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  #21  
Old 22.05.2011, 13:35
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Re: Obtaining Admission to ETH Zurich - Help please!

How about the University of Zurich for Bachelors and then ETH for masters?

University of Zurich does not ask for a comprehensive entrance exam if one has 5 AP's in the high school. The students have to only pass the German entrance exam (C1).

How is the reputation of UZH as compared to ETH for Bachelors in Mathematics?

Also, how easy or difficult is it for some one to cope with UZH mathematics Bachelor course in German while being exposed to American system until then (assuming the student is very fluent in German as a language but not the technical terms as such).

Help appreciated please.
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  #22  
Old 22.05.2011, 16:26
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Re: Obtaining Admission to ETH Zurich - Help please!

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How about the University of Zurich for Bachelors and then ETH for masters?

University of Zurich does not ask for a comprehensive entrance exam if one has 5 AP's in the high school. The students have to only pass the German entrance exam (C1).

How is the reputation of UZH as compared to ETH for Bachelors in Mathematics?
I'm completely biased, and my answer is study at ETHZ if you can. However my experience with the department was prior to the Bologna reform, and I'm being told that there have been many changes since then. I'll therefore refrain from commenting further on this part.

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Also, how easy or difficult is it for some one to cope with UZH mathematics Bachelor course in German while being exposed to American system until then (assuming the student is very fluent in German as a language but not the technical terms as such).
From a purely linguistic point of view, if the student can speak German, then he/she should not worry too much about not knowing the technical terms; I wasn't fluent in the language and I did fine. Most ticinesi and romands that start their course certainly don't know any technical terms in German. Unfortunately I do not know the American system to comment on how easy or hard the transition to the Swiss system will be.
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  #23  
Old 22.05.2011, 19:14
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Re: Obtaining Admission to ETH Zurich

Any info or advice on graduate finance programs here in CH?
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  #24  
Old 22.05.2011, 19:34
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Re: Obtaining Admission to ETH Zurich

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Any info or advice on graduate finance programs here in CH?
Not an advice, but some weeks ago UZH sent me some material for some Master of Advance Studies organized by their Finance and Banking department. Maybe it's something that might be of interest to you. Furthermore I know that there's a joint UZH/ETHZ Master in Quantitative Finance (used to be an MAS too). Based on what a chap who attended it told me, it's oriented towards people interested more in asset management or risk management roles than e.g. financial engineering. Google up to find the websites.
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Old 23.05.2011, 01:42
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Re: Obtaining Admission to ETH Zurich - Help please!

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I'm completely biased, and my answer is study at ETHZ if you can. However my experience with the department was prior to the Bologna reform, and I'm being told that there have been many changes since then. I'll therefore refrain from commenting further on this part.
First of all , thanks a lot for the inputs. Very useful!

Few questions

1) What is bologna reform? Sorry for the ignorance on this.

2) The student has no choice with regards to ETH due to the comprehensive entrance exam requirement for Bachelors which is for ALL subjects in German whereas UZH requires only German test as a language requirement which is C1. Given the above, UZH seems to be the most likely choice. CAn you please advise as to why you are biased with regard to ETHZ and what are the cons with UZH..

Thanks
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Old 23.05.2011, 01:43
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Re: Obtaining Admission to ETH Zurich

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bologna_Process
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  #27  
Old 23.05.2011, 22:44
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Re: Obtaining Admission to ETH Zurich - Help please!

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First of all , thanks a lot for the inputs. Very useful!

Few questions

1) What is bologna reform? Sorry for the ignorance on this.

2) The student has no choice with regards to ETH due to the comprehensive entrance exam requirement for Bachelors which is for ALL subjects in German whereas UZH requires only German test as a language requirement which is C1. Given the above, UZH seems to be the most likely choice. CAn you please advise as to why you are biased with regard to ETHZ and what are the cons with UZH..

Thanks
The Bologna declaration (see link above) was the reason why Switzerland adopted the anglo-american Bachelor/Master system for university studies. My experience as a student with the Maths department of ETHZ was prior to the introduction of this system (I believe that the Maths and Physics departments of ETHZ adopted the system somewhere around 2005). In order to adopt the system, the courses had to be restructured, and this is one of the reasons why my experience is (at least in part) no longer relevant.

