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Home / Study

Switzerland

Information about the Higher Education System

The Higher Education system is as diverse as the country itself, structured on a complex interplay between the Confederation, the cantons and the communes. While the Swiss Constitution guarantees autonomy to the country's 26 cantons in the area of education, the Federal Government and cantons share responsibilities on higher education. The Confederation is responsible both for advanced vocational training and for the universities of applied sciences. Additionally, it has authority over the two Federal Institutes of Technology and controls and endorses research through the Swiss National Science Foundation (FNS). Each of the 10 university cantons has the responsibility for its cantonal university. Cantonal universities receive financial support from the Confederation and from those cantons which do not have their own university. Furthermore like in Germany and Austria you can find ‘Fachhochschulen’ or Universities of Applied Sciences which provide more technical education, often including work experience. Moreover there are also many public universities in Switzerland, some of which perform very well in the global rankings.

 As in the United Kingdom most of the Swiss programmes are Bachelor, Master or PHD programmes. The academic year is divided into 2 semester – starting in September and finishing end of June.

Entry Requirements

Every Swiss university makes its own decisions which qualifications to recognise. As a general prerequisite to enter a bachelor program in Switzerland, you must have completed your A-Levels. At some institution you are asked for entrance exams in particular in fields such as medicine and sports. Public universities require Maths A’ level, even for degrees in non-scientific subjects. Private universities are more flexible with their entry requirements.

Application Process

Switzerland does not have a UCAS System like UK. You need to apply individually for each university of your choice. Deadlines vary across the higher education institutions but for most bachelor programmes it’s the end of April. As previously mentioned, you may be required to take an entrance exam.

How much does it cost?

Tuition fees for public universities and colleges in Switzerland vary from institution to institution. Charges can be from £1000 up to £6000 per year. Private institutions charge much higher fees, up to £25,000 in some cases although sometimes accommodation is included at residential institutions such as hotel management schools. Also keep in mind public and private universities will charge some admissions fees, which are around £200.

How do I get a visa?

You do not need a visa if you are an EU/EEA citizen. However, you need to register with the local authorities (Einwohnerkontrolle, Residents' Registration Office) within 14 days of entering Switzerland.

Can I work there as a student?

Yes, you can - if you have an EU/EEA passport and have registered with your local authorities.

Find courses in Switzerland

Universities in Switzerland