saving for college

Apart from the qualities visible to the naked eye which Switzerland offers, their education system is the cherry on top of the pie. The Swiss higher education has a few hundred-year-old roots, now. But, the undeniable quality is not all there is to universities in Switzerland.

The Swiss believe that attending university shouldn’t mean one needs to break the bank. They believe higher education should be a choice people should make themselves, and if they do, to be able to afford it. This is why it is estimated that by 2037, half of the population aged 25 to 65 will have a tertiary level qualification. And this is achievable because taxpayers’ money funds almost all of the Swiss universities.

The low cost, paired with the fact that Swiss schools have an array of programs and a reputation of excellence, makes Switzerland a hot spot for international students seeking education abroad. With all the academic values they have, Swiss universities and Swiss people, in general, are known to embrace diversity. This essentially means that they provide a taste of cultural variety; they also offer top-notch education.

Why Study in Switzerland?

There are endless reasons you should study in Switzerland, and we’re introducing you to a few of them.

 Affordable tuition fees

While Switzerland continues to be one of the most expensive countries, that doesn’t mean that tuition fees are the same. The average tuition fee for international students in public colleges is estimated to be around $26,809. In contrast to these high prices, universities in Switzerland for international students offer some of the cheapest highest education fees. Considering the high-quality programs that Swiss universities offer, universities in Switzerland for international students are a real bargain.

Tourism and hospitality

 When you think about the astonishing scenery and activities that Switzerland offers, there’s no surprise that this country is a leader in tourism and hospitality. Thanks to the healthy climate, beautiful mountains, and vintage hotels, you’ll have endless options on how you want to spend your free days.

Endless networking opportunities

 As one of the most famous financial centers globally, Switzerland offers endless opportunities for social networking. The majority of university programs in Switzerland provide hands-on experiences for their students; thus, allowing them to meet the right people who may help them achieve their goals. Who knows, maybe you can meet your future business partner in one of your internships.

Opportunities for a well-paid career

If you’re thinking of studying and working in this country, let us tell you a piece of good news: Switzerland has one of the highest average salaries globally. This means that if you build your career in a well-paid job, you will, without a doubt, earn competitive money. Moreover, even the minimum wage in Switzerland is high, so students who work part-time jobs during their studies can have decent pocket money.

Are There Tuition-Free Swiss Universities for International Students?

Well, technically, no, there aren’t any universities in Switzerland that are entirely free of cost. This is not only the case with international students, but there are also no free programs for nationals. This is not to say there isn’t a way of getting a free Swiss education; it’s just not handed out on a silver platter. What this means is, the way to a free Swiss degree is through a scholarship.

Although most of the universities in Switzerland are generally cheap, sometimes that alone isn’t enough. That’s why a lot of Swiss universities offer scholarships. These scholarships will usually cover all the tuition fees and most of the additional annual living expenses and studying in Switzerland.

Universities aren’t the only place that students can turn to for scholarships. The government offers its own portion of them. However, governmental scholarships are usually given out to postgraduates and researchers.

In comparison to other countries with world-renowned universities, Switzerland offers exceptionally cheap tuition fees to their students. One of the prime examples is the difference between Swiss annual tuition fees and those of the US.

switzerland-vs-us-tuition-fees
Average Cost

As we can see from the graph, the cheapest universities in Switzerland are public institutions, and they are far less costly than state colleges in the US.

Cheapest Universities in Switzerland

cheapest-universities-switzerland

By now, we have established that Switzerland is a treasure-box of low-cost options for higher education. However, some beat the rest in that area—by a mile. And while they offer cheaper programs, it is worth noting that this doesn’t affect their value in any way.

Also, keep in mind that some study fields will be costly, no matter which institution you end up choosing. And, tuition costs differ depending on the department.

Disclaim: The following list of higher education institutions does not represent a ranking; hence they are ordered randomly.

American University in Switzerland

Source: American University in Switzerland

The American University in Switzerland is an excellent choice for those seeking an English program in Switzerland. AUS offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in business & management and various specializations including Aviation Management.

