The 2020 Fall Semester at the University of Zurich is about to begin, under rather different circumstances than usual. Teaching will resume on 14 September, but due to the coronavirus pandemic only some classes will be held on-site, with others delivered remotely via digital means. Approximately 28,100 students (in 2019, 27,350 including MAS) will attend lectures, seminars, practical courses and classes either on-site and in-person, or via live streams, podcasts or video conferencing. “The protection of students and staff is our top priority. We have therefore deliberately chosen a mix of on-site and online teaching. Face-to-face contact between students and teachers is important. At the same time, however, we are ensuring that those whose health is at risk can also participate,” says new UZH President Michael Schaepman, explaining the hybrid choice.
By the beginning of September, around 3,990 people had newly matriculated for a Bachelor’s degree at UZH – 475 more than last year. According to provisional figures (as of 7 September 2020), there are somewhat fewer new matriculations at Bachelor’s level than had been expected back in April. “In total, an increase in student numbers at all levels is to be expected,” predicts Schaepman.
More women, same number of foreign students
The biggest increase in student numbers is at Master’s level. In the Fall Semester of 2020 there will be around 6,950 Master’s students (in 2019: 6,450) – an increase of around 8 percent on the previous year. This could be because in the current climate many people would rather continue studying and put off entering the job market until after their Master’s. The number of doctoral candidates, on the other hand, has fallen slightly. While last year 5,506 people pursued doctoral studies, this semester it is around 5,290. It is likely that international travel restrictions and delays in issuing residence permits has played a significant role here.
The number of foreign students enrolled at UZH remains roughly the same as in 2019, at around 20 percent. Most are from Germany, followed by Italy, China, Austria and Russia. The proportion of female students has risen again slightly, with women making up 58.6 percent of the student body (in 2019: 57.8%). For example, more women have matriculated in the Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics and in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences than last year.
More psychologists and IT specialists
In the specific subject areas, psychology, human medicine, law, biomedicine, informatics, business administration and biology have seen the biggest rise. The growth in student numbers holds true across most of the faculties: The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences continues to be the biggest faculty, with around 10,530 students, followed by the Faculty of Science (around 4,700 students), the Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics (around 4,060 students) and the Faculty of Medicine (around 4,030 students). Approximately 3,730 people are enrolled at the Faculty of Law, 740 at the Vetsuisse Faculty, and 310 at the Faculty of Theology.
The 2020 Fall Semester at UZH
The use of classroom or online teaching will be determined by the faculties or the individual study programs according to their requirements and the available teaching rooms. The following general principles apply:
Teaching: On-site classes and lectures at UZH can also be completed remotely – the teaching materials will be accessible online. Certain courses, in particular those for students who are further ahead in their studies, will take place solely online. Practical skills training in laboratory or clinical courses will take place on-site. If it is not possible to maintain safe distances between participants, face masks must be worn.
Classrooms: In lecture halls and classrooms the 1.5-meter distance rule applies. Depending on the room, desks are placed further apart or the number of seats per row is reduced. The seats which may be occupied will be clearly marked. Disinfectant dispensers and wipes will be provided at the entrance of each room so that students can clean their desks/seats according to their individual requirements.
Masks obligatory: In addition to the distancing and hygiene measures, face masks must be worn in public indoor areas at the University of Zurich. This applies for example in corridors, atriums, restrooms and when moving from A to B. In classrooms, people must wear masks when they make their way to their seats and as they make their way out of the room. They can remove their masks when they reach their desk or laboratory workstation, when they take their seat in a lecture hall or classroom, or when they sit down in the Lichthof or cafeteria. Of course, they may always keep the mask on if preferred. In outdoor areas around UZH, masks are not obligatory provided safe distances can be maintained.