General questions about the Study Reform
How does it exactly work with the "deletion" of failed attempts? (supplemented 18 June 2021)
Due to failed attempts that are/were obtained in Spring Semester 2021 and earlier, definitives exclusions from studies are made according to the Framework Ordinance valid up to and including Spring Semester 2021 (cf. e.g. § 38 RVO concerning the Bachelor's and Master's Degree Programs).
Failed attempts obtained in Spring Semester 2021 and before will no longer be taken into account from Fall Semester 2021 onwards if they do not lead (or have already led) to the permissible number of failed attempts being exceeded, the repetition options have been exhausted in the case of a compulsory module, or the requirements of an core elective pool can no longer be met.
The fact that failed attempts are no longer taken into account means that students start the Fall Semester 2021 without failed attempts and thus have all repeat options available to them for completing the modules based on the new regulations. With respect to the failed attempt maxima established under the new regulations, the count starts at zero.
(Students who are tackling an assessment in Spring Semester 2021, where failure would result in a definitive exclusion from studies, will of course not know until the result is available whether the definitive exclusion will occur or they can continue their studies).
For all those students who continue their studies in Fall Semester 2021, only failures of examinations for modules based on the new regulations will be counted as failed attempts. Consequently, failure of an examination for an assessment-level module based on the old regulations offered for the last time in Fall Semester 2021 (cf. below) will not be taken into account.
The failed attempts obtained, even if they are no longer taken into account with regard to the repeat options or failed attempt maxima, continue to be listed on the transcript of record.
Is there any possibility to write more than one Bachelor's or Master's thesis after Spring Semester 2021? (published 20 April 2021)
As of Fall Semester 2021, the Bachelor's thesis is a compulsory module of the Bachelor degree program, the Master's thesis is a compulsory module of the Master degree program (§ 38 para. 1 RVO RWF, § 43 para. 1 RVO RWF).
It is not permitted to take a compulsory module twice in one semester. A passed compulsory module cannot be taken a second time.
Since the recognition of a Bachelor's or Master's thesis not completed at the University of Zurich is excluded (cf. § 45 para. 2 lit. b RVO RWF), it is furthermore not possible to have a Bachelor's or Master's thesis written at another university credited to the degree of the Uiversity of Zurich.
As of Fall Semester 2021, it is consequently the case that there is no possibility to write more than one Bachelor's and one Master's thesis at the Faculty of Law of the University of Zurich. A Bachelor's or Master's thesis written at another university will not be recognized and will therefore not appear in the final transcript of records.
I meet all the requirements to have freedom to choose in the transitional period. Do I now still have to transfer to the new degree program? (published 3 June 2021)
All students will be subject to the new regulations at the beginning of Fall Semester 2021. This means that all students will have to change to a degree program according to the new regulations. The deviations from the new regulations that apply to students affected by the transition are regulated in the transitional provisions of the new decrees, such as freedom of choice (cf. § 59 RVO RWF, §§ 47 ff. StudO RWF).
Will I lose the ECTS credits I’ve already earned as a result of the Study Reform?
No, ECTS credits will not be lost as a result of the reform. Modules that were completed successfully before the changeover will be credited toward the revised degree program on the basis of the number of ECTS credits received in accordance with the provisions of the old program regulations.
Example: Students who have successfully completed Criminal Law I in accordance with the old regulations will receive 15 ECTS credits even if the module will only be worth 12 ECTS credits under the new regulations. Conversely, students who have successfully completed Public Law I under the old regulations will receive 15 ECTS credits even if the module is worth 18 ECTS credits after the reform.
Are examinations for modules based on the old regulations offered again in Fall Semester 2021?
The Faculty Assembly has decided to offer examinations for the following modules based on the old regulations for the last time in Fall Semester 2021:
- Legal History
- Private Law I
- Criminal Law I
- Public Law I
Thus, students who attended the courses for these modules during the 2020/21 academic year, but who did not pass an examination in Spring Semester 2021, may repeat the examination in Fall Semester 2021. The examinations are also open to students who chose not to take the examination in Spring Semester 2021. Any failed attempts will not be considered.
For all oher modules based on the old regulations, (repeat) exams will no longer be offered beginning in Fall Semester 2021.