Students who Enroll at AUS have the following benefits:

  • Dual Degree with Tiffin University in the USA with the possibility to do a semester abroad
  • Cornell University professional certificates through the eCornell platform
  • Regular guest speakers and networking opportunities
  • An updated curriculum with experiential learning taught by business practitioners and experts in the field

AUS is a private university that grants partial scholarships for which you can apply through the financial aid program.

Pros 

  • Student-centered learning
  • Small classes, so everyone gets to participate
  • Faculty to student ratio is 1:7, allowing students to receive more individual attention
  • Great student-professor working relationship
  • Relevant specializations
  • English-taught classes
  • National and international recognition

Cons

  • It doesn’t provide more than bachelor programs

American University Programs

Program Degree
Business Administration Bachelor
Business Administration with Specialization in International Business Bachelor
Business Administration with Specialization in Sports Marketing Bachelor
International Business Administration Master
International Business Administration with Specialization in Data Analytics Master
International Business Administration with Specialization in Leadership and Change Master
International Business Administration with Specialization in Sports Management Master
International Business Administration with Specialization in Aviation Management Master
International Business Administration with Specialization in Human Resource Management Master
International Business Administration with Specialization in Marketing Master

Tuition fee: CHF 18,000/year for undergraduate, CHF 15,000/year for graduate, and CHF 20,000/year for postgraduate.

EU Business School

Source: eruni.edu

Established in 1973, the EU Business School is an institution that offers foundation, bachelor’s, master’s, MBA, and doctoral programs in subjects that cultivate entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership.

With its global network, the school encourages students to partake in exchange programs, both within Europe and with partner institutions worldwide. EU Business School also offers two English preparatory programs that may only be taken as a precursor to their degrees.

Language: All the courses are taught in English.

Pros

  • Includes an international student body
  • It has small-sized classes
  • Classes are taught in English
  • Provides experiential learning
  • You can easily transfer between campuses
  • Offers doctoral programs
  • 93% of its graduates receive a job offer within six months of their graduation

Cons

  • Some classes are only in the evening
  • No cafeteria inside the campus

EU Business School Programs

Program Degree
Communications and Public Relations Bachelor
International Relations Bachelor
Sports Management Bachelor
Business Finance Bachelor
Digital Business, Design & Innovation Bachelor
Leisure and Tourism Management Bachelor
Business Administration Bachelor
Executive Bachelor of Business Administration Bachelor
Digital Business Master
Finance Master
Management Master
Tourism & Hospitality Management Master
Communication & Public Relations Master
Digital Business Master
Global Banking & Finance Master
International Business Master
Leisure & Tourism Management Master
Fashion & Luxury Business Master
Innovation & Entrepreneurship Master
Marketing Master
Blockchain Management Master
Design Management Master
Entrepreneurship Master
Human Resources Management Master
International Marketing Master
Sports Management Master

Tuition Fee: Bachelor – CHF 13,800 (per semester); Master – CHF 9,600 (per term)

The University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland

Source: HES-SO on Facebook

The University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland is spread across seven cantons of western Switzerland—Bern, Freiburg, Geneva, Valais, Jura, Neuchâtel, and Vaud. HES-SO offers various study streams and research activities.

This university was founded in 1998 and it comprises of has since become a place known for innovation, ideas, skills, knowledge, and creativity. It comprises six faculties of Art & Design, Business, Management and Services, Engineering and Architecture, Music and the Performing Arts, Health Sciences, and Social Work.

Pros 

  • Opens up new professional horizons
  • Helps build a more sustainable society
  • Includes several campuses across western Switzerland
  • Offers more than 250 continuing education programs

Cons

  • French language knowledge is required
  • University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland Programs

University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland Programs

Program Degree
Agriculture Bachelor
Architecture Bachelor
Arts Bachelor
Chemistry Bachelor
Computer Science Bachelor
International Relations Bachelor
Media Bachelor
Nursing Bachelor
Psychology Bachelor
Tourism Bachelor
Administration Master
Business Master
Computer Science Master
Engineering Master
IT Master
Management Master
Medicine Master
Media Master
Nursing Master
Sociology Master

Tuition fee: CHF 500 for both Swiss and non-Swiss students (per semester)

University of Geneva

Source: the University of Geneva on Facebook

The University of Geneva was founded in 1559. To this day, it is a high-rated spot for researchers. This university encourages interdisciplinarity both in teaching and research, which is what has made it earn its global recognition.

