University of California, Riverside

UCR Study Abroad - UCR Summer Abroad Program

2015 Lausanne, Switzerland

Embedded Systems Education in Switzerland

Have you ever wanted to travel to Switzerland? This exciting 4-week program provides an international experience for upper-division UC Riverside students majoring in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or Electrical Engineering.  This is one of only a handful of UC programs specifically for Computer Science students to study abroad! 

  • General Program Information

    Students who participate in this program will travel to the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) on the shores of Lake Geneva. At EPFL, students will take two upper-division computer science and electrical engineering courses for credit.  UC Riverside and EPFL faculty will teach these courses collaboratively.

    The basic eligibility requirements for the courses are:

    1.  Good standing in terms of GPA (e.g., at least 2.5; preferably 3.0)
    2.  Upper division standing
    3.  All prerequisites for CS/EE 120B are satisfied. (Students from non-UCR campuses will be assessed on a case-by-case basis)

    In addition to an academic opportunity, this program offers a variety of enticing cultural activities, including:

    • 4-week stay in the beautiful city of Lausanne
      (a city in Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland and the second largest city on Lake Geneva)
    • Opportunities to explore nearby cities and towns, such as Geneva, Vevey, Montreux, Gruyères, and Évian (France)
    • Visit the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and tour the Olympic Museum
    • Cultural activities, including museum trips, concerts, and film and music festivals
    • Exposure to Swiss culture and food

    EPFL has many world-class faculty members whose research and teaching emphasizes topics that are synergistic with the proposed course offerings.

    Philip Brisk, Computer Science & Engineering

    Host Institution:
    Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL),
    Lausanne, Switzerland

    CS/EE 120B (Introduction to Embedded Systems; 4 units)
    CS 193 (Independent Studies; 4 units)


  • Accommodations in Lausanne

    The CUC (Centre Universitaire Catholique) of Lausanne is a student house situated in the heart of the city. Our center houses students from all cultural and spiritual backgrounds studying at the University of Lausanne or the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) as well as students studying the arts.

    Since the early 1960’s the CUC has helped many students during their years of formation. It has helped to build bridges between different cultures and to create an international network of future leaders of our society.

  • Detailed Program Fees

    Please note that Program-Related Fees will be paid to UCR (see payment instructions). Airfare and most meals are included in the "Estimated Additional Costs" in the bottom half of the table.

    Program Fees

    Program-Related FeesUndergraduates Graduates 
    Non-refundable application fee/deposit $300.00 $300.00
    2nd Deposit $700.00 $700.00
    Course fees – 8 units $2,402.54*  
    Remaining Program Fees – Accommodations, transportation, excursions TBD TBD
    *Fees subject to Regental action (current estimates include the projected 5% increase)
    Estimated Additional CostsUndergraduates Graduates 
    Estimated Meal and Personal Costs $1,500 Same as undergraduate
    Estimated Pre-Departure Expenses (Photos, Passports, etc.) $300 Same as undergraduate
    Estimated Round-Trip Airfare $1,600 Same as undergraduate
  • Courses & Syllabus

    CS/EE 120B (Introduction to Embedded Systems; 4 units)
    CS 193  (Independent Studies; 4 units)

    Course One:
    (4 units) CS/EE 120B

    CS/EE 120B (5 units) - Introduction to Embedded Systems (taken with CS 193 for 3 units)
    Prerequisite(s): CS 120A/EE120A
    Introduction to hardware and software design of digital computing systems embedded in electronic devices (such as digital cameras or portable video games).  Topics include embedded processor programming, custom processor design, standard peripherals, memories, interfacing, and hardware/software tradeoffs.  Interdisciplinary laboratory involves use of synthesis tools, programmable logic, and microcontrollers and development of working embedded systems.

    Course Two:
    (4 units)  CS 193

    CS 193 (4 units) - Design Project 
    Prerequisite(s): CS 141; consent of instructor
    Individual hardware or software design project to include establishment of objectives and criteria, synthesis, analysis, implementation, testing, and documentation.

    The basic eligibility requirements for the courses are:

    1.  Good standing in terms of GPA (e.g., at least 2.5; preferably 3.0)
    2.  Upper division standing
    3.  All prerequisites for CS/EE 120B are satisfied. (Students from non-UCR campuses will be assessed on a case-by-case basis)

  • Planned Experiences On-site

    Four official group outings are planned; students will be allowed and encouraged to self-organize their own outings in their spare time (at their own expense).

