City in Switzerland

Study in Switzerland: A Guide for International Students

Located in the heart of continental Europe, Switzerland is a small country with a longstanding history in higher education excellence, dating all the way back to 1460 when the oldest university in the country, the University of Basel, was founded. 

Surrounded by Italy, Germany, France, Austria and Liechtenstein, Switzerland is an alpine paradise, one of the safest countries to live and a popular tourist destination, as you can travel through the mesmerizing scenery of the Swiss Alps, the Central Plateau and the Jura mountains. Not to mention that the country has 7,000 lakes!

If you choose to study in Switzerland you will be able to visit picturesque landscapes, experience multiculturalism at its finest and live in some of the top ranked cities for quality of life internationally. In Switzerland you can also enjoy an innovative technological environment and high educational standards, as the country continuously ranks among the World Top 10 Study Abroad Destinations

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The number of international students choosing to study in Switzerland continues to grow year by year. This is no surprise as Switzerland is a developed country ranking first in attracting skilled international workers in cities like Basel, Zürich or Geneva. The most sought after programs in Switzerland include degrees in tourism and hotel management, finance, international business and law and computer science. 

Switzerland is the home country of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), the second largest office of the United Nations (UN) and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). It is also a founding member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), but notably not a member of the European Union, the Eurozone or the European Economic Area. 

Curious to learn more about the country of chocolate, punctuality and luxury watches? Read through our study in Switzerland guide to find out more details about education, tuition fees, scholarships and the Swiss culture.

Switzerland - Quick facts & figures




German, French, Italian, Romansh


8.5 million

Area Size

41,285 km²

International students


Academic Year

September - May


Swiss Franc (CHF)

Calling Code


Time Zone


Swiss village

Why study abroad in Switzerland? It’s  an amazing choice for you as an international student. Swiss universities invest heavily in excellence, research and science, offering at the same time a broad spectrum of academic degrees. Switzerland is a federal republic of 26 cantons and each canton is responsible for its educational matters and regulations. 

Despite being a small country of just 8 million inhabitants, Switzerland has an impressive presence in international university rankings. The country has 12 universities (10 cantonal and 2 federal institutes of technology) and a lot of them rank among the top universities in the world such as ETH Zurich, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), University of Geneva or University of St. Gallen. 

The research-focused character of Swiss universities enables them to attract international students and teaching staff, as the country shares borders with five countries and has four official languages, a fact that makes student mobility easier. 

The strong ties Switzerland has with education and science are reflected on the country’s history with the Nobel Prize. More than 100 scientists, winners of the prize in all fields, are from Switzerland. 

In addition, don’t forget that living in Switzerland will expose you to a linguistically rich environment and give you the opportunity to practice (or even learn from scratch) one of the official languages: French, Italian or German.

A lot of degrees are offered in English as well, especially on a Master’s and Doctorate degree level. However, make sure to learn the fundamentals of French, Italian and German before, so you can easily navigate and blend into the Swiss society. 

Still in doubt why the decision to study abroad in Switzerland will strengthen your CV and offer you an unforgettable study experience? Check out the Top 10 Reasons to Study Abroad in Switzerland

Education System

Switzerland is world renowned for its education system, promoting high academic standards and innovative teaching methods. Public and private institutions offer a wide range of programs in English at all levels, for Swiss and international students alike.

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Student Visas

Despite its location in the heart of continental Europe, Switzerland is not an official part of the European Union and every international student will require a student visa to study. Find out documentation you need and the processes you should follow depending on your country of origin.

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Housing & Living Costs

Finding budget friendly housing in Switzerland can take a bit of careful planning but look through your options to find the best accommodation for you and your piggy bank!

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Tuition Fees & Scholarships

Tuition fees in Switzerland vary greatly, depending on if you’re planning to attend a public or private institution, your program of study, and your level of study. There are several different scholarships available from specific institutions and from the Swiss government.

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Language & Culture

Switzerland has four official languages and boasts a wide range of diverse cultural traditions in the different linguistic regions. You can study in three of the official languages or find one of the many programs offered in English! Efficiency is a priority, and Switzerland is highly organized with a strong tradition of popular democracy.

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Application Process

There is no centralized system for admissions to Swiss universities. Application processes can differ from institution to institution, get started early to leave time for ironing out those all-important details.

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Ready to look at education in Switzerland? Use our search engine to find and compare top programs in Switzerland.

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Last updated: 3/14/2019

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