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Preparation for studies

So that you are ready to start your studies.

You have been admitted to a degree course and have thus been accepted for a study place at the University of St.Gallen (HSG). But what happens next? Here we give you an overview of the next steps until the start of the semester – from setting up your user account to completing the enrolment to the introductory event on campus. So that you can start your studies at the HSG relaxed and without worries.

The next steps until the start of the semester

At the beginning of July, a personal user account will be created for all new students. The account will give you access to our digital services. You will receive your login details and set up instructions in your Compass mailbox. To set up the account, you will need to enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) in Microsoft 365 and change the default password.

An email address (firstname.lastname@student.unisg.ch) will be assigned to you with the user account. From this point on, all emails from the university will only be sent to your HSG address. Therefore, please check your email inbox regularly. The email address also serves as your login for Microsoft 365 and other HSG digital services.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the PC tutors.

Login Microsoft 365 and Outlook on the Web

Set up email account on private device

More info on StudentWeb (HSG login required)

You will receive the semester invoice in your Compass mailbox in mid-July 2023. Please pay the invoice on time, otherwise you will not be admitted to the bidding process (see below) and will not be able to choose any courses. Once you have paid your semester invoice, you can download your enrolment confirmation from your Compass mailbox.
 
As soon as you receive your semester invoice, you will automatically be registered for the first semester of your studies. No further action is required on your part.

For questions regarding your semester invoice and enrolment, please contact the Dean’s Advisory Office.

You will receive your enrollment confirmation in your Compass postbox after you have paid your semester invoice.

  • Start in the Assessment Year: To complete enrolment, you must upload a copy of your high school diploma via the online application portal by 31 August 2024. In addition, you must present the original of your high school diploma during Start Week.
     
  • Start in a Bachelor's or Master's degree: In order to complete enrolment, it is necessary that you submit your Bachelor's degree documents and, if applicable, exmatriculation confirmation by email to the Admissions Office as a certified copy by 20 September 2024. For detailed information, please refer to your admission order.

As soon as your application documents are complete, you will receive the final admission order for the study programme in your Compass postbox.

If you decide to withdraw from the study program, please contact the Admissions Office by email.

An overview of the courses can be found in the course catalogue. For course content and recommended reading, please refer to the course fact sheets, which are available in the course catalogue by mid-August at the latest.

At the HSG, places on courses are allocated in a so-called bidding process. Similar to an auction, you have to put points on the courses you wish to attend. Course places are allocated at the end of each bidding round according to the number of points used. Therefore, the time of your bid is not important. The assignment of a course place in the bidding is a prerequisite for registering for an exam and thus for earning ECTS credits.

  • Start in the Assessment Year: Bidding in the Assessment Year runs from 9 to 12 September 2024. During the StartWeek, we will explain the bidding process in detail and answer any questions you may have.
     
  • Start in a bachelor's or master's degree: Bidding for bachelor’s and master’s students starts on 22 August 2024, 3 p.m.

Instructions, explainer videos, and more information about the bidding process, as well as a detailed schedule, can be found on StudentWeb. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Dean's Advisory Office.

Note: For your course and semester planning, it is recommended to use Biddit. The application is operated and further developed by the Student Union (SHSG). Therefore, if you have any questions about Biddit, please contact SHSG directly.

More information on StudentWeb (HSG login required)

Biddit

We welcome all new students personally at our introductory events in calendar week 37. Participation in the Start Week (for assessment students) and the HSG Kick-off Days (for Bachelor's and Master's students) is mandatory. The invitation with all relevant information about the programme will be sent to you in August.

During the introductory event you will receive your HSGcard (student ID). Only with the HSGcard can you use the sports hall and the copying and scanning stations on campus.

If there are additional introductory or integration events in your study programme, you will receive a separate invitation for these.

Our digital services

Your HSG user account gives you access to various digital services, including different digital platforms as well as communication and IT tools. These help you to organize your studies easily, independent of time and location.

