University of Lausanne

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Université de Lausanne
University of Lausanne
founding 1537 (since 1890: Université de Lausanne )
Sponsorship state
place Lausanne
country SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
Rectrice Nouria Hernandez
Students 11,500 (WS 2008/09)
Employee 3,723 (December 31, 2008)
including professors 452 (December 31, 2008)
Annual budget 374.9 million CHF
Networks IAU , Swissuniversities , Triangle Azur , UNICA
Seal of the University of Lausanne: Sigillum universitatis Lausoniensis semen ortum faciet fructum centuplum

The Université de Lausanne (UNIL, German  University of Lausanne ) was founded in 1537 as the theological Académie de Lausanne and was given the name and status of a university in 1890 . In 1970, the university moved from the city center to the campus in Dorigny near Lake Geneva . There it forms together with the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) the largest education and research center in Switzerland . More than 14,000 students have been studying at the University of Lausanne since 2015. The lectures are primarily held in French.


There are seven faculties (in descending order according to the number of students):

Faculty of Social and Political Sciences

Building of the humanities and social sciences faculty of the UNIL on the campus in Dorigny

Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (French: Faculté des sciences sociales et politiques - SSP) with the sub-areas:

  • Institute for Applied Mathematics ( Institut de mathématiques appliquées - IMA)
  • Observatory for Politics and Social Sciences ( Observatoire Science, Politique et Société - OSPS)
  • Institute for Politics and International Studies ( Institut d'études politiques et internationales - IEPI)
  • Institute for Anthropology and Sociology ( Institut d'anthropologie et de sociologie - IAS)
  • Institute for Sociology and Mass Communication ( Institut de sociologie des communications de masse - ISCM)
  • Institute for Social Sciences and Education ( Institut des sciences sociales et pédagogiques - ISSP)
  • Interdisciplinary institute for studies of the biographical career ( Institut interdisciplinaire d'étude des trajectoires biographiques - ITB)
  • Institute for Psychology ( Institut de psychologie - IP)
  • Institute for Sport Science and Physical Education ( Institut des sciences du sport et de l'éducation physique - ISSEP)
  • Institute for Economic and Social History ( Institut d'histoire économique et sociale - IHES)
  • Documentation Center for Politics in French-speaking Switzerland ( Center de documentation sur la vie politique en Suisse romande )

Philosophical Faculty

Philosophical Faculty (French: Faculté des lettres ) consisting of:

  • Subregion philosophy (Section de philosophie)
  • Portion History (Section d'histoire)
  • Modern French section (Section de français modern)
  • Subregion Italian (Section d'italia)
  • Subregion Spanish (Section d'espagnol)
  • Subregion German (Section d'anglais)
  • Subregion English (Section d'anglais)
  • Subregion Slavic language and culture (Section de langues et civilizations slaves)
  • Subregion Oriental Language and Culture (Section de langues et civilizations orientales)
  • General linguistics section (Section de linguistique générale)
  • Subregion Art History (Section d'histoire de l'art)
  • Sub-area history and aesthetics of film theater (Section d'histoire et esthétique du cinéma)
  • Subregion computer science and mathematical methods ( Section d'informatique et méthodes mathématiques - IMM)
  • Institute for Archeology and Classical Studies ( Institut d'archéologie et des sciences de l'Antiquité - IASA)
  • Center for French-speaking literature ( Center de recherches sur les lettres romandes - CRLR)
  • Center for Literary Translation ( Center de traduction littéraire de Lausanne - CTL)
  • Center for History and Cultural Studies ( Center des sciences historiques et de la culture - SHC)
  • Center for Linguistic Research and Comparison of European Literature ( Center de recherche en langues et littératures européennes comparées - CLE)
  • Center for interdisciplinary doctoral training ( Center de formation doctorale interdisciplinaire - FDi)
  • Benjamin Constant Institute ( Institute Benjamin Constant - IBC)
  • Institute for Linguistics and Linguistics ( Institut de linguistique et des sciences du langage - ILSL)
  • School for French as a Foreign Language ( Ecole de français langue étrangère - FLE)
  • Holiday courses (Cours de vacances)
  • Center for Medieval Studies (Center d'études médiévales)
  • Multimedia center (Center multimédia)
  • French-Swiss Commission of the Literature of the 3rd Century (Commission romande des 3èmes cycles de Lettres)
  • Department of Inter-Faculty History (Département interfacultaire d'histoire)
  • Revue des études de Lettres
  • Swiss Institute for Art Research - SIK ( Institute suisse pour l'étude de l'art - ISEA)

Faculty of Biology and Medicine

Main article: Faculty of Biology and Medicine at the University of Lausanne

The Faculty of Biology and Medicine (French: Faculté de biologie et de médecine - FBM) consists of numerous research institutions and is located on the campus in the Bugnon district.

