Bachelor: FAQ

Note: This texts on this page were originally prepared by the Fachverein Anglistik FAVA and have been adapted for the English Department website.

What Are ECTS Credits?

Students receive ECTS credits for passing modules.

Every ECTS credit is supposed to represent 30 hours of work at UZH. However - according to the Fachverein Anglistik FAVA - this often a very generous estimate and if the aim is to 'just pass' a module, one can sometimes manage to do so with much less work (though of course we do not recommend such a minimalist approach).

Students need 180 ECTS to complete a UZH Bachelor degree and 120 ECTS for a UZH Master degree.

A full-time student usually does 30 ECTS credits per semester. Some students finish their Bachelor degree after six semesters (6 x 30 ECTS = 180 ECTS), but most study for one or several semesters longer.

What Are Modules?

A module is basically a unit of teaching. It might consist of just a lecture, or it might be a lecture plus a seminar, like the English Department's introductory modules:

A module also includes the Leistungsnachweis (i.e. course assessment). Lecture courses are often assessed on the basis of written exams, but other modules may be assessed differently or feature a combination of Leistungsnachweise (e.g. a paper, an oral presentation, and a written exam).

What Is OLAT?

OLAT (Online Learning And Training) is where students can 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 prior to the respective session, others do it afterwards.

If an instructor's policy is unclear, or if they seem to have forgotten to upload their slides, it is best to contact them by email.

Please make sure to activate your OLAT account as soon as you have received your UZH shortname and password.

What Is a "Lecture," "Seminar," "Tutorial," etc.?

There a different types of courses at university, including:

  • lecture: mostly based on input by the instructor(s), with the students listening, taking notes, and asking questions; usually assessed with a written exam
  • seminar: an interactive type of course with some shorter inputs by the instructor(s), but mainly focusing on discussions, group work, and student input; usually assessed with a seminar paper, often combined with another type of assessment (e.g. oral presentation or learning portfolio)
  • colloquium: similar to a seminar, but more 'casual' (i.e. less time-consuming) and not usually assessed with a paper
  • exercise group (Übung): courses with a more narrow and practical focus (e.g. improving one's writing skills); assessed with exams and/or other types of assessments (e.g. short essays or a learning portfolio)
  • tutorial: classes taught by advanced students, usually in tandem with a lecture and/or seminar, to provide further support and input

What Do I Need to Book in My First Year?

The first year is quite simple.

  • For the Bachelor Major (120 ECTS), full-time students are strongly recommended to book all three compulsory modules.
  • For the Bachelor Minor (60 ECTS), full-time students are recommended to book all three compulsory modules, unless the recommended workload for their Major exceeds 15 ECTS in the first and/or second semester of their studies (in which case they may choose to postpone either IntroLing or TA).
  • Part-time students may want to consult the sample timetables for the Major and Minor for further suggestions.

If in doubt, you can contact the Advisor of Studies at englishstudies@es.uzh.ch.

All three introductory modules in English Literature and Linguistics take a whole year to complete, and they all start in the fall semester (the credits are always for the whole module, i.e. you do not get any ECTS for completing the first semester only).

As all three introductory modules are mandatory modules, there will always be some open slots in at least some of the seminar groups. However, when booking your modules you may still want to act fast because some of the seminar groups might clash with other modules that you need to attend (e.g. for your other study program).

Here are the introductory modules for Bachelor students of English:

Note: In the case of two-semester modules, one can only gain ECTS credits if one completes the entire module. In other words, it is not possible to finish half of the module and get half of the ECTS credits. Nevertheless, in terms of the workload, one should still count 50% of the ECTS credits toward the first semester and the remaining 50% toward the second.

What to Do If a Course Takes Place at the Same Time as Another?

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 mandatory lectures clash with one another, there is, unfortunately, nothing you can do. You will have to drop one of them and do it later. (You could try to visit one course in one week and the other course the next week, or try to keep up with uploaded slides only, but this is usually not a good idea - not least because exams are usually in the lecture time slot and you cannot write two exams at the same time.)

Try to check the lecture times as early on as possible. If only one of the modules that clash with each other is mandatory, it is generally best to prioritize that module. However, note that if it’s a seminar group that is part of a mandatory first-year module, you might be able to change into a different group.

It is worth checking the lecture times for the second semester as well, to avoid clashes between two-semester modules booked in the fall and modules that you may have to take in the spring (e.g. mandatory modules for your other study program).

Feel free to contact englishstudies@es.uzh.ch if you need any further advice regarding your timetable.

Where and When Do I Book Modules?

You can find more information on module booking in the corresponding subsection of the UZH English Department's website.

What and Where Are PLH and PET?

PLH (Plattenstrasse 47) is the building that houses the English Department's secretary's office as well as three of the four classrooms. The other building, PET (Pestalozzistrasse 50) houses the English Department library and one additional classroom.

