stage img
  • SwissCommunity news

Studying at Switzerland’s universities

25.11.2020 – Ruth von Gunten, educationsuisse

educationsuisse provides advice to young Swiss Abroad who want to come to Switzerland to pursue their education.

In Switzerland, over 255,000 students are currently enrolled in Bachelor’s, Master’s or doctorate courses. The proportion of women studying at Swiss universities has risen to around 52 per cent in recent years.

With the exception of one private University of Applied Sciences, all of Switzerland’s universities are public institutions. The ETH Zurich, the EPF Lausanne and a number of other Swiss universities are well placed in the international rankings ( These rankings are based on various criteria and are mostly geared to a specific target audience (students, researchers, sponsors, prospective students). No rankings can reflect or ultimately compare all the aspects that contribute to a good university. Factors such as geographical location and the local culture also need to be taken into account.

Universities and the ETH and EPF

Some 157,000 students are currently enrolled across Switzerland’s ten universities and two federal institutes of technology ETH and EPF. The universities offer courses in law, economics, mathematics, natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences, while the ETH and EPF focus on engineering, mathematics, and natural sciences. To gain admission, students need to have obtained their Swiss high-school diploma (Matura) or a foreign equivalent. Special requirements apply to students who wish to study medicine. Prospective students must normally register with any one of these institutions by the end of April.

Nine Universities of Applied Sciences

Around 80,000 students are currently enrolled across Switzerland’s nine Universities of Applied Sciences, where over 60 educational departments offer practical study primarily in the areas of health, social sciences, business management, innovative technologies, music, and art. To gain admission, students need to have completed an apprenticeship-based vocational baccalaureate or a high-school diploma followed by a subsequent year of work experience.

Universities of Teacher Education

There is a University of Teacher Education in nearly every canton. Around 21,000 students are currently training to become teachers at the various school levels (nursery school, primary school, lower-secondary level, upper-secondary level) or in special needs education (e.g. speech therapy). Admission requirements vary depending on the specific course of study.

The educationsuisse staff recommend starting your research well in advance. Please do not hesitate to contact them for information or advice.

educationsuisse, Education in Switzerland, Alpenstrasse 26, 3006 Berne, Switzerland, Tel. +41 31 356 61 04


Semester time at the ETH Zurich Hönggerberg campus Photo: ETHZ / Alessandro della Bella

Find out as much as you can

Gaining a footing in today’s constantly evolving job market is a daunting prospect for many young people. Before making any career decisions, it therefore makes sense to consider your own interests and aptitudes. Online tests such as the “Study interests” survey are helpful tools in this regard (; available in French, German and Italian). Your own circle of friends and acquaintances can also provide you with insights into the world of work. Former students are another useful source of information. For example, Switzerland’s official vocational and academic counselling website now also includes profiles of former students who describe the transition to professional life as well as possible career options after university (