Initial requirements

Prerequisites for the Assessment Year vary according to the specialization and foreign language you select.


In addition to the formal requirements for studying at the University of St.Gallen, there are content-related prerequisites for some subjects, i.e. some subjects require a certain level of prior knowledge:

  • Business Administration, Economics, Law: no prior knowledge required
  • Mathematics: secondary, high school or Matura level
  • Foreign Language: different entry levels depending on the language

In order to ensure successful intercultural communication, language skills are an essential requirement.


At the University of St.Gallen, the curriculum is taught in German and English. The university not only offers the opportunity to study in two languages, but foreign languages are deeply embedded within its program structure.

Proof of proficiency and requirements

Graduates of the University of St.Gallen are required to demonstrate their proficiency in two foreign languages, with the requirement of proof being completely independent of their choice of language of study. One language certificate must be completed during the Assessment Year and a second until the completion of Bachelor studies.

A range of courses and examinations is offered in 10 foreign languages. For each language, two or three target levels have been defined. Students decide for themselves which level in which foreign language they will seek certification for (that is, which language skills they want to have documentation for in the labor market).

The languages taught at HSG assume an entry level equivalent to the level of the Swiss maturity certificate or an equivalent foreign school-leaving certificate. In terms of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), this means:

Target Level and Course Prerequisites for Language Courses




(Unless otherwise stated, the learning level preceding the target level is assumed. A1 courses start from zero. Ex: English C1 course requires B2 level proficiency.)














no previous knowledge is required for the Italian B1 course




no previous knowledge is required for the Spanish B1 course

















For the target levels A1 and A2, a range of language courses is offered with English as the language of explanation.

Special offer of language certificates in the languages of study, German and English

For students who may desire more intensive training in the languages of study, English or German, an extended course with double the number of hours per week is available for certification at the target level C1.

External qualifications

As part of the Assessment Year, proof of knowledge of a foreign language at a lower level is required (in languages with three target levels: one of the two lower levels). For this requirement, no external language diplomas will be recognized; students in the Assessment Year are required to complete an oral and written language examination at the University of St.Gallen.

However, in the Bachelor studies that follow, external language certificates can be presented as proof, allowing for recognition of languages other than those taught at the University of St.Gallen.

It is required that students have a good knowledge of basic algebraic operations and of functions of one real variable and their properties. Moreover, it is expected that students can apply the mathematical tools taught in secondary school.


The basics

In order to be able to follow the Mathematics course in the Assessment Year, you should be familiar with the following concepts and be comfortable with applying the corresponding mathematical tools in practice. In addition, elementary algebraic skills – in particular basic algebraic operations and dealing with fractions – are essential.

1. Arithmetic and algebra

  • Power with rational exponents (including calculation rules)
  • Basic rules for inequalities
  • Solution of linear systems of equations with a maximum of three variables
  • Solution of quadratic equations with one variable
  • Specific terms and the fundamental associated relationships: absolute value, sigma sign, factorial, binomial coefficients, notation of elementary set theory

2. Functions

  • Polynomial functions
  • Simple rational functions
  • Root functions
  • Exponential functions, including properties and calculation rules, and the Euler number
  • Logarithmic functions, including properties and calculation rules
  • Trigonometric functions (degrees, radians, definition in the unit circle), including addition theorems for cosine and sine
  • Domain and range of functions
  • Inverse function with concrete examples

The ability to produce graphs and recognize functions based on their graphical representation are also a requirement. When handling exponential and logarithmic functions, as well as trigonometric functions, knowledge of the most important function values is a necessity.

3. Calculus

  • Limits
  • Continuity of functions of a real variable in the graphical sense
  • Derivatives of function of a real variable
  • Geometric meaning of the first derivative
  • Meaning of the first derivative in applications (growth behavior of functions)
  • Derivatives for basic functions (xʳ, cos, sin, tan, exp, ln)
  • Rules of derivation (product, quotient rule, chain rule)
  • Determination of extreme points of functions of a real variable
  • Calculation of integrals (integration by parts and by substitution)


For further information on the terms and concepts, please refer to the following books:

  • De Giorgi, Enrico (2019): Mathematics, University of St.Gallen (see

  • Sydsaeter, Knut, Peter Hammond, and Arne Strom (2012): Essential Mathematics for Economic Analysis (4th Edition), Prentice Hall, Chapters 1-9