What are the qualifications required to register for the admission exam in Bachelor? Am I required to do an internship after obtaining my baccalaureate / high school diploma, in order to enrol in a Bachelor programme? What conditions apply?

In addition to the requisite diploma, registration for the Bachelor in Visual Communication (Graphic Design / Photography / Media & Interaction Design / Film Studies) or the Bachelor in Industrial and Product Design requires either:

  • at least 36 weeks (or nine months) of full-time certified experience in the world of work related to the chosen field;
  • or successful completion of the ECAL Foundation Year or of a recognized bridge year for the colleges of higher education in art*.

Professional experience or the Foundation Year diploma are recommended but not compulsory to register for the Bachelor in Fine Arts entrance exam.

* For example, in Switzerland, the Art & Design Foundation Year of CFP Arts Genève, the Art & Design Foundation Year of the édhéa (Sierre) or the Art and Design Foundation Year of Bienne/Bern. Don’t hesitate to contact the ECAL Secretariat for additional information.

Can ECAL help me find an internship allowing me to enrol in a Bachelor programme?

No. ECAL offers a foundation year, but does not help applicants find an internship to register for a Bachelor programme.

Is it possible to join the Bachelor programme directly in 2nd or 3rd year?

In some cases, recognition of prior studies may be granted in the form of ECTS credits, depending on the applicant’s previous education. ECAL management makes a decision to this effect only after the admissions procedure has been completed and on receipt of an artistic application providing information on all previous studies (type, field, skills, courses, credits, grades, etc.).

Can I register for the entrance exam for a Bachelor programme even if I don’t have the requisite diplomas or certificates?

Yes. ECAL may exceptionally accept applicants demonstrating extraordinary artistic talent in a Bachelor programme even if they do not meet the admission requirements. However, applicants must first send the ECAL Director a written waiver request.

NB: This concerns in particular applicants who have not completed any training and who have no diploma.  Applicants who are under 25 at the time of the application and who have a CFC or a diploma from an upper secondary specialised school (école de culture générale, ECG) must first obtain a professional or specialised baccalaureate before registering for a Bachelor entrance exam.

Can I register to do the entrance exam for the Foundation Year and for an ECAL Bachelor programme at the same time?

No. If in doubt, please contact the ECAL Secretariat.

Can I register for two ECAL Bachelor entrance exams at the same time?

No. You are allowed to register for only one Bachelor entrance exam at a time, as it is not possible to do the practical and/or theoretical tests for two at the same time. Don’t hesitate to contact the ECAL Secretariat if you have any questions.

What does the waiver request include?

Applicants requesting a waiver submit an application comprising a letter of motivation, a CV and a portfolio. If the request is accepted, they can register for the entrance exam in the field they have chosen.

Is it possible to follow a foundation year in a HE other than the ECAL (at the HEAD or the edhea for example), and then apply for a Bachelor's degree at the ECAL?

Yes, the successful completion of an equivalent preparatory year allows you to apply for a Bachelor's degree at the ECAL.

What are the maximum 15 documents included in the portfolio?

These are projects that can each contain several pages.

What are the languages of instruction?

Courses and workshops are in French in the Foundation Year and at Bachelor level (some Bachelor workshops are in English). Master / MAS programmes are for the most part bilingual (English/French). Fluency in French is therefore essential for the Foundation Year and Bachelor programmes. The same applies to English at least for Master programmes.

Do I need a language certificate to enrol in an ECAL course?

Yes. For the Foundation Year and Bachelor programmes, non-French-speaking applicants who have not attended school in Switzerland must be able to attest that they are proficient in French at the B2 level of the European Language Portfolio. The B2 level is required on registration.

Generally speaking, language proficiency is also checked by the juries during the entrance exam.

Does ECAL have a residence?

ECAL has neither a residence nor a campus, but it can, to a limited extent, help students looking for accommodation. As the housing market in the Lake Geneva area is relatively tight, students are advised to make arrangements well in advance.

Can ECAL act as a guarantor on a lease signed by a foreign student?

No, not at the moment.

Practical informations

Due to a relatively difficult housing situation in Lausanne area and its surroundings, it should be brought to attention that finding accommodation can take several months. Students are therefore invited to begin their search as soon as they receive their acceptance letter.

The price of studios and apartments starts at CHF 600.- per month. Additionally, most agencies and owners will require a 3 months safety deposit. Therefore, to rent a CHF 600.- per month studio, will cost you CHF 2'400.- the first month. Nevertheless, you can go with an insurance company such as Swisscaution:, which will pay the safety deposit for you in exchange of a yearly fee.

The following solutions are available:

Student houses

FSLE (Fondation Solidarité Logement pour étudiant·e·s)
UNIL – Anthropole - Bureau 1128.2
M. Eran Shoshani, directeur admnistratif
1015 Lausanne
Tél. +41 (0)21 692 25 92
Mobile : +41 (0)78 626 40 84

Résidence "La Meute"
On a "first come, first served" basis and with equal applications, ECAL students will have priority. They will be able to use all the facilities, including the common areas such as the art space and the workshop.
Rent : ~ CHF 700.- per month. Room size : ~12 m2

FMEL (Fondation Maisons pour étudiant·e·s Lausanne)
Bâtiment Vortex - BP 927 - Rte de Praz-Véguey 29
1022 Chavannes-près-Renens
Tél. +41 (0)21 617 81 54

Régie Foncière SA
5, rue de la Fontaine
1204 Genève
Tél. +41 (0)22 817 08 17

Student Flat
38, ch. de Mornex
1001 Lausanne

Rooms for rent

Résidence l'ancienne Usine
FAM Immobilier SA
7, rue de la Paix
1020 Renens
Tél. +41 (0)21 633 08 30 

Le Cazard
15, Pré du Marché
1004 Lausanne
Tél. +41 (0)21 320 52 61

Centre universitaire catholique
Boulevard de Grancy 31
1006 Lausanne
Tel +41 (0)21 612 61 40

Online agencies (main addresses)

Facebook Group

Scholarships & school fees
I am a foreign student. Can I obtain a scholarship in Switzerland?

Educational assistance (grants or student loans) is awarded by the cantons and is intended for Swiss students (nationals, foreign permanent residents and persons with refugee status). It is not available to foreign citizens residing in Switzerland for the purposes of study only. However, the Swiss Confederation offers excellence scholarships to foreign students, researchers and artists for a period of study or research in Switzerland.

I am resident abroad. Will my tuition at ECAL be higher than for a student resident in Switzerland?

Except for the Foundation Year, where the course fees are determined by the student’s domicile, tuition is the same for all students in the same Bachelor, Master or MAS programme.

Does ECAL offer evening or summer courses? Can I sign up just for certain specific courses or workshops?

No, not at the moment.

Can I have a tour of ECAL?

Apart from events organised by the ECAL (various exhibitions, Open Day, etc.), no individual visits are permitted. Group visits can be organised, but should be planned well in advance. In this case, please contact the ECAL Secretariat directly at

My company wishes to hire an ECAL student as an intern or employee. What do I have to do?

Please send the ECAL Secretariat, at, an advert in A4 PDF format containing all the information on the internship or job. The advert will be published on the ECAL intranet. Interested students will contact the advertiser directly.

Any other questions?
Do not hesitate to contact the ECAL secretariat for any further information.

Tél. +41 (0)21.316.99.39

Contact us