Doesn’t every student dream of spending a semester abroad and breathing some fresh air? Far away from the nasty ETH learning phase, experiencing a holiday like a university student? Or simply being able to use your laboriously acquired French for something useful? But seriously, for all those who want to make their dreams come true, here you will find all kinds of information, ranging from simple exchange semesters to entire internships abroad.

A semester abroad

Who can do an exchange semester?

An average grade of 4.75 in the basic examination (Basisprüfung) is required for an exchange during the Bachelor programme. Students who did not achieve this grade can still qualify for the exchange by achieving or exceeding a grade of 4.5 in most core areas of their studies (obligatory subjects, core subjects, etc.) in the higher Bachelor semesters. Some universities also require higher average grades or language certificates.

For an exchange during the Master’s programme, a 4.5 average in the Bachelor’s programme (all grades are weighted with their ECTS points) is required. Some universities (especially in the USA) require additional higher grades or language certificates. The Bachelor’s degree must be from the ETH Zurich. Exceptions are possible for students from the EPFL or the University of Zurich. Another exception to this rule is if you write your Master’s thesis abroad.

When can I do an exchange semester?

In principle, an exchange semester or year can be done in the last year of the Bachelor’s degree or during the Master’s degree. In the Bachelor’s programme, this usually leads to the prolonging of your studies. A maximum of one third of credit points can be earned at another university, i.e. 60 in the Bachelor’s degree and 40 in the Master’s degree. This means you cannot do both the Master’s thesis and an exchange semester abroad. In the case of collisions between the semester dates and the ETH session examinations, written session examinations cannot be preponed or postponed. These must be taken abroad at the same time as they are written at the ETH.

Where can I go?

An overview of all universities that have an agreement with the ETH Zurich can be found here: You must select the lectures you attend yourself and then discuss them with the mobility consultant. Finally, the proposal must be approved by the study coordinator (the Mobility Advisor will do this for you).

How to proceed?

You should start planning the exchange 1 to 1.5 years in advance (e.g. mid-October in the autumn semester for the semester after next). The various programmes each have their own application deadlines. Further information about the whole process can be found here: Requirements and preparations for an exchange. Reports from other students can be found here: Student exchange reports. It is best to contact the department’s mobility advisor (Prof. Walde) as early as possible, as an exchange is always a very individual matter.


Students who participate in a worldwide exchange programme generally receive a mobility grant of CHF 1000 to 2000 per semester from the ETH Zurich Mobility Office. Applications for travel cost contributions must be submitted to the Scholarship Service before the start of the exchange. As a rule, 2/3 of the travel expenses are paid. Other scholarships will generally be continued if the duration of study is not extended by the exchange.


An internship abroad

General information

An industrial internship is part of the materials science bachelor’s programme and must be organized by the students themselves. Our Job Pinboard regularly publishes advertisements for internships. The internship must last at least 12 weeks long and should be related to the field of material science. It can be subdivided, whereby a block must be at least 6 weeks long. Whether or not an internship can be credited towards your studies will be decided by the study coordinator. In any case, consult with her before definite acceptance.


IAESTE is an organisation that arranges paid internships abroad. Most internships are published at the beginning of February. You can apply for the remaining positions all year round. The internships are usually offered in summer and usually last 2-3 months. The prerequisite is that you have completed the 4th semester of the Bachelor’s programme. In November, there’s usually an information event, which is recommended. The main application phase is from the beginning of February to the end of February. However, new positions which you can apply for are advertised throughout the year.


Purpose of the programme

In addition to the regular Master’s programme, the participants of the UNITECH exchange gain an insight into the world of management. During the programme, participants gain valuable experience abroad and establish valuable contacts with international students and companies.

  • Contact to partner companies.
  • The ALUMNI network has its advantages.
  • A total of at least 7 months experience abroad
  • Internal training in management and business.

The UNITECH programme includes:

  • An exchange semester at one of eight partner universities.
  • An internship at least 12 weeks long in one of the 16 partner companies. The internship should be completed abroad.
  • At least 20 credit points must be collected in the area of management.
  • Three training modules, each taking place in any European city.

Application and date

The UNITECH programme is best carried out in the first Master’s year. Exceptions are rarely possible. Applications are therefore always open to ETH students who are about to start their Master’s programme. The application should be sent in November. There is no minimum grade average, but a two-stage selection procedure (see link Application).



Summerschools are educational events on different topics and for different target groups, mostly at universities all over the world. As the name suggests, they take place during the semester break. They serve further academic and private education without offering a degree. A summer school usually lasts a few weeks and is generally subject to a fee. Various offers can be found the their homepage.