Swiss universities receive hundreds of requests from Ukrainian refugees 

The University of Zurich said that “several hundred” Ukrainian refugees had signed up with the administration to follow courses as visiting students. © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

Hundreds of Ukrainian refugees who have fled the war-torn country have contacted Swiss universities to attend classes. 

This content was published on May 12, 2022

The University of Zurich confirmed to the Keystone-SDA News Agency on Wednesday that “several hundred” Ukrainian refugees had signed up with the administration to follow courses as visiting students. Around one hundred applications have been accepted so far. 

The universities of Geneva and Lausanne have also announced several hundred similar requests. Currently 45 Ukrainian refugees are registered at the University of Geneva. 

Since the middle of April, almost 48,500 Ukrainian refugees have been registered in Switzerland.  

Zurich University rector, Michael Schaepman, said it was obviously “fantastic” for the refugees to study as guest students in the short term. But they needed long-term perspectives, he added. 

The major obstacle for prospective university students is the language, said Schaepman. 


The University of Geneva said it had received 300 additional requests to attend courses from Ukrainian refugees. Of these, 20 are for entry in 2022 autumn and around 100 are to follow current courses via the European Horizon programme. 

The University of Lausanne has registered 200 requests since the start of the war in Ukraine in February and the Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) receives around a dozen requests a week from Ukrainian students to follow university courses, it said.  

The University of Fribourg has around 17 Ukrainian students signed up for the spring term for Bachelor, Master and PhD courses in medicine, science, arts and humanities and social sciences and management. 


The Swiss university and research community has promised to do its utmostExternal link to help academics and students fleeing conflict-torn Ukraine. In March, swissuniversities, the sector’s umbrella body, issued a statement saying that Swiss universities would do “everything in their power to host teachers, researchers and students from Ukrainian universities”. 

Before the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, there were 900 Russian students and 300 students of Ukraine nationality enrolled in Switzerland’s ten universities and two federal institutes of technology in 2020/21, according to the statistics. 

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