The faculty's psychiatric facilities are located at the Cery site in the Prilly community .

Faculty of Business and Economics

L'Extranef , main building of the HEC executive education
L'Internef , main building of the HEC and seat of the law and economics library (BDSE) on the campus in Dorigny
Main article: HEC Lausanne

The Faculty of Economics (French: École des hautes études commerciales - HEC) with the following sub-areas:

  • Institute for Tourism ( Institut de tourisme - IT)
  • Research unit for bookkeeping , auditing and finance ( Unité de recherche en comptabilité, contrôle et finance - URCCF)
  • Section for Business Mathematics and Economics ( Département d'économétrie et d'économie politique - DEEP)
  • Institute for Information Systems ( Institut des systèmes d'information - ISI)
  • Institute for Banking and Finance ( Institut de banque et finance - IBF)
  • Institute for Applied Macroeconomics ( Institut de macroéconomie appliquée - Créa)
  • Institute for Insurance and Business Mathematics ( Institut de sciences actuarielles - ISA)
  • Institute for Management ( Institut de recherche en management - IRM)
  • Institute for Health Economics and Management ( Institut d'économie et management de la santé - IEMS)

Faculty of Law and Criminal Science

Law and Criminal Science Faculty (French: Faculté de droit et des sciences criminelles ) divided into:

  • Center for European and International Comparative Law (Center de droit comparé européen et international)
    • this includes the chair for German law (Chaire de droit allemand) with German-language lectures
    • the chair for international constitutional law (Chaire de droit international public)
    • English-language courses in Anglo-American law (Droit américain)
  • Institute for Liability and Insurance Law ( Institut de recherches sur le droit de la responsabilité civile et assurances - IRAL)
  • Center for Economics Walras - Pareto ( Center d'économie politique Walras-Pareto - CWP)
  • Center for Civil Law (Center de droit privé)
  • Center for Public Law (Center de droit public)
  • School for Criminal Sciences (Ecoles des sciences criminelles) with the departments:

Faculty of Geosciences and Environmental Sciences

Faculty of Geosciences and Environmental Sciences (French: Faculté de géosciences et de l'environnement - GSE) consisting of:

Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies

Theological and religious studies faculty (French: Faculté de théologie ) divided into:

Other institutes and foundations

  • Institut de hautes études en administration publique - IDHEAP (University Institute for Public Administration)
  • Institut Universitaire Kurt Bösch - IUKB
  • Fondation Jean Monnet pour l'Europe
  • Institut suisse de droit comparé - ISDC
  • Center du droit de l'entreprise - CEDIDAC
  • Edouard Fleuret Foundation - FEF
  • Institut Suisse de Bio-informatique
  • Swiss Vaccine Research Institute
  • Biopole

Courses offered and degrees

French courses

During the summer and winter semester break, the holiday courses (Cours de vacances) of the Faculty of Philosophy (Faculté des lettres) offer courses for students from beginners to advanced in French, literature and culture. These courses are particularly recommended for future UNIL students whose mother tongue is not French. The costs for these courses must be borne by the students themselves.

The School for French as a Foreign Language (Ecole de français langue étrangère) offers courses in French, literature and cultural studies during the current semester, as well as training courses for language teachers. A minimal knowledge of French is generally required for these courses.

In addition, UNIL initiates a tandem program (Program Tandem) every semester to improve foreign language skills. The program is based on two speakers with different mother tongues agreeing to meet regularly and to teach each other free of charge in their mother tongue. The partners work completely autonomously, especially since they decide for themselves where and how often they meet, how they organize these meetings and how they want to correct each other.

Bachelor, Master and PhD

Since the Bologna Agreement came into force, studies at UNIL have been divided into two parts: the three-year bachelor's degree and the subsequent three- to four-semester master's degree with the option of specializing in a certain field of study or an interdisciplinary degree. In addition, so-called postgraduate courses leading to a Master of Advanced Studies and PhD courses are offered.

Partner universities

Partner universities are:

At the end of the 20th century, an extensive cooperation and development project between the Universities of Lausanne, Geneva and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) was launched. In 2001 the Sciences - Vie - Société (SVS) convention was signed by the Universities of Lausanne, Geneva and the Swiss Federal Polytechnic University of Lausanne. This project regulates the pooling of research and other activities between the institutions. Its aim is to use new research and teaching methods to develop common scientific dynamics, especially where several subject areas overlap.