Where to get information about your studies

You can manage the most important administrative matters via Compass, including semester registration, course selection (Bidding) and exam deregistration. In addition, documents relevant to your studies, such as your grade transcripts or semester invoice, will be sent directly to your Compass mailbox if you have agreed to electronic delivery.

 

Tutorial:

Compass und StudentWeb

 

Quick links (HSG login required):

Compass

Known error messages in Compass

StudyNet is more than just a platform with learning content, slides and other lecture material. It represents the HSG’s virtual teaching environment and supports innovative digital learning formats. Through StudyNet, you can attend lectures and courses that take place online via Zoom.

 

Tutorials:

StudyNet

Zoom

 

Quick links (HSG login required):

StudyNet

Known error message from StudyNet

Overview of the most important platforms at the HSG

StudentWeb is a password-protected portal for students. The portal features news concerning your studies, additional information about the exams and theses as well as the study and exchange programmes.

 

Tutorial:

Compass and StudentWeb

 

Quick link (HSG login required):

StudentWeb

ResearchWeb is a password-protected portal for researchers and PhD-students at the University of St.Gallen. Here you will find information on a variety of funding opportunities and services that are available internally and externally. The service units represented in ResearchWeb actively support you in advancing your scientific projects and your academic career

Quick link (HSG login required):

ResearchWeb

Study at home and on the road

With your HSG user account, you can use a variety of applications from Office 365, including Word, PowerPoint and Excel. MS Teams also gives you access to Microsoft's central collaboration platform. In order to use Microsoft 365, the one-time setup of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is required.

 

Tutorials:

Microsoft 365

MS Teams

 

Quick links (HSG login required):

Microsoft 365: Office

Instructions Microsoft 365

Information about MS Teams

MFA set-up

MFA settings

The library with its numerous databases is the university's central knowledge storehouse. The HSG is part of swisscovery, the Swiss-wide network of academic libraries.

In order to be able to access our complete offer, including e-books and electronic journals, from outside the university network, you need a so-called Virtual Private Networking, or VPN in short.

 

Tutorial:

Library and VPN

 

Quick links (HSG login required):

Online search of the library

Information on reasearch as well as the services of the library

Installation of VPN Cisco Anyconnect

Step-by-step-instructions for installing the VPN

Common error messages during installation of the VPN

Thanks to SWITCHconnect, you can access the internet free of charge in all Swiss universities. You can also access the internet free of charge at Swiss railway stations and many other hotspots. To do this, you first have to register a SWITCH edu-ID and then link it to your HSG user account.

 

Tutorial:

SWITCH edu-ID

 

Quick link (HSG login required):

More information on the SWITCH edu-ID

Arrive in St.Gallen

The start of your studies is often connected with a move to Switzerland or St.Gallen. Whether visa, apartment search or insurances: There are a number of questions to be answered before you start your studies.

What to consider before arriving in St.Gallen

If you live in a country outside the EU or EFTA, you need a valid visa to enter Switzerland. Please note that it may take several months before a visa is issued. Therefore, apply for your visa at the Swiss representation in your country as early as possible.

You can find out about visa regulations and general entry requirements from the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM). The FAQ on the requirements for entering Switzerland is also helpful.

Visa application procedure

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, special regulations must be respected when entering Switzerland. You can find the current guidelines on the website of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

St.Gallen has a wide range of flats and shared rooms to offer. The Housing Service of the University of St.Gallen arranges furnished rooms for visiting students. Apartments are offered by students on the Marketplace in the SHSG Campus App. Another tip is to join the Facebook group Sharing is Caring, where many students post flat advertisements. 

When looking for a flat, you should have the following documents ready, provided you have them:

  • Copy of your residence permit and personal ID
  • Copy of your employment contract
  • excerpt from the debt collection registry

It is also common for the landlord to ask for a security deposit of up to three months' rent. Usually, the landlord opens a Swiss bank account in the tenant’s name into which the deposit is paid. The deposit amount remains blocked for both the landlord and the tenant until the tenancy is terminated. In some cases, landlords also require a personal liability and household insurance. If you encounter any legal uncertainties when concluding a rental agreement, you can contact the Municipal Housing Office (only in German) for free legal advice.

