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Zurich University of the Arts

Department of Design / Department of Cultural Analysis

Switzerland Full Member Institution

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Mission Statement

On 1 August 2007 the University of Art and Design Zurich (HGKZ) and the Zurich School of Music, Drama and Dance (HMT) merged to become one of Europe’s largest universities of the arts: the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). Compromising more than 2000 students, the University offers a unique range of programmes from further education opportunities to undergraduate, postgraduate, and research degrees in design, film, art, media, music, dance, theatre, and art education. Our mission is to be at the forefront of learning, research, and practice. While anchored in Greater Zurich, our influence extends well beyond Switzerland to the international stage. Closely aligning teaching and research, our programmes are designed to promote transdisciplinary work. We provide a bridge between higher education, professional practice, and the general public by showcasing the achievements of our staff and students in the University’s own exhibition spaces, theatre, dance and concert halls, including the renowned Zurich Museum of Design and the newly established Theatre of the Arts (formerly the Sihl Theatre). We thus make a significant contribution to cultural life in the city and region of Zurich.

International Role

Zurich University of the Arts maintains numerous international partnerships, and engages with a range of networks and selected international organizations. An interest in the “foreign”, experience of the “other”, reflecting on one's own person, and, where possible, the evolution of something new in a “third space” that is shared – all this forms the basis for a diverse range of programmes and projects.

An awareness of globalization and of being globally connected is essential for all people at ZHdK. The objective of the Internationalization Strategy at ZHdK is to strengthen the position of ZHdK graduates for increasingly globalized professions and labour markets. This strategy targets not only international contexts, but also a Switzerland that has been internationalized as a result of migration. Accordingly, core tasks of internationalization involve a critical consideration of globalization models, and the role played by the arts and design in this. Likewise, a priority is to impart sensitive intercultural and cross-cultural practices, and an informed treatment of social, economic and political asymmetries. Lastly, students acquire an in-depth knowledge of the various methods for exchange and collaborative models.

Students, teachers and researchers at ZHdK are all free to participate in exchange programmes, collaborative projects such as “arts for change” and “Connecting Spaces”, and also international networks and research communities. Findings from these activities are then integrated into the cyclical international learning process.

National Role

Biggest Art School in Switzerland, part of the cultural live of Zurich and its surroundings. Lots of co-operation projects with the other institutions of higher education (different Universities), with the Swiss Institut of Federal Politechnics, with business partners (most in design) and industries. Project in the field of the education and the research.

Main Focus

BA and MA Programs in

Design, Art Education, Fine Arts, Drama, Film, Music and Dance

Faculties and Departments

  • Department of Cultural Analysis
  • Department of Design
  • Department of Fine Arts
  • Department of Music
  • Department of Performing Arts and Film

Bachelor Level Programs

  • Bachelor of Arts in Art and Design Education
  • Bachelor of Arts in Dance
  • Bachelor of Arts in Design
  • Bachelor of Arts in Film
  • Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts
  • Bachelor of Arts in Music
  • Bachelor of Arts in Music and Movement
  • Bachelor of Arts in Scenography
  • Bachelor of Arts in Theatre

Master Level Programs

  • Master of Arts in Art Education
  • Master of Arts in Design
  • Master of Arts in Fine Arts
  • Master of Arts in Music Education
  • Master of Arts in Music Performance
  • Master of Arts in Specialized Music Performance
  • Master of Arts in Composition/Theory
  • Master of Arts in Theatre

Research Activity and Main Areas

Department of Performing Arts and Film: Institute for the Performing Arts and Film

Department of Design: Institute of Design Research

Department of Cultural Analysis: Institute for Art Education, Institute for Cultural Studies in the Arts, Institute for Theory, Transdisciplinarity

Department of Fine Arts: Institute for Contemporary Arts Research,

Department of Music: Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology; Music Interpretation

Subject Areas for Exchange Students

An exchange-term is possible in any department. Please check the following link for more information: https://www.zhdk.ch/en/international/student-exchange-incoming-656

Application Deadlines

Application deadline for all departments:

  • For the following autumn semester: April 1st
  • For the following spring semester: October 1st


  • ZHdK is working with Mobility Online 
    Nominations and applications for the autumn semester 2022/23, with application deadline on 1 April 2022, must be submitted exclusively via the online tool of Mobility Online.
    Link for nominations: https://www.zhdk.ch/en/international/student-exchange-incoming-656


Teaching Languages

German, but English speaking students are accepted

Semester Dates

Autumn term: September till January

Spring term: February till June

Cost of Living Per Month (Studying and Living)

At least CHF 1'500-2'000 per month


Bachelor: 1150
Master: 880
Doctorate: 20

Exchange Students

Incoming: 70
Outgoing: 70

Teaching Staff

Professors: 110
Lectures: 170

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