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Study in Switzerland

🔥 Hot Destination

Switzerland offers international students an excellent opportunity to pursue a high-quality education in a culturally and linguistically diverse environment. The country is renowned for its scenic beauty, high standard of living, and prestigious universities and higher education institutions that offer a wide range of programs across various fields of study.

To study in Switzerland, students typically need to have completed their secondary education and meet the language requirements for their chosen program. Language proficiency in German, French, or Italian may be required by Swiss universities, depending on the language of instruction.

Although international students may have to pay higher tuition fees than Swiss nationals, scholarships and financial aid may be available to eligible students. However, the cost of living in Switzerland can be high, particularly in cities such as Geneva and Zurich.

Despite the expenses, studying in Switzerland can provide students with a unique and fulfilling educational experience, as well as opportunities to explore the country's rich culture, history, and natural beauty.

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Intakes
January/September
Intakes
Partner Universities
5+
Partner Universities
Annual Tuition Fees
CHF 14,000 - CHF 55,000
Annual Tuition Fees
International Students
12,300
International Students
​ Monthly Living Costs
CHF 2654.44
​ Monthly Living Costs

Why study in Switzerland?

Switzerland offers high-quality education with renowned universities and institutions of higher education. The country is also known for its innovative research and development in various fields.

Switzerland is a multicultural and multilingual country with four official languages - German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Studying in Switzerland exposes international students to different cultures and languages, which is valuable in a globalised world.

It’s also famous for its breathtaking scenery with mountains, lakes, and forests, providing opportunities for outdoor recreation and exploration. It is also known for its political and economic stability, as well as low crime rates, making it a safe and secure environment for learning and personal growth.

Switzerland is home to several multinational corporations and international organisations, providing internships, networking, and career advancement opportunities. Studying here can provide valuable connections and experience in students' chosen fields.

The benefits of studying in Switzerland

Diversity - Switzerland is a highly diverse country, consisting of 26 federal states and four national languages, while almost 25% of students here are international students. This diversity is also seen in the options available for international students to experience Switzerland in a way that suits their preferences. Whether it's in the scenic Swiss Alps or on the central plateau, in a bustling city or a peaceful rural area, there are plenty of benefits of studying in Switzerland.

Mountain adventures - The Alps are a must-see for any student studying abroad in Switzerland. The Swiss Alps are not just famous for skiing and winter sports but also serve as a significant aspect of Swiss national identity. Immersing oneself in Swiss culture is incomplete without appreciating the folk art, the alphorn, and yodeling. Adventure sports are a favourite pastime for many international students, and the opportunity to hike, ski or bike is never too far away, even in metropolitan cities. For those who are ready for more challenges, rock climbing, glacier trekking, and canyoning await!

European connections - Switzerland has borders with five other European countries and boasts an efficient and well-connected transportation system that can make your weekend getaway dreams a reality. You can easily cross the border into Germany and explore the Black Forest, or head south into Italy and visit Milan, one of the world's biggest fashion capitals.

Intakes in Switzerland

There are two main intakes for universities in Switzerland, one in September and one in January, both of which can be used by international students

IntakeAdmissions
JanuaryJune-September
SeptemberApril-June

Top Switzerland Universities for International Students

ETH Zurich - Consistently ranked among the top universities in the world for science, engineering, and technology with its programs in mathematics, natural sciences, engineering, and computer science highly regarded worldwide. It has a diverse student body, with students from over 120 countries and it promotes cultural exchange and provides a supportive environment for international students.

The University of Zurich - It has established itself as one of the leading universities in Europe and worldwide, thanks to its impressive ranking and reputation for research excellence, especially in fields such as life sciences, medicine, and law. The university takes a multidisciplinary approach by offering a diverse range of programs across various fields, providing international students with a well-rounded education and equipping them with the skills necessary for a variety of career paths.

The University of Geneva - Having earned a consistent spot among the top-ranked universities globally and in Europe, Geneva has a strong reputation for its research in various fields, including science, social sciences, and international relations. Additionally, the university's diverse student population from over 150 countries fosters a multicultural environment that encourages students to learn from a range of perspectives and develop a global outlook. 

The University of Bern - One of Switzerland’s top universities, with a strong reputation for its research in various fields, including medicine, natural sciences, and social sciences. Bern is a beautiful and historic city, with a high standard of living and a low crime rate. It is also home to many international organisations, making it an ideal location for students who are interested in pursuing careers in these fields.

