University of Lucerne

Situated on the edge of Lake Lucerne, the University of Lucerne (UniLu) is the only university in the central Swiss region, making it an attractive choice for both local and international students wanting to spend their time in the picturesque mountains that surround the lake.

The University of Lucerne is also the youngest and smallest university in Switzerland; it has roots in education since the 1600s, but was formally established in the late-20th century. In spite of this short timeframe, UniLu has effectively streamlined its academic focus into three faculties (humanities/social sciences, law, and theology), and supported its approximately 3,000 students by combining elements from each faculty to provide a highly personalized, interdisciplinary study experience.

Key information


English, German


Fall, Winter, Academic year

Program type


Application information

Application status



20-21 applications

First come, first considered for remaining spaces until full or:

Mar. 15 (Fall, full year)

Sep. 25 (Winter)

University-specific additional requirements

One academic reference required - see the Eligibility section below.

21-22 applications

Opens Nov. 1 2020

Program details

Areas of Study: UniLu offers English-taught graduate-level courses for 4th year or Law students in Business, Economics, Health Sciences, Law, and Political Science, with a few offerings in Sociology. The selection of courses available in English is available here. Faculty of Law students accepted to this university can also be awarded a new "Certificate in Global Legal Studies: International Economic Law, Human Rights and Sustainability" on the completion of 25 ECTS or greater, and passing marks or greater in all courses. 

Other programs offered in German include but aren't limited to: Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Economics, History, Jewish Studies, Law, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, Social & Communication Science, and Sociology.

Course requirements:
In Europe, full-time course load is typically 30 ECTS (European credits), and exchange students are typically expected to take 24-30 credits per semester. Note: 6 ECTS = 3 UCalgary units (1 half-course). 
The amount of credits each course is worth corresponds to the workload/contact hours, and can vary from 1-30 ECTS per course, so please be mindful of this in your selection.

Lucerne's academic year is divided into 2 semesters: 

  • "Fall semester" runs from mid-September to late December/early January - Some Fall courses vary in length and may have final exams in December or January. An exception is made for UCalgary Law students, who will be able to write exams in the last week of classes in December. For other students, full academic year or Spring semester studies are recommended. 
  • "Spring semester" runs from mid-February to late June. 
  1. Costs

    Exchange students pay their tuition and academic fees to the University of Calgary. Other expenses are paid directly to the service provider. 

    It is recommended that students budget around CHF 1700-1800 per month to pay for accommodation and living expenses.

    UniLu has provided the following monthly guidelines:
    Housing - CHF 600
    Utilities - CHF 200 
    Swiss Health insurance (mandatory) - CHF 250
    Other Health insurance (mandatory) - (est. CAD $50-100/month)
    Food - CHF 400 
    Laundry, transportation, etc. - CHF 300 

    Important Note: The Swiss Federal Act on Insurance Contracts (KVG) strictly stipulates a complete insurance coverage for health and accident insurance for anyone studying in Switzerland. This is mandatory and all exchange students are thus required to take out an insurance policy in Switzerland, however this policy only covers you in Switzerland, so additional coverage will be necessary for visits to other countries. The Mobility Office will give you further information during your registration at the University of Lucerne.

    Please note that insurance policies and travel insurance purchased in Canada will NOT be accepted by the authorities for study in Switzerland, so the Swiss Health insurance (for all students) and Swiss Private liability insurance (for UniLu residents) are required.  

    Lucerne cost comparison vs. Calgary: Click Here

  2. Funding

    Did you know that you can take your UCalgary funding with you on exchange?  
    Since you remain a degree seeking student at UCalgary while on exchange you remain eligible for any 
    awards and scholarships you are eligible to receive from the university as well as student loans.

    Our office administers the International Study Travel Grant for students travelling on approved UCalgary study programs that are credit bearing. The amount changes year to year as the money is split evenly between qualified applicants. Students may only receive the study travel grant once. Please see the exchange funding page for more information.