In this Swiss university, you can pursue law, political science, economics, etc. Some disciplines include Environmental Sciences, Genetics, Human Rights, among many others. The University of Geneva offers low-cost but high quality.

Pros 

  • Includes more than 250 programs
  • Provides students with health, psychological, and social services
  • Offers accommodations for elite athletes
  • Includes the career center
  • Provides internships opportunities
  • Ensures equality and diversity

Cons

  • Geneva is a small and expensive city

University of Geneva Programs

Program Degree
Ancient History Bachelor
Biochemistry Bachelor
Biomedical Sciences Bachelor
Classical Studies Bachelor
Computer Science for the Humanities Bachelor
Economy and Management Bachelor
Dental Medicine Bachelor
Education and Training Orientation Bachelor
English Language and Literature Bachelor
Information Systems and Service Science Bachelor
Advanced Learning and Teaching Technologies Master
Bilingual Economic Law Master
Civil and Criminal Law Master
Clinical Neuropsychology Master
Cultural Heritage and Museology Master
Communication and Media Sciences Master
Drug Discovery and Clinical Development Master
European and International Governance Master
Heritage Conservation and Museology Master
International Economic and Social History Master

Tuition fee: 500 CHF for both Swiss and non-Swiss students (per semester)

University of Lausanne

Source: the University of Lausanne on Facebook

Apart from being a higher education institution made up of seven faculties, the University of Lausanne is also a well-known research institute. Their main campus is located along the shore of Lake Geneva.

In addition to the great view, they provide world-class education and research in three main subjects: Life Sciences and Medicine, Human and Social Sciences, and Environmental Sciences.

Pros 

  • It’s one of the oldest universities in Switzerland
  • Offers exchange programs with world-renowned universities
  • It’s located in a beautiful green and spacious lakeside setting
  • Offers numerous sporting and cultural activities
  • Includes up-to-date facilities and technology

Cons

  • There may be space for improvement in administrative services

University of Lausanne Programs

Program Degree
Ancient Greek Bachelor
Art History Bachelor
Computer Science for the Humanities Bachelor
English Literature Bachelor
Movement and Sport Sciences Bachelor
Forensic Science Bachelor
Pharmaceutical Sciences Bachelor
Political Science Bachelor
Social Sciences Bachelor
Theological Studies Bachelor
Accounting, Control, and Finance Master
Advanced Nursing Practice Master
Archival, Librady, and Information Science Master
Behaviour, Evolution, and Conservation Master
Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy Master
Criminology and Security Master
Environmental Science, Orientation Natural Hazards and Risk Master
Foundations and Practices of Sustainability Master
Healthcare Management Focus Master
Information Systems Master

Tuition fee: CHF 580 for both Swiss and non-Swiss students (per semester)

University of Neuchâtel

Source: the University of Neuchâtel on Facebook

The University of Neuchâtel is located in the town it shares its name with. The university is made up of four faculties, and it was created back in 1838 under the name Academy of Neuchatel.

Their four faculties include the Faculty of Law, The Faculty of Humanities, the Faculty of Science, and the Faculty of Economics and Business. Besides education, the university offers cultural activities, a sports center, a library, etc.

Pros 

  • Degrees recognized by the Bologna Declaration
  • A vast program of studies
  • Research in innovative fields
  • The proximity between students and teachers
  • Promotes the quality of supervision, exchanges, and conviviality

Cons

  • No Engineering programs

University of Neuchâtel Programs

Program Degree
Art History Bachelor
Biology and Ethnology Bachelor
Information and Communication Sciences Bachelor
Management and Sport Bachelor
Natural Systems Bachelor
Science and Sport Bachelor
Geography Bachelor
History Bachelor
Language Science Bachelor
Speech Therapy Bachelor
Anthropology Master
Comparative Health Law Master
Dramaturgy and Theater History Master
Finance Master
Hydrogeology and Geothermics Master
Journalism and Communications Master
Applied Economics Master
General Management Master
International Business Development Master
Psychology and Education Master

Tuition fee: CHF 950 for Swiss students, CHF 1540 for non-Swiss students (per year); semester fee for Swiss students: CHF 515, for foreign students: CHF 790

ETH Zurich

Source: ETH Zürich on Facebook

Apart from being a research institute and open to both nationals and foreigners, ETH Zurich is also one of Switzerland’s oldest universities. They offer merit scholarships and even a scholarship calculator with which a student can see what kind of scholarship they would be eligible for.

