Study in Switzerland


Switzerland is a picturesque country nestled amongst the Alps in Western and Central Europe. It is bordered by Germany in the North, Italy in the South, France in the West, and Austria and Liechtenstein in the East. Switzerland ranks nineteenth in the world based on nominal GDP and its economy is the most competitive in the world. Switzerland has a reputation of being a peaceful nation and the Red Cross initiative was birthed here. It is also the seat of many international organizations, including the UN office. Switzerland is one of the wealthiest nations in the world and has a stable, high-tech economy. It was also ranked by the European Union as Europe’s most innovative country.

Why Study in Switzerland

Switzerland is characterized by its diverse trends in the education sector. Swiss universities accept a high ratio of foreign students for a number of higher education courses. The country has made a lot of advancements in science and technology, and is home to many Nobel laureates and scientists. The world’s largest particle physics laboratory, CERN, is located in Geneva.

Here are some reasons students prefer to pursue their education in Switzerland:

  • World leader in scientific research and development.
  • Top notch education facilities
  • Availability of courses in English.
  • Reasonable tuition fees.
  • Globally recognized education qualifications.
  • Balanced student-teacher ratio which translates to more focused education.
  • Huge investments in the education sector.
  • Study environment conducive for innovation and research.
  • Wide variety of study courses in all major disciplines.
  • World class hospitality programs.

Courses Offered

Switzerland has a number of universities that provide higher education, specifically:

  • 10 Cantonal Universities
  • 2 Federal Institutes of Technology
  • 7 Universities of Applied Sciences

The universities run by individual cantons offer courses in non-technical subjects, while the universities run by the federation offer technical courses. The universities of applied sciences are similar to technical colleges and offer practical training and apprenticeships.

The higher education programs offered at universities are similar to others offered around the world:

  • Bachelor’s Program (3 years)
  • Master’s Program (1.5 to 2 years)
  • Doctorate Program (3 to 4 years)

Education Requirements

Each study program offered by universities has its own admission requirements that must be fulfilled by students. Apart from good academic credentials, students are also required to provide proof of fluency in the English language through their IELTS or TOEFL scores.

The IELTS overall band score requirement varies depending on the course being applied for:

  • Diploma Program – 5.0
  • Post Graduate Diploma Program – 5.5
  • Bachelor’s and Master’s Programs – 6.0

Cost Of Education

The course fee is relatively lower in canonical universities, as compared to federal universities. Some specialized courses and education in private universities might be on the higher side.

Scholarships may be offered by universities, providing students meet the eligible criteria and perform well on a consistent basis. The average living expenses for a student is expected to be about 1500 to 2000 CHF per year.

Application Procedure

The academic year in Swiss universities consists of two semesters. The Autumn semester runs from September to December, while the Spring semester runs from February to June. The major intake of students occurs in the Autumn Semester and students are recommended to begin their application process at least 8 – 12 months in advance.

The application procedure for universities in Switzerland is as follows:

  • Meet with our study counsellor and plan out which course/university would best suit the student’s career goals.
  • Check out the admission guidelines and apply to the respective universities with all supporting documents.
  • Once admission is confirmed, prepare the visa documents and apply to the nearest Swiss embassy for a student visa.
  • Students would have to provide proof of admission and funds for their visa to be granted.
  • Once the visa has arrived, coordinate with the university and make arrangements for travel and accommodation.

Work Rights

Foreign students are issued a residence permit that needs to be renewed on an annual basis. Students can work for up to 15 hours per week in most cantons. However, since the course load in universities is expected to be heavy, students are usually not recommended to opt for any extra work.

International students are permitted to stay back for six months on successful completion of their course. This time can be used to procure gainful employment, and cannot be extended until a secure job is obtained.

More About Switzerland

Switzerland is globally known for its mountainous range, the Alps, which occupy a major portion of the country. The majority of the 8 million Swiss residents live on the plateaus where the major cities are located. Bern is the capital of Switzerland, and the two largest cities are Zurich and Geneva, both of which are global and economic centres. These two regions also rank among the top cities of the world with respect to quality of life.

Switzerland has four main languages – German, French, Italian and Romansh, with German being the most popular. The diverse Swiss culture and the myriad of adventures Switzerland has to offer, attracts plenty of visitors from all over the world. Switzerland’s reputation for high-quality education also serves to bring in hosts of foreign students who seek to leave their mark on society.

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