Engaged community

The University of St.Gallen (HSG) is a vibrant place to study. Alongside German and, of course, Swiss German, you will hear a lot of English spoken on campus. Highly dedicated students from all over the world come together here. The HSG campus has a truly distinctive atmosphere and is located in a city that offers great quality of life – perfect for settling in quickly and embarking on stress-free study.

Slice of student's life

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What makes studying
at the HSG so special

Contextual Studies form one of the most important and unique distinguishing features of HSG. They teach insights and skills that are designed to give social, historical and cultural context to the students’ chosen core studies. Contextual Studies plays a significant role in forming personalities who are aware of their social responsibility and who will go on to be guided by integrative thinking and sustainable decision-making in their professional lives.

Contextual Studies begin in the Assessment Year. In the subsequent Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes, you have the option of gaining specialised qualifications in specific areas of concentration – Media, Cultures, History, Society, Responsibility, Creativity, Law and Technologies – or in an area of your choosing. “Workshops” allow you to work in more depth on individual research questions. Contextual Studies are rounded off with Skills and Languages: these can include courses on academic work and writing, rhetoric, digital literacy/programming, negotiating techniques, time management and language courses. All students at HSG must demonstrate proficiency in at least two foreign languages. At present, courses are available in the following languages: German, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Russian and Arabic.

Brochure contextual studies

Contextual Studies

The Assessment Year is the first year of study of every Bachelor’s degree programme at HSG. All students acquire broad basic knowledge of economics and legal studies in this clearly structured year. There is a separate Assessment Year for the Bachelor’s degree programme in computer science. This foundation in content and subject-based methodology prepares students for their subsequent studies, while the programme structure, which is unique in Switzerland, encourages interdisciplinary thinking from the very outset. The Assessment Year also gives HSG students a sense of direction for their ongoing studies, as it indicates which Bachelor’s degree course (major) is right for them. During the Assessment Year, you’ll become acquainted with the expectations and aims of HSG, not to mention your new fellow students. This is often a time of forging new friendships that will last throughout your studies and beyond. HSG uses different forms of teaching and learning to impart knowledge. In addition to lectures, exercises and seminars in the standard classroom study format, there are online formats for self-study, including time-delayed and blended learning formats, which allow you to absorb content through independent study at any time and anywhere, before sharing it with others and taking a critical look at it in the classroom. The HSG-developed learning platform StudentWeb and learning apps such as Brian can also assist your studies. Having a mix of methods brings variety to your studies and allows you to shape them to suit you. The different examination formats during the Assessment Year – written exams, oral exams, seminar and group work – also ensure that people with different skills are given a fair opportunity. Exams are staggered over the two semesters of the Assessment Year, which also takes off some of the pressure. Ongoing acquisition of knowledge is at the heart of everything we do at HSG. You can complete the Assessment Year in either a German-language or an English-language “track”. The English track only offers a specialisation in economics. Once they have successfully completed the Assessment Year, students transfer to a major at Bachelor’s level. Assessment Year

Aurélie explains more about the Assessment Year in this video: here


One week before lectures begin, the new undergraduate students gather on campus for the StartWeek. The StartWeek is an integral part of your studies and is aimed at helping you find your way around and feel at home at this leading university as quickly and easily as possible, by settling in socially and getting to grips with subject-related and administrative matters. This week is intended to get your studies off to the best possible start, so that you can hit the ground running when lectures get underway, without any setbacks due to organisational issues. Here are a few impressions of StartWeek at the beginning of this year’s autumn semester.

Asked about the one thing that sets their university apart, HSG students often name the huge range of different associations and initiatives. It is true that the HSG community’s exceptionally high involvement in extracurricular activities is probably most apparent in the more than 140 different student associations and initiatives. The largest initiative, and the one that is best known internationally, is the “St.Gallen Symposium”. Every year, it invites decision-makers, thought leaders and passionate entrepreneurs to take part in an intergenerational dialogue on economic, social and political developments.

HSG students also choose to invest their free time in the leading graduate fair “HSG Talents”, where they can network with potential employers, and in the sustainability initiative “oikos”, which allows them to realise their ideas or further their personal development. There is an initiative or association for virtually every interest – and if you do not find what you are looking for, there is nothing to stop you setting up your own. HSG encourages engagement of this kind by offering Campus Credits that can be counted towards academic results, and you are certain to find other students who are more than willing to help.All initiatives at a glance has the HSG Student Union: SHSG

A qualification from the University of St.Gallen, one of Europe’s leading business schools, is your ticket to a national or international career at the level of your choosing. As you head towards that goal, you may want to explore supranational study programmes with joint degrees such as CEMS – the Master’s in International Management, only available at a selection of top-ranking universities for economic sciences, or THEMIS – the Joint Certificate in International and Business Law, which is only available at top-ranking international universities for legal studies. Student Mobility Services at HSG can organise and advise on exchange programmes at around 200 partner universities worldwide and tell you more about the option of spending time at a university of your choice as a free mover. Hone your profile with international certificates and additional qualifications or take part in one of our double degree programmes. At Bachelor’s level, we offer exchange programmes at our international hubs in Asia and Latin America – independent institutes of the University of St.Gallen in Singapore (“Asia Term”) and São Paulo (“Latam Term”).

Studying at the University of St.Gallen (HSG) is challenging and demanding. Wherever possible, we provide optional professional counselling services and programmes, available free of charge, to ensure you are in the ideal place to make the most of your studies and develop your full potential. This may take the form of personal development coaching, especially during the Assessment Year, or mentoring to develop professional and personal skills through exchange with student mentors at Bachelor’s, Master’s and Ph.D. level. Few universities offer such a comprehensive range of services for addressing personal concerns and accessing individual counselling and professional support as at the HSG Counselling Centre.

What makes your academic
teaching staff so special

Around 240 professors, assistant professors and academic teaching staff plus more than 640 lecturers are employed at six schools at HSG. More than half have an international background. They come from research and practice and are networked with organisations and other experts worldwide. While some other universities offer this too, at HSG, you will also find yourself being taught right from the outset by professores ordinarii – in other words, university chair holders – and with very good staff-student ratios.

In addition to teaching, many of our academic teaching staff in the 46 institutes work in independent research institutes and centres at the University of St.Gallen. There, they focus on the latest academic challenges and their links to entrepreneurship, for example on the future of healthcare, sustainable investment strategies, biometric data security, renewable energies or climate change.

It is the active dialogue between academia and practice, coupled with the determination to make an impact that will benefit business and society, that leads to excellence in fundamental and applied research at HSG and to teaching that incorporates the latest insights.