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Academic information for exchange students

Teaching language

  • French
  • English for some Master's programmes
  • Language and literature courses usually taught in the target language

Required language skills

Two online platforms are available and offer

  • To test your level of French while discovering Lausanne and its region:
  • To learn some basic French in relation to various situations you will be faced with:

Academic calendar

  • Autumn semester: mid-September to end January
  • Spring semester: mid-February to end June

Detailed academic calendar

Fields of studies at the UNIL

  • Arts
  • Biology and Medicine
  • Business and Economics
  • Geosciences and Environment
  • French as a foreign language
  • Law and Criminal Justice
  • Social and Political Sciences (incl. Psychology and Sports Science)
  • Theology and Religious Studies

Course offer for exchange students

During your stay at the UNIL, you may:

  • Attend regular courses taught in French
  • Attend regular courses taught in English (master level: Business, Economics, Biology; bachelor and master levels: English Literature);
  • Study French full-time during the academic year and/or the summer or winter break;
  • Study French part-time and attend regular courses taught in French or English.

A list of courses taught in English is available in the "Course search" link below (select "English" in the "Teaching language" menu).

Important restrictions

Undergraduate vs. graduate courses

In the Faculty of Business and Economics, and in the School of Biology, master's level courses are open to graduate students only. If a prospective undergraduate exchange student can show proof of minimum 3 years of specialised studies in the field chosen for the exchange at the UNIL, admission may be granted.

In the Faculty of Business and Economics, students cannot take courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels. They must take courses in one level only.

Credits for courses which are part of a module

Some faculties group courses into modules, and credits are allocated to the module.

  • Faculty of Arts: Exchange students can take part of the courses belonging to a module and get credits for each course.
  • School of Biology: Students have to take all the courses belonging to a module if they want to get credits.
  • For other faculties and schools, contact us!

Restricted courses

The courses offered in the following programmes are not open to exchange students, unless a specific agreement exists (please check with the Study Abroad Office of your home university):

  • Courses of the School of Medicine
  • Courses of the School of Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Accounting, Control and Finance
  • Executive programmes (MBA, EMBA, Master of Advanced Studies, etc.)

Credits and grades


ECTS credits are used at the UNIL. 60 ECTS credits represent one year of full-time study. Credits linked to a teaching unit (course, module) are awarded only if the student obtains a pass at the evaluation of the unit (examination, written assignement, continuous assessment, etc.). There is no requirement regarding the amount of credits to be taken by exchange students. However, we do not recommend taking more than 30 ECTS credits per semester.


The grading scheme ranges from 0 to 6.
6 is the highest grade and 4 the minimum pass mark.

6 excellent
5.5 very good
5 good
4.5 satisfactory
4 pass
3.5 fail
3 poor
2.5 very poor
2 extremely poor
1.5 almost no performance
1 no performance
0 Absence without good cause, cheating or attempt to cheat


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