Studying at a Swiss University



Attending a university in Switzerland means delving into cutting-edge science and investing in an education at one of the top-ranked universities in the world. With a strong focus on their research missions, Swiss universities are among the most internationalised in the world and boast an outstanding share of international students and faculty; they are therefore very well connected with international academia – a network you will directly profit from.

The traditional universities

The Swiss university landscape consists of 10 cantonal universities and two federal institutes of technology, with the oldest institution having been founded in 1460 (University of Basel), and the youngest in 2000 (University of Lucerne). The 12 institutions are located across the German-, French- and Italian-speaking regions as follows:

  • Five universities are located in German-speaking Switzerland (the universities of Basel, Lucerne, St.Gallen, Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich);
  • Two are in bilingual cantons (the universities of Bern and Fribourg);
  • Four are in French-speaking Switzerland (the universities of Geneva, Lausanne and Neuchâtel, as well as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne); and
  • One is in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino (Università della Svizzera italiana).

All institutions are recognized and publicly funded. Most of the larger Swiss universities cover all subjects and have medical schools, while others belong to the group of technical universities or universities of business and economics. They all offer degree programmes at bachelor, master’s and PhD level as well as in continuing/further education.

Fundamental research and top teaching

The core missions of these traditional universities are fundamental research and research-based teaching. Swiss universities provide state-of-the-art research by promoting new insights, scientific and social innovation, and the transfer of knowledge and technology.

Teaching takes place in a very advanced tuition framework with accessible professors and staff. As a student, you will be following courses that are directly based on the cutting-edge scientific research tracks of your lecturers. Studying at bachelor or master’s level, you will take your first steps into developing your own research focus and projects. You will find that many programmes are taught completely, or partly, in English.

Sound investment, unique experience, solid return

Swiss universities are very selective and competitive. They have a proven pedigree for developing students’ creative and critical thinking. Studying at such an institution of world renown remains affordable thanks to public subsidies which enable student fees to stay low. However, access is restricted and based on the highly selective Swiss gymnasium/maturité system or an equivalent foreign qualification.
Your university teachers will expect enthusiasm, inventiveness and commitment. The reward for your investment and dedication is invaluable. You will enjoy an exceptional education and personal enrichment. Furthermore, university graduates have excellent starting conditions for their professional career and are very much sought-after on the job market.


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