Study in Switzerland
Study in Switzerland_

Study In Switzerland

Switzerland has become a popular study destination amongst international students globally. With the border connection of Germany, Italy and France, the country offers diverse cultural learnings that benefit international students academically and professionally. High job opportunities, flexible learning and elevated academic investments are top magnets that compel the attention of international students.

Important facts About Switzerland

  • Switzerland is home to 12 cantonal universities, 9 universities of applied science and arts, 20 universities of teaching education and 2 federal institutes of technology. 
  • As per Swiss Federal Statistical Office, the number of international students in Switzerland in 2022 was 74,440.
  • The language of instruction to study in Switzerland are German, French, Italian/Romash and English.
  • As per Schengen visa statistics published by the European Commission, the visa rejection rate is 7.41%.
  • As per Eurostat, the employability rate in Switzerland is 79.30%.
  • International students can work for 15 hrs/week while pursuing academics and 100% during semester breaks.
  • Switzerland has a thriving economy with many job openings in tourism, retail, media, agriculture, watchmaking, electrical engineering, machinery, banks and insurance, etc.
  • As per Global Peace Index 2022, Switzerland is ranked under the top 20 most peaceful countries in the world at 1.36%.
  • As per Federal Statistical Office in Switzerland, 9 out of 10 high school graduates are employed in the career they studied for.

Why Study in Switzerland?

1. Recognizable Degree

Pursuing an academic degree from Switzerland holds great value. Switzerland is one of the top study-abroad destinations. Over 10 universities in Switzerland are listed on the QS World University Rankings 2023. The county’s education system is also well known, which means acquiring a degree here can result in professional advantages for international students anywhere around the globe. 

2. Surround Yourself With Diverse Cultures

Switzerland is known for its diversified culture. The residents here speak any of the 4 official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh. English is another popular language spoken in Switzerland, and most universities also have English as their main language of instruction for various courses. It is always better for students to learn new languages, especially when staying amongst different cultures. Having a good understanding of new languages creates an impressive student background. 

3. Offer Great Academic Value

Another reason why Switzerland continues to be an international student favourite to study abroad is the academic value it offers. Students have access to well-experienced tutors who know the current market demands. While theoretical and practical knowledge is being shared, tutors here also offer real-time experiences of a subject that enhance the learning experience. 

Apart from this, Switzerland universities also host multiple workshops and events for students to amplify their skills and build a good professional network while studying. 

4. Chance to Explore Switzerland

Switzerland is a sight to behold. When students are not studying, they are encouraged to explore the country’s beauty. From skiing in the beautiful Swiss mountains to relishing the popular chocolates and cheese, international students have so much to visit when staying in this gorgeous country. 

Apart from the above, students can visit Switzerland’s neighbouring hoods, such as Europe, Italy, Germany and much more. 

Here are a few places you need to visit when staying in Switzerland:

  • Visit the highest mountains in the Alps at Matterhorn
  • Enjoy the music festivals at Lucerne
  • Visit Europe’s largest Alpine Lake, Lake Geneva, etc. 

5. Offer A Range Of Courses

Another reason students wish to study in Switzerland is the variety of courses offered in this country. While business, engineering, medicine is the popular choice, the country also offers unique courses that tap the interests of most international students, such as hospitality, music, environmental studies, politics, international relations and much more.

Education System

The education system in Switzerland is quite diverse. International students can benefit from flexible learning options per the course and method of academics they wish to pursue.
Here, students can pursue Bachelors, Masters and PhD. Vocational graduates can claim an advanced version of their diploma too. The study timelines are Bachelors (3 years), Masters (1.5-2 years), PhD (3-5 years) and Vocational (2,3,4 years (varies)).

Grading System In Switzerland

Switzerland follows a six-point grading system. Here 4 is the passing mark, and 6 is the highest score. Each grade exhibits a student’s performance as explained below:

Score Performance Result
6 Excellent
5.5 Very good
5 Good
4.5 Satisfactory
4 Sufficient/pass
3.5 Insufficient/fail
3 Poor
2.5-1 Very poor

Scoring a 5.5 or 6 is a complex score to attain. To successfully complete academic learning in Switzerland, students should score above 4.