In addition, the Universities of Lausanne, Geneva and Neuchâtel (so-called Triangle Azur ) signed an agreement in 2004 to federate their theological faculties and founded the Fédération des facultés de théologie de Genève, Lausanne et Neuchâtel . As part of the implementation of the Bologna reform, a joint bachelor's and master's degree in theology was created.

Cantonal and university library

Palais de Rumine , main building of the KUB
Main article: Cantonal and University Library of Lausanne

The Cantonal and University Library of Lausanne (KUB) has four locations:

  • The Dorigny library on the Dorigny campus in the building of the so-called Unithèque ( Bibliothèque de Dorigny )
  • The law and business library in the Internef , the main building of the HEC on the campus in Dorigny ( Bibliothèque de Droit et Sciences Economiques - BDSE)
  • The Riponne library in the Palais de Rumine on Place de la Riponne in the city center of Lausanne ( Bibliothèque de la Riponne )
  • The Cèdres Library ( Bibliothèque des Cèdres )

Student dormitories

Bourdonette student residence building

The FMEL ( Fondation maisons pour étudiants ) of UNIL and EPFL Lausanne provides a total of 1,062 furnished rooms and 175 furnished one-room apartments in seven student residences.

The foundation was established in 1961 by the City of Lausanne, the Canton of Vaud and the University of Lausanne to meet the growing need for student accommodation. In 1982 the Swiss Confederation and EPFL joined the foundation. The dormitory administration is located in the Rhodanie dormitory building .

Names, location and capacities of the dormitories:

  • Bourdonette , near UNIL (239 furnished rooms and 25 furnished one-room apartments)
  • Cèdres , near Lake Geneva and the port in Ouchy (144 furnished rooms and 37 furnished one-room apartments)
  • Falaises , above the city center in Bugnon, near the University Hospital Lausanne (125 furnished rooms and 28 furnished one-room apartments)
  • Marcolet , outside, near Crissier (118 furnished rooms and four furnished one-room apartments)
  • Ochettes , near UNIL and EPFL (114 furnished rooms and 21 furnished one-room apartments)
  • Rhodanie , near Lake Geneva, 15 minutes' walk to Ouchy (120 furnished rooms and twelve furnished one-room apartments)
  • Triaudes , near EPFL (202 furnished rooms and 48 furnished one-room apartments)


Founded in the 16th century

Théodore de Bèze (1519–1605)

The University of Lausanne emerges from the Schola Lausannensis , which the Bernese rulers founded shortly after the conquest of Vaud . UNIL was founded in 1537, when it was founded as the theological Académie de Lausanne to train pastors. In 1552 the theologian and reformer Théodore de Bèze was appointed rector of the Lausanne Académie, which at that time was the only French-speaking college for Protestant theology, enjoying a high level of awareness. One of the first teachers was the famous natural scientist Conrad Gessner , who had been professor of the Greek language since 1537 and professor of physics from 1541.

In 1547 the first regulations of the university (Leges Scholae Lausannensis) were issued and the university consisted of a Latin school and four chairs:

  • the chair of theology
  • the Chair of Liberal Arts
  • the Chair of Greek Philology
  • and the Chair of Hebrew Philology.

In 1708 a chair for law and history was added.

Building of the old Académie de Lausanne

In 1558, when around 700 students were enrolled, Théodore de Bèze resigned and went to Geneva to work alongside his colleague, Johannes Calvin , the founder of Calvinism . The Lausanne theologians, who were also close to Calvin, got into a dispute a little later with the rulers of Bern, who in turn were supporters of the Zurich reformer Ulrich Zwinglis . The following year the university experienced its first deep crisis. For theological as well as political reasons, Pierre Viret , Lausanne pastor and driving force of the institution, rose up with his colleagues against the government in Bern. Viret was removed from office and his colleagues left Lausanne. Finally, in 1570, the Bern government immediately replaced the professors who had founded the Schola Lausannensis and had since resigned with Bernese and French teachers.

In April 1587, 50 years after the beginnings of the Schola Lausannensis, the inauguration of the Académie building took place. The building in its former form can be seen on the Buttet plan (1638), the first faithful representation of the city of Lausanne.

