University of Zurich

The University of Zürich (UZH, German: Universität Zürich) is a public research university located in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. It is the largest university in Switzerland,[5] with its 28,000 enrolled students.[6] It was founded in 1833[7] from the existing colleges of theology, law, medicine which go back to 1525, and a new faculty of philosophy.

University of Zürich
Universität Zürich
University of Zurich seal.svg
Latin: Universitas Turicensis
TypePublic university
Established1833; 190 years ago (1833)
Budget1.42 billion Swiss francs[1]
PresidentMichael Schaepman
Academic staff
3,702 (Full-time equivalent)[2]
Administrative staff
2,051 (Full-time equivalent)[2]
Location, ,

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
ColoursBlack, white, blue, grey and ochre[3][4]
AffiliationsLERU U21
Universität Zürich logo.svg

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.[8]


The University of Zurich was founded on April 29, 1833,[9] 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.

Aerial view (1953)

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.[10][11][12][13] 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.[14]


The university is scattered all over the city of Zürich. The main campuses are located in the city centre, Irchelpark and Oerlikon.[15] Members of the university can use several libraries, including the ETH-library, and the Zurich Central Library, with over 5 million volumes.[16] 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.[17][18] The construction of the second stage lasted from 1978 to 1983.[18] The campus also houses the anthropological museum Anthropologisches Museum,[19] and the cantonal Staatsarchiv Zürich.[20]


The Institute and Museum for the History of Medicine is part of the university.[21] The university includes 13 museums: the Anatomical Collection, the Archaeological Collection, the Botanical Museum, the Museum of Wax Moulages, the Science Exploratorium, the Museum of Veterinary History, the Zürich Herbaria, the Museum of Anthropology, the Botanical Garden, the Ethnographic Museum, the Paleontological Museum, the Veterinary Anatomy Collection and the Zoological Museum.[22]


Main building by Karl Moser as seen from the south

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).[23]


University rankings
Global – Overall
ARWU World[24]54 (2021)
CWUR World[25]67 (2020-21)
QS World[26]69 (2021)
Reuters World[27]51 (2019)
THE World[28]=73 (2021)
USNWR Global[29]=62 (2021)
54th globally and 15th in Europe.
61st globally and 14th in Europe.
76th globally.
  • Professional Ranking of World Universities[33] (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.
  • Round University Ranking:

36th globally in 2020[35]

33rd globally in 2017

29th globally in 2013

14th globally in 2011

  • USNWR Global:

58th globally in 2018[36]

  • According to GWTS Leiden Ranking, University of Zurich ranked 37th in the world in social sciences and humanities.[37] According to URAP Center Ranking, which has been publishing rankings since 2010 for each subject, political science at the University of Zurich was placed 16th best in the world.[38] According to ARWU, the University of Zurich was placed 31st globally in political sciences in 2019 and 27th globally in political sciences in 2020.[39]

The university's Department of Economics is especially strong and was ranked first in the German-speaking area by the Handelsblatt in 2017.[40] In 2009, the faculty of Business Administration was ranked third in the German-speaking area.[41]

Language policyEdit

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.[42] All Master courses at the Faculty of Science are held in English. Master courses in Economics and Finance are mainly held in English, while the Master of Science in Quantitative Finance is held completely in English.[citation needed]

Student lifeEdit

The university's Academic Sports Association (ASVZ) offers a wide range of sports facilities to students of the university. The student body is represented through the Verband der Studierenden der Universität Zürich VSUZH which organizes events and is involved in the university administration.[43]

Notable alumni and facultyEdit

Politics, law and societyEdit

Economics, business and managementEdit


Philosophy and theologyEdit

Arts and musicEdit

Nobel Prize laureatesEdit

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 institutionsEdit

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Annual Report 2018". University of Zurich. 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Facts and Figues 2015". Executive Board of the University of Zurich. 2015.
  3. ^ Die Hausfarben der Universität Zürich – website of the University of Zurich
  4. ^ CD-Manual: Basiselemente – website of the University of Zurich
  5. ^ "University of Zurich". Coursera. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  6. ^ "The University of Zurich – At a Glance". University of Zurich. 2020. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  7. ^ "University of Zurich". Times Higher Education. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  8. ^ "Faculties of the University of Zurich". University of Zurich. 2021. Retrieved December 2, 2021.
  9. ^ "Dies academicus". University of Zurich. August 26, 2009. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  10. ^ The Life of Jesus, Critically Examined by David Friedrich Strauss 2010 ISBN 1-61640-309-8 pages 39–43 and 87–91
  11. ^ The Making of the New Spirituality by James A. Herrick 2003 ISBN 0-8308-2398-0 pages 58–65
  12. ^ Familiar Stranger: An Introduction to Jesus of Nazareth by Michael J. McClymond (March 22, 2004) ISBN 0802826806 page 82
  13. ^ See Douglas R McGaughey, "On D.F. Strauß and the 1839 Revolution in Zurich" Archived February 1, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Ganz, Michael T.; Stucki, Heinzpeter (2008), History in brief, University of Zurich, retrieved January 31, 2010
  15. ^ "Campuses". Retrieved December 2, 2021.
  16. ^ Stadt Zürich (Map). 1:1000. University of Zurich. April 4, 2006. Archived from the original on January 27, 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2010.
  17. ^ "Irchelpark" (in German). Universität Zürich. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
  18. ^ a b "Irchelpark" (in German). Grün Stadt Zürich. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
  19. ^ "Anthropologisches Museum" (in German). Universität Zürich. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
  20. ^ "Kleine Zürcher Verfassungsgeschichte 1218–2000" (PDF) (in German). Staatsarchiv Zürich. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
  21. ^ "UZH - Universität Zürich". Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  22. ^ "Museums and Collections". Retrieved December 2, 2021.
  23. ^ "Google Maps". Google Maps. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  24. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2021". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. Retrieved December 25, 2021.
  25. ^ "World University Rankings 2020-21". Center for World University Rankings. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  26. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2021". Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  27. ^ "Reuters World's Top 100 Innovative Universities 2019". Thomson Reuters. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  28. ^ "World University Rankings 2021". August 25, 2020. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  29. ^ "U.S. News Education: Best Global Universities 2021". Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  30. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities - 2015 - World University Ranking - 2015 - Top 500 universities - Shanghai Ranking - 2015". August 21, 2015. Archived from the original on August 21, 2015.
  31. ^ "THES – QS World University Rankings 2009 – top universities". Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings. Archived from the original on January 2, 2010. Retrieved January 31, 2010.
  32. ^ "QS World University Rankings® 2020". September 11, 2020. Retrieved November 25, 2019.
  33. ^ "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.
  34. ^ "URAP – University Ranking by Academic Performance". URAP. December 2014. Retrieved February 15, 2011.
  35. ^ "World University Rankings".
  36. ^ University of Zurich: # 58 in Best Global Universities University of Zurich: # 58 in Best Global Universities. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
  37. ^ "Leiden Ranking 2019: UZH in 13th Position".
  38. ^ "URAP - University Ranking by Academic Academic Performance".
  39. ^ {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  40. ^ "Handelsblatt Ranking". Handelsblatt. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  41. ^ "Handelsblatt Ranking Betriebswirtschaftslehre 2009". Handelsblatt. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  42. ^ "Studying". Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  43. ^ "VSUZH - Verband der Studierenden der Universität Zürich". VSUZH (in German). Retrieved December 7, 2022.
  44. ^ "Thomas P. Gottstein". Credit Suisse. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  45. ^ "Germany is a global center for superstition". OHB SE.

External linksEdit