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HEAD Genève

updated 07/06/2016

HEAD Genève - Switzerland

Presentation & Philosophy


Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD – Genève) was formed in 2006 from the merger of two art schools, the Ecole supérieure des beaux-arts and the Haute école d’arts appliqués, both over two hundred years old. Urban and international, it welcomes over 700 students from 40 different countries and offers Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes in fine arts, cinema, spatial design, visual communication, fashion, jewellery and accessory design.

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Workshops led by invited international designers, artists and filmmakers contribute to the dynamism of an educational space seen as an area of freedom and of individual and social responsibility. A range of aesthetic practices based on research and experimentation, combined with access to extensive traditional or innovative technical resources, are balanced by theoretical teaching that focuses both on knowledge acquisition and on multidimensional thinking.

Know-how and knowledge are the two cornerstones of our educational approach that rejects dogmatism in favour of a critical understanding of the contemporary world. Attuned to today’s cultural, social and professional environment, the teaching provided at HEAD – Genève fosters close dialogue between staff and students, seen as the real actors in their own creative journey. Students can express themselves during studio projects, classes, seminars and workshops and through commissioned work carried out in partnership with the public and private professional sectors in the fields of art, cinema and design.

Number of students: 700

Number of students in film/animation studies: 60

Number of international students: 200

Number of teachers: 100 (staff) + 300 (guest professors) + 50 (assistants)

Degree category / length of studies:

BA (Bachelor of Fine Arts): Full-time studies, three academic years, 180 ECTS
MA (Master of Fine Arts): Full-time studies, two academic years, 90 ECTS (Design) 120 ECTS (Fine arts and Cinema)

Programme objective and content:


This three-year bachelor’s course provides a sequence of introductions, discoveries, suggestions and key encounters. Students are invited to produce a number of films, from ones lasting just a few minutes to demanding productions that meet international distributors’ expectations. The workshops and classes on History and Aesthetics of Cinema are developed in dialogue in order to train students in the practices and ideas associated with contemporary cinema. We endeavour to mark out the complex field of documentary and fictional film history in order to encourage interplay and crossovers between these two traditional genres. Our understanding of ‘cinéma du réel’ is striking, fleshed-out creation that observes and questions the world in order to discover identities, memories and utopias – creative practices derived from personal, intimate experience, with mature narratives telling stories that are imaginary and yet true. The Cinema faculty: a testing ground for cinematographic adventures.


The two-year master’s course in Cinema is the result of a close partnership between two teaching institutions that have made a name for themselves both in Switzerland and abroad: HEAD Geneva and ECAL. The course aims to help students develop their creative abilities and technical mastery in the fields of documentary and fiction, transmedia, editing, sound, screenplay and writing. Teaching is divided between Geneva and Renens (a suburb of Lausanne). Some of the workshops and classes, including theoretical work, are attended by all the students. Classes are also provided through the Swiss Cinema Network.

We set out to encourage the development of a personal, unusual approach to cinéma d’auteur, and an understanding of every stage of film production. Students acquire specialized skills and grasp the economic and production aspects of film projects, in order to help them integrate into professional circles when they graduate.

Admission and entry requirements:

-       for the BA curriculum, applicants must hold an upper secondary level diploma and must pass the admission test (portfolio of personal works (films) + personal interview). For the academic year 2015-16, application deadline is March 18, 2016.

-       For the MA curriculum, applicants must hold a Bachelor degree in Cinema, Fine arts, Visual communication or in a related discipline, and must pass the admission test (two-step selection based on portfolio of personal works (films) and personal interview). For the academic year 2015-16, application deadline is April 8, 2016.

Online applications only. See details on


HEAD – Genève

Boulevard James-Fazy 15

1201 Genève

T +41 22 388 51 00

F +41 22 388 51 59

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