Procedure for students with visa requirements

You need a national D-type visa to study in Switzerland. Ask the Swiss representative office in good time which documents and proof are required for a visa application. Prepare the visa application very carefully. A missing document or one that is not submitted properly may lead to week-long delays.

Submit your application to the Swiss representative office. They will forward the application to the Swiss cantonal migration office. You will be notified as soon as your visa is ready for collection at the Swiss representative office.

If you give the canton of St.Gallen as your future place of residence, your visa application will be processed by the migration office of the canton of St.Gallen. Should it come to inexplicable delays, we may try to obtain information on the status of your entry application from the migration office for the canton of St.Gallen.

Letter of admission: We will send you an official letter of admission to your Compass mailbox if you are admitted to your desired degree programme. Please print this document in colour and enclose the print-out with your visa application. (We do not send letters of admission by post)

Semester invoice: You will also receive an invoice for the tuition fees for the first semester with the letter of admission. Please pay this invoice and enclose the invoice and confirmation of payment with your visa application. If you also require an official payment confirmation from the University of St.Gallen, please contact the Dean's Advisory Office. We will be happy to email you this document as soon as your payment is credited to our account.

Confirmation of matriculation: If you also need a confirmation of matriculation for your visa application, please contact the Dean's Advisory Office. We will be happy to email this document to you.

Proof of sufficient financial means: The visa authorities request, among other things, proof that you have sufficient financial means to cover your stay in Switzerland. In your visa application you must, therefore, generally furnish proof that you have at least CHF 24,000. The visa authority accepts account statements from Swiss banks or from banks with a branch or representative office in Switzerland. The account must be in your name and you must have the money available in the account. Please note that documents will be issued in German or English.

Written pledge to leave: The migration authorities may also ask for a statement confirming that you will leave Switzerland after you complete your degree.   

What to consider after arriving at St.Gallen

Health insurance

If you are studying in Switzerland for more than three months, you must have health insurance from the date you move here. Holders of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and privately insured students whose health insurance company ensures equivalent insurance coverage according to the Swiss Health Insurance Act (KVG) can be exempted from compulsory health insurance. To do so, fill out the certificate form of the City of St.Gallen (only in German).

 

Old age insurance (OASI)

Everyone who is resident and/or gainfully employed in Switzerland is subject to the compulsory old age and survivors’ insurance (OASI). People who are not gainfully employed have to start paying their contributions as from January 1 after they have reached the age of 20. Foreign students who are not gainfully employed are only covered by the OASI and are liable to pay contributions if their place of residence under civil law is in Switzerland.

 

Personal liability insurance and household insurance

Personal liability insurance is a voluntary insurance that indemnifies you against third parties’ claims for damages to property or personal injuries. If, for instance, you cause some damage to your rented flat, the insurance company will bear the costs. Some landlords explicitly demand evidence of such an insurance policy. Again, many insurers combine personal liability insurance and household insurance. The latter bears the costs of damage to household effects within the amount insured.

According to the latest survey by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) in 2020, you should have a monthly budget of about CHF 2,200 to CHF 2,600.

Cost of studies

Financing your studies

Frequently asked questions about starting your studies

Application and enrolment

You are allowed to apply to more than one university, but you cannot enrol at more than one Swiss university and can only start your studies at one Swiss university.

You will receive your semester invoice in your Compass mailbox around mid-July (start autumn semester).

The semester invoice will be sent out in mid-July. Once payment has been received, the confirmation of enrolment will be sent to your Compass postbox.

If you are interested in studying at the University of St. Gallen, you must start your studies from the beginning. It is not possible to credit achievements from a study programme you have not completed. However, if you have already obtained a Bachelor's degree, you can register for a second degree programme at Bachelor's level (crediting of the Assessment Year, no further credits possible). You are welcome to send us your Bachelor's degree including achievements by e-mail for a preliminary clarification at admissionsunisg.ch and we will be happy to check whether you can skip the Assessment Year.

