A medical degree programme for those who ask why

Suturing wounds is still an indispensable surgical technique today. ETH students
Suturing wounds is still an indispensable surgical technique today. ETH students like Rahel Schmidt learn it in the Bachelor of Human Medicine programme using bananas. (Photograph: ETH Zurich / Pat Wettstein)
What began as a venture quickly proved its worth: The ETH Bachelor in Human Medicine is well received by graduates and has helped to establish ETH Zurich in the Swiss medical education landscape. In a video, five graduates talk about what makes studying medicine at ETH so special.

In brief

  • ETH Zurich has been offering a Bachelor’s degree programme in Human Medicine since 2017. With a very independent curriculum from the outset, the university has established itself as a partner in the Swiss medical education landscape.
  • The ETH Bachelor of Human Medicine programme is unmistakably characterised by the combination of classical medical subjects with the fundamentals of science and medical technology.
  • In addition to the technical and scientific background, ETH medical students of the first generation particularly appreciate the practical, clinical training.



Applications to study medicine in Switzerland are currently open (see box). ETH Zurich is one of the Swiss universities offering an undergraduate medical degree programme; it has been offering a Bachelor’s degree in human medicine since 2017. With a very independent curriculum from the outset, ETH Zurich has established itself as a partner in the Swiss medical education landscape. This is also reflected in the fact that it now offers various part-time CAS and MAS programmes in continuing medical education (see box).

Unmistakable ETH medical studies

To this day, the ETH Bachelor of Human Medicine is unmistakably characterised by its combination of classical medical subjects with the fundamentals of molecular biology and medical technology. From the very beginning, scientific and engineering methods have been incorporated into the programme, along with early clinical references and practical assignments in hospitals.

ETH Zurich also collaborates closely with partners in the implementation of the programme and with a view to the subsequent Master’s degree course - for example with the University of Zurich, the University of Basel and the Università della Svizzera italiana as well as with the Cantonal Hospital Baden, the University Hospital Zurich, the Schulthess Klinik and other institutions from the healthcare sector.

AI and interprofessional collaboration in the degree programme

Since its first implementation, ETH Zurich has continuously adapted the Bachelor’s degree programme in Human Medicine to new developments and needs. Typical more recent teaching modules in the programme relate, for example, to the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in medicine or courses with other medical and healthcare professions.

In joint teaching with nursing, midwifery or pharmacy students, ETH medical students are prepared at an early stage to cooperate with other professional groups in healthcare and to orientate their medical practice towards the needs of patients. The study of medical technology and AI also enables them to use new medical technologies in treatment later on as doctors.

"Molecular biology basics, medical technology and artificial intelligence are becoming increasingly important for medicine," says Christian Wolfrum, ETH Vice President Research, "with medical training at ETH, we are enabling future doctors to use the latest findings from research and innovation for patients even more than before."

ETH medical students value their education

100 students each receive a place in the ETH Bachelor of Human Medicine programme, with the proportion of women among new students averaging over 58 per cent since 2017, reaching a peak of 67 per cent in 2022. "From the very beginning, the Bachelor’s degree programme in Human Medicine has combined research-oriented basic training with practice-oriented teamwork and the acquisition of clinical skills," says ETH Rector Günther Dissertori, "so I am all the more pleased that this focus on training is very well received by the students."


"Studying Human Medicine at ETH is ideal for people who are always asking why and aren’t satisfied with the answer ’That’s just how it is.’"


"ETH News" interviewed four graduates of the Bachelor in Human Medicine - almost all of them belong to the first generation of ETH medical students and also completed their Master’s degree in Medicine in autumn 2023.

In the video, all five state that, in addition to the technical and scientific background of the ETH medical bachelor’s programme, they particularly appreciated the fact that they had practical, clinical courses from day one - such as suturing, intubating or using ultrasound. They really enjoyed the joint teaching with students from other healthcare professions. Additionally, they found the tangible "ETH spirit of innovation" motivating as well. The ETH human medicine programme is ideal for those who ask why and are not satisfied with the way things are, says one student.

Application to study medicine in Switzerland

Anyone wishing to start a Bachelor’s degree in human medicine at ETH Zurich in autumn must register by 15 February 2024. Pre-registration for the aptitude test (EMS) is required for admission to a medical degree programme in Switzerland. This pre-registration takes place at swissuniversities, the Rectors’ Conference of the Swiss Universities.

external page Application to study medicine call_made

ETH Zurich also offers the " CAS ETH in Digital Clinical Trials (CAS ETH DCT) " and the " CAS ETH in Digital Health " as part of its part-time continuing education programme.