If I do not pass an examination in Spring Semester 2021, do I need to attend all of the courses for the new module again as of Fall Semester 2021 in order to be properly prepared for the examination in Spring Semester 2022?
In principle, it cannot be assumed that a course offered based on the new regulations under the same name will have the same content as the course offered under the old regulations. It is therefore beneficial to prepare for examinations that take place from Fall Semester 2021 by attending courses offered from Fall Semester 2021.
(Regarding examinations for modules at the assessment level, please also refer to the previous answer.)
Questions about Credit Transfer
Is there a significant change in practice regarding credit transfers from coursework completed outside of the Faculty of Law? (published 13 September 2021)
The following change applies to coursework that have already been credited toward another degree: Only credits that can be allocated to a compulsory module of the corresponding study program can be transferred. This applies to modules of the Faculty of Law as well as to externally earned credits. It is no longer possible to credit coursework that has already been credited toward another degree and cannot be allocated to a compulsory module.
Exceptions to this rule are general transfers of credits toward a Master's degree and credits when changing from a minor program of the Faculty of Law to a single major study program. In these cases, coursework that have already been credited toward a degree can still be credited as core elective modules or elective modules.
This new policy applies to all students beginning their studies at the Faculty of Law in Fall Semester 2021 or later. (Addition from 14.09.2021: Concerning the time of the beginning of the studies, the enrollment in the study program is decisive, to whose degree a study achievement is to be credited).
Do the Guidelines on Transfer of Credits and the information on the RWF website regarding transferring credits from studies at a different university still apply or are they also affected by the study reform? (updated 25 Juni 2021)
The current Guidelines on Transfer of Credits no longer apply to assessments completed after the Spring Semester 2021.
On 20 April 2021 the new Guidelines on Recognition of Academic Achievement and Transfer of Credits were adopted, which will apply from Fall Semester 2021. Information on the credit transfer can be found on this website, which also contains links to the current and the new guidelines.
In principle, only assessments that are at a comparable level and no more than 10 years old will be considered for credit transfer.
The new Study Regulations approved by the Faculty Assembly contains the provision that academic achievements completed at other universities will only be recognized if they can be given credit for the final degree. Academic achievements that are not recognized do not appear in the Academic Record.
In which cases do I still have a choice regarding transfer of credit for degrees from Fall Semester 2021 onwards? (published 18 June 2021)
In advance, the credits of program-relevant compulsory modules and compulsory elective modules from a compulsory elective area, from which no further module has been completed, are transferred to the degree.
If more modules have been successfully completed than are necessary for the degree (so-called superfluous modules), the principle then applies that credits of modules completed outside the Faculty of Law are only transferred if the faculty modules are not sufficient to fulfill the degree requirements and modules completed earlier precede modules completed later.
Thus, in the case of superfluous modules, the following constellations arise in which students must make a choice regarding credit:
- After taking into account all modules to be credited according to the above criteria, there remain several faculty elective modules of the same elective area that were completed in the same semester.
- After taking into account all modules to be credited according to the above criteria, there still remain several faculty elective modules and/or faculty elective modules not yet taken into account that were completed in the same semester.
- After taking into account all modules to be credited according to the above criteria, there remain several modules that were completed outside the Faculty of Law in the same semester.
Of the selected modules, each must be required to achieve the ECTS credits required for the degree.
Example Bachelor: A. has not completed any faculty elective module, but has completed the module "Financial Accounting (L + E)" of the Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics (6 ECTS credits) and the module "Soziologische Theorie" of the Faculty of Arts an Social Sciences (9 ECTS credits) in HS21.
If A. has not already completed modules of 6 ECTS credits or more prior to HS21 outside the Faculty of Law, whose credits have not yet been transferred to a degree, A. can choose which of the two modules is to be taken into account for the transfer of credit.
Example Master (1): B. has completed faculty modules totaling 102 ECTS credits. In the last semester of the studies, B. has completed the (faculty) elective modules "Datenschutzrecht", "Nebenstrafrecht" and "Migrationsrecht" (6 ECTS credits each).
B. may choose one of the three modules.
Example Master (2): C. has completed faculty modules totaling 84 ECTS credits. In the last semester of the studies, B. has also completed modules outside the Faculty of Law with the following ECTS scope: one 12-credit module, one 6-credit module, one 5-credit module, and two 3-credit modules.
