Frequently Asked Questions

The way UZH works might be confusing if you’re a new student. Since students are obligated to get all the information they need by themselves, we’ve compiled some common questions and answers to help you. The English Department website also contains everything you need, be sure to check there for official rules and such. They also have an FAQ.

You get ECTS-credits for passing modules. Every credit is supposed to represent 30 hours of work at UZH, but this often a very generous estimate and if you want to “just pass” a module, you can sometimes get by doing much less work (not that we advise this). You need 180 credits to get your bachelor’s degree and 120 for your master’s. A full-time student usually does 30 credits per semester, so some students finish their bachelor’s after six semesters, but most study for one or several semesters longer.

A module is basically a unit of teaching. It might consist of just a lecture. It might be a lecture plus a seminar like IntroLing (Introduction to English Linguistics). A module also includes the Leistungsnachweis. Lectures often have exams while in IntroLing, you have a paper, a presentation and an exam in the end.

OLAT (Online Learning And Training) is where you’ll find all lecture slides, homework, preparatory reading and so on. You can access it here. Before you can log in, you need your UZH shortname, so make sure you have that and know your password. Some instructors upload slides before lectures, others do it afterwards and again others do it after like three weeks. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The first year is quite simple. For both the English major (120) and minor (60), you need to book three compulsory modules, and you need to pass them in order to study anything else. All three courses take a whole year to complete and they only start in the fall semester (the credits are always for the whole course, not one semester). You don’t really need to worry about booking (yet) because compulsory modules will always have room for new bookings. You may want to be fast to choose one of the six or so seminar groups that each of the modules has, because some of them might clash with other modules (or worse, start at 8 in the morning). Here are the courses you need to book:

TA (English Literature: Textual Analysis) 9 credits
IntroLing (Introduction to English Linguistics) 9 credits
LSC (Language Skills and Culture: Introduction) 12 credits

This can happen quite often because there are a huge amount of programs at UZH, all with their own timetables and there are only so many hours in the week. If two compulsory lectures clash with one another, unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do. You’ll have to drop one of them and do it later. You could try to visit the lectures alternatingly or try to keep up with uploaded slides only, but this isn't the best idea. Not least because exams are usually in the lecture time slot and you can’t write two exams at once. Try to check lecture times before deciding on a minor/major. If only one of the lectures/seminars/whatever is compulsory, it’s generally smart to prioritize that one. Also, if it’s a seminar of a first year course, you might be able to change into a different group.

Here. Scroll down to the bottom and click “Zum Login Modulbuchung.” Again, you’ll need your UZH shortname and password.

Every semester, around 10’000 students of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (PhF) want to log in and book their courses at the same time to get spots in the elective seminars they want or choose the right seminar group that fits them. Because of this, you usually have to wait to log in and even then, the booking tool is frustratingly slow and by the time you log in, there’s around a 90% chance that the elective courses you want are already fully booked. So have some backup ideas in case that happens. In early 2019, the whole tool crashed and wasn’t available for hours.

The main villa is PLH and the building with the flat-looking part on the opposite site, up the stairs, is PET. You will probably have seminars in both. Lectures are usually in KOL, UZH's main building.

If you fail certain compulsory modules too many times (usually twice), you get a “Fachsperre” and you cannot continue studying English. It works similarly in most other study programs. Here’s a list of these modules (more info here):

Module Fachsperre after how many fails?
TA 2
IntroLing 2
HotEL (History of the English Language) 1 or 2 2
Literature in Context 2
Writing Skills and Media Analysis 2
Linguistics bachelor seminars 2 fails in 4 seminars (8 overall) (but you can still do the English bachelor minor (60 credits))
Literature bachelor seminars 2 fails in 7 seminars (14 overall) (but you can still do the English bachelor minor (60 credits))
Writing Skills and Media Analysis: Focus and Writing Skills and Media Analysis: Exploration 2 fails in both seminars (4 overall) (but you can still do the English bachelor minor (60 credits))

The amount of work you will be able to do comfortably will depend on many factors. If you’re studying full-time, there’s not much room left to work. Some people say 40% of work is fine, others do about 20% and are fine with it, for others again, 20% may be too much. The psychological counseling service generally recommends only 20% of work if absolutely needed. The stress that your work causes also depends on the type of work and employer.

If you'd like to go on an exchange for one or two semesters, the English Department offers many places. Generally, the best time to go is sometime after your first year and before your last semester. Usually, there is an info presentation every fall detailing the many ways to gain international experience. After that, you can apply for the next year, have an interview and get your decision in winter. Find more information on the English Department website’s study abroad section.

Cakes are sold at different prices depending on how much time and effort went into them, as well as the cost of the ingredients. As for coffee and the printer, the system is based on trust and only works if nobody steals. We set our prices at student-friendly levels and the FAVA uses all revenue to improve amenities (such as the furniture in the Kafistübli) and events.