My bias towards ETHZ is because I studied there However there is a more impotant reason, and that is that ETHZ used to play in a different league than UZH (as far as scientific studies were concerned). Comparing ETHZ and UZH was a bit like comparing Oxford/Cambridge with another (good) UK university. Note that I'm not implying that teaching was necessarily better at ETHZ than at UZH; for example it was much more impersonal. And there are certainly plenty of good reasons why for some people studying Maths at UZH might be a better option than studying Maths at ETHZ.
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Old 25.05.2011, 14:59
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Re: Obtaining Admission to ETH Zurich

Really appreciate your experiences and inputs. Thanks.

Want your neutral advise or opinion on the below.

If there are two options for a student (international school for more than 7 years in Switzerland ) but basically resident in Switzerland - 1) to study in UZH Mathematics with almost no expense vs studying Mathematics in Warwick or St Andrews or Edinburgh or Kings College London or UCL (by staying away from home outside, incurring a LOT of expenses, fees, travel costs etc), does it make really a big difference in the long run? How can one compare UZH with the above list of UK universities?

This question is for only bachelors degree and the student is likely to do masters/phd back in Switzerland. Prior knowledge of German is there but not that strong (that is as a language is fine but NOT for technical terms or not so strong in subject related terminology in German)

Also any idea if C1 can be passed with the above profile without much training or preparation as C1 is mandatory for entry to both UZH and ETHZ.
Thanks for your time.
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  #29  
Old 29.05.2011, 19:09
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Re: Obtaining Admission to ETH Zurich

Sorry for the late reply.

Regarding whether C1 can be passed by the student, I think that the best person to ask is his/her German teacher at the international school. Again, the lack of knowledge of technical terms and subject-related terminology is definitely not an issue, as neither students from the Swiss-French nor Swiss-Italian parts have such a knowledge and cope just fine. Of course it's going to be a bit more difficult for a student whose first language is not German than for whose mothertongue is, but I don't think that this is a major hurdle, as long as the student can speak "general" German in the first place (I didn't speak German fluently when I started, and you say that the student is fluent).

Regarding the other question (comparison of the universities), that's a tougher one, and I really don't know what to reply. I really cannot make any informed comparison between the universities you mentioned.

Here are some random thoughts, though. Does the student already have plans regarding regarding his/her future career? If he/she is studying mathematics with the aim of following the academic path, then I would imagine that in the long run it doesn't make much of a difference in which of these universities he is going to study. (I guess that student life at UK universities is more fun, though.) I would say however that the student would have to aim high, and certainly not content himself with average results, since I'd argue that expectations on students are lower at e.g. UZH vs ETHZ or non-Oxbridge vs Oxbridge UK universities. However any decent university can produce very good mathematicians. (In fact I believe that you don't even need to go to university to become a good mathematician; in real-life however a degree is pretty much a necessity.) Furthermore he'd have to take a Master degree later on anyway, and that's the more important one.

One point I worry a bit about: I wonder if a student in maths at UZH feels a bit of an inferiority complex towards their cousins at ETHZ... When I studied, there were at least a few students who dropped out of ETHZ to go study maths at UZH, and there was a bit of a feeling that maths at UZH was for drop-outs. Being in a city where there isn't a reminder that there was a better option, might be a bit easier. I don't know, I'm just speculating.

If the student is studying with the aim to get a regular job, then it would probably make it easier for him if he got his last degree (be it Bachelor or Master) in the country where he's planning to look for jobs. Furthermore, I'd say that without a Master degree, the "brand-name" of the university is more important than the quality of the study program (just my opinion). If he's planning to go for a "specialized" job, then a Master degree is probably a necessity; in this case, where the student will get his Master degree is probably much more important than where his Bachelor degree was from. On one hand, again because of the "brand-name" issue; on the other hand because different certain universities have better quality Master degrees than others, which are recognized in their respective fields. E.g. I think I've read that Warwick has a good financial maths Master, for someone planning to work in finance in London. Also, there is the "networking" issue, which at this level becomes even more important.

Going back, if the question really was whether it was better to study at UZH or at one of the above mentioned UK universities in view of a subsequent study at ETHZ, then I guess that my reply is that there is not much of a difference. The student will have to switch gears and learn to cope with the higher workload and intensity anyway.