C. can choose between the following options:
- only the credits of the 12-credit module will be transferred
- only the credits of the 6-credit module will be transferred
- the credits of one 3-credit modul and the 5-credit module will be transferred
- the credits of the other 3-credit module and the 5-credit module will be transferred
- the credits of both 3-credit modules will be transferred
I am completing my studies after the new regulations come into effect. If I have completed superfluous modules, the transfer of their credits to the final degree therefore depends on when I completed these modules and whether they are modules completed at the Faculty of Law or outside. When I booked these modules, it was still the case that it was possible to choose which elective (compulsory) modules are counted toward the final degree. Will I now be worse off compared to students graduating up to and including Spring Semester 2021? (published 3 June 2021)
It is correct that the new regulations apply to degrees from Fall Semester 2021 onwards, so that in the case of superfluous modules, the Faculty of Law modules take precedence over the modules from outside and modules completed earlier are given priority in the transferring of credit process. Only when deciding between two Faculty of Law modules completed within the same semester or between modules from outside the Faculty of Law completed within the same semester, students can choose which module is counted toward their final degree (if there are superfluous modules).
If in the Bachelor's degree program a module from outside the Faculty of Law is completed in addition to an elective Faculty of Law module worth 6 ECTS credits, the faculty elective module is counted toward the final degree (for degrees from Fall Semester 2021 onwards). The outside the Faculty of Law completed module will nevertheless be listed in the Academic Record (unless it is a module that was completed at another university and is not recognized). It is merely not taken into account when determining the overall grade. A module worth 6 ECTS credits has a very small influence of a maximum of one tenth on the overall Bachelor grade (which is rounded to one decimal place).
In the Master's degree program, too, all successfully completed and recognized modules are listed in the Academic Record, thus also the superfluous modules which are not counted toward the final degree. In the Master's degree, the grade of a module worth 6 ECTS credits - if it deviates significantly from the average of the remaining grades - can influence the overall grade by two tenths.
If more modules are completed than can be credited toward the degree, the modules that have been completed will be credited in ascending chronological order based on the new regulations. Does this apply for degrees starting in Fall Semester 2021?
Yes, these regulations apply for degrees starting in Fall Semester 2021. If there are surplus modules, first the Faculty of Law modules will be credited in ascending chronological order. Only after this will any non-faculty modules be credited (also in this order).
Questions concerning the transition from the Bachelor's to the Master's degree program
If I intend to complete a Master’s degree module in advance, by when must I do so in order to have the freedom to choose my courses in the Master’s program during the transition phase? Do Master’s theses also count toward this?
Advance Master’s degree modules must be completed by no later than Spring Semester 2021 in order for them to appear on the corresponding transcript of records. Master’s theses count as well. In contrast to Master’s degree modules, a Master’s thesis can be started before 162 ECTS credits have been earned toward the Bachelor’s degree. At the end of Spring Semester 2021, a review will be conducted to determine if a Master’s degree module has been completed or a Master’s thesis successfully written and 162 ECTS credits have been earned toward the Bachelor’s degree.
Do students who complete the Bachelor of Law in Spring Semester 2021 have to complete the Civil Procedure Law and Tax Law modules again in the Master of Law?
In principle, yes. Students can avoid having to do so by earning 162 of the ECTS credits that count toward the Bachelor’s degree and completing a Master’s degree module in advance by the end of Spring Semester 2021. Students who do so will not have to complete the Civil Procedure Law and Tax Law modules for the Master’s degree.
Questions concerning the Master's degree program
I have registered for a Master's seminar in Fall Semester 2021 and intend to complete my Bachelor's degree in Spring Semester 2021. Now I have learned that the Master's thesis may only be started in the Master's degree program. Do I now have to deregister from the Master's seminar again? (published 13 April 2021, supplemented 29 August 2021)
No, you do not have to deregister and you can write the Master's thesis in Fall Semester 2021 as scheduled. However, due to the new regulations, credit ist only transferred to a Master's degree for the Master's thesis when you are enrolled in the Master's degree program in Fall Semester 2021. It is not possible to transfer credit for the thesis at a later date.
