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University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland

University of Geneva

The University

450 years of intellectual endeavour

Founded in 1559 by Jean Calvin, the University of Geneva (UNIGE) is dedicated to thinking, teaching, dialogue and research. The university is composed of nine faculties: science, medicine, humanities, social sciences, economics and management, psychology and educational sciences, law, theology, and translation and interpreting. It also includes thirteen interfaculty centres and institutes, such as the Institute for Environmental Sciences, the Geneva Neuroscience Center and the Swiss Center for Affective Sciences, among others.

It is the second largest university in Switzerland with about 17,000 students, of whom more than 40% are international students, enrolled in the various programs from the bachelor to the doctorate. A staff composed of some 5,000 persons (professors, lecturers and assistants) is dedicated to the transmission and advancement of scientific knowledge through teaching as well as fundamental and applied research. Moreover, the University of Geneva has been able to preserve the ancient European tradition of an academic community located in the heart of the city.

Our Quest for Excellence

Due to its high level standards in research and its many disciplines, the UNIGE is ranked among the best three generalist French-speaker universities and among the 150 best universities in 20’000 worldwide universities. Research projects cover more than one hundred topics, from exact sciences, natural and medical sciences to social sciences and humanities. Every year this leads to fruitful results such as 3'300 publications.

As a result of its history and its strategic choices, the UNIGE made possible a diversity of research areas to emerge in which the institution excels. Therefore, the UNIGE research strengths are life sciences (genetics, molecular and chemical biology, bioinformatics), physics and chemistry, astrophysics and also some specific fields in social sciences and humanities.
This is why it has been a member of the League of European Research Universities since 2002. As an example, UNIGE is host and co-host to six National Centres of Competence in Research: PlanetS, SwissMap, Chemical Biology, Affective Sciences, Synaptic Bases of Mental Diseases and LIVES-Overcoming vulnerabilities in a life course perspective.

UNIGE researchers are granted numerous prizes and distinctions each year. These last few years, 31 researchers from UNIGE were granted a European Research Council Grant, which is a prestigious grant given to top researchers. Recently three professors from UNIGE received very high distinctions. Professor Stanislav Smirnov was granted the Fields Medal which is considered as the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in mathematics, Professor Michel Mayor obtained the Vicktor Ambartsumian International Prize, one of the most important distinctions in the field of astrophysics, and Professor Antoine Bailly received the Vautrin Lud International Geography Prize, the highest award that can be gained in the field of geography. These performances show the ability of UNIGE to attract talented researchers.

Furthermore, the University of Geneva has strengthened its ties with many of the 300 international and non-governmental organizations located in Geneva. Its science faculty also collaborates closely with international research organizations like the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) whose first laboratories in 1954 were hosted by its Faculty of Sciences, the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), the European Southern Observatory (ESO) or the European Space Agency (ESA).

Photo: Université de Genève, Jacques Erard

Its participation in many Swiss and international research programs bears witness to the high esteem in which its researchers are held and such flagship scholarship is assuredly one of the reasons why student enrolment is on the rise.

Practical Information

Information about housing, visa & residence permit, insurance and other facilities can be found on the practical information page.