A Quick Overview of ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology is a university located in Zurich Switzerland. The university was founded in 1855. The university has an urban setting. ETH Zurich is the top university in Switzerland and one of the best in the European Union and the world. Below, we have a quick overview of the university.

ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Reputation

ETH Zurich has consistently ranked as the top five the European Union and among the top ten in the world. The university has achieved its reputation in three major fields: physics, mathematics, and chemistry. There are over 30 Nobel Laureates associated with the university. The most recent being a Nobel Prize for chemistry, awarded to Richard F. Heck in 2010.


ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology has various excellent rankings. In 2018, it was ranked #7 overall in the world by the QS World University Rankings. In 2015, it was ranked #5 in Science, Engineering, and Technology in the world. In 2016, it was ranked #6 in Natural Sciences and #1 in Earth and Marine Sciences in the world.


The university has two campuses. The main building, known as the Zentrum campus, is located in the heart of Zurich city. The Zentrum campus is located near the University of Zurich and University Hospital of Zurich. The other campus is located in the outskirt of Zurich, on a northern hill.

Admission and Education

ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology is a public university.  Because of that, residents of Switzerland who has taken the Matura are welcomed by the university. As for foreign applicants, the university requires the applicants to take either the comprehensive entrance exam or the reduced entrance exam. The university is non-selective in its admission procedures for undergraduate.

Similar to all Switzerland universities, ETH Zurich uses semester-based academic years. An academic year consists of two semesters. In each semester, there will be examinations sessions held just before the start of a new semester. Also, education in ETH Zurich emphasizes in theoretical aspects rather than application. The main language used is German for undergraduate and English for Master.

According to the latest data, there are 20,607 students in total with 9,262 are undergraduate students, 6,158 are postgraduate students, 4,092 are doctoral students, and 1,095 others. 68.2% of the students are male and 31.8% are female. 75.6% of the students are Switzerland citizens while 24.4% are students of foreign nationals.

Student Life

The students of ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology are known to be one of the busiest students in Switzerland. This happens because the university has a tight curriculum for undergraduate students. The curriculum consists of about twice the lectures of similar courses at other universities in Switzerland.

The university has over 100 student associations in which the students can join. The most notable association is the VSETH which consists of associations from all departments. All of the student associations organize events (with varying degree of size and popularity) regularly. The VSETH organizes events that have greater public attention, including Polyball, Polyparty, and Erstsemestrigenfest.

Some student associations are not affiliated with a particular department. For example, ETH Model United Nations and ETH Entrepreneur Club. Both of these organizations are well-known internationally and both are awarded for their excellence regularly. There is also ETH Juniors, a student-run organization which creates a bridge between ETH and the industry and offer services for students and companies.


ETH Zurich has a unique tradition known as Polyball.  It is an annual event that has been done since the 1880s. At the end of November, the event welcomes about 10,000 music-goers, dancers, and partygoers in the main building of the university. This event is recognized as Europe’s largest decoration ball.