UNIL Master's grants

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Fabrice Ducrest © UNIL

Masters Scholarships are scholarships for excellence awarded, exclusively to students who have graduated from a foreign university and whose academic results are of a very high level.

UNIL grants around ten scholarships a year.

The scholarship is granted for the minimum statutory period of the programme chosen by the student. It amounts to CHF 1,600 per month from 15 September to 15 July (or 10 months a year) for the complete duration of the masters (one and a half years or two years depending on the chosen masters), with the exception of cases of definitive failure after the first year.

Candidates are made aware of the fact that the sum of the scholarship awarded is not sufficient to live in Switzerland. It is not a fully funded scholarship.

With regard to this, we invite candidates to consult the page about the reference budget of a student at UNIL.

Students offered a scholarship will be exempt from the fixed registration fees for the courses, with the exception of the CHF 80.00 fees to be paid each semester.

FAQ

Who can apply?

Candidates whose academic results are of a very high level (there is no list with required grades by country available).

 

Candidates must have graduated from a foreign university only: their qualification/university degree must be deemed equivalent to a Swiss university bachelor’s degree (180 ECTS credits). If the Masters Scholarship application file is complete, the Admissions Office (SII) will decide if the candidate is formally eligible. If this is the case, the application file will be forwarded to the faculty which will take a decision whether the candidate is admitted to the chosen master programme or not.

 

Students with a foreign university degree who have already begun a Masters programme at UNIL or who are in their preparatory year are not authorised to apply.

Is there an age limit?

There is no age limit to apply for the Master Scholarship. However, for candidates from countries subject to visa restrictions, a higher age as well as a completed first master’s degree may have an influence on the obtention of a visa (difficult or impossible to obtain). We recommend verifying with the Swiss diplomatic representation in your country before applying.

How do I apply for the Masters Scholarship and for admission to the master’s programme at UNIL?

As explained above, candidates must not apply via the Admissions Office (SII) for their application for admission to the chosen masters degree at UNIL. The application for the Masters Scholarship also serves as an application for admission to the Masters programme.

 

As indicated above under the "Selection timeline" tab, it is only after the selection process for the Masters Scholarships that candidates whose application for a scholarship has been unsuccessful (but was accepted by the faculty) can apply via the SII should they wish to continue their application for admission to their chosen master’s degree as a regular student. They will receive a letter explaining the process to follow for normal registration for the master’s degree.

Can I apply if I have not yet obtained my degree equivalent to a Swiss university bachelor’s degree?

Yes, you may apply for a Masters Scholarship even if you have not yet obtained your degree equivalent to a Swiss university bachelor’s degree at the time of application. Nonetheless, you must of course have completed and obtained your degree before the start of your chosen master’s programme at UNIL.

 

If you are in the process of obtaining your university degree, you must provide in your application all existing grade transcripts as well as a description of the remainder of your course until you obtain your final degree, including the list of modules to be followed, the number of credits to be obtained or, for example, the subject of the end of course dissertation you are working on, depending on the structure of your degree course. This description must be as precise as possible. This does not need to be an official document.

 

If you have obtained the degree corresponding to a Swiss university bachelor’s degree at the moment of application for the scholarship but not yet received the final diploma, you must provide us with at least an official certificate of success in the degree course (with the remark degree obtained, graduated), signed by the institution that awarded it.

Can I apply if I already hold a degree equivalent to a Swiss master’s degree?

Students who have already obtained a master’s level degree from a foreign university (or are about to obtain one at the time of application) also have the right to apply, although priority will be given to students who only hold a bachelor’s level degree.

 

For candidates from countries subject to visa restrictions, a higher age as well as a completed first master’s degree may have an influence on the obtention of a visa (difficult or impossible to obtain). We recommend verifying with the Swiss diplomatic representation in your country before applying.

 

Students who have already obtained a degree considered equivalent to a Swiss university bachelor’s degree and are in the process of following an additional course of study (a masters, for example) or a second bachelor’s degree at the time of application for the Masters Scholarship, at the same institution or at another foreign university, must also specify this on the online application form and provide us with all existing grade transcripts for the course as well as a detailed description of the remainder of the programme until they obtain their final degree.

How do I fill in the "University Studies" sections on the application form?

On the application form, under "University Studies", we need to know, in detail, about your complete university programme, including the exact title of all degrees obtained or expected, the number of years for studies already completed or in process, and the number of semesters to complete before the expected degree is obtained.

 

As foreign university degrees are sometimes structured differently to a Swiss bachelor programme, and you may be in the process of studying for other degrees after obtaining one or more completed degrees, we  need as much information as possible in order to understand the structure and content of your past and (where applicable) current studies. That is why we have included additional sections so that you can list all your university degrees, in chronological order.

What are certified copies and who needs to send them?