Sorry for not having any good and clear cut advice.
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  #30  
Old 30.05.2011, 01:23
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Re: Obtaining Admission to ETH Zurich

Thanks so much for such a relevant reply.

The situation is much more complex as the student is EXTREMELY bright and a very high achieving kid with excellent academic accomplishments and strong mathematical capabilities.

The main idea of choosing a British University for bachelors is "easier" transition from international school environment to an English speaking Bachelor degree environment and possibly a better competitive environment. And for masters ETH is always an option as the courses are taught in English for masters.

Bachelors seems to be the confusing aspect.

UZH being the only option in Switzerland (ETH entrance exam in German for all the subjects is definitely not possible since Biology, Physics, applied math, chemistry all have to be answered in German PRIOR to the admission which is not possible with the current German skills).

So, the only Swiss university choice is UZH as the only other requirement is C1. But wondering if the distance factor , high cost, separation from home, living alone, London/Scotland life transition, immatured age of 18 etc is WORTH it for the so-called difference in quality of education between UZH and say Imperial or UCL or Warwick. Seem to be going in vicious circles but does not appear to be so simple to decide.

However, if its clear that the difference in the quality of education is really high (UZH vs the above mentioned UK universities), then the solution seems to be straight forward. But , dont just want to venture it for the sake of it without analysing .

Thanks again for your very very useful and detailed reply.
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Old 30.05.2011, 22:54
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Re: Obtaining Admission to ETH Zurich

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Regarding whether C1 can be passed by the student, I think that the best person to ask is his/her German teacher at the international school. Again, the lack of knowledge of technical terms and subject-related terminology is definitely not an issue, as neither students from the Swiss-French nor Swiss-Italian parts have such a knowledge and cope just fine. Of course it's going to be a bit more difficult for a student whose first language is not German than for whose mothertongue is, but I don't think that this is a major hurdle, as long as the student can speak "general" German in the first place (I didn't speak German fluently when I started, and you say that the student is fluent).
Can you please explain how those students pass the C1 if their German skills are not so good?
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  #32  
Old 01.06.2011, 00:48
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Re: Obtaining Admission to ETH Zurich

I think that both UZH and ETHZ have to be considered good schools for mathematics. In the Shanghai-Ranking ETHZ is ranked as number 37 wheras UZH is somewehre between rank 77 and 100. http://www.arwu.org/SubjectMathematics2010.jsp

It's important to mention that students of mathematics of both institutes can attend lectures ad the other university and get credits for them. Further the two universities form together the Zurich Postgraduate School of Mathematics, which both the PhD students from ETHZ and UZH attend.
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Old 01.06.2011, 19:18
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Re: Obtaining Admission to ETH Zurich

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I think that both UZH and ETHZ have to be considered good schools for mathematics. In the Shanghai-Ranking ETHZ is ranked as number 37 wheras UZH is somewehre between rank 77 and 100. http://www.arwu.org/SubjectMathematics2010.jsp

It's important to mention that students of mathematics of both institutes can attend lectures ad the other university and get credits for them. Further the two universities form together the Zurich Postgraduate School of Mathematics, which both the PhD students from ETHZ and UZH attend.
That is a very useful piece of information. Thanks. Are there any links in the website that confirms this for Bachelors (attending lectures and getting credits also).

Also in the above ranking list , why are the points zero in some cases?

Are the year end exams/ semester exams the same for both UZH and ETHZ for bachelors?

Also, I read that pass rate in ETHZ is around 50% after the basisprufung in the end of the first year for BAchelors. Any idea what that statistics is for UZH approximately?

So, a good student can do Bachelors in Mathematics in UZH and then move to ETHZ for Masters in Mathematics? Is this progression easy or does it involve any further testing, etc?

Heard that Bachelors in Mathematics mandatorily needs Physics in ETHZ whereas in UZH it is not needed. So, was not sure how the masters in ETHZ after Bachelors in UZH in Mathematics would work.

Last edited by Info; 01.06.2011 at 20:07.
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  #34  
Old 03.06.2011, 00:26
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Re: Obtaining Admission to ETH Zurich

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The situation is much more complex as the student is EXTREMELY bright and a very high achieving kid with excellent academic accomplishments and strong mathematical capabilities.
If he's extremely bright, I really would want him to go a to a university where his capabilities are challenged... Would it be impossible to get into Cambridge? (Sorry I have no idea...) That would have been a University that I could have possibly found been interesting (I just chose the obvious and nearest one).