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Study options

Switzerland's higher education is organised into three levels:

  • Bachelor's Degree: The first level takes about three to four years to complete, providing students with a broad education in their field of study.
  • Master's Degree: The second level takes around one to two years to complete, and it offers a more specialised education, assuming a higher level of knowledge in the chosen field of study.
  • Doctoral Degree: The third level is a research-based program that takes three to five years to complete, and it requires students to conduct original research in their field of study and produce a dissertation.

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Exam to study in Switzerland

The admission requirements for studying in Switzerland vary depending on the university and the program you wish to pursue. Typically, you will need to have completed your secondary education and meet the language proficiency requirements for your chosen program. 

The language of instruction for your program will determine if you need to demonstrate proficiency in German, French, or Italian. Apart from language proficiency, you may need to take entrance exams, submit a portfolio, or provide a personal statement, depending on the program and institution's requirements.

Resources

  1. Student visa to Switzerland - For individuals planning a short-term stay in Switzerland, the C visa allows for stays of up to three months. For students intending to stay in Switzerland for more than three months, the D visa is required. Typically, students pursuing undergraduate or postgraduate courses apply for this type of visa. It is important to note that upon arrival in Switzerland with a D visa, students must visit the immigration office within the first two weeks to obtain their residence permit.
    1. Student visa requirements for Switzerland - The specific requirements for a student visa for Switzerland may vary depending on your nationality and the length of your stay in Switzerland. However, in general, you will need to provide the following documents: An acceptance letter from a recognized Swiss educational institution; evidence of financial resources to cover your tuition fees and living expenses; proof of accommodation arrangements; a valid passport; health insurance coverage for your entire stay; and a recent passport-size photo.
  2. Application Process - The first step is to apply and be accepted into a recognized Swiss educational institution. After acceptance, you must gather the necessary documents for your visa application, which may include an acceptance letter from the institution, proof of financial resources, accommodation arrangements in Switzerland, a valid passport, health insurance coverage, and a passport-size photo. Once you have all the required documents, you can then submit your visa application to the Swiss embassy or consulate in your home country, along with any applicable fees. Depending on your nationality, you may also need to attend an interview as part of the application process. After submitting your application, you will need to wait for visa approval, which can take several months.
    1. Admission Requirements to study in Switzerland - Starting your visa application process as early as possible is recommended as it can take between 8 to 12 weeks to process your visa. It is advisable to begin at least three months before your planned travel, but ideally, you should commence the process as soon as you receive your acceptance letter from a Swiss university
  3. Cost to study in Switzerland - The cost of a student visa for Switzerland is determined by the duration of your stay and your nationality. A short-stay visa (C visa) typically costs around 60 CHF, while a long-stay visa (D visa) costs around 120 CHF. However, fees may differ for certain nationalities and specific visa types.
    1. Course fees - The study in Switzerland cost for international students differ based on the level of study, program, and institution. Generally, public universities in Switzerland charge low or no tuition fees for both Swiss and international students. However, some private institutions may charge higher tuition fees, and certain programs such as MBA or Executive Education may also have higher tuition fees.
    2. Living costs - Switzerland is commonly known as a high-cost country, and international students should expect to pay a considerable amount for living expenses. The living costs can vary based on the city and region. Rent can be one of the largest expenses for students. Although some universities may offer on-campus accommodation, private apartments can also be expensive. The cost of accommodation will depend on the location, size, and type of apartment. Eating out in Switzerland can be expensive, but buying groceries and cooking at home is usually more affordable. Switzerland has an excellent public transportation system, but it can be costly. Students may be eligible for discounts on transportation passes. Health insurance is mandatory for all students in Switzerland. International students may need to purchase additional health insurance to fulfill the requirements of their visa.

Student life in Switzerland

  • Swiss universities have a reputation for rigorous academic standards, meaning that students are expected to dedicate themselves to their studies and exhibit strong self-discipline. Lectures and seminars are typically structured and formal, and students are encouraged to actively participate in class discussions.
  • Switzerland boasts a diverse student population with individuals from all over the globe. There are numerous student organisations and clubs that host a wide variety of events and activities, including sports, cultural outings, and parties. Many universities also feature student-oriented bars and cafes where students can socialise and unwind.
  • Given that Switzerland is a relatively expensive country, students should be mindful of their finances. However, there are multiple affordable housing options available, and public transportation is generally efficient and reliable.

