Studying in Switzerland

Switzerland, a federal republic comprising 26 cantons, is renowned for its high-quality education system. Each canton is responsible for its own educational policies and regulations. Despite its relatively small population of 8 million, Switzerland consistently excels in international university rankings. The country emphasizes quality over quantity in education, with many of its universities ranked among the world's best, such as ETH Zurich, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), the University of Geneva, and the University of St. Gallen. Numerous degrees are also offered in English, particularly at the Master's and Doctorate levels.

Reasons to Study in Switzerland

  • High Quality of Life: Switzerland is renowned for its exceptional standard of living, offering a safe, clean, and organized environment with excellent public services and infrastructure.
  • Heart of Europe: Situated at the centre of Europe, Switzerland provides easy access to numerous European countries, making travel and exploration convenient and enriching.
  • Low Tuition Fees: Compared to other Western countries, Switzerland offers relatively low tuition fees for international students, making it an affordable option for high-quality education.
  • Strong Career Path for Many Industries: Switzerland boasts a robust economy with numerous opportunities in various industries such as finance, pharmaceuticals, engineering, and hospitality, providing strong career prospects for graduates.
  • Top Quality Education: Swiss universities are consistently ranked among the best in the world, emphasizing quality over quantity in their educational programs, and offering cutting-edge research facilities and experienced faculty.

Bachelor's Programs

Bachelor's programs in Switzerland typically require three years of full-time study, culminating in 180 ECTS credits. However, certain programs, such as medicine or pharmacy, may extend to five or six years. Completing a Bachelor's degree in Switzerland is necessary for admission to Master's level studies.

The language of instruction at the Bachelor's level varies depending on the university's location. Swiss Bachelor's programs include compulsory courses in your major field, additional courses in a minor field of your choice, and elective courses. The final year is dedicated to writing your dissertation.

Master's Programs

Master's programs in Switzerland are completed within one to two years of full-time study, awarding 90-120 ECTS credits. A Master's degree is a prerequisite for pursuing a Doctorate. For international students without prior knowledge of French, Italian, or German, Switzerland offers numerous English-taught Master's programs.

During your Master's studies, you will gain advanced knowledge in your field through various modules and practical tasks. The program involves both independent and group study, and concludes with the writing of a dissertation.

Switzerland's commitment to educational excellence, combined with its diverse linguistic and cultural environment, makes it an ideal destination for students seeking a world-class education.

ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich)Business & Hotel Management School (BHMS), Lucerne
University of Basel (UB)GLION Institute of Higher Education, Montreux
University of Bern (UNIBE)EU Business School, Montreux and Geneva
University of Neuchâtel (UNINE) Swiss Hotel Management School (SHMS)
University of Fribourg (UNIFR)International Hotel & Tourism Training Institute (IHTTI)
University of GenevaCesar Ritz College
EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)EHL Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality
University of Lausanne Hotel Institute Montreux
University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland(FHNW)Les Roches
University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (HES-SO)
University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI)
University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil (HSR)
Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH)
Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU)
University of Applied Sciences Eastern Switzerland (OST)
Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW)
University of Lugano (USI) 
University of St. Gallen (HSG)

Popular Courses:

Switzerland is recognized for providing a broad spectrum of top-tier academic programs spanning various disciplines. Among the sought-after courses pursued by international students in Switzerland are:

  • Business and Management – Switzerland is home to some of the world’s top business schools, including the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) and the University of St. Gallen.
  • Engineering and Technology – Swiss universities are renowned for their excellence in engineering and technology programs, with institutions like ETH Zurich and EPFL Lausanne offering top-notch courses.
  • Hospitality and Tourism – Switzerland is known for its hospitality industry, with many world-famous hotels and resorts located in the country. Swiss hotel management schools like Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne and Glion Institute of Higher Education are highly regarded worldwide.
  • Life Sciences and Medicine – Switzerland has a strong tradition in the life sciences and medical fields, with institutions like the University of Basel and the University of Zurich offering excellent programs.

VISA: There are two types of visa you can apply for in Switzerland:

Intakes Application Duration
Spring (Feb/March) August – Nov
August – Nov SEP – NOV
Summer APR – MA

For short-term Schengen C visas, documentation includes:

  • A valid passport/travel ID
  • Proof of adequate financial resources to cover their costs while in Switzerland;
  • Healthcare/accident insurance;
  • Confirmation of booked courses including fees paid;
  • If a student is under 18, a birth certificate and authorization to travel is compulsory.

For a long-term D visas, documents will include:

  • A valid passport/travel ID
  • Proof of adequate financial resources to cover costs while in Switzerland, the student will also need a copy of bank statement or a letter from the bank
  • Proof of healthcare insurance which includes cover for accidents
  • Motivation letter outlining why student want to come to Switzerland to study and how this will be beneficial to their career
  • Confirmation of enrolment at a recognized Swiss educational institution
  • Confirmation of course fees paid
  • Students’ CV
  • Copies of previous educational certificates and diplomas
  • A signed letter confirming that student will leave Switzerland at the end of the course

Students may also be asked to sit a language test to make sure that they will be able to follow the lectures.

Students have 14 days after their arrival in Switzerland to register their arrival and arrange to get the residence permit from the cantonal migration offices (if required). They’ll be issued with a permit B in the form of a biometric card. It’s valid for a year and renewable.

Housing Cost:

  • Zurich: 1,700 CHF to 5,000 CHF
  • Geneva: 1,700 CHF to 5,000 CHF
  • Lausanne: 1,500 CHF to 2,800 CHF
  • Basel: 1,400 CHF to 2,600 CHF

Tuition Cost:

ProgrammesPrivate University fees per yearPublic University fees per year
Undergraduate20,000-30,000 CHF1,000-1,500 CHF
Postgraduate (Masters)22,000-25,000 CHF1,500-2,000 CHF
Doctorate/MBA30,000-40,000 CHF1,400-2,000 CHF

Scholarships in Switzerland

Some of the most popular scholarships you can find in Switzerland are:

  • The Swiss Excellence Scholarship for Foreign Students.
  • The Excellence Scholarship & Opportunity Programme (ESOP) from ETH Zurich.
  • The University of Lausanne Masters Grant.
  • The EPFL Excellence Fellowship.
  • The Graduate Institute of Geneva Scholarships.
  • The IMD MBA Scholarship.
  • The University of Geneva Excellence Fellowship.