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Military service, civilian service and civil defence

The FHNW will be happy to help you to coordinate your studies and conscription in the best possible way.

Military schools (basic military training centre, NCO school and officer candidate school) and extended civilian service cannot be completed smoothly without interrupting your studies. The FHNW therefore strongly advises you to already complete basic military training or basic civilian service training before you start studying.

In accordance with the Compulsory Military Service Ordinance (Section 7: Exemption from service for people performing indispensable activities), conflicts between studies and military service must be resolved as follows:

  • Look for a solution in your civilian life – so, for example, an agreement with lecturers concerning an extension of a delivery deadline.
  • If a civilian solution is not possible, you can make a request for personal leave for individual absences from service.
  • If no civilian solution and no personal leave from the military is possible, you can make a request to postpone your service.


Information concerning the FHNW Academy of Art and Design:

The first year of studies at the HGK is designed as an assessment year. As a rule, the competent authorities accept the assessment year as a compelling reason in case of a request for postponement of service, provided that clear mention is made of it in the request.

Information concerning the FHNW School of Education:
In case of degree programmes of the FHNW School of Education, the service must be postponed in any case, in order to be able to be present during tuition. Case-by-case clarification with lecturers, as described above, is not provided for.

Information concerning the FHNW School of Engineering:
As a rule, the competent authorities accept the assessment year as a compelling reason in case of a request for postponement of service, provided that clear mention is made of it in the request.

Changes which came into effect from 1 January 2018

As part of the “Armed Forces Development (AFD)” project, with effect from 2018, there are only two dates a year when basic military training starts. Basic military training in summer now lasts 18 weeks, starting in CW 26 and ending in CW 43. This means that the commencement of studies in CW 38 and the end of basic military training overlap by six weeks.
In accordance with the agreement between the Armed Forces and tertiary institutions and universities, from 2018, it is possible for cadres completing their service to leave the basic military training centre after 15 weeks and start studying normally from calendar week 41. In addition, a maximum of five days’ leave can be granted for orientation week at tertiary institutions. This means that studies and basic military training now only overlap by three weeks.

Information concerning the FHNW Academy of Art and Design:
This approach is not advisable for art and design degree programmes. It is extremely difficult to catch up after a three-week absence at the beginning of your studies. In situations like this, the approach must be coordinated with the head of the institution.

Information concerning the FHNW School of Engineering:
This approach is not advisable for technology degree programmes. It is extremely difficult to catch up after a three-week absence at the beginning of your studies.

Coordination with studies

Educational credits for students from the Armed Forces

Also with effect from 1 January 2018, senior NCOs and officers who start studying at a civilian tertiary institution after completing their military cadre training (e.g. a Bachelor degree course at the FHNW) can have the costs, such as the tuition fees, teaching aids, etc. refunded by applying for an educational credit from the Armed Forces.

Transferring credits for promotion services and commercial services

Credits for promotion services and commercial services can be transferred in the following degree programmes of the FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland.

Postponement of military or civil defence service

Refresher courses are compatible with your studies, depending on the situation in the relevant semester and degree programme. Sometimes, however, university obligations (e.g. midterm exams, exam preparation, final module exams and project deadlines) can overlap with these. In such cases, a request to postpone service can be made.

Requests for postponement of service must be made using the relevant form which must be submitted in good time to the competent cantonal district command centre or the civil defence centre which issued the conscription order. In accordance with Art. 32 of the Compulsory Military Service Ordinance, this means 14 weeks before the service starts or three days after becoming aware of the reasons. The form must be signed beforehand by the Military Service, Civilian Service and Civil Defence Advice Centre of the tertiary institution in question. To that end, the form must be submitted to the competent degree programme secretariat.

Military Service, Civilian Service and Civil Defence Advice Centres of the individual FHNW schools and academies

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