ETH Zurich is ranked as one of the top universities in the world. It offers degree programs in the fields of construction sciences, engineering sciences, natural sciences and mathematics, system-oriented natural sciences, and management and social sciences.

Pros

  • Ranked the second-best European University after the University of Oxford (2021)
  • Provides studies in a diverse range of subjects
  • Shares knowledge in original and future-oriented ways
  • Includes 16 departments
  • Has more than 22,000 students from over 120 countries

Cons

  • Hard to get into; the acceptance rate is only 27%

ETH Zurich Programs

Program Degree
Agronomy Bachelor
Biology Bachelor
Computational Sciences Bachelor
Environmental Science Bachelor
Health Sciences and Technology Bachelor
Mechanical Engineering Bachelor
Physics Bachelor
Food Science Bachelor
Interdisciplinary Natural Sciences Bachelor
Pharmaceutical Sciences Bachelor
Applied Technology Master
Architecture and Digital Fabrication Master
Chemical and Bioengineering Master
Comparative and International Studies Master
Energy Science and Technology Master
Computer Science with a Specialization in Cyber Security Master
History and Philosophy of Knowledge Master
Integrated Building Systems Master
Management, Technology and Economy Master
Mechanical Engineering Master

Tuition fee: CHF 1,298 for both Swiss and non-Swiss students (per year)

University of Basel

Source: the University of Basel on Facebook

The University of Basel is the oldest in Switzerland, as it was founded around 550 years ago. While offering a wide range of academic disciplines, the university is also regularly placed among the top 100 universities in the world.

This university has an extensive curriculum and it includes several teaching and research areas such as life sciences and other disciplines.

Pros 

  • Founded in 1460, it’s the oldest university in Switzerland
  • Outstanding achievement in research and teaching
  • Offers a wide range of high-quality educational opportunities
  • Works closely with domestic and international partners
  • Ranked in the top 100 universities in the world
  • Has around 13,000 students from more than 100 countries

Cons

  • Old building with cramped offices

University of Basel Programs

Program Degree
Anthropology Bachelor
Computational Sciences Bachelor
Dentistry (specialization in Dental Medicine) Bachelor
Eastern European Cultures Bachelor
Gender Research Bachelor
Jurisprudence Bachelor
Media Studies Bachelor
Human Medicine Bachelor
Musicology Bachelor
Pharmaceutical Sciences Bachelor
Actuarial Science Master
Ancient History Master
Business and Technology Master
Classical Archeology Master
Cultural Techniques Master
Computer Science Master
Dental Medicine Master
Drug Sciences Master
Educational Sciences Master
Epidemiology Master

Tuition fee: CHF 850 for both Swiss and non-Swiss students (per semester)

University of Bern

Source: the University of Bern on Facebook

The University of Bern is a public institution, and it was established back in 1843. You can pick and choose your field from Theology to Veterinary. The University of Bern, along with the University of Zurich, is the first in Switzerland to offer a continuing study in gender-specific medicine.

Pros 

  • Offers excellent research and teaching
  • Provides high-quality advanced services and training
  • Contributes to increasing Bern’s appeal as a center of economic innovation
  • Focuses on academic interests and social needs
  • Through its programs, it brings benefits for science, society, and the economy

Cons

  • Decent knowledge of the German language is often required

University of Bern Programs

Program Degree
Archeology Bachelor
Basic Antiquity Bachelor
Classical Philology Bachelor
Eastern European Studies Bachelor
Linguistics Bachelor
Psychology Bachelor
Social Sciences Bachelor
Interreligious Studies Bachelor
Pharmaceutical Sciences Bachelor
Sustainable Development Bachelor
Archive, Library and Information Science Master
Biomedical Engineering Master
Business And Law Master
Career and Personnel Psychology Master
Artificial Intelligence in Medicine Master
Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Master
Dance Science Master
Editing Philology Master
Healthcare Management Master
Marketing Management Master

Tuition fee: CHF 750 for Swiss students, CHF 950 for non-Swiss students (per semester)

University of Fribourg

Source: the University of Fribourg on Facebook

Whether you are interested in learning, research, or employment, the University of Fribourg offers all three. The university was founded back in 1889 and prides itself on innovative ways of teaching and growing. This has made the university very influential in the region and brings students from both Switzerland and different parts of the world.

