Read through our guide to find out more details about Swiss higher education system, tuition fees, admission requirements, costs of living and also the list of low tuition universities in Switzerland.
Switzerland is a landlocked mountainous country in South-Central Europe, bordered to the west by France, to the north by Germany, to the east by Austria and Liechtenstein, and to the south by Italy. Switzerland has a population of just under 8.7 million people. Bern is the capital of Switzerland and Zurich is its largest city.
Swiss franc(CHF) is the official currency of Switzerland. Switzerland has 4 official languages. These are German, French, Italian and Romansh.
Swiss Education System
The Swiss education system follows the Bologna Process and is divided into three program cycles with Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees.
Bachelor’s programs in Switzerland are completed within three years of full-time studies awarding 180 ECTS credits. However, there are specific programs like medicine or pharmacy that last up to five or six years. Completing a Bachelor’s degree in Switzerland is a prerequisite for admittance to studies at a Master’s level.
Master’s studies are completed within one or two years of full-time studies awarding 90-120 ECTS credits. A Master’s degree is required for entering the highest academic level of a Doctorate degree.
Doctorate in Switzerland:
Doctorate studies in Switzerland can be awarded only by traditional universities and are primarily research-based, involving independent work towards a PhD thesis with the guidance of a supervisor. Doctorate degrees can be completed between three and five years and lead to the acquisition of 240 ECTS credits.
There are two types of Doctorate degrees in Switzerland:
- Traditional or general PhDs: They take place within a single university under the guidance of one or more supervisors. The focus is on research and you will spend most of your study time working on your doctoral thesis.
- Structured PhDs: They involve more practical training and also involve collaboration and partnerships between different institutions such as the universities of applied sciences.
- A signed printout of your application form
- Two passport photos
- Copy of identity document
- Official academic transcript(s) from each university you attended before (if applicable)
- High school diploma or Bachelor’s diploma
- Language proficiency certificates (German/French/English)
- Curriculum vitae.
- Evidence of paying the application fee
- Personal essay/Motivation letter explaining the reasons you chose to study in Switzerland.
Costs of Living
Getting a study permit or admission into a Swiss college does not guarantee accommodation to the students. The cost of accommodation in addition to the cost of study in Switzerland is on a higher side as compared to other European countries. The average rate for any housing option will be around 525 Swiss Francs to 583 Swiss Francs.
Choice of accommodation and costs :
Student halls of residence: From 420 to 934 Swiss Francs
Rent/shared apartment: From 758 to 933 Swiss Francs
Most of the students choose to buy their food from large supermarkets. Their bills usually range between 180 and 200 Euros per month.
They may also reach between 280 and 300 Euros per month, according to the chosen lifestyle by the student.
Average restaurants in Switzerland offer meals for 12-22 Euros per person. The cost of the meal in the university food court is less than 10 Euros.
Many students prefer to move inside the cities on foot. Others use bicycles. Some students prefer public transport that costs around 80 Euros per month. In the major Swiss cities, such as Zurich, Basel, Bern, Geneva, Lausanne, and Neuchâtel, the public transport tickets are usable in trains, trams, buses, and even ships.
There is also a ticket for who wish to visit other Swiss cities. It costs around 150 Euros and is valid for a week.
Tuition fees in Switzerland depend on the student’s nationality, the university, the level of study they apply for and the discipline. Like in any other country in the world, medical degrees, MBA as well as executive master’s programs are the most expensive. And study costs are also higher in private institutions than in public universities.
To find out about these tuition fees, you can contact directly the university of your choice. But here are some details you can already keep in your notes:
- The average fees for bachelor and master programs are 1,600 Euros.
- As for the PhD programs, the tuition fees range between 100 and 200 Euros, because the PhD students are hired in the university while studying.
- Some disciplines cost more than the others, such as medicine and some types of engineering. The fees for such disciplines reach 16,000 Euros per year.
Low Tuition Universities in Switzerland
- University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland
- University of Geneva
- University of Lausanne
- ETH Zürich
- Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne
- Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts
- University of Basel
- University of Fribourg
- University of Bern
- Bern University of Applied Sciences
- University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland
- University of Lucerne
- University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland
- Zurich University of Applied Sciences
- University of Zurich