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Initial education for academic staff in higher education


9.Teachers and education staff

9.4Initial education for academic staff in higher education

Last update: 27 November 2023

The minimum requirements for lecturers at universities and universities of applied sciences are laid down in the cantonal legal bases, and the requirements for lecturers at the Federal Institutes of Technology (FIT) in ordinances of the Confederation

The prerequisites for obtaining a professorship at a university generally comprise a doctorate and then a “habilitation” (a qualification proving the ability to teach and engage in research in an academic subject in higher education), and increasingly also a ‘“postdoc”. Professors are also required to have experience in teaching and, as a rule, management experience. An appointment as a lecturer usually requires a doctorate, while an appointment as an assistant requires a Master degree.

Lecturers at universities of applied sciences must at least have a completed university education, several years of professional experience and a teaching qualification.

The minimum requirements for lecturers at universities of teacher education are laid down in the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education (EDK) regulations on degree recognition (Anerkennungsreglemente). For the primary level lecturers must have a university degree in the subject area to be taught, academic teaching qualifications and as a rule a teaching degree and teaching experience.

As universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education do not have the right to award doctorates, promising young academics usually have to complete a doctoral degree at a university and also obtain the ‘“habilitation” qualification to teach in higher education.

In accordance with the Ordinance on Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPETO) teachers at colleges of higher education must complete training worth 10 ECTS credits (part-time) or 60 ECTS credits (full-time) depending on the grade of employment. The admission requirement is a leaving certificate from a college of higher education or a university degree in the respective teaching subjects. The training comprises subject-related didactics alongside vocational teaching. The programmes are completed on a part-time basis while working. The training concludes with a degree which is recognised throughout Switzerland.