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With its prestigious education system, low university fees and high standard of living, studying in Switzerland is a smart choice

A small country located at the heart of the Alps in Western Europe, Switzerland is popular with students and graduates wanting to study abroad. Bordered by France, Germany and Italy, it gives you ample opportunity to visit other culturally diverse countries.

While known for academic excellence, Switzerland is also a great place to study if you want to pick up a second language, thanks to the multilingual Swiss population. Depending on where you study you could get to grips with German, French, Italian or Romansh. Each linguistic area has its own institutions, traditions and cultures, so do your research before you go.

In your study-free hours you’ll be able to explore what is widely thought of as one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The Alps dominate 60% of the country, but the striking scenery isn’t all that’s on offer. You’ll be able to enjoy arts and music festivals in Swiss meadows and visits to theatres and museums in metropolitan cities. In the winter months you’ll have the opportunity to participate in sports such as skiing, ice-hockey and skating.

You’ll also be able to sample famous Swiss cuisine such as coffee, chocolate and cheese.

Swiss universities

Switzerland has three types of university:

  • Universities (UNIs) – of which there are 12. Offering degree programmes at a high scientific and theory-based level, you can study humanities, science and some engineering courses.
  • Universities of Applied Sciences and the Arts (UASAs) – provide scientific and professional education. These eight institutions run courses in landscape architecture, health sciences, music, art, theatre, film and design.
  • Universities of Teacher Education (UTEs) – offer practice-oriented training such as pre-primary, primary, secondary and special needs education. There are 20 UTEs in Switzerland

For a full list of Swiss universities, see Study in Switzerland.

Due to the requirements of the Bologna Process, higher education institutions in Switzerland follow the cycle of:

  • Bachelors degrees
  • Masters degrees
  • Doctoral (PhD) degrees.

The Swiss academic year is split into two semesters – autumn and spring. The autumn semester usually runs from September to December, and the spring semester from February to May.

Three Swiss universities feature in the top 100 of the QS World University Rankings 2020, including:

  • ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute ofTechnology (6th)
  • EPFL – École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (18th)
  • University of Zurich (76th)

Popular student cities include Basel, Bern, Geneva, Lausanne and Zürich.

EU – a triple-accredited, multicampus, international business school offers innovative Bachelor, Master and Doctorate of Business Administration programmes.

A leading institution that provides cutting-edge Swiss quality education. Our programmes are taught 100% in English and our campuses are located in major European cities such as Geneva, Madrid, and Barcelona.

Degree courses in Switzerland

There are a variety of undergraduate degree courses on offer in Switzerland and such programmes can be studied at universities, universities of applied sciences and arts, and universities of teacher education.

Bachelors courses typically take three years to complete full time and are open to all foreign students who have a secondary/high-school-leaving certificate and a good command of the tuition language (this could be French, German or Italian depending on where you study). You’ll learn through a combination of lectures, seminars and practical work.

To gain a place on a Bachelors programme, students need to apply online directly to their chosen university.

Search for undergraduate courses in Switzerland at SwissUniversities – Course offerings.

Masters degrees

Programmes are available in a range of areas including the arts, engineering, law, medicine and science. Courses are designed to build on first-degree knowledge and enable students to specialise in a particular field.

When studied full time, programmes usually last three to four semesters (one-and-a-half to two years). You’ll study taught core and elective modules and finish with a dissertation.

When applying for a Masters programme, you’ll need a Bachelors degree in a relevant subject. If your course is taught in French, German or Italian, a good working knowledge of that particular language will be essential. However, there are an increasing number of Masters courses taught in English.

Entry requirements vary for each university, so contact institutions directly to ensure your application is correct.

You can search for postgraduate programmes in Switzerland at SwissUniversities – Course offerings.


A PhD is the highest level of qualification for postgraduate students in Switzerland. Offered by universities, subjects cover a variety of areas. Courses can take around three to five years to complete, and during this time you’ll carry out independent research as you work towards a Doctoral thesis.

Assessment usually takes the form of an oral examination.

To study for a PhD in Switzerland, you’ll need a Masters degree from an accredited or recognised university. Again, entry conditions vary so you should check with your prospective institution.

Student exchanges

UK students can study in Switzerland by taking part in the European Union’s (EU) education, training and youth support programme Erasmus+ (confirmed for the 2020/21 academic year). As a non-member of the EU, Switzerland is a ‘partner country’, which means it can take part in certain actions under Erasmus+, subject to specific criteria or conditions.

The scheme offers study, training and work experience placements to help you develop personally and professionally.

Opportunities are open to students at Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate level. Placements can last from three months to one academic year.

Course fees

When compared with EU countries, Swiss tuition fees are relatively low. However, at some institutions international students are charged higher rates than Swiss nationals.

Private universities will charge higher fees than public institutions. Study in Switzerland estimates that a Masters degree will cost between CHF 3,000 (£2,563) and CHF 13,000 (£11,130). The most well-known public universities will charge less than CHF 1,000 depending on the course.

Bear in mind that you may incur other costs such as registration, examination and student association fees

Learn more about the cost of living in Switzerland at Studying in Switzerland.

Funding to study in Switzerland

Swiss scholarships, grants and bursaries are few and far between and available opportunities are difficult to secure.

The Swiss government does not offer scholarships to students from the UK, so be prepared to find your own method of funding. While the cost of living is high, this should be counterbalanced by the reasonable tuition fees.

UK students may be eligible for university/department scholarships, so check individual institution websites to see what they offer.

