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Getting Admission despite low Eth Zurich Acceptance Rate

Updated on 09 November, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

ETH Zurich (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich) is the embodiment of a rich and proud history that represents freedom, open-mindedness, and entrepreneurial spirit. Since its inception in 1855, the public research university has been a pinnacle in providing innovative solutions to the world. The educational institution has remained a vital driving force behind Swiss industrialization for over a century. 

Placed among the serene landscape of Zurich city in Switzerland, the state-of-the-art university has always attracted foreign talents. As one of the top national educational facilities of international standard, it hosts a highly futuristic infrastructure. However, the ETH Zurich acceptance rate is not too high due to the strict ETH Zurich admissions requirements. 

ETH Zurich has two main campuses, Honggerberg and Zentrum, along with a few others in different locations in Zurich. It is home to 24,534 students from around 120 countries. Among these, 33.3% of candidates are female, and 37% are international students. The university also forms alliances with various prestigious international universities, such as: 

  • GULF – Global University Leaders Forum
  • IARU – International Alliance of Research Universities
  • IDEA League
  • ISCN – International Sustainable Campus Network
  • UNITECH International

University rankings

ETH Zurich has consistently maintained its standing as one of the top-ranking global universities. Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Ranking 2023 has placed it at number 9 among the top universities. According to the World University Ranking by Time Higher Education,  ETH Zurich stood in the 15th position in 2022. In the same ranking system, the university stood at number 18th in its World Reputation Rankings 2021. ETH Zurich also received the top ten QS rankings in 15 different disciplines in 2020 and took sixth place in the world ranking. 

ETH Zurich acceptance rate (General)

Despite having an impressive number of applications per degree and Master’s program each year, ETH Zurich maintains a high prerequisite for admission. Although the university has increased the number of new students it accepts, the ratio of new foreign students still remains small. There were just 11.7% new acceptances in 2016, only 0.8% more than the previous year. 

Currently, the ETH Zurich acceptance rate for international students remains about 35% of the total students. In an attempt to attract more global talents, the university has opened its arms with various Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral level programs. Due to this, since 2007, there has been an 83% increase in the overall student number. 

To handle this increased ETH Zurich acceptance rate, there are 500 professors and an additional 260 senior scientists collaborating together. Overall, the university has 6,612 scientific and 3,106 technical and administrative staff. 

Undergraduate acceptance rate

Among the 24,500 students of ETH Zurich, about 8,600 students enrolled in various programs in 2021. Among these, ETH accepted 3,724 students under its Bachelor’s degree programs. 

Admission eligibility criteria

ETH does not mention any specific scores of GPA to be eligible for its Bachelor’s or Master’s program. Instead, the organization has a different standard of selection. Also, having excellent grades in the Bachelor’s courses is always a bonus for getting admission. 

Holders of Bachelor of applied sciences can directly apply for the Master’s degree courses. The only condition is that they must be alumni of any Austrian, German, or Swiss university and fulfill the ETH Zurich admissions requirements.

In general, the ETH Zurich admission criteria for a Master’s program in Computer Science are:

  • The applicant must hold a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or related fields, such as Mechanical or Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, or Physics
  • They must have a solid theoretical background in Mathematics and Computer Science. 

For applying with Non-Computer Science Degrees:

  • The candidates have to be graduates from the fields of Physics, Mathematics, Electrical or Mechanical Engineering.

To apply with a Bachelor’s degree from the Swiss University of Applied Sciences (FH): 

  • Applicants must complete a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science with a certificate issued by FH and an average grade of 5.0 (or equivalent).
  • Having skills in the form of additional studies with a minimum credit score of 47 is preferable. 

Students who have not received a Bachelor’s degree from any of the EU -27/ EFTA member states must appear for the GRE General Test. The GRE score is a mandatory part of the ETH Zurich admissions requirements and will play a significant role in the acceptance of your application. 

