University of Lausanne

The University of Lausanne (UNIL; French: Université de Lausanne) in Lausanne, Switzerland was founded in 1537 as a school of theology, before being made a university in 1890. As of fall 2017, about 15,000 students and 3,300 employees study and work at the university. Approximately 1,500 international students attend the university (120 nationalities), which has a wide curriculum including exchange programs with world-renowned universities.

University of Lausanne
Université de Lausanne
Latin: Schola Lausannensis
MottoLe savoir vivant
Motto in English
Live knowledge
TypePublic university
Established1537 (1537)
RectorNouria Hernandez (since August 2016)
Administrative staff
3,700 (2014)
Students13,500 (2014)
Undergraduates8,066 (2010)
Postgraduates1,370 (2010)
1,583 (2010)
Université de Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Suisse
, , ,
46°31′21″N 6°34′46″E
AffiliationsEUA, AUF, UNICA

Since 2005, the University follows the requirements of the Bologna process. The 2011 Times Higher Education World University Rankings[1] ranked the University of Lausanne 116th globally. The CWTS Leiden Ranking 2015 ranks the University of Lausanne 11th in Europe and 41st globally, out of 750 universities.[2]

Together with the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) the university forms a vast campus at the shores of Lake Geneva.

Faculties and schools

Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

The University of Lausanne comprises seven faculties:

The University of Lausanne also comprises schools and different sections, including but not limited to:

  • School of Criminal Justice (ESC)
  • School of French as a Foreign Language (EFLE)
  • French summer and winter courses (Cours de vacances)
  • Science-Society Interface


The Academy, forerunner of the UNIL, was founded in 1537. Its vocation at that time was to train ministers for the church. The university enjoyed a certain renown due to the fact that it was the only French language Protestant school of theology. As the centuries passed, the number of faculties increased and diversified until, in 1890, the Academy (Académie de Lausanne) received the name and status of a university.

In 1909, Rodolphe Archibald Reiss founded the first school of forensic science in the world: the Institut de police scientifique.

From 1970, the university moved progressively from the old centre of Lausanne, around the Cathedral and Château, to its present site at Dorigny.

The end of the 20th century witnessed the beginnings of an ambitious project aiming at greater co-operation and development among the French-speaking universities of Lausanne, Geneva, and Neuchâtel, together with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). Among others, this led to the transfer of the sections of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry from the University to the EPFL; the funds that were made available following this transfer were invested in the development of the life sciences at the University, including the creation of a Center for Integrative Genomics.

In 2003, two new faculties were founded, concentrating on the life and human sciences: the Faculty of Biology and Medicine and the Faculty of Geosciences and Environment.

On 1 January 2014, the Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration (IDHEAP) was integrated into the University of Lausanne.[3]

Since August 2016, the rector of the University of Lausanne is Nouria Hernandez; before then, the University was led by Dominique Arlettaz.


Main campus

The main campus is presently situated outside the city of Lausanne, on the shores of Lake Léman, in Dorigny. It is adjacent to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) and is served by the Lausanne Metro Line 1 (M1). The two schools together welcome about 20,000 students.

The UNIL and the EPFL share an active sports centre located on the campus, on the shores of Lake Geneva[4] and their campus is also equipped with a bicycle sharing system.[5]

The university campus is made up of individual buildings with a park and arboretum in between. The university library also serves as eating hall and is centrally located. The view from the library across the sports fields to the lake of Geneva and the French and Swiss Alps. On a clear day, Mont Blanc can be seen.

The Swiss Institute of Comparative Law and the central administration of the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics are also located on the main campus.

Other sites

In addition to its main campus at the lakeside, the University of Lausanne also has other sites. The Faculty of Biology and Medicine is also located in two other sites: around the University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV) (site called Bugnon) and in Épalinges (to the north of Lausanne).

The Department of Biochemistry, the Ludwig Cancer Research branch of the University of Lausanne and the WHO Immunology Research and Training Centre and some laboratories of the University Hospital of Lausanne are located in Épalinges. The Biopôle was built next to the Épalinges campus. The Faculty of Biology and Medicine also comprises a fourth site, the Psychiatric Hospital of Cery, in Prilly.

