General education: definition

Foreign secondary studies diplomas must be deemed to correspond substantially to the Swiss Maturity Certificate, the diploma of completion of secondary studies that grants access to university studies in Switzerland.

To determine equivalency, the University of Geneva bases its decisions on the Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region("Lisbon Convention"), the "CRUS Recommendations for the Assessment of Foreign Upper Secondary School-Leaving Certificates, 7 September 2007", and the work of the Swissuniversities Commission d'admission et d'équivalences.

Therefore, the foreign secondary studies diploma must:

  • represent, in the country where it is awarded, the highest possible level of secondary or high-school studies
  • grant general access, in the country where it is awarded, to all faculties and types of university studies
  • be qualified as general education (in essence, literary or scientific), which means it includes the following six subjects:
    1. First language (native language)
    2. Second language
    3. Mathematics
    4. Natural sciences (biology, chemistry, physics)
    5. Humanities and social sciences (geography, history, economics/law)
    6. Elective (one subject from category 2, 4, or 5)

In principle, these subjects must have been studied during each of the last three (or four) years of upper secondary studies, and must represent at least the following percentages of time of study for specific subjects:

  • 30 to 40 % for languages,
  • 25 to 35% for mathematics and natural sciences,
  • 10 to 20% for humanities and social sciences.

In certain cases, to ensure better equivalency, UNIGE may stipulate requirements in addition to earning the diploma and its qualification as general education (subjects and percentages):

These requirements are specified in the general enrollment conditions during the simulation through the guide.

Additionally, foreign applicants may be asked to provide evidence that they have not been eliminated from another university or institution of higher education due to failing exams or any other reason.