WSU computer science and engineering students can study in at Zurich University of Applied Sciences, and Zurich students will come to WSU, too.

Share story

The University of Washington wasn’t the only university forging partnerships with international universities last week. Washington State University Tri-Cities also announced that it will start a program in collaboration with the Zurich University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland, for WSU engineering and computer science students.

The partnership will allow WSU engineering and computer science undergrads, along with faculty members, to study at Zurich University. And the programs will be open to any students in WSU’s Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture.

In Switzerland, “engineering is taught and implemented through active participation of their industrial partners in the educational process,” Joseph Iannelli, the executive director of the engineering and computer science programs at WSU Tri-Cities, said in an email. “Students, faculty, and industry liaisons work on real-world projects that address concrete national and international needs.” Students are often hired by the companies that sponsored the projects, he added. That’s an approach that WSU Tri-Cities is using as well.

The exchange program will begin in fall 2016, and students will go for a semester at a time.

And within the next one to two years, both universities will offer a dual master’s degree program for engineering and computer science majors. Students will spend one year in Zurich and one year at WSU — either at the Pullman or Tri-Cities campus.

Iannelli said the program will ramp up slowly, with about 20 students participating per year after five years.

He said the WSU Tri-Cities program in engineering and computer science has seen continuous growth over the last few years, and now enrolls 367 students — 301 in the undergraduate program, and 66 graduate students. It accounts for one-fourth of the entire WSU Tri-Cities campus enrollment.

Zurich University of Applied Sciences is known for helping develop and monitor the Solar Impulse airplane, which is currently traveling around the world to show the promise of solar-powered flight. Classes are usually taught in German, but the university has created an extensive English-based program, allowing students from all over the world to study there.