The Graduate Institute Geneva Geneva, Switzerland

White light house and boats on Lake Geneva with blue skies and mountain range in background.

The Graduate Institute, founded in 1927, is selective and cosmopolitan. Located in the heart of Geneva, it specializes in the study of the major global, international, and transnational challenges facing the contemporary world. It also offers professional development programs and expertise to international actors from the public, private, and non-profit sectors. The strong, close-knit community at the Graduate Institute offers a wealth of expertise, includes both accomplished specialists and junior researchers, and is reinforced by a commitment to interdisciplinary cooperation. The Institute’s strong ties to the international community in Geneva provide students with remarkable opportunities to experience global interconnectivity in the heart of Europe.

Academic Calendar

Fall Semester
September - December
Spring Semester
February - May


Students will enroll as full-time students for one semester alongside the Institute's graduate students, and earn up to 9 credits toward their graduate degree from AU. Students who wish to spend more than one semester must reapply to the program and will not be given priority status. Programs of study include:

  • Anthropology & Sociology of Development
  • Development Economics (PhD only)
  • Development Studies (MA only)
  • International Affairs (MA only)
  • International Economics
  • International History
  • International Law
  • International Relations/Political Science

Language Requirement

A basic knowledge of French is helpful for exchange students. The Graduate Institute operates a bilingual policy which allows students to express themselves in class and submit written work in either English or French, regardless of the language through which the course is taught. While knowledge of the French language will offer students a more extensive range of course choices, it is not a requirement for admission, and many courses are offered completely in English across the various programs of study.


Students are registered through the SIS Office of International Programs for up to nine (9) AU-Graduate Institute exchange credits (SIS-781). These exchange credits cover the Program credits only; research and/or internship credits are registered under normal AU guidelines. Grades and credits earned at The Graduate Institute are articulated through the SIS Office of International Programs upon receipt of an official transcript from The Graduate Institute. For conversion purposes, students should expect two (2) credits at The Graduate Institute to equal one (1) AU credit. The grading scale used at The Graduate Institute is the same as the one used at AU.

Tuition and Fees

Students pay regular AU tuition, emergency international health insurance, and technology fees to AU. Students do not pay the student activity fee, sports center fee, or SIS fee while studying at The Graduate Institute. Students are billed directly by The Graduate Institute for any other student fees as applicable, including compulsory health insurance. Students are responsible for any incidental costs, such as library fines and lab fees, incurred during the program. Students are responsible for all personal expenses including housing and transportation. Students are required to submit a non-refundable $50 application fee at the time of submitting their application to SIS Abroad.


Incoming exchange students will receive a list of student residences with their confirmation of admission. Securing suitable accommodation in Geneva can be challenging and students are advised to deal with this issue well in advance of their arrival. As of fall 2021, the Graduate Institute now offers on-campus housing on a limited basis.

Visas and Immigration

Most non-EU citizens require a visa to enter and study in Switzerland. A visa request should be filed with the local Swiss embassy further to receipt of the confirmation of admission. All non-Swiss students must apply for a residence permission upon their arrival in Geneva. Residence permits are issued by the Office Cantonal de la Population (OCP). Details of the visa procedure will be provided to admitted students, but ultimately students are responsible for arranging all immigration documents.

Student Orientation

During the semester prior to the start of the Program, the SIS Office of International Programs conducts a mandatory pre-departure meeting. Topics covered include administrative, logistical, security, and cross-cultural issues. The Graduate Institute will also welcome all new incoming students prior to the start of classes.

Application Deadlines

Spring: October 1
Fall: March 1

Applicants are required to submit a non-refundable $50 application fee.

You will be notified by email with a decision regarding your nomination for study abroad.

Please note: This program is competitive and submitting an application does not guarantee admission.

Suggested Program Match

This program is compatible with all SIS programs.

Students may take courses in any graduate program provided the student meets the state academic requirements.

Browse Course Catalogue

Studying in a truly international city

My classes fit my professional goal of working in international humanitarian aid

While in Geneva, I took courses in humanitarianism, migration, and international responses to crises. I made great connections in the international aid community, took courses with classmates and professors from around the world, and conducted research at the United Nations and the Red Cross. Living in a French-speaking city forced me to keep improving my French, which will also help me professionally.