You will probably have seminar courses in both PLH and PET. You can find a map in the About Us section. (Note: The big lectures usually take place in or near KOL, the UZH main building.)

You can find maps for all UZH buildings at www.plaene.uzh.ch.

What Happens If I Fail a Module?

If you fail a mandatory module too often (i.e. twice), you get a Fachsperre, which means that you can no longer graduate from any program in which this module is a mandatory requirement.

For the Bachelor programs in English, the mandatory modules are:

Note: The rule that one can only repeat the same module twice (i.e. one cannot book it again after having failed the same module twice) also applies to all other, non-mandatory modules. However, in these cases, one can usually substitute the module in question with another (i.e. there are other, equivalent modules available, which means one can still fulfill the program requirements).

If one keeps failing the same type of non-mandatory module over and over again, it is – in theory – possible to exhaust all options within a particular section of the study program. Specifically, this concerns the following three scenarios:

  1. one has failed too many of the advanced Bachelor Seminars in Linguistics twice;
  2. one has failed too many of the advanced Bachelor Seminars in Literature twice;
  3. one has failed both Writing Skills and Media Analysis: Focus and Writing Skills and Media Analysis: Explorations twice (only relevant for the Major).

Should this happen, one must immediately contact the Advisor of Studies at englishstudies@es.uzh.ch. (1 and 2 are rather unlikely scenarios; 3 is less unlikely.)

How Much Should I Work While Studying?

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 UZH's Psychological Counseling Services generally recommend only 20% of work if absolutely needed. (Of course, the amount of stress that your work causes not only depends on the number of hours, but also on the type of work and employer.)

Depending on your circumstances, you may also want to contact the Student Financial Aid Office.

How and Where Can I Go on Exchange?

If you'd like to go on an exchange for one or two semesters, the English Department offers many study abroad places.

Generally, the best time to go is sometime after your first year and before your last semester. Usually, there is an information meeting in the fall semester (around mid-October) detailing the many ways to gain international experience.

After the information meeting, you can apply for the following academic year (fall and/or spring semester). You will be invited to an interview and learn about the decision by c. February.

More information is available on the English Department website, in the Stay Abroad section.

Can I Start Studying in the Spring?

Normally, students begin their Bachelor studies in English Literature and Linguistics (Major and Minor) in the fall semester because the two-semester introductory modules in English Literature and Linguistics all start in the fall semester:

However, students who study English Literature and Linguistics as their Bachelor Major can also do some modules in the spring semester. Specifically, they can complete some of their elective requirements (e.g. elective lectures; cf. the detailed program requirements for the Bachelor Major).

In addition, there is a broad range of modules in the module group "Transferable Skills" that can also be taken to cover part of the elective component (max. 12 ECTS). For example, all the courses offered by the UZH's Language Center (Sprachenzentrum) are cross-linked into the "Transferable Skills" module group: https://www.sprachenzentrum.uzh.ch/en.html.

By contrast, students of the Bachelor Minor in English cannot start their studies in English in the spring semester because the Minor does not comprise an elective component. (It is, however, possible that they could complete some modules for their Major.)

How to Extended Deadlines / Postpone Exams & Presentations?

One can only postpone deadlines or extend exam/presentation dates in cases of force majeure. For more information, please consult the corresponding subsection of the UZH English Department's website.

What If I Have a Disability or Chronic Illness?

If you have a disability or a chronic illness, you are strongly recommended to get in touch with the UZH Disability Office.

In addition, we recommend that you read the information concerning Studies and Disabillity on the website of the UZH Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Can I Postpone My Military Service?

Information on applications to postpone one's military service is available on the website of the UZH Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

How Do I Organize the Bachelor Thesis?

You can find more information on the Bachelor Thesis in the module description.

How Can I Check If I've Completed the Program Requirements

You can use the information on the requirements for the Major and the Minor, including the PDF checklists provided there:

When and How Do I Register to Graduate

The administrative process for registering to graduate – including deadlines – is outlined on the website of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

How Can I Apply for the UZH Master Program in English?

The application process is outlined on the UZH website.

Information on the prerequisites is available on the website of the UZH English Department.

Important Note:

  • Students who (a) have completed a UZH Bachelor Major or Minor in English Literature and Linguistics, and (b) started their Bachelor studies in the fall semester 2019 or later (i.e. after the so-called Bologna 2020 reform) will automatically fulfill these requirements.
  • Each semester, UZH offers a Master Info Event.

Which Modules Are Available as Pre-Master's Modules?

Students enrolled in the UZH Bachelor program in English Literature and Linguistics may book pre-Master's modules. More information is available in the sub-section on pre-Master's modules.

How and When Can I Apply for the Lehrdiplom?

The application process (including deadlines) is outlined on the UZH website.

Information on the prerequisites is available on the website of the UZH English Department, in the Lehrdiplom section.

Further information is available on the website of the Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft.