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Study Abroad In Switzerland


Why study abroad in Switzerland? Eight Swiss universities are in the top 20 of QS World University Rankings 2014/15. Four of them are also leaders in the proportion of foreign students studying in them.

Higher education in Switzerland can be obtained both in universities and in vocational colleges. In addition, private universities of tourism and business schools should be singled out as a separate group. 

Hospitality is the main trademark of the educational market in Switzerland because it was in this country that it originated as a taught discipline. Management and finance are also very popular among local and foreign students. It should be noted that medical schools accept only residents of Switzerland, which is explained by the high competition for these specialties.

Higher Education in Switzerland

The largest university in Switzerland is the University of Zurich. It is followed by the Zurich Polytechnic School. Other universities and institutes (in total there are 12 state universities in the country, of which 7 are classical and 5 specialized) are significantly less, but the quality of education does not suffer from this.

If you plan to study economic sciences, you should pay attention to the universities of St. Gallen (like: university of St. Gallen ), legal specialties to the universities of Fribourg and Lausanne (like: university of Fribourg), sciences to the universities of Zurich, but philology is best taught in Geneva. Universities that train specialists in the field of international tourism and hotel business are also popular.

The most popular specialties in Switzerland are medical, it is very difficult to enroll there, as there are no hangouts from local graduates, and there are also restrictions on the enrollment of foreign students.

Duration of study abroad programs in Switzerland

The following educational programs are offered to students of Swiss universities: a bachelor’s program lasting 3.5 years, a master’s program in 1-2 years, and graduate school. English-language education in this country is more common at the master’s level. German, Italian and French are predominant in the bachelor’s degree. Some of the programs of the first higher education are still taught in English, but mainly in private universities.

Studying abroad in Switzerland: Admission

Enrolling in a state university in Switzerland is quite difficult. Firstly, the country has an age limit: at least 18 years old. Therefore, a graduate immediately after school will not be able to enter the first year. It will take a couple of years to study at a domestic university or at a Swiss boarding school on a preparatory program. Secondly, all foreign applicants must pass a single exam in five subjects, for which they will have to come to the Swiss city of Fribourg.

Another way to enter a state university is through a vocational education college. This way is very popular among foreigners because of the relative ease of admission and because college education is much cheaper than in preparatory schools and private universities. You can go here immediately after school and without entrance exams. Colleges can award graduates with a bachelor’s degree, but education can be interrupted at any time by receiving a certificate with which it will be much easier to enter the university.

In private universities, the situation is simpler: you can go here immediately after school without passing the entrance exams. Some universities may ask you to provide a portfolio or get an interview, but you do not need to come to Switzerland in advance. In addition, many private universities focused on practical training are very loyal to the past academic successes of candidates and offer preparatory language courses.

In Switzerland, there is no centralized system for accepting applications for admission, so documents must be sent to each university separately at the time established by it. As a rule, the selection committee works in the spring, and the school year begins in the fall.

Costs and scholarships for study abroad programs Switzerland

In public universities, tuition is equally available for both local and foreign students: 1-2.5 thousand euros per year. The price of one year of study in private universities is 20 thousand euros or more. Switzerland is an expensive country; students’ expenses for accommodation, meals, and transport are 1.5-2.5 thousand euros per month. 

When submitting documents, it is worth paying attention to scholarships of private foundations and universities available for students. Several scholarships from the Swiss government are available for graduate students under the age of 35. During the study, foreign students can earn up to 15 hours a week, and during the holidays – full time. After graduation, you can extend your visa for six months in order to find work.

How to enter a Swiss university

For foreign applicants at the University of Fribourg in early autumn, a single exam is held, which consists of five disciplines: language, mathematics, history, and two specialized ones. Many universities have preparatory departments for foreigners who begin their work in 2-3 months.

  • Certificate of secondary education (it is desirable that the grades are not lower than the “fours” in all subjects)
  • A certificate confirming knowledge of the language (one that the program requires)
  • A certificate confirming knowledge of the English language (required for everyone, at least 500-550 TOEFL points or 5.5-6.0 IELTS)
  • German cantons make the most stringent requirements – a certificate is needed that you have studied at a university for at least four semesters
  • Send a package of documents should be 5-12 months before the start of admission.

In private universities, everything is simpler: only a certificate is required, a test confirming knowledge of the language, and an interview. Switzerland is a multinational and multilingual country, here you can pull up almost any European language. 

Higher education in state universities in Switzerland is paid, including for citizens of the country. However, the cost can be considered symbolic: from 1000 to 2000 CHF per year. It is noteworthy that for both local and foreign students the price is almost the same. The exception is the University of Italian Switzerland – 4,000 CHF per year and 8,000 CHF per year for foreigners. In private universities will, of course, be significantly more expensive. 

Switzerland is a great destination to study abroad check it and see what do you think about it and if you need to compare it to other countries to choose the best for you, you can check our study abroad countries you will find plenty of options.

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