Admission conditions for a Bachelor programme for candidates with a foreign secondary school diploma

Registration conditions for holders of a foreign diploma of secondary education

General rules for secondary education :

The list of foreign diplomas giving access to Bachelor studies is based upon the Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region no 165 (Lisbon Recognition Convention), recommendations of the Rectors’ Conference of the Swiss Universities "Recommandations du 11 novembre 2021 de swissuniversities pour l’évaluation des certificats de fin d’études secondaires étrangers", as well as on the decisions of the Commission on admission and credential evaluation of swissuniversities.

Unless otherwise specified, only diplomas of secondary education with a broad curriculum are recognised (essentially of the literature or science type), subject to certain requirements in relation to average mark and additional entrance exams.

Essentially the diploma must be the equivalent (in terms of hours and subjects) to a Swiss secondary school-leaving diploma ("maturité").

In particular it must :

- represent the highest level of secondary education in the country of issue, as a result of 12 years of study

- have been obtained at the end of an upper secondary education of at least 3 years
- have been delivered after a complete non shortened programme, in principle accomplished within a recognized school
- give a general access to all university faculties in the country of issue

- be issued by the government or, where relevant, by an institution recognised by the government and authorised to issue this type of diploma

If the conditions for enrolment are not met, enrolment is denied. In this case, admission is only possible after obtaining a university degree recognised by UNIL.
The simple fact that a qualification gives access to university studies in the country of issue does not necessarily authorise registration at UNIL.

Content of the education

The following criteria must be met cumulatively:

- the education at upper secondary level comprises at least 90% of general education subjects; this means subjects which cover content taught also in the core subjects, compulsory subjects, specific options and complementary options of the Swiss gymnasial maturity

- in the last three years of upper secondary education, at least six subjects independent of each other have been attended continuously according to the table below and correspond essentially to the various core subjects or compulsory subjects of the Swiss gymnasial maturity in terms of level of requirement, taught content and number of annual lessons:

1. First language
2. Second language
3. Mathematics
4. Experimental sciences (biology, chemistry or physics)
5. Human sciences (geography, history or economics/law)
6.Elective (one subject from among those in 2, 4, 5, or philosophy or computer science)

Philosophy and computer science can only be chosen as the 6th subject.

These six subjects must have been studied in each of the last three years of secondary education. The subject 6. Elective must have been studied in each of the last three years of secondary education in the same category of subjects (2, 4 or 5). For this 6th subject only, computer science is linked to subject 4 and philosophy to subject 5.

List of qualifications and requirements by country

The recognition of foreign diplomas of secondary education by the University of Lausanne is subject to particular conditions (particularly regarding the average mark and additional entrance exams). In case of doubt, candidates are responsible to provide all necessary documents establishing their eligibility.

List of qualifications and requirements by country

Further information is available here.

Additional exams

Where applicable, holders of foreign secondary education certificates must also pass the following additional examinations:

- Classification exam for candidates to EFLE
- French exam

The following qualifications are not recognised :

- professional, pedagogical, commercial, technical or teaching diplomas;

- vocational or specialised diplomas (construction, art, home economics, etc);

- diplomas for evening courses, correspondence courses or adult education courses, unless the candidate provides a certificate from the competent authority confirming that the conditions of access, the content and requirements of the programme and examinations and the rights conferred by the diploma are identical to those of the diploma obtained on completion of unabridged regular training at a recognised school;

- entrance exams to another Swiss or foreign university.

Courses followed in several education systems

Diplomas issued by combining study periods in several upper secondary education systems are recognised only if the last three years have been successfully followed at upper secondary level. These years have to correspond with the last three years of the respective systems.

Certificate of university admission

If, in addition to the diploma of secondary school, a certificate of university admission is required, it must:

- be a study place in a bachelor programme in the same orientation as that chosen at UNIL

- be provided by a recognised university of the country where the diploma of secondary school was granted

For EFLE programmes, the attestation may relate to another orientation. In all cases, however, it must relate to an orientation and a programme recognised by UNIL.

If the present regulation authorises a change of orientation, the certificate of university admission must in all cases be in an orientation and a programme recognised by UNIL.

Certificates delivered for distance studies are not accepted.

General rules for university studies

If university studies are required for admission to a Bachelor's degree, only university programmes comparable to those existing in Switzerland and undertaken at universities recognised by UNIL are accepted. The studies must take place in the country where the diploma of secondary education was granted. The total number of credits gained and courses taken within the bachelor programme or the university degree deemed equivalent by the Rectorate, must have been achieved at a university recognized by the Rectorate of the University of Lausanne. 

The following programmes in particular are not recognised :

- University programmes with a lesser duration than those of Swiss universities, as well as those including more than 15 credits ECTS out of a total of 180 (or equivalent) for internships

- Technological or vocational university courses

candidates who have already studied at a university without obtaining a degree may find their application subject to restrictions.

The required diploma does not automatically give entitlement to registration, which is accorded only after examination of the application.



Online enrolment and preparation of your application
Access to the online enrolment and the list of the documents you have to provide.

Do not forget to take note of all the information mentioned in the next tab.






the French version of the registration conditions prevails