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Types of Educational Institutes

In Switzerland, there are three types of educational institutions. Based on the academic preference, international students will make a choice.

  • Universities (UNIs) – public and private universities/colleges: These are universities offering multiple degree programs for international students. There are 10 such universities that offer widely recognized bachelor’s and master’s programs. Apart from this, two other universities are present that are known as the Federal Institute of Technology. 
  • University of Applied Sciences and Arts- public and private universities/colleges: These universities are focused on helping students who are keen to explore science and practice-oriented fields. There are 9 universities in Switzerland for international students to choose from. The perk of pursuing such a degree is direct access to the top experts in this field. 
  • University of Teacher Education- public and private universities/colleges: These are universities that cater to educating students who wish to enter the teaching profession. There are close to 20 teaching universities in Switzerland. Students can access various forms of learning such as research, training, and much more. 

Top Courses To Study In Switzerland

Switzerland offers a range of courses for international students to choose from. Here is an overview of popular courses pursued in Switzerland over the years. 

Top Courses To Study In Switzerland

Switzerland offers a range of courses for international students to choose from. Here is an overview of popular courses pursued in Switzerland over the years. 

Business Management
Hotel and Hospitality Management
Applied Mathematics
Banking and Finance
International Law
Psychology
Business Administration
International Business
Computer Science
Information Technology
Media
Engineering
Healthcare
Education
Agriculture

Popular Universities To Study In Switzerland

Switzerland is home to widely recognized and highly ranked universities. Below is the list of top universities ranked as per QS World University Rankings. 
Universities Name QS World University Rankings 2023
ETH Zurich 9
EPFL 16
University of Zurich 83
University of Bern 120
University of Geneva 125
University of Basel 136
University of Lausanne 203
USI - Università della Svizzera italiana 240
University of St.Gallen (HSG) 501-510
Université de Fribourg 571-580

Popular Cost-Effective Universities In Switzerland

Switzerland is becoming a popular academic preference for multiple international students around the globe. While one aspect is the opportunity to study at well-recognized universities, another sparks a higher interest in pursuing academics here. The country has a list of cost-effective universities for international students to choose from. While the tuition fees may be less in these universities, the value of education and the learning experience remains high. Here is the complete list.

Universities Name Type of University
ETH Zurich Public University
EPFL Public University
University of Bern Public University
University of Lausanne Public University
University of Geneva Public University
University of Basel Public University
University of St. Gallen Public University
Geneva Business School Private University
SBS Swiss Business School Private University

Popular Universities in Switzerland That Require No IELTS

To apply to the top universities in Switzerland, catering to the admission requirements is essential. One of the most asked admission requirements is English language proficiency test scores. A good score helps the university understand your skills in this subject. 

However, the need to submit an ELP test has become not mandatory over the years. If universities are not considering this score, other factors are being taken into consideration, such as academic records, etc. In Switzerland, a few universities don’t enquire about IELTS or make it mandatory to submit an IELTS score. A few of them even provide other ELP options for students to choose from. Here is the list:

University Name Alternate Exam Scores Accepted
EPFL Submitting any ELP scores is not mandatory
University of Zurich C1 or C2 based on Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
University of Geneva TOEFL or CAE
University of Basel Level C1 from Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
University of Fribourg B1 Level (Bachelor’s, Masters) or have knowledge/speak in English
University of St. Gallen (HSG) C1 from Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

It is suggested to visit the university’s official website to understand whether your degree program requires the submission of an IELTS score

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Application Process To Apply To Switzerland Universities

In order to successfully enroll at the top universities in Switzerland, international students should complete the application process steps. Ensure the below is checked:

  • Identify the course you wish to pursue and find universities that offer the same
  • Visit the universities official website to learn the admission requirements
  • Check what you need for the entry process
  • Most universities require an entrance exam. Ensure you write and score high on them.
  • Get your documents ready and submit them before the application deadlines
  • Attend any interview if scheduled 
  • Upon receiving the university acceptance letter, pay the deposit to confirm the fees.
  • Lastly, arrange funds and apply for the student visa at least three months in advance from the chosen admission intake.