17th century

In 1602 a series of reforms followed. The Livre du Recteur was introduced. By entering their names in this register, the students recognized the laws and regulations of the academy. In 1616 an academic council was set up in Bern with the task of overseeing all departments and appointing a rector every year. The period of study was set at three years in the philosophy department and two years in the theology department. In addition, the professorial activity is limited and defined. A sovereign mandate from the Gracious Lords of Bern granted the Academy the right to train theologians in 1621 and the ordination of pastors of the Reformed Church was also permitted. A privilege that the Académie made use of until 1838. In 1640 an academic law was passed, which renewed and reinforced the reforms of 1616. In 1699 the philosopher and mathematician Jean-Pierre de Crousaz became rector and professor of philosophy and mathematics at the Académie.

18th century

Jean Barbeyrac (1674–1744), rector and professor of history and civil law

The academic regulations of January 26th, 1700 affirmed the previous regulations and also provided for the appointment of a protective and control body, which consisted of 4 curators who were chosen from among the Bernese council members.

Samuel Auguste Tissot (1728–1797)

In 1708 a chair in law and history was created and the city council of Lausanne participated in academic life and took part in the payment of the professor of law. From 1711, Jean Barbeyrac , professor of history and civil law and from 1714 to 1717 rector, gave up traditional Latin as the language of lectures for the first time and held his introductory lectures in French. In 1741, however, the history courses were discontinued and lectures only on natural and civil law were offered at the chair of law. During this time, the Académie de Lausanne already had 7 chairs in various fields:

  • two chairs for theology (dogmatics and polemics),
  • a chair in Hebrew and catechesis,
  • a chair for Greek and ethics,
  • a chair for philosophy, mathematics and physics,
  • a chair in rhetoric and fiction and
  • a chair in law.

After an inspection of the school in 1757 by the Bern curator Albrecht von Haller , a well-known natural scientist and physician, new regulations were issued. In 1758 the teaching of the exact sciences was temporarily separated from the chair of philosophy and Louis de Treytorrens was appointed associate professor of mathematics and experimental physics. In 1766 the famous Samuel Auguste Tissot was appointed professor of medicine at the Académie. Although he did not teach regularly, he played an important role for the institution thanks to his extensive correspondence with the academy's curator, Albrecht von Haller.

Vaud became independent on January 24, 1798 and the Bernese finally left the canton.

19th century

The character of the institution was fundamentally changed by the law of December 21, 1837 on public education in the canton of Vaud: it was supposed to train people for professions that required a higher education and to maintain the literary and scientific culture in the country. For the first time since its inception, the Academy was no longer primarily a school of theology. It was secularized, lost its ecclesiastical character and with it the position of power that it had held for almost three centuries.

In the same year, French was introduced as the language of instruction in the humanities, natural sciences, theological and law faculties. Licentiates could be obtained at all three faculties and the number of chairs was increased to a total of seventeen: three for humanities, three for philosophy, history and political science, three for mathematics and physics, four for theology and five for law.

In 1853 the Ecole spéciale de Lausanne was founded as a technical college of the Académie de Lausanne based on the model of the Paris Ecole Centrale on the initiative of five Vaudois technical college technicians trained in Paris, professors of mathematics and chemistry at the Academy. The later Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne ( École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne - EPFL) emerged from it.

The law on higher education (Loi du 12 mai sur l'enseignement supérieur), passed on May 12, 1869, gave the academy legal status that made it a university a few years later. From then on there were four equal faculties for the humanities, natural sciences and mathematics, law and theology. The technical college is attached to the academy as a technical faculty. In addition to the academic degrees of licentiate and engineer, which could be acquired at the five faculties, the doctorate was now also added. In 1873 a department for pharmacy was also set up.

From 1886 Heinrich Erman , since 1883 professor in Lausanne, gave German-language lectures on Roman law and a chair for German law was established in 1897, where Erman gave lectures on the new German civil law.

Gabriel de Rumine (1841–1871)
Gaspard André (1840-1896)

The aristocrat Gabriel de Rumine (1841–1871), originally from Russia and whose mother was from Lausanne, left the city of Lausanne 1,500,000 francs in 1871 for the construction of a public building. The city council then decided to build a new university at the foot of the old town hill on Place de la Riponne and in 1889 carried out an architectural competition that was won by the French architect Gaspard André (1840-1896). This led to the construction of the Palais de Rumine, which was completed 17 years later and housed several services of the Académie.

The law on public higher education of May 10, 1890 (Loi sur l'instruction publique supérieure) gave the academy the status and name of a university. The incumbent rector, Alexandre Maurer, professor of comparative literature, was the last rector of the former academy and first rector of the new University of Lausanne. In the same year the medical faculty was established. The university had 300 students enrolled at the time.

