classes 
    • support, tutoring  
    • reduced registration fee. 

    For refugee students that have been admitted to regular study programs, the USI offers support and tutoring.   

    For job-seeking graduates, there is the possibility of having continued access to some courses with reduced registration fee. 


    Maurizia Ruinelli 

    Email: maurizia.ruinelli@usi.ch 

    Website: https://www.usi.ch/en/university/info/relint/international-relations/other-activities 

    USI is a member of the Scholars at Risk (SAR) Network since 2016. 

Are you involved in a university project and the information is missing on the overview and/or in our contact list? Or is there information about your project that is not yet available here yet? Please get in touch with us: perspektiven-studium@vss-unes.ch.

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