Eligibility Criteria And Application Requirements

For international students to successfully enroll at their dream university in Switzerland, a set of eligibility criteria are required.

  • For Vocational/Undergraduate courses: International students should have completed their upper secondary level education, including 10+2 from a recognized university. Students should be proficient in the language of instruction chosen to study for the course, which is mainly German, French, and Italian/Romansh.
  • For Graduate courses: Students should have completed their bachelor’s degree to be eligible. Students should clear the English language proficiency test as most courses have English as their language of instruction.
  • For PhD courses: Students should complete their bachelor’s and master’s degree. Apart from this, language exams should be undertaken. 

Apart from the above lists, students should submit additional documents such as:

  • Academic Transcripts: Based on the degree program you’re applying to, all previous academic transcripts should be submitted. 
  • Letter of Recommendation: Students require the LOR as it states a recommendation from an academic expert that tutored them. This gives a better understanding of a student’s performance academically.
  • Statement of Purpose: Students should create an SOP that contains the purpose of pursuing a course, what developed their interest in studying abroad, career goals and professional contributions.
  • CV/Resume: Students should submit a professional and well-drafted resume.
  • Work Experience: This is mainly required when students pursue business graduate programs such as MBA. 
  • English Language Proficiency: International students are required to clear the English language entrance test. A good score illustrates your understanding of this subject.
  • Proof of Funds: Students must submit proof of funds to visa officials so that they can have financial support to study and live in Switzerland.

University Intakes And Timeline

Universities in Switzerland have two admission intakes, fall and spring (very few options). Based on the intake choice, international students should start preparing a minimum of 1 year in advance.

Fall Intake: This semester starts in Aug / September and ends in December. Here is the admission timeline:

June – July of the previous year: Start your research for which course and university you wish to pursue your academics from
Aug – Sept: Cater to the admission requirements such as writing the entrance exams, arranging all academic transcripts, etc.
Oct – Nov: Submit all documents before this application deadline
December- February: Start hearing back from the universities.
March: Conduct all finance related activities such as arranging for funds, loans, scholarships, etc.
May – June: Apply for a student visa
July – Aug: Prepare to go abroad
Aug – Sept: Your new semester starts

Spring Intake: This semester starts in Jan / Feb and ends in May. Here is the admission timeline:

March – April of the previous year: Start your research for which course and university you wish to pursue your academics from
May – June: Cater to the admission requirements such as writing the entrance exams, arranging all academic transcripts, etc.
July – Aug: Submit all documents before this application deadline
Sept: Conduct all finance related activities such as arranging for funds, loans, scholarships, etc.
Oct – Nov: Apply for a student visa
Dec – Jan: Prepare to go abroad
Jan – Feb: Your new semester starts

Cost Of Education In Switzerland

Here is the complete list of the cost of education required when studying in Switzerland. The values can differ based on the course and university choice. 

Types of Expenses (per semester/month) Expenses in CHF
Tuition Fees (public and private universities) Undergraduate programs- 200 CHF- 3500 CHF/per semester Graduate programs (Masters +PhD)- 700 CHF- 2000 CHF/per semesterFull-time MBA programs- 30,000 CHF- 85,000 CHF/year
Living expenses  2000 CHF- 2,250 CHF/month Accommodation (room- 400 CHF- 1000 CHF/month), (rented apartments- 800 CHF- 1600 CHF/month)Travel- 100 CHF/monthFood- 400 CHF- 500 CHF/monthHealth Insurance- 400 CHF/month
Visa Fees  88 CHF
Residence Permit 160 CHF

Types Of Student Visa To Study In Switzerland

There are two types of student visas which international students can apply to Switzerland. They are:

C Visa (Schengen Visa): This is a short-term visa for students whose course completes within three months. 

  • This visa is for students who stay in Switzerland for a shorter duration
  • The visa is applicable for students who complete their academic within three months
  • This visa suits students who enter Switzerland to attend seminars, summer schools and language schools.

D Visa (National Visa): This is a long-term visa for students who opted for courses that require more than 90 days of academic learning. 

