Evaluation of Departments at ETH Zurich

Goal of the Evaluation

ETH Zurich is required by call_made to have a quality control system that ensures the high quality of teaching, research and services (as well as other institutional features) in order to maintain its institutional accreditation.

As part of this quality control system, ETH Zurich uses peer reviews as a tool to ensure and improve the quality of research and education. In addition, departmental evaluations are an important component of long-term strategic planning in the departments. They are therefore periodically evaluated every 7 years by an international team of renowned experts.

These experts are asked to evaluate the international standing of the department and how well the visions and strategies are supported by past activities, future plans, and resources (budget, personnel, infrastructure). They are also asked to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the department, its research groups, professors, and programmes (see also the DownloadTerms of References (PDF, 130 KB)).

Peer reviews are based on each department’s portrayal in a departmental self-evaluation report, student and graduate surveys, and on a site visit by the international review panel.

The Vice President for Research, in consultation with the Rector, is responsible for the periodic evaluations of the academic departments (RSETHZ 201.021, Art. 10).

General Process and Timelines

The evaluations of all 16 departments at ETH Zurich follow this general process and timeline:

  • Approximately one year prior to the departmental evaluation, a kick-off meeting is held with the departmental management, the Vice President for Research, and the Rector to discuss the goals and general process of the evaluation.
  • The Executive Board of ETH Zurich selects, invites, and confirms the 10-12 international experts for the review panel based on a longlist proposed by the department.
  • The department prepares a self-evaluation report and the programme for the on-site visit of the international review panel.
  • The four-day site visit starts with a welcome and briefing of the review panel by the Vice President for Research and the Rector. The further programme of the department typically includes an introductory session, teaching and research sessions, laboratory and facility tours, meetings with various department members and representatives (e.g., students, academic, technical, and administrative staff) and stakeholders, as well as meetings on focus topics. On the final day, the review panel presents its initial findings to the Executive Board of ETH Zurich and the department.
  • The panel’s final evaluation report is due one month after the site visit.
  • The department and the Executive Board of ETH Zurich assess and discuss the recommendations of the report, agree on measures and report to the ETH Board.
  • About 1.5 - 2 years after the site visit of the evaluation, the implemented changes are presented to the ETH Board.

Upcoming Department Evaluations


2023: D-HEST, D-MATL

2024: D-BIOL, D-BSSE

2025: D-ERDW, D-USYS

2026: D-CHAB, D-ARCH

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