Excellent Prospects

The University of Zurich is handing out Excellence Scholarships for the first time. The new program will help gifted UZH students to fund their studies at Master’s level. A total of 20 students will be supported in a three-year pilot project

Nathalie Huber; English translation by Philip Isler

Studierende an der UZH
Studierende an der UZH
Students at the University of Zurich can now apply for excellence scholarships. (Image: Ursula Meisser)

A new program has been added to the University of Zurich’s catalogue of scholarships and grants: In addition to social scholarships for financially disadvantaged students and mobility scholarships that promote stays abroad, UZH is now also introducing scholarships aimed at outstanding students who have completed their Bachelor’s degree and want to pursue a Master’s degree at UZH.

The first of these scholarships will be awarded in the upcoming Fall Semester. The program will initially be run as a pilot project for three years and will only be open to UZH students. In total, 20 aspiring Master’s students from across all seven of UZH’s faculties will benefit from the new program, with each receiving CHF 10,000 per semester. Depending on the duration of the Master’s degree program, the scholarships can amount to up to CHF 40,000.

Full focus on studying

With this financial support, scholarship recipients will be able to focus fully on their studies. “We want to support gifted students who are exceptionally committed to studying”, says Gabriele Siegert, Deputy President and Vice President Education and Student Affairs.

Support for talented students is a part of UZH’s mission statement. “By introducing Excellence Scholarships, we are now living up to this goal, specifically at the Master’s level,” adds Siegert. The new scholarships are intended to provide outstanding Bachelor’s students with extra motivation to continue their studies at UZH.  

The program also gives UZH an additional tool to reward students who have shown a particular commitment to their studies and research. UZH currently honors outstanding academic achievements primarily through its prizes and awards, e.g. semester and annual awards. 

Looking beyond grades 

Students who apply for an Excellence Scholarship must be able to present exceptionally good grades. And yet, the scholarships are about more than excellent academic achievement.

Students applying for a scholarship have to demonstrate that they are ambitious and talented enough to go on to achieve extraordinary things inside or outside of academia. To support their application, applicants will be asked to name projects with relevance for society that they would tackle if they had the required resources. “We want to reach students who, broadly speaking, want to do something for society – including those who want to pursue a career in academia and those who favor non-academic careers,” says Siegert.

Drawing lots

Last but not least, successful applicants will also have to show some originality and individuality. Scholarship recipients will be drawn from among all applications that fit the criteria. “We’ve had very good experience with this procedure when deciding between applications of equal merit,” says Siegert.


Excellence scholarships are aimed at highly talented students, regardless of their financial situation. In total, 20 twenty scholarships will be handed out in a three-year pilot project. The first 10 will be given to students pursuing Master’s degree programs at the Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics, the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Science and the Vetsuisse Faculty from the Fall Semester 2022. Ten further scholarships will be awarded to prospective Master’s students at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the Faculty of Theology and the Faculty of Law from 2023.

Excellence Scholarships are financed through the University’s funding for grants and loans for UZH students as well as the Monique Dornonville de la Cour Foundation.

Nathalie Huber, Editor UZH News; English translation by Philip Isler