Universities

Switzerland is most sought after for study areas such as Business & Economics, Science & Mathematics, Fine Arts, and those in Culinary and Hospitality. The typical duration of most Masters programmes is between 1.5 and 2 years worth of full-time study. As a result, upon graduation, you can add one of the following titles to your name: MA, MSc, MEd, or MBA.

Best Universities for international students

Depending on your area of study, Switzerland offers a variety of worldly-acknowledged universities who welcome international students. A total of 10 universities from Switzerland are ranked in the overall Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The highest-ranking Swiss university is ETH Zurich, which is ranked at number 11.

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Department of Management, Technology and Economics is an international-student-friendly university where 39% of its students are non-Swiss. Furthermore, you can study in beautiful Lausanne at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) where the majority (55%) are internationals just like you. Other renowned universities where you can finish your Master’s Degree are the Institute for Management Development (IMD) also located in Lausanne or University of Zurich which is also in the top 100 best universities of the world. Furthermore, there’s the University of Neuchâtel, University of Basel, and that of Lucerne.

Since Switzerland is a major destination for students wanting to study abroad, you will not feel a stranger in such a diverse country.

Language of instruction

Albeit the fact that Switzerland has 4 official languages (neither of which is English), in reality, English is widely used as an unofficial one for postgraduate studies.

Cost

Cost of studying

The general tuition cost range for Swiss public universities is between CHF 600 and CHF 2500, which is relatively reasonable considering the average tuition fee of other major universities in Europe (Let us not compare it to American universities!). Additionally, business schools may cost more; i.e. a full Master’s program in Business School Lausanne costs 38,000 Swiss Francs (minus admission costs).


Business School Lausanne building

Cost of living

The cost of living in Switzerland for a Master student depends on personal choice of recreational activities, but it’s somewhere around CHF 1600 – CHF 2000 for monthly expenses.

Accommodation

Average price: Studio – CHF 900 to 2000/per month, Shared flat – CHF 500 to 900/per month

Food

Average price: CHF 75-100/per week for groceries

Public transport

Average price: ~CHF 100/per month

Health insurance

Average price: CHF 90/per month

Utilities and memberships

Average price: CHF 350/per month for utilities, gym membership, Netflix membership, and internet bills.

Clothes, personal care, entertainment

Depends on your personal lifestyle.

Scholarships for Master students

Either from the Swiss government, your home country, or directly from the university, there are multiple ways you can get a scholarship to study in Switzerland.

Each year, the Swiss Confederation awards Government Excellence Scholarships to international students with the intention of promoting international exchange. Its Fine Arts Scholarships aim to enable selected applicants to undertake initial Master’s studies at conservatories or art schools affiliated with universities of applied sciences.

Eligibility

Things to bear in mind

Residence permit

All students (even those coming from an EU or EFTA member country) will still have to apply for a residence permit for a stay longer than 6 months. Students from all other nationalities apply directly for a visa in their country of origin, which is usually issued within 8 weeks.

Language certificates

All universities usually require a language certificate proving you know the language of instruction. In most cases, you’ll need to know the respective language in a minimum C1 level. Some of the widely recognized certificates are:

  • For English – IELTS with a score of 7, TOELF with a score of 600 or 100 (paper-based or online) and Cambridge CPE or CAE
  • For German – Goethe Certificate C1 or TestDaF with TDN 4
  • For French – DALF (Diplôme approfondi de langue française) C1
  • For Italian – CELI (Certificazione Italiano Generale) C1 or PLIDA (Progetto Lingua Italiana Dante Alighieri) C1
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