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Programs : Brochure

  • Locations: Geneva, Switzerland
  • Program Terms: Spring, Year
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Budget Sheets: Spring
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Click here for a definition of this term Language of Instruction: French Click here for a definition of this term Language Prerequisite: See Program Description
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0 Click here for a definition of this term Credit Available For: College
Other Eligibility Requirements: Minimum of B+ average in French Click here for a definition of this term Type of Program: Semester/Year Study Abroad
Click here for a definition of this term Housing Options: Apartment/Off-Campus, University Residence Hall/Apartment Click here for a definition of this term Application Deadline: Fall/Year: March 1, Spring: October 1
Program Description:

BGE LogoUniversity of Geneva

The University of Geneva is the second-largest university in Switzerland and is devoted to research, teaching, and dialogue. Founded in 1559 by John Calvin, the university is very comprehensive and has disciplines ranging from sciences and medicine to economics and theology. With more than 16,500 students, the University's is located in the heart of an international city home to many international organizations. As most classes are taught in French, a good command of the language is required.
For additional information, visit the University of Geneva website
The City of Geneva

Although it is a relatively small by European, Asian or American standards with a population of approximately 200,000 people, Geneva offers cultural programs and infrastructure of which any great metropolis would be proud. The city is ideally situated at the tip of the lake that bears its name, not far away from world-known ski resorts in the Alps, and is culturally linked with the Mediterranean area as well as central Europe. The city is host to the European headquarters of the United Nations, the world headquarters of the World Health Organization, the Red Cross, and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). The city boats over 30 museums and arts centers, providing students with nearly endless opportunities to explore the history and culture of the city and region.

Did you know…?

Located directly next to the city, Lake Geneva is one of the largest lakes in Europe, and contributes to pleasant and tourist-friendly weather year-round.

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is an alumnus of the University of Geneva. 


The program at the University of Geneva is for College credit only. Due to the nature of the Swiss academic calendar, students are only permitted to study abroad during the spring semester or for the entire academic year.

Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0

Language Prerequisite: Successful completion of at least three French courses at the 200 or 300 level (including French 212 or the equivalent) by the end of the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure. Minimum of B+ average in French.

Language of Instruction



A full course load at the University of Geneva usually consists of four to five courses per semester. Penn students must maintain a full course load while abroad and may only enroll in courses at the undergraduate level. Students are required to take all courses in French. 

Fall semester dates generally run from mid-September to mid-December with an exam session lasting from mid-January to mid-February; spring semester dates generally run from mid-January to early June with an exam session lasting until late June. Penn students generally are unable to stay for the fall semester only due to the exam dates.

University of Geneva Academic Calendar
University of Geneva Course Catalog for Incoming Exchange Students
Grading Scale

As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in the cumulative grade point average.  The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy of your home school. Be sure to review Penn Abroad’s academic policies.

BGE Special FeaturesOrientation Activities

All Penn students are required to attend the orientation activities organized by the University of Geneva prior to the start of each semester.

Language Courses

Several possibilities for improving your French exist while studying at the University of Geneva. In addition to courses for improving your French, the university also offers French support courses and language tandems. Please review the list of options for French courses.

Internship Opportunities
BGE Special Features
The University of Geneva can facilitate unpaid internships at NGO's and international organizations for the summer after a spring semester in Geneva. Upon acceptance, contact the University of Geneva International Exchanges and Study Abroad Office for more information.

Student Associations

Penn students studying at the University of Geneva have access to a wide range of student activities and associations.

BGE Campus
Participants must be willing to live under local conditions for students.

The University's Bureau des Logements runs different categories of housing solutions, from one-bedroom apartments to shared apartments. Exchange students are a priority for the BLRU, however, given the shortage of housing in the Geneva area, students are advised to submit the housing form in a timely manner to the BLRU office. Please review information regarding accommodation on University of Geneva's website.

Penn Abroad Financial Policies

Students are charged Penn tuition and academic fees for all Penn Abroad programs. Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, visas, and airfare.  Please see the program budget sheets below for more information. Be sure to review Penn Abroad’s financial policies.

Financial Aid and Study Abroad

In most cases, financial aid applies to Penn-approved programs. Student Financial Services reviews program budget sheets each semester to determine how to appropriately adjust your aid package. Visit SFS's website for more information on how Financial Aid will work during your semester abroad.

Budget Sheets

Academic Year

Scholarship Opportunities

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program: Competition for awards for study abroad, for US citizen students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a 2-year or 4-year college or university.

Please review the Penn Abroad application process, policies, and procedures. To open an application or learn more about the program, please schedule an appointment with a Penn Abroad Global Programs Manager. For a student perspective on life and academics in Switzerland, contact a Penn Abroad Past Participant.