FAQ for non French-speaking persons

In which language are courses taught?

As the university is located in the French-speaking region of Switzerland, the majority of the courses are taught in French. However, certain courses at post-graduate or Masters level are taught partially or completely in English.

Are any UNIL courses taught entirely in English?

Certain courses at Post-graduate or Masters level are taught partially or entirely in English, particularly in the faculty of HEC.

List of programmes taught in English at UNIL.

Is there an entrance exam to test one's competence in the French language?

Page of the university website states that a good level of French is required for admission to the University of Lausanne
A student whose mother tongue is not French, who has not obtained a Swiss Federal maturité (high school leaver's diploma), or any other equivalent Swiss qualification, but who has been granted exemption from the Fribourg exam, must pass an exam in French before completing matriculation for a Bachelor degree course, or during a preparatory year prior to admission to a Masters degree course. For cases where this requirement seems unnecessary, the final decision, without recourse, is taken by the Directors of the University.
A candidate who fails the French exam will not be granted admission to courses. The exam takes place before the beginning of university courses.

Are courses available at the UNIL in order to learn or perfect one's French?

The School of French as a Foreign Language (www.unil.ch/fle) offers, during the academic year, courses in French language, literature and civilisation, as well as training in language teaching. Beginners are not accepted. Therefore, as a minimum requirement, your French language skills must be good enough to allow you to take part in everyday conversation and to understand and write a variety of simple texts.

Organised every year during the University vacations in summer and winter, Le FIL – intensive French courses (www.unil.ch/lefil) offers courses in French language for non French-speaking students of different levels: complete beginner, beginner, intermediate and advanced. Student must be at least 17 years old on the first day of class. These courses are particularly recommended for non-French-speaking students intending to study at the UNIL. Fees for these courses are to be paid by the students themselves. Students registered at UNIL benefit from a 30% discount on the price of the chosen course(s).

The Programme Tandem (www.unil.ch/tandem), a simple yet efficient method for improving foreign language skills, is organised as follows: two people whose mother tongue is different agree to meet on a regular basis and teach each other their respective languages free of charge. The partners are completely autonomous since they decide where and how often they will meet, what form their meetings will take, and how they will correct each others' mistakes.

What requirements need to be satisfied in order to undertake a doctoral thesis at the UNIL?

Students wishing to undertake PhD studies must submit their application for formal approval by the Admissions Department. They must comply with the following requirements:

  • find a professor who will agree to act as thesis supervisor;
  • obtain official recognition of their university degree from the faculty where their research will take place.
Where can one obtain supplementary information?

For questions about enrolment procedures and application deadlines, consult the the website of the Admissions Department (information in French) or use email.

The website of the Office for International Relations and mobility has a list of partner universities with which Lausanne has concluded exchange agreements.

Once enrolled at the University, students should consult the website Students at UNIL where they will find a wealth of practical information. The sections "Exchange students" and "Foreign students" explain step by step how to find accommodation, arrange for health insurance etc.

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