International students in Switzerland are also allowed to work part time for up to 15 hours a week during term time. During holiday periods foreign students can work full time, but you’ll need to make the relevant immigration authorities aware of this.

If you’re from a country other than the UK, you may be entitled to a government scholarship. Check to see if your country of origin is eligible by visiting Swiss government excellence scholarships for foreign scholars and artists.

Student visas

Whether you need a visa to study in Switzerland depends on where you come from.

Students from the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) and the UK do not need a visa to study in the country. However, students from these countries still need to register as a foreign resident within 14 days of arrival. You can do this at your local Residents Registration Office and you’ll need:

  • a valid passport
  • proof of university registration
  • a bank statement to provide evidence of funds
  • proof of health insurance
  • proof of address
  • two passport photographs.

Non EU, EEA or UK students must apply for a visa before travelling to Switzerland – you can do this from the Swiss embassy in your home country. Visas can take several months to process so factor this into your plans and apply early.

Health insurance is mandatory for everyone living in Switzerland. If you intend to live in the country for longer than three months, you must purchase your own health insurance. For more information, visit StudyinSwitzerland – Entry, visa and residence permits.

How to apply

The country does not have a centralised admissions procedure. Most applications to Swiss universities are made online directly to institutions. For specific information and admission deadlines, contact the admissions office of your chosen university.

On your application form you’ll need to indicate the faculty and degree programme you’re interested in. You’ll then receive written confirmation of your application along with an application fee invoice and a list of the supporting documents required.

After submitting the requested documents, and upon receipt of the application fee, you’ll be sent formal confirmation of your place.

Language requirements

As Switzerland is a multilingual country, the languages spoken at different universities will vary. The majority of the country speaks German, but French is used in the west and Italian in some areas in the south. Romansh is also spoken by a small minority

If you wish to study for a Bachelors or Masters in one of the above languages, you’ll need to prove your proficiency as part of your application.

English is widely spoken and an increasing number of courses (especially Masters) are taught in the language. However, while living in Switzerland it would be beneficial to learn one of the country’s native languages.

Switzerland has a very advanced educational system. Swiss universities are among the best, not only in Europe but in the whole world. As such, each year, Switzerland accepts a large influx of international students from all over the world, all aiming to add a (highly recognized) Swiss higher education degree to their academic careers. Here are a few of the reasons why you should consider being one of them.

1. Wide Range of Study Programs

With a long list of higher education institutions, the country offers a wide range of fields of study for you to choose the one that is best for you. There are 12 public universities, 9 universities of applied sciences, and several other higher education institutions dedicated to music and arts.

The top universities of Switzerland that rank high among universities of the world are considered to be:

  •       ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
  •       EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)
  •       University of Zurich
  •       University of Geneva
  •       University of Bern
  •       University of Basel

2. Get an Internationally Recognized Degree

Besides the knowledge and skills that you gain throughout your academic journey, what’s the cherry on top is the degree you receive when finishing your studies as a reward for your hard work. Since Switzerland has a highly regarded educational system, a degree from one of its universities will open many doors in your career in any place of the world.

3. Explore Different Cultures and Languages

Switzerland is known for its multilingualism and cultural diversity. It has 4 official languages, German, French, Italian, and Romansh. As a developed and peaceful country, Switzerland is the second home of immigrants from different parts of the world. Living and studying in this place, you’ll have the chance to befriend people of many cultures and be exposed to many different languages.

According to a survey by, Switzerland ranked second as the best place to study abroad in Europe in 2020, based on factors such as career achievement, personal development, and access to higher-quality teaching.

4. Explore the Beauty of the Country

Whether you are a nature lover or more of an appreciator of art, architecture, and crafts, Switzerland offers you a wide variety of options of entertainment to explore on your days off. The nature of Switzerland, with its mesmerizing mountains, lakes, and rivers, is a perfect getaway from the stress of your student life. During warm summer days, you can go for a hike on one of the peaks, ride a bike along the trails, or canoe in the river; in the winter you can ski and snowboard down the gorgeous Swiss mountains.

As for the art lovers, visiting the museums, theatres, and operas of the country will surely be a pleasant experience. The Swiss are also known for their fine chocolate and cheese, so you do not want to miss the chance to have a taste of them and other national Swiss foods while you’re here.

5.  Visit the Nearby Beauties of the World

If you love traveling you must have many countries of Europe that need to be checked off your bucket list. There is so much of Europe’s history, culture, architecture, and nature that you must get to see.

Located in the heart of Europe, Switzerland is neighboured by some of the most beautiful countries of Europe you might also want to visit. With a cheap train trip, you can visit Italy, Germany, or France in just a couple of hours. You’ll reach your desired destination while also enjoying a scenic journey on your way there.

6. Enjoy a High Standard of Living

Switzerland has a reputation for being a peaceful, clean, economically developed, and forward-thinking country. The country has maintained its neutrality in times of war, and with its strict laws and respectful citizens, it has remained a peaceful place nowadays as well.  The safety in Switzerland is very high, the country has a very low crime rate and most of the crimes are mild.

7. Good Healthcare System

Swiss healthcare is one of the best in the world. The majority of people that live in Switzerland have good health, that is because of the well-developed health system. Another aspect in which Switzerland is well-developed is the economy. With low unemployment and poverty rates, and high salaries, Switzerland is a great place for you to build a career after your studies.

It’s not easy to decide which university to decide to apply to but, as you can see, Switzerland does give plenty of reasons for you to choose one of its universities.














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