Every year, the Swiss Confederation awards Government Excellence Scholarships for international post-graduate researchers in any discipline. This is done with the intention of promoting international exchange and research cooperation between Switzerland and 180 other countries.
The Swiss government scholarships are based on partnerships established with several countries and are offered through the Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students (FCS). These scholarships are granted to postgraduate candidates and artists.
Types of scholarships
- Research scholarships
Research scholarships are available to post-graduate researchers in any discipline who are planning to go to Switzerland to pursue research or further studies at the doctoral or post-doctoral level. The scholarships are awarded in all Swiss cantonal universities, universities of applied sciences and the two federal institutes of technology.
- Art scholarships
Art scholarships are available to art students wishing to pursue an initial master’s degree in Switzerland. They are awarded for study at any Swiss conservatory or university of arts but are available to students from a limited number of countries.
The scholarship covers a monthly living stipend, exemption of tuition fees, health insurance, travel costs/airfare, and housing allowance. The monthly payment is CHF1,920. Moreover, grantees are given a CHF 300 housing allowance which is paid once at the beginning of the scholarship and a one-year half-fare public transportation card. The scholarship also includes support services and various trips, dinners, and sightseeing tours organized for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship holders.
Scholarship holders from non-EU and non-EFTA countries have some extra benefits. The FCS pays their mandatory Swiss health insurance and they receive a flight allowance (lump sum) for a ticket back to their country of origin (provided at the end of the scholarship).
The Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships are awarded to ‘highly motivated, competitive young researchers’ who have graduated from University with a Master’s degree for pursuing doctoral or postdoctoral level studies or Bachelor’s for grantees of Fine Arts Scholarships. These scholarships enable applicants to undertake research work in one of the Swiss higher education institutions (Universities, Federal Institutes of Technology and Universities of Applied Sciences, Fine Arts and Music Schools).
The Master’s degree or equivalent university needs to be recognized by the Swiss university you are applying in. As proof, the degree has to be submitted to the Federal Commission for Scholarships before the start of the scholarship, therefore, the applicant must have achieved their degree prior to that. Applicants must be born after 31 December 1983 and those who have been in Switzerland for more than one year at the beginning of the scholarship in September are not eligible to apply.
The universities that take part in the initiative of attracting talent from foreign countries are:
- University of Basel
- University of Bern
- University of Fribourg
- University of Geneva
- University of Lausanne
- University of Lucerne
- University of Neuchâtel
- University of St Gallen
- University of Zurich
- Università della Svizzera Italiana
- Federal Institute of Technology
Teaching and Research Institutes
- Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL)
- Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ)
- Research Institutes of the ETH Domain (PSI; WSL; EMPA; EAWAG)
Universities of Applied Sciences
- Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID)
- University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland
- Bern University of Applied Sciences
- University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland
- University of Applied Sciences Eastern Switzerland
- Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts
- University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland
- The Zürcher Fachhochschule Universities of teacher education
Universities of Teacher Education
- Haute école pédagogique des cantons de Berne, du Jura et de Neuchâtel
- Haute école pédagogique du canton de Vaud
- Pädagogische Hochschule Wallis
- Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg
- Interkantonale Hochschule für Heilpädagogik Zürich
- Pädagogische Hochschule Graubünden
- SUPSI – Dipartimento formazione e apprendimento (Ticino, SUPSI)
- Pädagogische Hochschule Bern, Luzern, Nordwestschweiz (FHNW), St. Gallen, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Thurgau, Zürich, Zug, and
- Schweizer Hochschule für Logopädie Rorschach SHLR.
The application package can be obtained by email from the Swiss Embassy of your country of origin to whom you also need to submit the application to. Double citizens are free to choose the country of origin where they prefer to submit their application.
You need to submit 2 sets (1 original + 1 copy) of application documents in the exact order given below: The 1st set contains the original, signed documents plus the confidential letters of recommendation and, if applicable the attested translations in English. The other set is the copy of the 1st set except for the confidential letters of recommendation (only 1st set). No copies for 2nd set.
- Signed FCS application form (typed and printed) with photo.
- A full CV with list of academic publications, awards, etc.
- A motivation letter (max. 2 pages).
- A complete research proposal (max. 5 pages, signed), using exclusively the FCS research proposal form.
- A copy of the letter from an academic host professor (including her/his short CV) at the chosen Swiss university confirming why she/he is willing to supervise and support the research.
For research fellowships in addition:
A short CV of the academic mentor at the home institution.
- Two confidential letters of recommendation from two different professors in the applicant’s field (use exclusively the FCS reference form – originals in sealed envelopes only for the 1st set). No copies for 2nd set.
- Photocopies of certificates and grade sheets from previously attended universities/colleges and diplomas with grades, starting with the most recent. If not in English, French, Italian or German with attested certified translations in English. Originals have not to be submitted.
- Signed medical certificate (use only the FCS health certificate form).
- Two copies of the applicant’s passport (main page with personal data). Dual nationals add copies of both passports. Applicants already in Switzerland during the application procedure add the “Permis B”.
Please do not put the documents into plastic folders or binders.
Applications are subject to preliminary selection by the relevant national authorities and/or the Swiss diplomatic representation. The short-listed applications are then assessed by the Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students (FCS) which take the final decision.
The FCS is composed of professors from all Swiss public universities. Scholarship awards are decided on the basis of academic and scientific excellence. The FCS announces its decisions regarding the new scholarship awards by the end of May at the latest.
Good luck! Thank us from Switzerland!