Documents required

ETH Zurich admission criteria include specific document submissions from the applicants, which is a norm for educational institutions. So, to successfully apply to the university, make sure to submit the following certificates and transcripts: 

  • Chronological Curriculum Vitae (CV) with no biographical gaps in education and work experience (tabular resume with high-school details at the top of the application) 
  • Matriculation certificates, such as GCE, IB, or High School Diploma or proof of Secondary Education 
  • Official transcripts from the university you attended (such as exchange programs, incomplete programs, or double degree programs) 
  • An enrolment confirmation for undergoing courses at your residential university and duration of the study 
  • Certified copy of your academic degrees (like Bachelor’s Diploma)
  • The official confirmation of graduation from the respective university for candidates whose diploma is yet to be issued 
  • Diploma supplements / HEAR report  (Higher Education Achievement Report) 
  • Different language certificates, as mentioned in the language of instruction and language requirement sections 
  • A copy of your passport with at least six months of validity (for non-EU/EFTA citizens)
  • A copy of the front and back of any valid ID or passport (for EU/EFTA citizens) 
  • A filled-out declaration of the consent form
  • Some additional documents for applying for the Master’s degree programs  

The admission process at ETH Zurich involves many hurdles, like online recruitment tests and face-to-face video interviews for admission. Once you fulfill all the essential ETH Zurich admission criteria and submit satisfactory documents, these processes can begin. 

Tests required/Average scores

If you have been wondering “how to get admission in ETH Zurich,” then you must be well-prepared to fulfill all requirements. This includes having an excellent academic score/credit score/ GPA/ GRE score, etc. 

ETH Zurich does not put too much importance on GPAs, but having a good grade doesn’t hurt. Take a look at some of the minimum ETH Zurich admissions requirements: 

  • A C1 German language certificate not older than two years, or a Goethe certificate C2 not more aged than five years 
  • A minimum overall band score of 7 in IELTS Academic/ IELTS Indicator
  • At least a score of 100 in TOEFL iBT 
  • Grade B in C1 Advanced English (CAE)
  • Grade C in C2 Proficiency English (CPE)
  • At least 180 ECTS credits for students from a renowned university in Switzerland, Germany, or Austria 
  • An overall grade not below five according to the Swiss grading system for students of a Swiss University 
  • A “very good” (gut bestanden) final result in the Bachelor’s program for students of Austrian or German university 

Popular courses

ETH Zurich boasts of some of the best educational disciplines in the world, with Earth and Marine Sciences as its highest-ranked course. Below are some of the most popularly pursued courses at the university: 

In addition, ETH Zurich also teaches Economics and Law at its Center for Law and Economics. There is also the availability of an Executive MBA course at the institution.  

How the university evaluates applicants

According to the ETH Zurich admissions requirements, the university promotes academic brilliance beyond boundaries. The institution realizes the diverse and countless options the international educational landscape can provide. 

This is why they emphasize admitting candidates to their Master’s degree programs who have a relevant idea of the subject at comparable levels. Also, excellent academic achievements are always a boon for getting selected. 

The application, once submitted, is filtered by the Admissions Office and a dedicated Admissions Committee. Afterward, the committee sends you a written admission decision that you can download on eApply. Candidates are usually informed about the final decision within two to three months of submission. 

Tips for applying to university

The secret to getting admission to the ETH Zurich university is to set yourself apart from the crowd. Here’s how to do it: 

  • Provide best scores: Scores may not be the decisive factor, but having a good one sure helps. 
  • Be an early applicant: Early submission of an application not only increases your chances but also prevents mistakes. 
  • Avoid submitting fake documents: ETH can cancel your application based on misleading information, so be very careful. 
  • Develop knowledge of German and English: Improve your knowledge of the German language along with getting the C1/C2 certification. Also, brush up on your English. 

Application deadlines

Below you will find detailed information about the application deadlines at ETH: 

  • Bachelor’s degree programs: 30th April CET 
  • Bachelor’s programs in Human Medicine: 15th February
  • Master’s degree programs: 15th December 

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

Mrinal Mandal is a study abroad expert with a passion for guiding students towards their international education goals. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering, earned in 2018. Since 2021, Mrinal has been working with upGrad Abroad, where he assists aspiring students in realizing their dreams of studying abroad. With his expertise and dedication, he empowers individuals to navigate the complexities of international education, making their aspirations a reality.

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