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The main idea of choosing a British University for bachelors is "easier" transition from international school environment to an English speaking Bachelor degree environment and possibly a better competitive environment.
A question out of curiosity: does the international school not offer the possibility of preparing for the Swiss Federal Matura? Or did the student not think about taking it? It's a shame if they don't; I think that any school in Switzerland ought to offer such a possibility, so that a student can continue his studies in the country without too much hassle...

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UZH being the only option in Switzerland (ETH entrance exam in German for all the subjects is definitely not possible since Biology, Physics, applied math, chemistry all have to be answered in German PRIOR to the admission which is not possible with the current German skills).
Is it really that impossible? Above you mentioned that the student is fluent in German (apart from technical terms)... why not try? And who knows, the examiners might actually allow the student to use English technical terms, as long as he can talk/write the general part in German. After all, the student would be tested on his knowledge of the subject, not on his German skills in it.

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But wondering if the distance factor , high cost, separation from home, living alone, London/Scotland life transition, immatured age of 18 etc is WORTH it for the so-called difference in quality of education between UZH and say Imperial or UCL or Warwick.
One of my housemates when I was a PhD student in the UK, was an Italian guy who had studied at an international school in Italy, and then went to the UK for university at the age of 18 (his younger brother did the same thing a few years later). I agree that it's not for everybody, but if the student is up to it, why not try, if money allows it.

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However, if its clear that the difference in the quality of education is really high (UZH vs the above mentioned UK universities), then the solution seems to be straight forward. But , dont just want to venture it for the sake of it without analysing.
For UZH vs. Imperial/UCL/Warwick, I might be -maybe- tempted to consider the latter universities of higher quality. Unfortunately it's an impression that is not based on any fact. Although it might be worth pointing out that Imperial is part of the IDEA League (http://www.idealeague.org/) together with ETHZ, so maybe that's worth something.

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Can you please explain how those students pass the C1 if their German skills are not so good?
They don't have to pass it. All they need is a cantonal or federal Matura in which their grade in German is above a certain number. I can't remember what the minimum grade is.

In any case, I think that the requirement for a C1 level is above all a way to ensure that there aren't foreign students with insufficient German skills to cope with the study. And for sure in Maths it's not paramount to possess excellent German skills. (It would be much more important in, say, Law). Even if the student didn't have a C1 level (but a reasonably good one to cope with the study) I would consider contacting the people at the university to explain the situation (student's family lives in Switzerland) and to ask them if it would be possible to have an interview and decide on the basis of the case.

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I think that both UZH and ETHZ have to be considered good schools for mathematics. In the Shanghai-Ranking ETHZ is ranked as number 37 wheras UZH is somewehre between rank 77 and 100. http://www.arwu.org/SubjectMathematics2010.jsp
In my first year as a PhD student, I did some teaching assistant work for some foundational courses in Maths at a non-Oxbridge top-something British university which also ranked within the world's top 100, according to these rankings. I was so disappointed by the low level of most students, but even more by the fact that teachers weren't expecting a higher level of them (this might have had something to do with the relationship between University ranking and government funding), that I stopped doing TA work. So, while it is definitely possible to become a *really* good mathematician/graduate even at a university that is in the lower part of the top 100, I would prefer very bright students to go to universities within the, say, top 50. (Having said that, I don't have a very good opinion of these rankings.)

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It's important to mention that students of mathematics of both institutes can attend lectures ad the other university and get credits for them. Further the two universities form together the Zurich Postgraduate School of Mathematics, which both the PhD students from ETHZ and UZH attend.
This is exactly the kind of information I don't have, and the reason why I pointed out that my experience was a long time ago. Do investigate with people (such as Laertes) who have a experience with how things work now. Good luck!
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  #35  
Old 03.06.2011, 01:43
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Re: Obtaining Admission to ETH Zurich

Here are some links:

The joint PhD program:
http://www.math.uzh.ch/gradschool/

Some general information about the study of mathematics at UZH (it seems to be available in German only.):
http://www.math.uzh.ch/index.php?wegleitung&L=1 (download New Wegleitung)

Regarding the possibility of taking courses at ETH while studying at UZH:
In the document mentioned above the following text can be found on page 12:

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Vorlesungen und Seminare an der ETH
Sämtliche Vorlesungen und Seminare der ETH können als Wahlmodule belegt werden, sofern sich diese an Studierende im Bachelor- und/oder Masterstudium in Mathematik richten. Andere Veranstaltungen werden nicht angerechnet.