Candidates with a bachelor issued from a university based in a State which did not ratify the Lisbon Recognition Convention (check your country here) have to send (additionally to the PDF file uploaded during the online application) a certified copy in a sealed envelope of the university of the university documents (diploma(s) if already obtained and the grade transcripts) by postal mail. Please consult the procedure to follow regarding the certified copies here (see information in the blue box!).

 

If you have questions regarding the certified copies (after having read all the information on the links provided above) you can write an email to mastergrants@unil.ch.

 

Candidates with a bachelor issued from a university based in a State which did ratify the Lisbon Recognition Convention (check your country here) must not send certified copies by postal mail, additionally. The copies they upload during the online application will be sufficient.

Who can write a recommendation letter?

Any member of the teaching staff with knowledge of your past or present studies (lecturers, supervisors, assistant lecturers, etc.). Any of your current or former employers may also write a letter of recommendation.

 

The recommendation letters must be sent directly by their authors (mentioning the name full name of the applicant) by email to: mastergrants@unil.ch. Final deadline November 1st.

Only recommendation letters sent after an online application will be accepted!

 

It is of course possible to provide more than two letters of recommendation.

Why do I need a proof of payment of the CHF 200 Administrative fees?

This is the fee for processing and considering your application for admission to the master’s programme by the Admissions Office (SII). This fee must be paid by all students wishing to register at UNIL.

 

The Administrative Fees must be paid and the proof of payment (copy of the bank transfer receipt, for example), added to your application for the Masters Scholarship.

 

We can make no exceptions for the payment of this administrative fees. No refunds can be made, even where applications are withdrawn or refused.

 

Nonetheless, if your application for the Masters Scholarship is unsuccessful but you are admitted to the intended master’s programme and wish to register as a regular student, you will not have to pay this fee a second time.

Is the Master's Grant sufficient to live in Switzerland?

The Federal and Cantonal Authorities consider that an amount of approximately CHF 2000.- per month is necessary to live in Lausanne. As such, the amount of the Masters Scholarship does not cover the full expenses of a student. It is thus highly recommended to have some personal complementary financial ressources in order to supplement the monthly budget. Furthermore, the Masters Scholarship is payed solely during the academic year, that is for 10 months. It does not cover the period from 15 July to 15 September.

 

Nonetheless, UNIL guarantees to all Master's grantees an accommodation with the Student Housing Foundation of Lausanne, the FMEL. The rent has to be paid by the student, but the amount is reasonable in comparison with the prices of the private housing market in the Lausanne region. Plus, international students at UNIL can either have their European health insurance recognized or buy a special health insurance (for students from other countries) which is also cheaper than the ones that are paid by Swiss students.

Which linguistic level is recommended for the master programme chosen?

To attend UNIL’s courses a linguistic level of at least C1 is recommended in French for the master programmes taught in French and at least C1 is recommended in English for the master programmes taught in English (UNIL programmes taught in English).

For a master taught in ENGLISH

Experience has shown that for applicants whose native tongue is not English or whose bachelor’s degree was not taught in English, a solid command of English is essential for succeeding this programme. Upon starting the programme, you should have attained a level of C1 corresponding to one of the following minimum levels:

  • TOEFL CBT: 250 points
  • TOEFL IBT: 100 points
  • TOEFL PBT: 600 points;
  • Academic IELTS: 7 points
  • Cambridge English Advanced (CAE): Grade B
  • Cambridge English Proficiency (CPE): Grade C
  • TOEIC: 850 points

Please add a copy of the language certificate or a confirmation that you have obtained the certificate to your application file (if required). The diploma should not be older then 2 years.

For a master taught in FRENCH

For applicants whose mother tongue is not French or whose Bachelor’s degree was not taught in French, a level of C1 minimum should be attained. Following degrees are accepted:

  • Diplôme approfondi de langue française (DALF Tout public) niveau C1
  • Diplôme approfondi de langue française (DALF Tout public) niveau C2
  • Test de connaissance du français (TCF Tout public) niveau C1 ou plus haut
  • Certificat de qualification en français (degrés C1) du Cours de vacances de l’UNIL
  • European Language Certificate (TELC) niveau C1

Please add a copy of the language certificate or a confirmation that you have obtained the certificate to your application file (if required). The diploma should not be older then 2 years.

 

If the master programme chosen at UNIL is taught in the mother tongue of the candidate or the bachelor studies were taught in the language of the master programme chosen at UNIL, no language certificate is required!

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Documents to provide

List of documents for an application (164 Ko)

Online Application

The application deadline for the 2023-2024 year has now passed. The online application for the 2024-2025 year will go live in the fall of 2023.

Contact

By email only at: mastergrants@unil.ch

Please note: there will be no response to questions where the answers are available on our website, and in the FAQs in particular.