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Study in Switzerland


Switzerland is convinced of the long-term strategic importance of education and regards it as essential for political stability, increase in wealth, and innovation. As a country whose main resources are knowledge and research, Switzerland acknowledges the vital role played by foreign citizens in the drive for innovation, research and business acumen. And as Switzerland is internationally recognised as a centre of excellence for education, its attraction for studying and research is well-established. The high proportion of foreign university students (27.6%), Ph.D. students (50.2%), teaching and administrative staff (44.5%) attests to this.
Domestic policy places a high value on higher education, and Swiss universities are, as a consequence, generously funded public institutions. Switzerland’s investment in education and research is among the highest of all OECD countries. As a result, Switzerland boasts both the highest number of registered patents in all European countries and one of the highest numbers of Nobel Prizes pro capite in the world.

All Swiss universities offer their courses in accordance with the Bologna system: undergraduate studies culminate in a Bachelor’s degree, which can be further advanced with a Master’s degree, in compliance with international agreements. A total of 135,000 students attend Switzerland’s world-class Bachelor’s, Master’s and Ph.D. programmes, which are based on cutting-edge research and cover a variety of areas.

Admission to a Bachelor’s Programme

The decision concerning admission to a course of studies rests with the individual institution. The basic admission requirement is a Swiss secondary high-school-leaving certificate (Matura, Maturité, Maturità) or a foreign secondary high-school-leaving certificate considered equivalent. Students not holding fully recognized certificates qualifying for university entrance may be required to take a university entrance exam.

Admission to a Master’s Programme

The prerequisite for access to a Master’s programme is a successfully completed Bachelor’s level programme. Each university makes its own decisions as to whether a foreign Bachelor’s degree can give the holder access to Master’s programmes, and what are the conditions, if any (entrance examinations, further requirements).

Admission to a Doctoral Programme

To be eligible for a PhD programme at a Swiss university, applicants must hold a Master’s degree or equivalent from a recognised or accredited university. As conditions vary among universities, interested students should check the admission requirements of their prospective university.

Language Requirements

All Swiss universities require good knowledge of the language of instruction. The Universities of Fribourg, Neuchâtel, Geneva and Lausanne, as well as the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, are in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Fribourg is officially a bilingual university, with courses offered both in French and German, while Italian is the teaching language at the Università della Svizzera italiana, located in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. The universities of Basel, Bern, Lucerne, St.Gallen, Zurich and the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich are located in the German-speaking part of Switzerland.
An increasing number of study programmes at Master’s level are offered in English, thus a solid knowledge of English language is advisable for all prospective students.

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