If, contrary to expectations, you do not meet the requirements to enroll in the Master's degree program in Fall Semester 2021, please inform the chair conducting the seminar. This will not result in a failed attempt.
Until when can I write a Master’s thesis worth more than 12 ECTS credits?
According to Framework Ordinance 2021, Master’s theses have a fixed value of 12 ECTS credits. Students who have already successfully completed a Master’s thesis cannot write any further Master’s theses. This rule is valid for all students from Fall Semester 2021.
Master’s theses completed by the end of Spring Semester 2021 can be credited toward the Master’s degree up to and including Spring Semester 2024 (even if they are worth more than 12 ECTS credits).
Thus, Master’s theses worth more or less than 12 ECTS credits can be agreed for Spring Semester 2021. However, these theses must be registered in Spring Semester 2021, which means the evaluations must be submitted to the Faculty of Law Service Desk in good time (no later than 10 July 2021).
If it is agreed with the chair that a Master's Thesis worth more than 12 ECTS credits, which should have been written in Spring Semester 2021, is not to be handed in until Fall Semester 2021, it can only be credited to the extent of 12 ECTS credits.
Do I still need to write a Master’s thesis after the deadline?
All students who complete the Master’s program after the start of Fall Semester 2021 must have successfully completed one or more Master’s theses worth at least 12 ECTS credits. Starting in Fall Semester 2021, only Master’s theses worth this many credits will be offered. It will no longer be possible to write more than one Master’s thesis.
As a result, the following scenarios are possible during the transition phase:
- I have written one Master’s thesis worth 6 ECTS credits:
The ECTS credits will be credited. Another Master’s thesis worth 12 ECTS credits must still be written.
- I have written two Master’s theses, each worth 6 ECTS credits:
The two Master’s theses fulfill the compulsory module requirements under the new regulations. Another Master’s thesis does not have to be written.
- I have written one Master’s thesis worth 18 ECTS credits:
The ECTS credits will be credited and the compulsory module requirements under the new regulations have been fulfilled. Another Master’s thesis does not have to be written.
Is it possible to write an additional Master’s thesis after the deadline?
All students who have written one or more Master's theses totaling 12 ECTS credits or more by the end of Spring Semester 2021 have fulfilled the Master's thesis, which is considered a compulsory module according to the new RVO, and cannot write another Master's thesis.
Before Fall Semester 2021 I have written a Master’s thesis worth more than 12 ECTS credits. How will the “surplus” ECTS credits be applied if I complete the degree after Spring Semester 2021?
For Master’s theses worth more than 12 ECTS credits, a correspondingly lower number of elective modules need to be completed. The agreed number of credits for the Master’s thesis will be shown in the final records.
Questions about the Minor Study Programs
What happens if I have already met the requirements for a minor program of study in the Faculty of Law, but I have not yet completed the major program of study by the end of Spring Semester 2021? Do I need confirmation or the like to attest that the minor program of study has already been completed in accordance with the old regulations? (supplemented 20 August 2021)
No confirmation is necessary. If the prerequisites for the completion of the minor program of study have been met by the end of Spring Semester 2021, it will be credited toward the subsequent completion of the major program of study. In this case, the new regulations regarding the minor program of study can be disregarded. This also applies if the major program is not completed until after Spring Semester 2024. However, it should be noted that coursework completed more than 10 years ago cannot be transferred to the degree.
I meet the requirements to have freedom of choice in the minor study program during the transition period according to the transition table. What if I have successfully completed all the required modules according to this transition table up to and including Spring Semester 2024, but do not complete my major study program until later? Do I then fulfill the graduation requirements or do I have to fulfill the requirements according to the new regulations? (published 20 August 2021)
If students who have freedom of choice under the transitional regulations meet the requirements for completion of the minor study program applicable in the transition by the end of Spring Semester 2024 (see transition tables), this will also be counted toward a later completion of the major study program. Of course, there is also the restriction that only coursework that was not completed more than 10 years ago can be transferred to the degree.
Will my academic achievements be credited in accordance with the new regulations if I switch from the minor to the single major study program?
Yes. Modules that have been successfully completed in the minor program of study will be credited toward the completion of the single major study program. The modules will be credited even if they have already been credited toward the completion of a major program of study in another faculty.