Scholarships to study in Switzerland

International students studying in Switzerland can access various scholarships to support their education. Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships are open to students from all countries pursuing a research-based Master's or PhD degree in Switzerland, covering tuition fees, living expenses, health insurance, and a monthly stipend.

ETH Zurich Excellence Scholarship and Opportunity Programme (ESOP) is available for exceptional international students pursuing a Master's degree in Switzerland, covering full tuition fees and living allowance. EPFL Excellence Fellowships are offered for exceptional international students pursuing a Master's degree in Switzerland, covering full tuition fees and living allowance.

University of Geneva Excellence Masters Fellowships are provided for international students pursuing a Master's degree in Switzerland, covering full tuition fees and living allowance. UNIL Master's Grants for Foreign Students are offered by the University of Lausanne for international students pursuing a Master's degree in Switzerland, covering full tuition fees and living allowance.

FAQ's

Is Switzerland good for international students?

Switzerland offers a wonderful experience for international students, with a top-notch education system featuring world-renowned universities and academic programs. The country is safe, welcoming, and known for its high standard of living, multicultural society, and excellent public transportation. International students can enjoy the country's rich cultural offerings and participate in outdoor activities such as skiing and hiking. Switzerland is also home to many international organisations and companies, making it an ideal location for students interested in fields like finance, hospitality, or diplomacy.

How much will it cost to study in Switzerland?

The cost of studying in Switzerland can vary considerably based on the type of institution, program, and level of study. Public universities in Switzerland generally offer low or no tuition fees for both Swiss and international students. Conversely, private institutions and specific programs, such as Executive Education or MBA, may have higher tuition fees. Apart from tuition fees, international students studying in Switzerland should also factor in the living expenses which can be relatively expensive. This includes accommodation, food, transportation, health insurance, and other miscellaneous expenses. As a rough estimate, the living cost for an international student in Switzerland can range between 18,000 CHF to 30,000 CHF per year, based on the location and lifestyle of the student. 

Is IELTS required for a Switzerland student visa?

The language proficiency requirement for a Switzerland student visa typically depends on the institution, some of which may require an English language proficiency test like IELTS, while others may accept alternative forms of language assessment, or no language proficiency test at all. So it’s important for you to check with your prospective institution before booking a test.

Can you get PR in Switzerland after studying?

Obtaining permanent residency (PR) in Switzerland is possible for students who have completed their studies and have a valid job offer. Upon fulfilling the requirements for a residence permit for work purposes, individuals may apply for permanent residency after living and working continuously in Switzerland for five years. The application process can be complex, and applicants are required to meet specific requirements such as language proficiency, a clean criminal record, and financial stability.

Can international students apply for both semesters?

International students have the option to apply for one or both semesters during the academic year at Swiss universities, depending on the availability of their program and institution. The academic year typically comprises two semesters: the fall semester, which runs from September/October to January/February, and the spring semester, which runs from February/March to June/July.

Are students allowed to work in Switzerland?

International students studying in Switzerland are permitted to work, subject to some limitations. Students from non-EU/EFTA countries can work for a maximum of 15 hours per week during the academic term, while EU/EFTA students have no such restrictions. During breaks, such as summer vacations, students are allowed to work full-time. However, students should be aware that finding a job in Switzerland can be competitive, and proficiency in at least one of the national languages (German, French, or Italian) is often a requirement.

What is the minimum wage students can earn in Switzerland?

In Switzerland, there is no fixed minimum wage applicable to all workers, including students. Instead, minimum wage rates are determined by each canton (state) and may differ based on the industry and type of work. Certain areas may have higher minimum wage rates than others.

Is it expensive to live in Switzerland?

Switzerland is recognised for its high living costs, which can be a difficulty for several students, particularly those from countries with lower expenses. The cost of living in Switzerland differs by region, with significant cities like Geneva and Zurich being more costly than smaller towns. Among the most notable expenses for students are housing, food, transportation, and health insurance.

Do international students get jobs in Switzerland?

International students can work in Switzerland while studying, but it can be competitive to find employment, and knowledge of at least one of the national languages (German, French, or Italian) is often required. The availability of job opportunities may also depend on the field of study. Non-EU/EFTA students are limited to working a maximum of 15 hours per week during the academic term, but during breaks, such as summer vacation, all students are allowed to work full-time.

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