Pros 

  • The only bilingual university in Switzerland
  • Great emphasis on the student-professor relationships
  • Constantly focusing on solving society’s challenges
  • Excellent international reputation in research
  • Courses in French, German, and English

Cons

  • Fribourg is a very small town

University of Fribourg Programs

Program Degree
Art History Bachelor
Business Administration Bachelor
Chemistry Bachelor
Clinical Curative Education and Social Education Bachelor
Eastern European Studies Bachelor
Educational Sciences Bachelor
Environmental Sciences Bachelor
Human Medicine  Bachelor
Social Anthropology Bachelor
Sport Sciences and Motor Control Bachelor
Accounting and Finance Master
Business Administration Master
Comparative Literature Master
Data Analytics and Economics Master
Computer Science Master
Environmental Biology Master
Ethics and Economics Master
Health Psychology Master
International Business Law Master
Management in Technology Master

Tuition fee: CHF 835 for Swiss students, CHF 985 for non-Swiss students (per semester)

Zurich University of the Arts

Source: Zurich University of the Arts on Facebook

Zurich University of the Arts is one of the leading universities of art in Europe. They offer both studying and research programs covering many art areas—film, design, fine arts, dance, theatre, music, transdisciplinary studies, and teaching of design and art.

The shared Toni Campus enables all the disciplines to be in close vicinity to one another and offers an ideal environment for students. With many students pursuing professional projects alongside their studies, the university is considering introducing part-time options.

Pros 

  • One of the largest arts universities in Europe
  • Wide range offerings with numerous programs
  • Provides individual areas of study
  • Offers minor and major specializations

Cons

  • Quite hard to find accommodation

Zurich University of the Arts Programs (Bachelor and Master)

Program Degree
Art Education Bachelor
Design, Knowledge Visualisation Bachelor
Film, Production Design Bachelor
Fine Arts Bachelor
Music Bachelor
Contemporary Dance Bachelor
Theatre Bachelor
Art Education, Cultural Studies Master
Design, Visual Communication Master
Film, Cinematography Master
Fine Arts Master
Music, Analysis and Teaching Master
Dance, Choreography Master
Theatre, Directing Master
Transdisciplinarity Studies Master

Tuition fee: CHF 750 for Swiss students, 1,250 for non-Swiss students (per semester)

University of St. Gallen

Source: the University of St. Gallen on Facebook

The University of St. Gallen is a research university established back in 1898 and it is one of the leading business schools in Switzerland. They offer a variety of majors and are very open to international students.

Although they don’t offer scholarships, they have several exchange programs, and their degree holds up in both Swiss and international job markets.

Pros 

  • Offers practice-oriented approach
  • One of Europe’s leading business schools
  • EQUIS, AACSB, and AMBA accredited
  • Additional focus on character building
  • Includes 42 institutes active in research, consulting, and further education

Cons

  • Most students go home for the weekend, so the city is relatively empty during that time
  • Only four bachelor programs

University of St. Gallen Programs

Program Degree
Business Administration Bachelor
Economics Bachelor
International Affairs Bachelor
Law with Economics Bachelor
Accounting and Finance Master
Business Innovation Master
Financial Services and Insurance Master
Quantitative Economics and Finance Master
Banking and Finance Master
Business Engineering Master
International Affairs and Governance Master
International Law Master
Marketing Management Master

Tuition fee: CHF 1,229 for Swiss students, CHF 3,126 for non-Swiss students (per semester)

Geneva Business School

Source: Geneva Business School

Geneva Business School is a Swiss business school that offers a diverse range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs at reasonable prices. They have campuses in Geneva, Barcelona, and Madrid, making it possible for students to study outside of Switzerland and still get a professionally accredited Swiss degree.

They promise innovative ways of studying and integrating students into the job market. Plus, they are one of the best business schools in Switzerland.

