Switzerland is located in Europe and landlocked by 5 countries. There are 4 language communities in Switzerland, German, French, Italian and Rhaeto-Romanic is the first language in some smaller parts of the country.
In Switzerland, there are 10 state universities, 2 federal universities, 8 universities of applied sciences and 17 universities of teachers’ education. While all these types award Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, only universities are entitled to award doctorates.
As usual in the European Higher Education Area, the degree structure is three-tiered for the overwhelming part of subjects/programmes: Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral degrees.
As shown in the table below, Swiss Higher Education Institutions clearly score above average in 4 out of 5 U-Multirank dimensions, i.e. Research, International Orientation, Knowledge Transfer and Regional Engagement .
Tuition fees in Switzerland may vary between 400 and 10,000 CHF per and depend on the university, canton and whether you are an EU citizen or not. Some universities charge slightly higher tuition fees for international students. For practically all universities, you may pay between CHF 500 and CHF 2,000 per semester. Note that there can be smaller additional fees: registration fee; examination fee; semester fee; fee for social and cultural institutions, university sports, use of library; fee for students association, etc.
Reference year(s): 2020/2021
In this section we highlight the fees for studying in Switzerland. The fees are shown in the national currency and address all fee types: tuition, enrolment (part- or full-time, etc.), certification, or other administrative costs. Students that are exempt from fees are also described, as well as information on international student fees if they differ.
In this section we highlight the financial support system implemented in Switzerland. The types of support covered in this section include: grants, loans, tax benefits for students' parents (or students themselves) and family allowances. How these terms are defined, are outlined below:
To study in Switzerland on a Bachelor’s programme you need a secondary school certificate that qualifies you for higher education (Maturität). In order to study at Master’s degree level, you are required to hold a Bachelor’s degree. Medical programmes and programmes with limited capacities are regulated more restrictively. All universities are autonomous in terms of admission. Most of them require that you sit a screening test.
In French-speaking parts of Switzerland you need a proof of your knowledge of the French language.
You are an EU-28 / EFTA national without gainful employment stays up to 90 days within a six-month period do not require authorisation. For longer stays, you have to register with the competent CANTONAL AUTHORITY and apply for a residence permit for non-working persons (they might charge a fee). The registration has to be done 14 days after arrival at the latest. The corresponding residence permit will remain valid for the duration of your studies, or for one year, and you may apply for annual renewals until you have completed your studies, providing the requirements are fulfilled. Don’t forget to apply for an extension of your permit at the latest two weeks before expiry of the authorization. … a non-EU 28 / EFTA national without gainful employment. Before entering Switzerland, you must apply for a visa with the Swiss diplomatic/consular mission in your country of residence. Please note that it takes at least 8 weeks for a visa to be issued (cost: 60 Euro). You cannot study in Switzerland on a tourist visa.
No matter the reason, paying high tuition fees can be a source of stress for many. However, there are many options for financing your studies, including the use of scholarships. There are various scholarship opportunities available for international students looking to study in Switzerland. Depending on your country of origin and the level of studies, there are different options for funding. To explore what scholarship options are available, check this scholarship database.
EU/EEA/Swiss citizens are not required to obtain a visa, but need to register with the local immigration authorities (Fremdenpolizei) within a week of their arrival. These authorities will provide you with a student residence permit.
Generally, all non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens must first acquire a certificate of enrolment at a higher education institution in Switzerland. After that, you need to apply for a student residence permit (long-term national D visa). If you are planning to work in Switzerland you may work 15 hours per week during term-time or full-time in holidays. However, this is only possible after you have lived in the country for at least 6 months.
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