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Studying at Switzerland’s universities
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 (ogy.de/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.
Education in Switzerland
Alpenstrasse 26, 3006 Berne, Switzerland
Tel. +41 31 356 61 04
Young talent in international cooperation
What motivates students to pursue a career in humanitarian aid, development cooperation or peacebuilding? And why do they sometimes turn away from it? cinfo - the competence centre for international cooperation (IC) - in collaboration with the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH) has conducted a survey of over 500 Swiss students. The results show that young people are attracted to the profession because of their desire for a meaningful job and the opportunity to tackle global challenges (environmental, social, etc.). The prospect of a personal challenge and experience abroad are also attractive, albeit to a slightly lesser extent. However, some are deterred from starting their professional career in this field by the difficulty of reconciling private and professional life and balancing the career of a potential partner - at a time when work-life balance is considered a key factor in a job’s appeal. As many jobs are temporary, financial and occupational insecurity are also likely to make young people hesitate.
Sixteen Swiss IC employers, interviewed in a second survey, indicated that the number of jobs for young professionals has generally increased in recent years. The number of applications per NGO job is increasing, while the recruitment of junior professionals for multilateral organisations (such as the UN) is proving to be more complicated.
Detailed information: www.cinfo.ch/youth-interest
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 (ogy.de/studien-check; 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 www.orientation.ch now also includes profiles of former students who describe the transition to professional life as well as possible career options after university (ogy.de/portraits).(RG)