Exchange students to UniLu are not guaranteed housing. The university has very limited housing available, however, there are many options for living off-campus. Accepted students will be contacted by UniLu with more details about how to find housing. Students should expect to pay in the range of CHF 600 for rent per month. Additional information can be found online (in German only).

Please note that Swiss Private liability insurance is required for any accommodation through UniLu, and can be purchased upon arrival through instructions provided by the Mobility Office at Lucerne.  

This exchange is open to regular, full-time students in any faculty at the University of Calgary, who have completed at least 1 full year (10 courses) at the post-secondary level, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 (B-).

An academic reference is required for a complete application.

Do I have to speak German?

Although most courses are taught in German, UniLu offers a variety of courses in English, so advanced German language skills are not required to participate in this exchange. Students with little or no knowledge of German can participate in Lucerne's "Pre-Semester Intensive German for Beginners" course. During the semester, additional language classes are offered at a reduced rate. More information can be found online.

What's special about Lucerne? 

Although UniLu is the smallest university in Switzerland, Lucerne itself is the most populous city, with over 75,000 living in the lakeside community. However, Lucerne is less expensive than other major Swiss cities. Highlights of Lucerne include scenic views overlooking the ice-capped Alps, the wooden Chapel Bridge constructed in the 14th century, the annual Carnival where thousands assemble for a fantastically-costumed parade to dance away the winter, and the Lucerne Railway Station, a major station in Switzerland from which one can travel almost anywhere in Europe.

What resources are available to new students?

UniLu coordinates a Mentor Programme, which pairs exchange students with local students to help their integration into Swiss life and encourage intercultural relations.

What supports or services are available at Lund?

UniLu's Equality Office provides comprehensive support to students with disabilities. For information on accessibility of campuses across Europe, ESN has created "MappEd!" which allows you to check the accessibility of universities and cities across Europe. For city-specific services and places in Europe, the Jaccede interactive platform (website and/or smartphone app - both Android and iOS) also provides a searchable user-built database to identify important accessibility information of public places and locations.

Have questions?

Study Abroad 101

Please watch this YouTube playlist before reaching out or booking an appointment.

Watch Study Abroad 101

Academic Advising

Before applying to study abroad, you should ask your academic advisor how an exchange might align with your degree (e.g. best time to go, what courses you need).

After you are accepted, you should ask your academic advisor more specific questions about courses/transfer credits. It’s also recommended to follow up with your advisor again once you return to Calgary.

Find your academic advisor

Study Abroad Advising

If you have questions about this exchange program, you can meet with the specific advisor for this program by booking an appointment through the link below. Appointments are currently on zoom.

1. Select “Book an Appointment”
2. Select “Study Abroad Appointments”
3. Select “Book by Appointment Type”
4. Read through the list of appointment types to select the most appropriate type and view available times.

Book an appointment

The exchange advisor for this program is: Saskia Schaelicke

How to Apply

Download the application guide

This PDF contains information on how to complete your application and what to do after you have applied.

Application guide

Identify three programs of interest

We recommend applying for your top three programs for the priority application deadline, as placement may be competitive. We will assess your applications in ranked order.

Check requirements and deadlines

These may vary by program, so check the individual program pages and make sure that you are aware of any different application deadlines or eligibility requirements.

Start your application

Once you have gathered everything you need, you can begin your application!

Please note: Applications will not be considered complete until all required documents are submitted in full.


International travel presents challenges that may not be found when attending classes on campus. There may be a lack of resources, emergency services, hospitals, accessibility issues and/or demands on the physical and the mental self, all of which can challenge individuals when away from their usual support systems and structures. Adequate preparation is essential.

For this reason, it is imperative that you evaluate all aspects of your own physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual condition against the rigors of the particular study abroad program you are selecting. If you are unsure of whether or not this program is a good fit for you and/or if you have any circumstances that could impede your enjoyment of the program, please contact us. Our Study Abroad Team will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.

Please note if you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Study Abroad Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.