About Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)

On 1 August 2007, the School of Art and Design Zurich (HGKZ) and the Zurich School of Music, Drama and Dance (HMT) merged to become one of Europe’s largest universities of the arts: Zurich University of the Arts (Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, ZHdK). With a total of over 2500 students, we offer a unique range of undergraduate, postgraduate and research degrees in design, film, art, media, music, dance, theatre and art education. We also provide leading-edge professional development and further education opportunities in these fields. 

Our mission is to be at the forefront of learning, research and practice. While anchored in Greater Zurich, our influence extends well beyond Switzerland to the wider international stage. Closely aligning teaching and research, our programmes are designed to promote transdisciplinary work.  We provide a bridge between higher education, professional practice, and the general public by showcasing the achievements of our staff and students in our own exhibition spaces, as well as theatres, dance and concert halls, including the renowned Zurich Museum of Design and the newly established Theatre of the Arts (formerly the Sihl Theatre). We thus make a significant contribution to cultural life in the city and region of Zurich. 

ZHdK Bachelor's and Master's Programmes

Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) offers a broad range of three-year, full-time Bachelor's programmes: BA Art Education, BA Contemporary Dance, BA Design, BA Film, BA Media & Art, BA Music, BA Music and Movement, BA Theatre. 

Several full-time Master's degrees lasting three or four semesters were launched in autumn 2008: MA Art Education, MA Design, MA Fine Arts, MA Composition/Theory, MA Music Performance, MA Specialised Music Performance, MA Music Pedagogy, MA Theatre, and MA Transdisciplinary Studies. We have been running an MA Film as a successful pilot project since 2006.

ZHdK Master of Advanced Studies

We also offer a broad range of postgraduate certificate programmes leading to a Master of Advanced Studies (MAS), Diploma of Advanced Studies (DAS) and Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS). 

ZHdK Research & Development

ZHdK runs seven research institutes: Institute for Contemporary Art Research, Institute for Critical Theory, Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology, Institute for the Performing Arts and Film, Institute for Cultural Studies in the Arts, Institute for Art Education, Institute for Design Research.

ZHdK Structure

Prof. Dr. Thomas D. Meier is the acting president of Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). The University has five departments: Department of Design (Head of Department a.i.: Hansuli Matter), Department of Performing Arts and Film (Vice President: Prof. Hartmut Wickert), Department of Art & Media (Vice President: Prof. Giaco Schiesser), Department of Music (Vice President: Prof. Michael Eidenbenz), and the Department of Cultural Analysis (Vice President: Prof. Christoph Weckerle). Its executive board consists of the president, the five department directors, and the head of administration (Matthias Schwarz). Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) belongs to the Zurich Universities of Applied Sciences and Arts (ZFH); it is a state university and an independent legal entity. 

Our History: ZHdK and its Predecessors

Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) originates from a range of acclaimed institutions, including the Zurich Museum of Arts and Crafts (established in 1875) and the Zurich School of Arts and Crafts (established in 1878). The latter subsequently became the Zurich School of Design, the Zurich Higher School of Design, and finally the School of Art and Design Zurich (HGKZ) at the turn of the millenium.

Established in 1999, the Zurich School of Music, Drama and Dance (HMT) originated from several institutions, among others the former Zurich and Winterthur academies of music (established in 1873 and 1875 respectively), which later evolved into a joint higher academy of music. Other predecessor institutions include the Zurich Jazz School (established in 1977), the Swiss Computer Music Studio (established in 1985), the Bühnenstudio (established in 1937), which later became the Zurich Acting Academy and subsequently the Zurich Drama School, as well as the Swiss Ballet Academy (established in 1986).