Study in Switzerland
Switzerland is a cultural meeting point in the heart of Europe where many different people, languages and religious beliefs co-exist. Its creative and cultural contributions reflect the diversity of this multilingual and cosmopolitan environment.
Knowledgeable minds and continuous research are the main and most valued resources in the country, supported by a great emphasis on high quality international education. Switzerland has more than 100 Nobel Prize winners.
Due to its favourable business and living environments, Switzerland is also home to an increasingly large number of European company headquarters.
Student information about cities in Switzerland
Find the best information about what to expect when studying in top cities in Switzerland. Read about degree course offers, career opportunities, student life, living costs, and more.
- Study in Basel
- Study in Bern
- Study in Genève
- Study in Lausanne
- Study in Montreux
- Study in Zürich
Higher learning institutions
Undergraduate studies result in a Bachelor's degree, advancing to a Master's degree. About 135,000 students attend Switzerland's Bachelor's, Master's and Ph.D. programmes, most of which are focused on quality research work.
The Swiss higher education system includes:
- 10 cantonal universities
- 2 Federal Institutes of Technology
- 8 universities of applied sciences
- 20 universities of teacher education
- Other private higher education institutions
The first university in Switzerland was founded in 1460 in Basel and has a tradition of chemical and medical research.
General application requirementsIn order to attend one of the Swiss universities a valid high-school graduate certificate or equivalent is required. Within 14 days of entering Switzerland, EU citizens must register with the local authority and apply for a residence permit. EU citizens do not need a study visa.The following documents will be required:
- Application for residence permit;
- Valid passport or identity card;
- Proof of registration at the university;
- Evidence of sufficient funds;
- Proof of address at place of residence;
- 2 passport photographs.
Find more information about enrollment and admission in Swiss universities.
Students who do not hold fully recognized foreign certificates must pass a university entrance exam. All persons living in Switzerland for more than three months, including international students, must have basic health insurance coverage. Some universities may require additional application requirements, so make sure and ask for detailed information.
Check more details about the application process for a Swiss university.
Foreign students from non-EU countries must contact the Swiss embassy or consulate in their own country and apply for a visa.
The application must include proof of admission in the higher education institution, proof of payment of fees and means of support during studies, a written commitment that the student will leave Switzerland after programme graduation, as well as curriculum vitae. Swiss authorities may also organise a test to assess language proficiency.
Find more information about permits and study visa for Switzerland.
Check out more about the easy steps in getting the student visa for Switzerland.
Mobility and internationality
Universities in Switzerland hold partnerships with universities from other countries and encourage international student mobility. Many student exchange programs allow students to travel all over Europe. 27.6% of students in Switzerland are foreigners, while 50% of PhD graduates are also international students. Some universities offer international students the possibility to be guest students for a limited amount of time.
Universities receive generous public funding in order to maintain quality facilities and teaching. Swiss teachers provide access to multi-lingual and multi-cultural study resources.
Language of instruction
In Switzerland, English is the fourth language of instruction used in academic settings. Most undergraduate programmes are taught in one of the country's official languages: German, French or Italian. However, the number English-taught Bachelors is slowly growing in Switzerland, particularly at universities of applied sciences.
English-language courses are more common at the Master’s level, with over 200 Swiss programmes available in English, creating great opportunities to study abroad in Switzerland. English is often the language of instruction and an application requirement for students who plan to study in a research- oriented environment.
Studies may be delivered in German, French, Italian or a mix of German and French, depending on the region or university students wish to attend. The German-speaking part of Switzerland is larger, comprising about 65% of the country. It includes cities like Basel, Bern and Zurich. Cities such as Fribourg, Geneva and Lausanne are located in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, in the west of the country. Although the proportion of Italian-speaking Swiss has been decreasing, Italian is the teaching language in the southern parts of the country, comprising of cities like Lugano and the canton of Ticino.
English language preparation for studying in Switzerland
Develop your academic English language skills in order to meet the English language requirements at Swiss universities offering degree studies for international students. Choose an English language school anywhere in the world and pick your preferred English exam preparation course from diverse language course options.
Switzerland ranks among the top ten countries worldwide in terms of research and development investments. Discoveries developed in Swiss research centres include lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and the scanning tunnelling microscope, as well as various space technologies and programs. Particle physics is also one of the main fields of research in Switzerland. Private companies, particularly in the pharmaceutical, chemical, and engineering industries, fund three quarters of all Swiss research.
Swiss universities offer young students a great number of employment opportunities in teaching and research. They also assist researchers looking for funding.