Associated institutions

Reputation and rankings

The University of Texas at Dallas TOP 100 BUSINESS SCHOOL RESEARCH RANKINGS ranked the Faculty of Business & Economics of the University of Lausanne (HEC Lausanne) as follows:

PeriodIn SwitzerlandIn EuropeIn the World
2004-2008 1st9th112th
2003-2007 1st8th103rd
2002-2006 1st8th123rd
2001-2005 1st14th149th
2000-2004 1st20th186th

According to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the University ranked 62nd in Life Sciences worldwide (4th in Switzerland) in 2017.[11] The overall rankings[1] are as follows:

YearIn SwitzerlandIn EuropeIn the World
2016-2017 7th?151nd
2013-2014 6th54th132nd
2012-2013 4th51st130th
2011-2012 6th41st116th
2010-2011 6th44th136th

The QS World University Rankings[12] ranked the University of Lausanne 96th in Life Science and Medicine[13] with the overall rankings as follows:

YearIn SwitzerlandIn EuropeIn the World
2016 --138th
2015 --143th
2014 --105th
2013 6th-111th
2012 6th-115th
2011 5th-136th
2010 6th-152nd

The THE-QS World University Rankings (in 2010 Times Higher Education World University Rankings and QS World University Rankings parted ways to produce separate rankings) ranked the University of Lausanne as follows:

YearIn SwitzerlandIn EuropeIn the World
2009 6th-168th
2008 6th64th161st
2007 7th93rd217th
2006 5th-89th
2005 6th-133rd

The Academic Ranking of World Universities [ARWU] ranked the University of Lausanne in 2016 as 101-150th in Life Science and Medicine and 151-200th in Social Science.[14] The overall ranking is as follows:

YearIn SwitzerlandIn EuropeIn the World
2016 ??201st - 300th
2015 ??201st - 300th
2014 6th-7th?151st - 200th
2013 7th?201st - 300th
2012 7th?201st - 300th
2011 7th?201st - 300th
2010 7th75th - 123rd201st - 300th
2009 7th80th - 125th201st - 302nd
2008 7th80th - 124th201st - 302nd
2007 7th81st - 123rd203rd - 304th
2006 7th79th - 122nd201st - 300th
2005 7th124th - 168nd301st - 400th
2004 --302nd - 403rd
2003 --301st - 350th

The Leiden Ranking of the University of Leiden, when ranking universities by the size-independent, field-normalized average impact of their research publications (CPP/FCSm) among the 250 largest universities worldwide, ranked the University of Lausanne as follows:

YearIn SwitzerlandIn EuropeIn the World
2010 3rd5th45th
2008 3rd6th73rd

The Leiden Ranking of the University of Leiden, when ranking universities by citations-per-publication (CPP) among the 250 largest universities worldwide, ranked the University of Lausanne as follows:

YearIn SwitzerlandIn EuropeIn the World
2010 1st1st22nd
2008 1st1st31st

4 International Colleges & Universities [] ranked the popularity of the website of the University of Lausanne as follows:

YearIn SwitzerlandIn EuropeIn the World
2009 5th15th45th


The UNIL publish free monthly campus magazine entitled L'Uniscope. The UNIL also publish Allez savoir !, a magazine aimed at a larger audience (general public), published three times a year (in May, September and January) and whose subscription is free.

Besides these, L'auditoire is the students newspapers from both UNIL and EPFL, of a circulation 19 000 free copies.


ALUMNIL network

In 2011, an on-line network of the UNIL alumni, called ALUMNIL, was created.[15] Since then, regular events (throughout the year) and an annual party (in autumn) are organised every year for the alumni.




More alumni from the Faculty of Business and Economics




School of Lausanne

Neoclassical school of thought in economics founded at the University of Lausanne by two of its professors: Léon Walras and Vilfredo Pareto. The School of Lausanne is associated with the development of general equilibrium theory as well as the marginalist revolution.

See also

Notes and references

  1. "Times Higher Education World University Rankings".
  2. CWTS Leiden Ranking 2015
  3. Rapport annuel 2012 de l'Université de Lausanne, (page visited on 30 May 2013).
  4. Service des sports UNIL-EPFL, (page visited on 10 May 2013).
  5. Campus roule, (page visited on 15 May 2013).
  6. Swiss Vaccine Research Institute (page visited on 14 April 2012).
  7. Center for Biomedical Imaging (page visited on 2 October 2011).
  8. CADMOS (page visited on le 20 February 2012).
  9. Institut universitaire romand de santé au travail Archived 18 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine (page visited on 1 October 2011).
  10. Centre universitaire romand de médecine légale (page visited on 3 June 2012).
  12. "QS World University Rankings 2010 Results".
  15. ALUMNIL, (page visited on 1 November 2013).
  16. "Vedat Dicleli", Vikipedi (in Turkish), 21 May 2019, retrieved 22 May 2019
  17. "Jean Claude Gandur". Retrieved 6 November 2014.


  • (in French) Jean-Philippe Leresche, Frédéric Joye-Cagnard, Martin Benninghoff and Raphaël Ramuz, Gouverner les universités. L'exemple de la coordination Genève-Lausanne (1990-2010), Presses polytechniques et universitaires romandes, 2012 (ISBN 9782880749316).
  • (in French) Nadja Maillard, L'Université de Lausanne à Dorigny, Éditions Infolio, 488 pages, 2013 (ISBN 978-2-88474-280-1).
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