About College Zurich / Factsheet

We prepare students for the IGCSE and A level examinations. A levels are qualifications accepted by Universities in Switzerland and around the world. In fact A levels are the world’s most accepted entrance examinations to Further and Higher Education. Due to their flexibility as well as the level of subject specialization A levels may be a better fit for many students than either the IB or the Swiss Matura.

Factsheet College Zurich


Our language of instruction is English throughout, since English is an important language in academic study, research and business, as well as being a prerequisite for a career in an international setting.

If proficiency in English does not yet comply with the B2 level required, additional English courses can be attended in the 1st year , while also taking individual subjects such as German, Mathematics and French. After completing the programme, the student is able to speak English at native speaker level and is hence ideally equipped for a bright future.

Subjects and timetables

The international university entrance qualification programme is normally designed to run over four years. International General Certificates of Secondary Education (IGCSEs) are obtained in the first two years. These provide a general education based on eight to ten subjects and make eligible for tertiary education (ISCED level 5B) at a College of Higher Vocational Education and Training (Höhere Fachschule – HF) or studies in the USA/UK, the qualification approximating to a High School Diploma.


In the course of the next two years, the student focuses on four Advanced Level subjects, selected according to aptitude and interests. Contents of these subjects may already cover some of the topics taught in the respective subject during the first year of university. International A Levels even permit skipping the first year of university in the USA.


International A Levels exclude unnecessary knowledge. They focus on relevant and interesting subject matter with close relation to reality. Contents are project-oriented and practice-relevant. They encourage critical thinking as well as the conversion of knowledge to competence.


Year 1 and 2 (IGCSE stage)

English, German, French


Biology, Chemistry, Physics



Sample timetable Year 1


Our clubs:

ICT & Design Skills



Exams are held after every two, three and four years. Each subject is completed individually, sometimes several exams are required for one subject. Each partial exam can be repeated as often as desired. The exams are conducted by the examination bodies Cambridge International Examinations and Pearson Edexcel.

The examination fees are not included in the school fees.


Successes and testimonials

The performance of our students in exams speaks for itself: over 90% of our students had a C or higher in their final exams last year.


Our former students study at renowned Swiss and international universities (University of Zurich, University of Basel, HSG St. Gallen, Glasgow University, Kings College London, Sheffield University, Royal Holloway University London, Birmingham University etc.).


“Our son has attended academia international school for just over 5 years. During that time we have been very pleased with the high level of support and dedication from the teaching staff, who are all very approachable, friendly and enthusiastic about their subjects. The teaching level can be adapted to suit the abilities of the student and is less fixed to their age. We feel this gives the pupil a more academically rewarding time in school as well as encouraging social interaction with students of different ages and nationalities. We are very pleased with the academic results achieved by our son so far and would have no hesitation in recommending the school to any prospective parents or students.”
UK family parents of 16-year-old male student


“N. has completed his A levels with success, his great effort was rewarded! I would like to thank you for your competent and generous support. I would also like to thank the team of teachers. All of them supported N. very much, motivated him, kept him on track and led him to his goal. We are very happy.”
Swiss family, N. is currently studying in the USA


“I want to thank you for your help and warm encouragement throughout my time at academia. I’ve been to many different schools and honestly, academia was my favourite. I always felt well-supported by all the teachers and staff and was able to progress quickly through interesting, challenging but fun lessons. The general atmosphere amongst the students was fantastic.”
Anna Cowen: Ex-student now an undergraduate reading Music and Korean at Sheffield University


“Just want to promote my daughter’s former school academia college. Being back in the American system has us really appreciating what a great experience it was for her. I would highly recommend this school for its programme and more importantly its staff. We really miss it.”
Charity Lewis


“We moved to Switzerland from the States and wanted to expose our children to a new culture. A few years later at academia and our kids have grown in a way where not only do they speak German, but they’re familiar with cultural history and events in Europe. They appreciate truly what it means to be a global citizen. Our children frequently come home saying “I don’t ever want to go to a different school, I want to be at this school forever”. They are more than happy and so are we!
Family from the US


“In May 2015 we were considering ais for one of our twin daughters, who was in a French School where the style and pace were punishing with little institutional encouragement. She was demotivated with the unrewarding relentlessness of her education and was struggling to work. Her marks were consistently near the bottom of the class. At the end of her penultimate year, the school suggested that she should leave and consider a less academic path, however my wife and I both considered that she was intelligent enough to follow academic qualifications. We felt that perhaps a different style of education might help so we moved her to ais. The change was astounding. Within a month, her marks had rocketed due to the supportive and encouraging learning environment. She started participating in lessons and is now on the School Council and is now far more interested in the courses. In hindsight, our one regret was that we did not move both sisters.”
UK family: parents of 17-year-old student.



International A Levels (IAL) are known in Switzerland and all over the world for their high academic standard and specialisation. They are the most commonly taken university entrance qualification in the world and are offered by Cambridge International Examinations at over 10,000 schools in 160 different countries. Alone in the USA, Cambridge International diplomas are accepted by over 500 universities, above all the ivy league universities (Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton and Yale).


swissuniversities regulate admission criteria to Universities across Switzerland. With six subjects completed at the minimum grades BBC or 5/9 (IGCSE) access to Swiss universities is guaranteed. Please note admission requirements for swissuniversities are valid for the current academic year.

For admission to CH universities and universities of applied sciences (not ETH), three A levels (highest learning level, corresponds to the last year of high school) and 3 IGCSEs are required. One of the A-level subjects must be mathematics of a natural science subject.

One qualification, many advantages

International A levels are a strength orientated curriculum, that in addition to their high level of international recognition, offers many advantages. In comparison to the Swiss Matura or IB there is more flexibility in both our curriculum and examinations. For example it is possible to repeat a single examination to improve on a grade without having to repeat them all. Simultaneously International A levels demand an academic standard that many Universities recognize as being equivalent to first year under-graduate studies as well as developing competencies such as critical thinking, inquiry and application of knowledge.


School fees

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