Pros

  • Top 100 business schools in CEOWORLD magazine
  • Students from more than 85 nationalities
  • 3 Palmes of Excellence, awarded by Eduniversal International Scientific Committee
  • Offers insights in current business trends
  • Provides an interactive learning experience to prepare students for the workplace

 Cons

  • Geneva is a very expensive city
  • NEW H4 – NEW Table – Geneva Business School Programs
Program Degree
International Management Bachelor
International Finance Bachelor
International Relations Bachelor
Entrepreneurship Bachelor
Digital Marketing Bachelor
Sports Management Bachelor
International Management Master
International Relations Master
International Finance Master
Sports Management Master
Digital Marketing Master

Tuition fee: CHF 12,450 for undergraduate, CHF 10,250 for graduate, and CHF 12,950 for MBA

State Tourism and Hotel Management School

State Tourism And Hotel Management School is a Swiss hospitality school that falls on the cheaper spectrum. This university is located in Bellinzona, a small gem in southern Switzerland with three UNESCO World Heritage castles. So, apart from education, there are many sight-seeing opportunities when studying there.

Pros 

  • Relatively cheap
  • Trains students for the entire tourism industry
  • Recognized by the Swiss Confederation
  • Part of the commercial vocational school (ICEC)

Cons

More of a school, rather than a university

 State Tourism and Hotel Management School Programs

Program Degree
Hospitality management Swiss federal diploma
Tourism Management Swiss federal diploma

Tuition fee: under CHF 18,000

Additional Expenses

additional-expenses-of-studying-in-switzerland

Beyond tuition fees, Switzerland can be quite a pricey country to live in. Their delicious food, great transportation system, and quality watches all come at a price. They put a low price on education (and rightly so), but it’s a different story with everything else.

As a student living in Switzerland, the monthly expenses are around CHF 2,500, excluding all the recreational activities they might partake in and tuition fees. On the bright side, students can work and study simultaneously, and students can apply for financial aid or scholarships. All in all, unlike popular belief, Switzerland does have a reputation for being the cheapest among developed countries in something—and what an amazing thing it is that THAT something is education.

 
27 Comments
  1. My name is javedafghan from afghanistan
    And i want to study in switzarland
    That my dream
    Can you help me

  2. Hello there my name is Musa Philip Ghide from Nigeria ???????? and I wish to apply for an affordable university in Switzerland I wish you could help me with the admission process thank you.

  3. Hi my name is jermier stuart from the Bahamas, i would love to further my education to a higher level am looking to see if and how to get a scholarship to study in Switzerland can you please help me to may my dream come through thank you for taking the time to read and replied

  4. hi, i’m from Egypt and i’m in my last year of high school,
    so all i have to do after i finish high school is travel from Egypt to Switzerland and pay the tuition fee ?
    i want to study computer science is there any like requirements or anything ?
    and is there anything to pay other than the tuition fee ?
    should i take any exam or there Required gpa from high school to get accepted ?

    and is there’s any scholarship that can work for me if i cant pay the tuition fee and the cost of living ?

  5. I’m searching for a cheap university to take my MBA in business management. I’m Lebanese, 41 years old having BA in business management from usek University lebanon.

  6. My family is poor, I have nothing to pay for university, and I want to study at a university in Switzerland, and I am a native of Somalia.

  7. I’m from Bangladesh and I want to study in Switzerland with scholarship, can you help me?

  8. My name is Bihorubusa koudra from Burundi
    I want to study in switzarland
    That my dream
    Can you help me

  9. My name is Anil Lama. I am from Nepal and Can you tell me the affordable university . How can I apply.

  10. Hello
    Ma/sir

    My name is Rosemary Achoda Iyabouada. I’m from Nigeria, currently in the nation’s capital, Abuja FCT.

    I have been searching for a good public school and much affordable for international students.

    I’m interested in studying Civil/Criminal law for a degree program.
    It will be much appreciated if my mail gets to the right authority, for immediate responses.

  11. Hi. I’m.from DR, could you please share with the steps to Apply for a free scholarship in Switzerland, please?

  12. Hello
    My names are Jones Banda from, I want to study in Switzerland under the University of basel I want to Masters anyone to help me through

  13. Plz l love to study aviation in Switzerland,how do l start and what are the requirements.if there’s any available scholarship,plz let me know.

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