    Field Trips outside of Lausanne

    1.  Day-trip to Gruyères and la Château de Chillon (Chillon Castle): This chateau is an island castle located on the shore of Lake Geneva, near the town of Montreux.  The castle was popularized by Lord Byron who wrote the poem The Prisoner of Chillon (1816); Byron carved his name on a pillar of the dungeon.  The castle is open to the public.  A typical tour takes 45 minutes to an hour.

    Gruyères is a medieval town located in Fribourg Canton, approximately 1 hour from Lausanne.  It is picturesque, located on a hill overlooking a beautiful valley.  It is the origin of the well-known Gruyère cheese, and the restaurants make excellent fondue.  A trip to Gruyères would typically entail:

    • A tour of the medieval castle

    • A fondue meal (lunch or dinner)

    • A visit to a local chocolate or cheese factory and one or more of the local museums (Tibetan Museum or the HR Giger Museum)

    2.  Day-trip to Rochers-des-Naye: Rochers-des-Naye is a mountain of the Swiss Alps overlooking Lake Geneva. For a set price of 99 CHF, a pass to Rochers-des-Naye includes a round-trip train ticket (from Montreux), a fondue meal at one of the peak’s panoramic restaurant, entrance to Marmot’s paradise (a nature preserve:, and sporting activities including flying fox, cable bridge, rope bridge, and archery for an extra 40-60 CHF.

    On the way back, students will be encouraged to visit Montreux, a small town located on Lake Geneva, a few kilometers past Chillon. Montreax is most famous for its international jazz festival, which occurs in July (sadly, it concludes before the summer study abroad program would start). Attractions in Montreux include statues and other monuments to famous musicians (e.g., Ray Charles, Freddie Mercury, Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, BB King), La Marche Couvert (covered market), a lengthy walkway along the waterfront, a rose garden on the waterfront, and the Montreux Palace gardens, and la Musee du vieux Montreux.

    For this trip, student program fees would include round-trip tickets between Lausanne and Montreux, round-trip tickets between Montreux and Rochers-des-Naye, and all activities at Rochers-des-Naye listed above. Students will be encouraged to explore Montreux on their own (students can pay for their own activities in Montreux).

    3.  Day-trip to Geneva: Geneva is approximately 45 minutes to an hour away from Lausanne, by train.  A day trip to Geneva could potentially include:

    • A visit to CERN and the Large Hadron Collider (free)
    • A visit to the headquarters of the United Nations

    • A visit to the Jet d'Eau (a very large water fountain) and a walk on the Lake Geneva shoreline.

    • A visit to the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMCO)

    4.  Day-trip to the Matterhorn: A trip to the Matterhorn can easily consume an entire day. The 2014 Summer Study Abroad group left Lausanne at 6:20am, and returned at 12:28am the following day. We started with a train ride from Lausanne to Zermatt, a small tourist town at the base of the Matterhorn. We left at 6:20am and arrived in Zermatt at 9:53am.

     In Zermatt, we then took a Gondola ride to the Klein Matterhorn (marked as the “Matterhorn Glacier Paradise”), the second-highest peak in the Zermatt-Cervinia ski area in Switzerland and the end point of the highest cable car in Europe. Klein Matterhorn includes a panoramic view platform at 3,883m, which offers an unobstructed view of the Matterhorn; the Ice Cave (“Glacier Grotto,” which offers a view into the glacier below; and a gift shop and restaurant. We spent approximately 2 hours at Klein Matterhorn, followed by a Gondola ride back to Zermatt. There are several intermediate Gondola stations (e.g., Schwarzsee), which allow opportunities to disembark and take photographs, and offer opportunities for hiking.

     Upon our return to Zermatt, we took a train to Gornergrat, a rocky ridge overlooking to the Gorner Glacier south of Zermatt, offering an unobstructed view of a different face of the Matterhorn. Gornergrat has a visitors’ center, restaurant and hotel. After spending approximately 45 minutes admiring the view, we hiked for 2 hours down to an intermediate train stop (Riffelberg) and took the train back to Zermatt.

     We spend the next 1.5 hours in Zermatt, eating dinner. We left Zermatt at 9:12pm, arriving back in Lausanne at 12:28am.

     Note: The times of this trip were inexact, and we were delayed in both directions by railwork between the towns of Bex and St. Maurice, on the Lausanne-Zermatt link. We had to disembark from our train, take a bus between the two stations, and then re-embark on a new train. This added an estimated 30 minutes of time (each way) to our delay.

  • Pre-departure Orientation

    Check back for information on pre-departure orientation sessions!


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General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Contact Information

Education Abroad
0321 Surge Building

Tel: (951) 827-4113