  • The visa is for students who applied to study in a full-time program
  • The visa is applicable for students who complete their academics within 90 days or longer
  • This visa can be obtained by applying in person with the local Swiss embassy or consulates in a student’s home country.

How To Apply For A Switzerland Student Visa

If you’re an international student that is looking to enter Switzerland for academic purposes, a student visa is required. Students should apply for a student visa at least 6 months in advance from their semester month. Here is how you apply for a Switzerland student visa:

  • Get the university’s acceptance letter and pay the fees/deposit to confirm your seat.
  • Book an appointment with the Swiss embassy or consulate at least 6 months before. 
  • Attend the interview scheduled by the embassy/consulate. Remember to take all necessary documents, such as the visa application form and other enquired documents
  • It will take 12 weeks to hear about your visa decision.
  • Once your visa is accepted and you arrive in Switzerland within 14 days, file for a residence permit. This can be done at the cantonal immigration office. The permit will take time; thus, you’ll receive a preliminary document.
Important Documents To Be Carried During The Student Visa Interview

Check the embassy/consulate official website to learn about additional documents required

Important Documents To Be Carried During The Student Visa Interview

Check the embassy/consulate official website to learn about additional documents required

3 forms of Visa D application
4 passport photos
Passport
Copy of previous
Cover letter
Schengen travel insurance proof
Scholarship-loan proof
University acceptance letter
Flight itinerary
Accommodation proof
Civil status proof
Sufficient funds proof
Fee payment proof
Letter of motivation
CV-Resume
Commitment letter that you’ll

Most Student-Friendly Cities In Switzerland

Switzerland is home to multiple student-friendly cities. The country has picturesque landscapes, unique sceneries and multiple student activities to do while pursuing academics here. The following is the list of the best student-friendly cities you should consider in Switzerland.

Geneva

Geneva

Winterthur

Winterthur

Bern

Bern

Lugano

Lugano

Zug

Zug

Basel

Basel

Lucerne

Lucerne

Sion and Valais

Sion and Valais

Zurich

Zurich

Lausanne

Lausanne

Exams To Undertake For Study In Switzerland

International students are required to write and clear language proficiency tests in Switzerland. The language exams will be conducted based on the course’s language of instruction. 

1. Goethe Zertifikat: To pursue a course that is taught in German, students should apply for this exam that exhibits C1 and C2 German language skills.

2. Diploma in French Language Studies (DELF)/Advanced Diploma in French Language(DALF): This is a standard exam written by students who pursue courses that are taught in French. 

3. Certificazione di Italiano come Lingua Straniera (CILS): This is a standard exam written by students who pursue courses taught in Italian/Romansh. 

4. National Eligibility Cum Entrance Exam (NEET): This test is mandatory for students who wish to pursue medical studies in Switzerland.

5. International English Language Testing System (IELTS): This is a standard English language test undertaken by students who study in Switzerland. This exam is opted for by students opting to pursue a Master’s degree. 

6. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): This is another English language exam students can opt for if IELTS is not their choice. This test is mostly undertaken when applying for graduate programs in Switzerland. 

7. Test of English for International Communications (TOEIC): This is another standard English language test students can undertake to study in Switzerland. 

8. Cambridge English: This is another English language test students can undertake to study in Switzerland, especially for Masters programs. 

9. Graduate Record Examination (GRE): This is a common entrance exam required for students who wish to study any graduate program or business-specific programs in Switzerland. 

10. Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT): This is a standard exam required by students who wish to pursue graduate business programs. 

