European Graduate School

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European Graduate School
Europäische Universität für Interdisziplinäre Studien
Seal of the European Graduate School
Type Private institute
Location Saas-Fee, Switzerland

The European Graduate School (EGS) in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, is a privately funded graduate school founded by the non-profit European Foundation of Interdisciplinary Studies. Its German name is Europäische Universität für Interdisziplinäre Studien ("European University for Interdisciplinary Studies"). It is governed by a presidential board that includes a representative of the Swiss canton of Valais.[1] Instruction is in English.[2]


EGS was established in 1994 as a postgraduate degree-granting school with two divisions—media and communications; and arts, health and society.[3] The setting of the campus in the Alps is at an altitude of 1,800 m (6,000 ft), with a magnificent view of some of Switzerland's highest mountains.[4]


It is accredited[5] by the Departement für Erziehung, Kultur und Sport/Department of Education, Culture and Sport of the Canton of Valais.[6] It also comprises a school council (Hochschulrat), in which the Canton of Valais is represented with at least one member. The school is not accredited by the Swiss University Conference, the main regulatory body for universities in Switzerland.[7] In Switzerland, unlike in other European countries, the accreditation system operates on a voluntary basis.[8] Degrees from EGS are not recognized by Germany,[9] nor by the US state of Texas.[10]

Media and Communications Division[edit]

Jean-Luc Nancy and students at EGS, June 11, 2006

The Media and Communication Department focuses on creative breakthroughs and theoretical paradigm shifts, bringing together master's and doctoral students with an interest in film, art, philosophy, communications, literature, internet, web and cyberspace studies with filmmakers, artists, writers, and philosophers.

Faculty and guest lecturers give three- to six-day courses during four-week summer seminars. Visiting faculty have included Giorgio Agamben,[11][12][13] Chantal Akerman,[13][14][15] and Pierre Alféri.[16]

Teaching philosophy[edit]

Studies involve two years of coursework, including rigorous online writing requirements based on a structured reading list, and two three-week summer seminars in Switzerland, during which students are evaluated for their active participation in nine hours of seminars and lectures each day with visiting professors, philosophers, filmmakers, and artists and spend their final three years writing a thesis or dissertation, followed by a traditional oral defense.[17]

Slavoj Žižek described his involvement in EGS in an interview with Swiss magazine Die Weltwoche:

There is an international summer school, the European Graduate School... What is interesting with this school is the selection of lecturers – there are well-known philosophers and artists from the whole world, including filmmakers Peter Greenaway and Volker Schlöndorff, theorists Donna Haraway and Sandy Stone, and philosophers Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou and I. We three are friends. We meet there each year, are engaged for three weeks. I can bring my wife, do a 90-minute lecture each morning and am free afterwards.[18]

Slavoj Žižek also described the rigor and prestige of EGS as an academic institution during an interview in 2006:

EGS is not only a place to create an interaction between students, but gives them freedom. Not freedom to do nothing, but precisely freedom to work in this creative inter-space. Also, the way the talks are done, we do very serious theoretical work here. I like how the school approaches me. You know, I had to be there for exams for the students so I thought how should I terrorize them, I told them: "You ask yourself a question and then you answer it". Ah, but you know, they didn’t have any excuses. They couldn’t have said: "Ah, sorry, I could not answer you." They had to be at their best. No excuses. We are challenged to do so. So, it’s wonderful to see how somebody like Badiou comes; it’s like work in progress that you can see. It’s really serious work. It’s enough mixing between students and professors as equals so that you can get real productive exchange, not just ritualistic questions, answers and so on. I think this is what accounts for the growing success of EGS. It’s simply a negative proof of the failure of today’s academia.[19]

Intercollegiate connections[edit]

EGS has established curricular cooperation with:

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Canton Du Valais |Kanton Wallis Department of Education. Listing of universities and research institutions Accessed: May 5, 2010.
  2. ^ European Graduate School. About European Graduate School. Accessed: May 5, 2010.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Kanton Wallis. Präsidium des Staatsrates. Staatskanzlei. Auszug aus dem Protokoll der Sitzungen des Staatsrates. February 28, 2007.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Academic accreditation in Switzerland
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Gregory, Derek. "The black flag: Guantánamo Bay and the space of exception": Geografiska Annaler. Series B: Human Geography. December 2006, Vol. 88 Issue 4, Pages: 405–427
  12. ^ Kuhn, Albert. Interview mit einem schnellen Brüter. Die Weltwoche. No. 45/05, 2005
  13. ^ a b e-flux. Think Media: The Black Mountain College is back - in Switzerland! Gregory Ulmer. e-flux. International network of Visual Art Professionals. 2002
  14. ^ Fedianina, Olga. 6. Juni 1950: Chantal Akerman. Jüdische Zeitung. Unabhängige Monatszeitung für zeitgenössisches Judentum. June 2006
  15. ^ Haber, John. Chantal Akerman: Bordering on Fiction. Haber Arts.
  16. ^ University of Buffalo.Bilingual reading by Pierre Alféri Accessed: August 4th, 2011
  17. ^ Filmmaker Magazine Blog, The European Graduate School, by Scott Macaulay, March 2004
  18. ^ Die Weltwoche 45/05, "Interview mit einem schnellen Brüter", by Albert Kuhn, 2005
  19. ^ The European Graduate School, Slavoj Žižek, 2006
  20. ^ Beit Berl College. The School of Multi-Disciplinary Studies at Beit Berl College and EGS. Beit Berl College. Accessed: 30 October 2007.
  21. ^ Victor J. Vitanza. Ph.D. in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design. Program Handbook (2007–08) Study Abroad. Clemson University. College of Architecture, Arts, Humanities. 2007/2008
  22. ^ Maestría en Teoría Crítica. 17, Instituto de Estudios Críticos.
  23. ^ Internationale Hochschule Calw. Staatlich anerkannte Fachhochschule für Kreativpädagogik und künstlerische Therapien. Kooperationspartner Juli 4, 2007

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 46°06′52″N 7°55′46″E / 46.11457°N 7.92939°E / 46.11457; 7.92939