Definition of general education

As a rule, a foreign certificate of upper secondary studies must be essentially equivalent to a Swiss Maturity Certificate, regarding branches of study, hours, and overall length of studies. 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
" (in French), 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 university studies
  • have been earned through an unabridged course of study, in most cases carried out within an educational institution
  • cover ancient languages, modern languages, mathematics, natural sciences, or human and social sciences
  • have been issued by the State, or, if not, by an institution recognized by the State and duly authorized to issue this type of diploma
  • exhibit characteristics of general education.

An upper secondary school-leaving certificate is considered general education if it covers six branches of study that are followed, as a rule, during each of the three final years of upper secondary studies, as indicated in the list below:

  1. First language (native language)
  2. Second language
  3. Mathematics
  4. Natural sciences (biology, chemistry, or physics)
  5. Human and social sciences (geography, history, or economics/law)
  6. Elective : one subject from branches 2, 4, or 5, or computer science, or philosophy. (computer science and philosophy can only be chosen as a 6th branch of study)

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

These requirements are specified in the general enrollment conditions.
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 for any other reason.
In all cases, the applicants are responsible for providing proof that they meet enrollment conditions of the University of Geneva.