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.
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
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.
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.
- 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
- It doesn’t provide more than bachelor programs
|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.
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.
- 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
- Some classes are only in the evening
- No cafeteria inside the campus
|Communications and Public Relations||Bachelor|
|Digital Business, Design & Innovation||Bachelor|
|Leisure and Tourism Management||Bachelor|
|Executive Bachelor of Business Administration||Bachelor|
|Tourism & Hospitality Management||Master|
|Communication & Public Relations||Master|
|Global Banking & Finance||Master|
|Leisure & Tourism Management||Master|
|Fashion & Luxury Business||Master|
|Innovation & Entrepreneurship||Master|
|Human Resources 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
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.
- Opens up new professional horizons
- Helps build a more sustainable society
- Includes several campuses across western Switzerland
- Offers more than 250 continuing education programs
- 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
Tuition fee: CHF 500 for both Swiss and non-Swiss students (per semester)
University of Geneva
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.
- 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
- Geneva is a small and expensive city
|Computer Science for the Humanities||Bachelor|
|Economy and Management||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|
|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
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.
- 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
- There may be space for improvement in administrative services
|Computer Science for the Humanities||Bachelor|
|Movement and Sport Sciences||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|
Tuition fee: CHF 580 for both Swiss and non-Swiss students (per semester)
University of Neuchâtel
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.
- 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
- No Engineering programs
|Biology and Ethnology||Bachelor|
|Information and Communication Sciences||Bachelor|
|Management and Sport||Bachelor|
|Science and Sport||Bachelor|
|Comparative Health Law||Master|
|Dramaturgy and Theater History||Master|
|Hydrogeology and Geothermics||Master|
|Journalism and Communications||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
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.
- 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
- Hard to get into; the acceptance rate is only 27%
|Health Sciences and Technology||Bachelor|
|Interdisciplinary Natural Sciences||Bachelor|
|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|
Tuition fee: CHF 1,298 for both Swiss and non-Swiss students (per year)
University of Basel
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.
- 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
- Old building with cramped offices
|Dentistry (specialization in Dental Medicine)||Bachelor|
|Eastern European Cultures||Bachelor|
|Business and Technology||Master|
Tuition fee: CHF 850 for both Swiss and non-Swiss students (per semester)
University of Bern
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.
- 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
- Decent knowledge of the German language is often required
|Eastern European Studies||Bachelor|
|Archive, Library and Information Science||Master|
|Business And Law||Master|
|Career and Personnel Psychology||Master|
|Artificial Intelligence in Medicine||Master|
|Bioinformatics and Computational Biology||Master|
Tuition fee: CHF 750 for Swiss students, CHF 950 for non-Swiss students (per semester)
University of Fribourg
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.
- 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
- Fribourg is a very small town
|Clinical Curative Education and Social Education||Bachelor|
|Eastern European Studies||Bachelor|
|Sport Sciences and Motor Control||Bachelor|
|Accounting and Finance||Master|
|Data Analytics and Economics||Master|
|Ethics and Economics||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
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.
- One of the largest arts universities in Europe
- Wide range offerings with numerous programs
- Provides individual areas of study
- Offers minor and major specializations
- Quite hard to find accommodation
|Design, Knowledge Visualisation||Bachelor|
|Film, Production Design||Bachelor|
|Art Education, Cultural Studies||Master|
|Design, Visual Communication||Master|
|Music, Analysis and Teaching||Master|
Tuition fee: CHF 750 for Swiss students, 1,250 for non-Swiss students (per semester)
University of St. Gallen
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.
- 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
- Most students go home for the weekend, so the city is relatively empty during that time
- Only four bachelor programs
|Law with Economics||Bachelor|
|Accounting and Finance||Master|
|Financial Services and Insurance||Master|
|Quantitative Economics and Finance||Master|
|Banking and Finance||Master|
|International Affairs and Governance||Master|
Tuition fee: CHF 1,229 for Swiss students, CHF 3,126 for non-Swiss students (per semester)
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.
- 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
- Geneva is a very expensive city
- NEW H4 – NEW Table – Geneva Business School Programs
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.
- Relatively cheap
- Trains students for the entire tourism industry
- Recognized by the Swiss Confederation
- Part of the commercial vocational school (ICEC)
More of a school, rather than a university
State Tourism and Hotel Management School Programs
|Hospitality management||Swiss federal diploma|
|Tourism Management||Swiss federal diploma|
Tuition fee: under CHF 18,000
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.