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About Switzerland
Country Handbook

Université de Fribourg, Suisse

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Program Snapshot

Study in the beautiful and exciting city of Fribourg! Having official languages of both French and German, this central city offers every comfort one would expect of the Swiss. Like its sister city Bern, Fribourg has preserved its medieval center, and invites students and visitors alike to visit any one of its unique and diverse museums, theaters or its international film festival. Students interested in skiing, ice hockey or basketball will especially be attracted to the sports that the city has to offer!

The city of Fribourg, nestled at the foot of the pre-Alps, is on the linguistic border between the French and German speaking parts of the country. With its winding streets, shops and 13th-century cathedral, the city still retains a medieval atmosphere. Lausanne and Geneva are within an hour by train. All summer and winter sports are available nearby and are easily accessible by public transportation.

ISEP Exchange: undergraduate and graduate programs available for an academic year or semester

ISEP-Exchange for International students.
ISEP-Exchange for US students.

Chance of Placement
ISEP Exchange chance of placement for US students is generally Good.
ISEP Exchange chance of placement for I-to-I students is generally Good.
For the most current chances of placement, see the Sites Open for Applications for US Students or Sites Open for I-to-I Applications.

Program Dates
Academic year: mid-October to July
Semester 1: mid-Sept to mid-Jan
Semester 2: mid-Feb to mid-June.

Fast Facts
Fribourg, Switzerland (pop. 40,000)
Student Enrollment: 10,000
Language of instruction: French, German
University Home Page
International Office Homepage
Course Information (in French)
Course Information (in German)

Full year of semester enrollment in regular university courses:
Catholic Theology/Religion, Philosophy of Religion; Economics and Social Sciences (economics, informatics, journalism & communications); Law; Letters/ Liberal Arts (archaeology, art, classics, Eastern European studies, education, ethnology, Greek, history, Indo-European comparative grammar, Islamic studies, language & literature [English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish], Latin, musicology, social work); Sciences (biology, chemistry, computer sciences, geography, geology, mathematics, mineralogy, paleontology, physics, zoology).

Academic Notes
Fribourg is very strong in law, philosophy, and theology, emphasizing European law, comparative religions, and philosophies. Courses are often highly structured. Also of note are Fribourg’s institutes, which are well known in Switzerland. These include the Institute of Medieval Studies, the interdisciplinary Institute of Eastern and Central Europe, the Federalism Institute, the interdisciplinary Institute of Counseling in Family Matters, the Institute of Ethics and Human Rights, and the Institute of Sports.

Fribourg is the only bilingual (French-German) university in Switzerland; classes are taught in French or German. Some courses are taught in English--mainly at the master's level.


Transcripts are generally released in March for Semester 1, in July for Semester 2 and in July for the Full Year. Transcripts are sent to ISEP and then immediately released to the student’s home institution if there are no outstanding financial obligations.

Language Notes
A minimum of 4-5 semesters of university-level French or German or the equivalent must be completed prior to program.

French and German language and culture courses are offered during the academic year in addition to regular classes for advanced beginner, indermediate, or advanced levels. Contact hours per course/week: 4-8 hours/week.

A 3-week pre-session French language course is offered before the fall semester and 2 week pre-session before the spring semester. They are offered at the intermediate and advanced levels. No pre-session in German is offered.

For more information on courses and language options, see the:
French Options-at-a-Glance for US students
French Options-at-a-Glance for I-to-I Students, or the

For All Students:
German Options-at-a-Glance
German Language Advising Guide

Housing and Meals
Students are housed in student houses or in rooms rented from private individuals. Students receive a stipend to cover room and board. No married student accommodation is available.


You are responsible for all of your personal expenses including: optional fees (e.g. computer, language, science lab fees), books, local transportation, entertainment, etc. The amount below is provided as a guide; the actual amount needed will vary depending on courses and personal habits. Your personal expenses per month, including books, are estimated at: 300-500 Swiss Francs per month. This will vary by personal spending and consumption habits.

Students are highly advised to arrive in Fribourg during normal business hours and go straight to the international office. Public transportation in Switzerland is generally very safe and efficient.
There is an orientation day with the ISEP Coordinator, meetings with other exchange students, and meetings with Swiss students. There are also possible individual meetings with members of the teaching staff to discuss academic matters.

Student Activities
The Sports department at the University of Fribourg offers a variety of sports. A complete program is sent in the mail at the residence of every student at the beginning of the semester.

The Universite de Fribourg was officially founded in 1889, but its origins date back to the 16th century. A state institution with a Catholic tradition, Fribourg is the only university in Western Europe that has instruction in both French and German. The university has two principal centers within the city. The university also has fine sports facilities. Some 80 percent of the student body is Swiss, with about 1,500 international students. Total enrollment: 10,000.