Alle UZH-Studierenden, welche an der ETH Leistungskontrollen absolvieren, müssen bei der ETH als "Hörer" registriert sein (http://www.rektorat.ethz.ch/students...itors/external), die Leistungseinheiten belegen und sich bei Semesterend- resp. Sessionsprüfungen zusätzlich über myStudies (www.mystudies.ethz.ch) zur Prüfung anmelden. Die Resultate werden wie für ETH-Studierende über myStudies mitgeteilt resp. sichtbar sein. Die UZH-Studierenden erhalten zusätzlich zu Beginn des Folgesemesters eine schriftliche Bestätigung zu den abgelegten Leistungskontrollen per Post zugestellt.
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Lectures and seminars at the ETH
All lectures and seminars of the ETH can be taken as optional-module (Wahl-Modul), if they are targeted at students of mathematics.
[...]
On page 8 there is a diagram of the structure of the bachelor-program.
On page 9 there is the same for the master-degree.
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  #36  
Old 08.06.2011, 01:14
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Re: Obtaining Admission to ETH Zurich

Laertes and Tschortscho - Thanks so much for such valuable posts! Excellent analysis- appreciate it!

Few questions again -

Laertes,

Are the year end exams/ semester exams the same for both UZH and ETHZ for bachelors?

Also, I read that pass rate in ETHZ is around 50% after the basisprufung in the end of the first year for BAchelors. Any idea what that statistics is for UZH approximately?

So, a good student can do Bachelors in Mathematics in UZH and then move to ETHZ for Masters in Mathematics? Is this progression easy or does it involve any further testing, etc?

Heard that Bachelors in Mathematics mandatorily needs Physics in ETHZ whereas in UZH it is not needed. So, was not sure how the masters in ETHZ after Bachelors in UZH in Mathematics would work.

Thanks
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Old 13.06.2011, 21:00
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Re: Obtaining Admission to ETH Zurich

Bump - Laertes and Tschortscho Can you please advise on the above post. Thanks so much.
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Old 15.06.2011, 22:14
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Re: Obtaining Admission to ETH Zurich

hi...i have taken gre and i am working in a reputed company in india.
can i take ielts instead of toefl?
what ielts and gre scores are generally required by the university?
thanks
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  #39  
Old 21.06.2011, 23:10
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Bump - Laertes and Tschortscho Can you please advise on the above post. Thanks so much.
I have no idea. Sorry.
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Old 22.06.2011, 00:04
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Re: Obtaining Admission to ETH Zurich

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Laertes and Tschortscho - Thanks so much for such valuable posts! Excellent analysis- appreciate it!

Few questions again -

Laertes,

Are the year end exams/ semester exams the same for both UZH and ETHZ for bachelors?

Also, I read that pass rate in ETHZ is around 50% after the basisprufung in the end of the first year for BAchelors. Any idea what that statistics is for UZH approximately?

So, a good student can do Bachelors in Mathematics in UZH and then move to ETHZ for Masters in Mathematics? Is this progression easy or does it involve any further testing, etc?

Heard that Bachelors in Mathematics mandatorily needs Physics in ETHZ whereas in UZH it is not needed. So, was not sure how the masters in ETHZ after Bachelors in UZH in Mathematics would work.

Thanks
1) I am not sure I've understood your question correctly, because if I have the answer seems pretty self-evident to me. The courses are separate, taught by different professors at different universities, so naturally they also have different exams at the end of them.

2) Transfer is possible, at least in principle; I don't know how easy or hard it would be. Probably depends on what courses you've taken. If you think you might want to transfer, keep one eye on the ETH course catalog as well as your own (e.g. you mentioned that physics is required for a math bachelors at ETH, so just take a physics course, whether or not it's required elsewhere.)

Why don't you ask the departments themselves? The odds that anyone here will have done exactly what you plan to do are slim to none.

If I were you I would start by emailing one of the department secretaries in each place: if she doesn't know, she'll at least know who you should ask.
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