Government And Non-Government Scholarships

Switzerland is heavy on the pocket when applying to study here. However, with scholarship opportunities, international students can receive funding benefits. Here are the top ones:

Name of Scholarship Description Amount in CHF
Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship Applicable to foreign scholars and artists to pursue research and art studies. Yet to announce
University of Lausanne Scholarship Pursue Masters grant at University of Lausanne 1.600 CHF/per month
Franklin Honours Program Award Pursue bachelors program at Franklin University 2,776 CHF- 9,222 CHF
Responsible Leadership Scholarship program Pursue Masters of Science/Arts at Franklin University 6,2550 CHF (offer 25% of tuition fees)
Ann Gardiner Award in Sustainability Pursue degree in environmental science, heritage and other environmental studies 2,305 CHF- 4,611 CHF
Heyning-Roelli Foundation from University of Bern Be a part of an exchange program at partner universities Covers travel, and subsistence expenses

Post Study Work Visa

After graduation, international students can stay up to 6 months to find a job in Switzerland. To stay after graduation, students are required to apply for a residence permit at the Cantonal immigration office. If students receive a job offer, the company employer should submit an application to the Cantonal Authority informing the same.

If a student wishes to retain their stay in Switzerland, they can apply for three other permits based on their need such as:

  • L Permit: Students can avail of a temporary residence permit to stay in Switzerland for up to a year. This is with reference to studies or job that last during this period.
  • B Permit: Students can apply for this residence permit for up to a year, however, its period can be renewed further.
  • C Permit: Students looking to retrieve Swiss citizenship can apply for a C Permit. This is required when applying for PR in Switzerland. 

PR in Switzerland

Students who have stayed in Switzerland for 10 years are eligible to apply for PR here. A C Permit is required for the process to kickstart. Students with good records stand a higher chance of obtaining a PR. However, there are a few exceptions, such as students from the USA or Canada can apply for PR in Switzerland after 5 years. 

It is suggested that students visit the local cantonal immigration process to conduct or learn about the PR process in Switzerland. 

On-Campus and Off-Campus Jobs

International students are allowed to work part-time for 15 hrs/week during their semester and 100% during semester breaks. Students can choose from various types of jobs, such as on-campus and off-campus. Here is the complete list:

On-campus Jobs:

  • Administrative office
  • Campus tour guide
  • Teaching assistant
  • Library assistant
  • Lab assistant

Off-campus Jobs:

International students can also opt to work outside of their university, which is known as off-campus jobs. Popular job options include:

  • Freelancer
  • Private tutor
  • Call centre agent
  • Marketer
  • Delivery person
  • Security guard

Popular Career Prospects For International Students

There are many job opportunities in Switzerland. Here are the popular job occupations and their average annual salaries:

1. Finance: Tax manager, Analyst, Banking manager, Advisor (70,924 CHF- 150,000 CHF)

2. IT: IT analyst, Program manager, IT consultant, IT manager (80,000 CHF- 135,000 CHF)

3. Pharmaceutical: Marketing director, Quality assurance specialist, Supply chain planner, Principal scientist (82,000 CHF- 200,000 CHF)

4. Machinery: Project engineer, Design engineer, Mechanical engineer, Quality engineer (92,500 CHF- 147,500 CHF)

5. Tourism: Immigration consultant, Media manager, Hotel receptionist, Global marketing manager (12,500 CHF- 120,000 CHF)

 

Study in Switzerland FAQs

International students will have to pay tuition fees to enroll in any Swiss university. However, having scholarships and grants covers most of the education expenses.

Yes, Switzerland has been home to multiple Indians. The country offers great academic and work opportunities, which Indian students can benefit from.

Yes, after graduation, Indian students are allowed to stay for six months to find a job in the country. Ensure you get a residence permit to apply for the same.

Getting a PR is easy if a student has stayed in Switzerland for 10 years. You must apply for a Swiss permanent residence permit (C permit).

Yes, there are courses that are taught in English in Switzerland. Most of the graduate programs are taught in English. 

In order to manage their stay in Switzerland, international students should have 21,000 CHF during the initial stage of their study period. The money will help assist with accommodation, rent and other related expenses.

The rejection rate in Switzerland stands at 21%. If you cater to all the admission and visa criteria, getting a student visa to study in Switzerland becomes easy.

Yes, you can bring your family/spouse when studying in Switzerland as long as you prove that you can take care of them financially. This includes their stay as well.

There are multiple cities in Switzerland where residents of Indian students stand high. The top places are Zurich, Geneva, Basel, etc.

Yes, you can survive in Switzerland if you only speak English. In fact, apart from English, you can survive here even by knowing German, French and Italian/Romansh.