Most of our Bachelor's degree programmes can be completed in German or English. However, students must obtain a minimum number of credits in both languages of study (German and English). We recommend that you read the factsheet and the study plan on the homepage of the respective Bachelor's programme.

It is not possible to start your studies in September if you are serving in the military at that time.

Please contact our Military Liaison Office. You will find all the information and the details of the Military Liaison Office on the following homepage.

StartWeek

A welcome email with information on the further administrative steps will be sent to your private email address in mid-June. You will receive detailed information about the start of your studies and StartWeek by post (StartWeek Welcome Letter) from the StartWeek team around mid-August. If you live overseas, you will receive the information electronically.

You must take the original school leaving certificate with you at the beginning of the StartWeek and present it to the Admissions and Credit Office. You will be informed in a separate letter when exactly you have to present the school leaving certificate.

Contact the StartWeek by email at startwoche@unisg.ch.

No, the entire Start Week programme is compulsory for new students.

Participation in the Start Week for repeaters is voluntary. You must register by email to assessment@unisg.ch by Friday in calendar week 34 at the latest.

You have the option of completing the shortened StartWeek for military service members and will be granted free days. To do so, send us your marching orders by email at startwoche@unisg.ch.

Application and Enrolment

Invoices are sent around around mid-July for the autumn semester and mid-December for the spring semester.

If you would like to receive the invoice earlier, please contact us at masterunisg.ch.

As soon as you have paid the semester invoice, you will receive the confirmation of enrolment in your Compass mailbox. It is not possible to send the confirmation of enrolment before the semester invoice has been paid in full.

A list of recognised language certificates (incl. minimum level of the respective language) can be found here in Appendix 13. Further information on foreign language study achievements at Master's level can be found here.

Please send applications for crediting by email to admissionsunisg.ch. If crediting is possible, the original or a certified copy of the language diploma can be requested.

A change of study programme is possible at the earliest after the first semester via a change application in Compass. Please note the deadlines listed in Compass. Depending on the study programme, a new application may also be necessary.

No, it is not possible to start the Master's degree with a semester of leave. If you would like to start your internship, you would have to deregister from the HSG (informal email to admissionsunisg.ch) and reapply for the next year.

It is not possible to postpone the start of your studies. If you are unable to start the Master's programme in the coming autumn semester, you would have to deregister by sending an informal email to admissionsunisg.ch and reapply for the next year.

To deregister, simply send an informal email to admissionsunisg.ch.

Kick-off Days

The email address is generated together with your HSG user account. You will need to change the initially set password for activation. You will receive the password in your Compass mailbox at the beginning of July (start in the autumn semester) or in mid-January (start in the spring semester) together with corresponding instructions. You can find more information on the HSG's digital platforms and tools here.

You will receive the invitation to the Kick-off Days in your Compass mailbox by mid-August (start in the autumn semester) or by mid-January (start in the spring semester).

Yes, the target group of the Kick-off Days are new students at Bachelor (second degree), Master and PhD level. If you have completed your Bachelor's degree at the University of St.Gallen, you do not have to attend the Kick-off Days.

Participants of the integration week will receive their HSGcard in calendar week 36. Other Master's and Bachelor's students will receive their HSGcard during the Kick-off Days (according to the information in the invitation). PhD students receive their HSGcard from their employer.

Move and visa

If you live in a country outside the EU or EFTA, you need a valid visa to enter Switzerland. Please note that it may take several months before a visa is issued. Therefore, apply for your visa at the Swiss representation in your country as early as possible.

You can find more information on the procedure here.

As soon as you have paid the semester fees and we have received them, you will find your confirmation of enrolment in Compass mailbox.

On the following homepage you will find all the information that may be relevant for you before or after your move.

The University of St. Gallen does not provide student rooms/apartments. You can find further information regarding accommodation on the following homepage.

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