Observatory of Student Life

The Observatory of Student Life’s mission is to better understand the student population, in order to deepen the knowledge of the living and studying conditions of students at the University of Geneva and thus better guide its student policies.

Here are some of the questions we seek to answer:

  • Who are the students of the University of Geneva?
  • What are their characteristics, their perceptions, their needs, their expectations?
  • Are they satisfied with their training and the support they receive?
  • What do they think of the university and what are their plans for the future?
  • What are their living and studying conditions?
  • What are the factors that influence their choices, their success and the progress of their studies?

On the basis of our analyses, we also offer expert opinions and decision‑making support for political and social considerations at the level of the rectorate, deaneries, student associations and administrative divisions.

Our analyses and knowledge are at your disposal. They are made to be used, to lead to concrete actions and to contribute to the quality of the University of Geneva’s services.

Our Mission

Putting knowledge at the service of action, basing action on knowledge.

The two main missions of the Observatory are:

  • The production of knowledge about the student population;
  • Expertise and decision‑making guidance.

These two missions are structured around the following three axes:

  1. Identifying and measuring the phenomena related to living and study conditions and their evolution, based on a political and scientific watch and a dialogue with the administrative services;
  2. Analyzing and understanding these phenomena, and doing so by reflecting all the diversity and complexity of the student population;
  3. Making available and using the acquired knowledge, so that it can be put at the service of developing the quality of the university experience.
Results by themes

You will find below the list of themes studied by the Observatory, a short summary of the issues, and the link to the published results (in French).

Socio-demographic data

Who are the UNIGE students? How are they distributed in terms of gender, age, nationality, language, civil and family situation, socio-professional category, etc.?
See published results


What is the students' background prior to their entry to the UNIGE?
See published results

Choice of studies

How did UNIGE students choose their field of study, and what were their motivations for doing so? Why did they decide to study at the University of Geneva?
See published results

Representations of the University

What are, from the students' point of view, the missions of the University? What are the students' expectations of the University? Is the University meeting those expectations?
See published results

Life as a UNIGE student

How do students organize their time? What workload do they face, and how do they manage it? What work methods do they use, what tasks do they face? What arrangements has the University put in place to support them?
See published results

Study evaluations

Are students satisfied with their teaching and training?
See published results

Daily life and material realities

In what social, economic, material, financial and existential context do the students of the UNIGE evolve? What is their housing situation, are they engaged in a paid activity, what is their living standard, are they financially independent, what is their level of health?
See published results

Integration and social relations

Do students feel integrated and engaged in their community and their studies? What socializing activities do they engage in? Can they rely on networks of relationships in case of difficulties? Are they involved in student associations?
See published results


What are the students' academic and professional projects? How do they envision their professional future? How is their professional integration going?
See published results

Academic trajectory and success

What are the factors that influence students' academic trajectories? What student policies can facilitate success and combat failure or dropouts?
See published results

Professional integration

What are the students' expectations and concerns regarding their professional integration? What reality are they facing? What actions can be put in place to support them?
See published results

Longitudinal study

A student survey launched in 2006 that aims to measure the evolution of the same issues within the student population.
See published results

Using data from the Observatory

The databases resulting from the student surveys we have been conducting since 2006 may, under certain conditions, be made available to students, doctoral students, researchers or teachers who would use these data in the context of a dissertation, thesis, research or teaching.

What are the conditions for obtaining these data?

  • Be part of the academic community;
  • Have a precise idea of the data requested (we transmit a precise selection of variables, not the whole database);
  • Submit a written request signed by a professor of the University of Geneva and presenting the project for which this data is requested;
  • Have received the approval of the Observatory's management;
  • Commit to reporting all published results to the Observatory using the data provided.

Any person receiving data from the Observatory is obliged to comply with the laws on the protection of personality.

How do I participate in a survey?

Each spring, the Observatory sends a questionnaire to a number of students. This procedure ensures that the sample is representative of the surveyed student population.

If you have received our questionnaire, it is because you are part of the target population and your answers will be valuable and useful. Your data will be processed in accordance with the law on the protection of personality, guaranteeing the confidentiality of your answers.

To participate, all you have to do is:

  • Answer the questions as precisely as possible;
  • Return the questionnaire via the university's internal mail or in the pre-stamped envelope.

If you have any questions or comments, whether about confidentiality, the content of the questionnaire or anything else, do not hesitate to contact us at observatoire-rectorat(at)unige.ch.

Ask for specific statistics

Anyone belonging to the academic community or civil society (in particular politicians, journalists, associations...) can use our results.

If you are looking for specific statistics, we suggest that you first look for them in our student themes results (in French). If you don't find what you are looking for, you can contact us to specify your request.

We will then be able to:

  • direct you to results we have already obtained that may answer your request, or
  • tell you that we do not have what you are looking for, or
  • prepare a request for additional processing to obtain the results you want; in this case, this request must be submitted to the Observatory's management to determine whether, based on our available resources and the interest of the requested results, the Observatory can devote part of its time to produce results that meet the request.
Request an expertise in the context of an investigation

Depending on its resources and availability, the Observatory provides support to the university community in the area of questionnaire development, online survey research or survey design.

This support may take the form of advice or guidance, input on survey design or the implementation of a survey, whether online or by paper questionnaire, etc.