Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW)

Facts | Eligibility | Academic | Language | Internships | Accommodations | Calendar | Financing | Apply

This is a reciprocal exchange relationship between SJSU and Zurich University of Applied Science (ZHW). This exchange is primarily for Business majors and minors. There may be a few courses offered in English in other academic fields and students who are fluent in German may take other coursework.

  • Take Business courses in English
  • Earn SJSU resident credits for all completed courses.
  • Pay your normal SJSU tuition and fees.
  • Use your financial aid and apply for scholarships.
  • Immerse yourself in Swiss culture and learn German
  • Study for one semester or an academic year.
  • Gain an advantage when applying for jobs and graduate school.

City Facts

Winterthur, Switzerland

With approximately 90,000 inhabitants, Winterthur is the sixth largest city in Switzerland. It is located only 15 minutes away from Zurich Airport and 20 minutes by train from central Zurich, Switzerland’s largest commercial and banking center. Despite its modest size , Winterthur offers a lively cultural scene, ranging from a plethora of bars, cafés and music clubs to open-air music festivals, flee markets and an annual ethnic food fair. There are excellent shopping facilities near the University and the town center, which also happens to form one of Switzerland’s largest pedestrian zones. Getting around the city and the nearby countryside is made even easier by a dense network of bicycle lanes. Winterthur also remains an important railway junction that provides direct train connections to Geneva, Munich, Stuttgart, Milan and Prague.

Campus Facts

Zurich University of Applied Science (ZHW)

With more than 2200 students and a staff of 400, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHW) is the largest of its kind in Switzerland. It was founded in 1998 when the Winterthur Polytechnic (established in 1874) was merged with the Zurich School of Economics and Business Administration (1968). The University has three campuses in Winterthur–all of which are within walking or cycling distance of each other and of Winterthur’s main railway station and city center. ZHW offers a wide range of undergraduate programs, including architecture, business administration, chemistry, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, physics and linguistics.

Eligibility Requirements

Students must:

  • be enrolled as an SJSU student for one semester prior to departure, or be a California community college student eligible to enter SJSU by the semester of departure,
  • have Sophomore, Junior or Senior standing by the semester of departure,
  • have completed lower division requirements for the business major, including micro- and macro-economics,
  • have a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher.

Academic Program

The main focus of this exchange is on Business and Management. Priority for placement will be given to students from Business departments, but both institutions may consider students from other academic fields if there is space available.

The academic calendar consists of two seventeen-week semesters. Depending on the course, presentations, group work and other written assignments can form part of the overall course assessment and final mark. Some of the courses offered in English include:

Banking & Finance
Business Informatics
Corporate Management
Corporate Analysis
Project Management
Operation Management


Strategic Management
Contemporary History
Human Capital Management
Organizational Structure & Design


Management Game
Political Science

For a list of courses and syllabi for ZHW, consult Courses Taught in English (pdf).

Students will be "mainstreamed" into regular university classes at Zurich University of Applied Sciences and will not be segregated into a special program for international students. Students who are fluent in German may also take a wider range of courses.

All books and course handbooks are loaned to exchange students at no charge. All program excursions, and the use of a bicycle during the semester, are also included free of charge. Students are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop computer. If unable to do so, one may be rented from ZHW.

German Language

SJSU students are not required to have any college-level German in order to attend ZHW. Beginner through Advanced German language classes are offered at ZHW. However, it is strongly encouraged that SJSU students consider taking German at either SJSU prior to going abroad or at ZHW during their semester(s) abroad.


Students may participate in internships while studying in Winterhur. The exchange program does not have formalized internship programs, but the university can provide some support with internship placements (eg. through AIESEC).


Although the University does not have its own halls of residence, furnished rooms in nearby hostels are automatically reserved for visiting students when they register. Each room has its own telephone connection (some with internet access) and on every floor there are communal toilet and bath facilities. Washing machines and tumble dryers are located in the basement. One of the hostels also has a limited number of self-contained one-room apartments available. Local students typically get together to rent larger apartments and as these compositions change, rooms become vacant–providing an opportunity for visiting students with a penchant for communal living.

Program Academic Calendar

Semester From–to
Fall Semester* Mid-October–Late February
Spring Semester Early March–Mid-July

*Please note: This exchange is for an academic year or the Spring semester. Since ZHW’s Fall semester goes until late February, only students who are graduating or don’t mind missing the SJSU Spring semester may participate for the Fall semester only.

Financing Your Semester

Estimated Costs

SJSU Tuition & Fees 3,585.00

These costs are current as of 2012–13. These are estimated costs for the whole semester. Consult the Bursar’s Office for up-to-date information on tuition and fees. Personal expenses may vary among different students, and those who will be doing a lot of traveling during the school break and after the program should estimate higher.

Round Trip Transportation 900.00
Room Meals 5,300.00
Insurance* 530.00
Personal Expenses 2,800.00
Total $13,115.00

*Health Insurance must be purchased in Switzerland.

Apply for This Program

SJSU Bilateral Program Forms