In 1893 the physics and chemistry department was set up at the Place du Château and since 1895 there have been summer courses for non-French speakers offered by the philosophy faculty.

20th century

Palais de Rumine (location of the university library )

In the 20th century the university expanded considerably and numerous other departments were added. The Palais de Rumine on Place de la Riponne, inaugurated in 1906, housed the general services of the academy, the auditorium, the scientific societies, the technical faculty and the university library. The Palais de Rumine is now home to several museums and one of the four locations of the Lausanne cantonal and university library . In 1901 the Department of Political and Social Sciences (SSP) was created, in 1902 the Department of Modern French (Ecole de français modern) was established and affiliated to the Faculté des Lettres (Philosophical Faculty). In 1909 the Institute for Forensic Sciences and Criminology (IPSC) was established and incorporated into the law faculty. In 1910, a total of 1,000 students were enrolled at the Université de Lausanne. This number was not exceeded until the end of World War II. In 1911, the business administration department (HEC) was established. In 1943 an architecture school was added to the engineering school.

In 1946, the engineering school was converted to the Technical University of Lausanne (EPUL) and was granted autonomous status.

In 1960 there were 1,700 enrolled students.

In 1969 the EPUL was converted to EPFL ( Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne ).

In 1970 the university was gradually relocated from the center of Lausanne to Dorigny . In 1998 an extensive cooperation and development project was started between the universities of Lausanne, Geneva, Neuenbug and the EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne). In 2003 two new faculties were created: the Faculty of Biology and Medicine and the Faculty of Geosciences and Environmental Sciences.


Jean-Pierre de Crousaz (1663–1750), philosopher, rector of the Académie
Jean Barbeyrac (1674–1744), lawyer and philosopher, rector of the Académie
Charles Monnard (1790–1865), Swiss historian, politician, writer

Researchers and teachers

Léon Walras (1834–1910) professor of economics, founder of the Lausanne School

16th Century

  • Théodore de Bèze , theologian and reformer, rector and teacher of the Greek language at the Acedémie de Lausanne (1552–1554)
  • Conrad Gessner , Swiss doctor, naturalist and classical philologist, professor of the Greek language and physics at the Acedémie de Lausanne

17th century

  • Jean-Pierre de Crousaz , philosopher, rector and Swiss professor of philosophy and mathematics and at the Académie de Lausanne

18th century

19th century

20th century

  • Francesco Alberoni , Italian sociologist, journalist and sociology professor
  • Orhan Aldıkaçtı , Turkish constitutional law professor and co-author of the Turkish constitution
  • Ernesto Buonaiuti , Italian Catholic theologian, important exponent of Italian modernism
  • Pierre Gilliard , educator and tutor for French at the court of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II.
  • Edgar Goldschmid , German pathologist and medical historian
  • Corneille Heymans , Belgian pharmacologist, Nobel laureate in Physiology or Medicine (1938)
  • Ulrich Immenga , former professor of German law at the Université de Lausanne, legal scholar with a research focus on commercial law
  • Jacques Mercanton , Swiss writer and literary scholar
  • Karl Heinz Neumayer , legal scholar, former professor of German law at the Université de Lausanne, Friborg and Würzburg
  • Archibald Reiss , forensics pioneer, publicist, chemist and professor of criminology
  • Otto Riese , German lawyer, President of the Senate at the BGH in Karlsruhe, judge at the European Court of Justice , former professor of German law at the Université de Lausanne, dean of the legal faculty
  • César Roux , Swiss surgeon, developer of the Roux-Y anastomosis named after him
  • Fritz Sturm , German lawyer, former professor for German law at the Université de Lausanne
  • Ahmed Zewail , Egyptian chemist, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry (1999)
  • Rolf Zinkernagel , Swiss physician and experimental immunologist, Nobel laureate in medicine (1996)



  • Erika Fuchs , German translator of the American Mickey Mouse comics


Hans Fischer , Nobel Laureate in Chemistry (1881–1945)

Philosophy, Political Science and Linguistics


  • Benito Mussolini , Italian fascist dictator, received an honorary doctorate from the university in 1937 despite major protests



law Sciences

Pierre-Maurice Glayre as a member of the Board of Directors of the Helvetic Republic



  • Jacques Poos , Luxembourg politician, finance minister and member of the European Parliament
  • Sepp Blatter , President of the world football association FIFA


Obelisk in honor of Albrecht von Haller .


See also

Web links

Commons : University of Lausanne  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

Coordinates: 46 ° 31 ′ 21 "  N , 6 ° 34 ′ 46"  E ; CH1903:  534072  /  152717