Studying in Switzerland can be amazing because of its serene environment. Apart from its conducive academic environment, the country is listed as one of the world’s most advanced educational sectors. However, before you can study in Switzerland, you must gain admission to one of the institutions. And that can be feasible if you have in-depth knowledge of how to study in Switzerland.
Switzerland is a great place to study for those who desire to pick up a second language because of its multilingual population. Depending on where you study, you could get to grips with German, French, Italian, or Romansh. Each linguistic entity has its own institutions, traditions, and cultures that a foreigner could explore.
In this guide, we have provided you with an easy, step-by-step guide that will help you navigate your study process in Switzerland.
How to gain admission into a university in Switzerland
- Ensure you meet all requirements
- Choose a program
- Check the admission criteria
- Prepare your documents
- Submit your application
- Apply for a visa/residence permit
- Arrive in Switzerland
#1. Ensure you meet all requirements
Applying to a university in Switzerland does not just happen, so make sure you take your time and start planning in advance. Examine the requirements for various programs and see what documents you need for each one.
#2. Choose a program
You will choose and apply for a specific major when applying to a university to study in Switzerland. Schools in Switzerland offer high standard degrees in IT, computer science, engineering, finance and accounting, banking and business administration, etc. Evaluate the reasons that make you choose to study in Switzerland and listen to your inner passions and career aspirations.
#3. Check the admission criteria
The admissions process differs widely from program to program, and institution to institution. So, reach out to the universities you are interested in, and they will send you their own application requirements, which will guide you through the process. Also, contact your nearest Swiss Embassy or Consulate for additional information.
#4. Prepare your documents
Switzerland has a multilingual language, so you may have to package your documents in either French, Italian, or German, depending on your preferred institution’s location.
Here are the documents you will have to submit:
- A fully filled and signed application form for the course of your choice. Most schools use online application forms.
- A valid international passport and passport-size photographs.
- Record showing your previous academic background
- Language proficiency certificates in English, Italian, French, or German
- A motivation letter detailing the reasons you want to study in Switzerland
- Evidence of paying the application fee
However, note that you might be required to submit additional documents. depending on your school of choice.
#5. Submit your application
There are no single admissions criteria for applying to Swiss universities. Once you’ve chosen your program, go through the institution’s portal to make sure you fulfil the academic requirements for admission, and then apply directly to the institution through their application portal.
#6. Apply for a visa/residence permit
Once you receive your letter of admission to the school where you plan to study, apply for a visa/residence permit as soon as possible, since the procedure might take time for long-term visas. Contact your nearest Switzerland Embassy or Consulate for more information about the visa procedure.
#7. Arrive in Switzerland
Once you have gained admission and obtained your student visa, begin to surf for a student home. Search online in various student forums or contact your university directly and get ready to journey to Switzerland.
How can I get scholarship to study in Switzerland?
There are numerous scholarships opportunities that you can choose from to study in Switzerland.
Here are the Scholarships to Apply for:
a. Swiss Excellence Scholarships for Foreign Students
Every year, the Switzerland Confederation awards Government Excellence Scholarships to foster international exchange and research cooperation between Switzerland and over 180 other countries. The scholarship is available to post-graduate researchers in any program who are aspiring to study in Switzerland. The scholarship comprises a monthly payment, exemption of tuition fees, health insurance, airfare, housing allowance, etc.
b. ETH Excellence Scholarships
ETH Zurich supports excellent students both from the ETH and from other universities desiring to pursue a Master’s degree at ETH with two scholarship programs: the Excellence Scholarship & Opportunity Programme (ESOP) which covers the full study and living costs of the students and the Master Scholarship Programme (MSP) students receive a partial stipend and the offer of an assistantship.
c. University of Lausanne Master’s Grants for Foreign Students
The University of Lausanne in Switzerland offers scholarships to international students who wish to get a Masters Degree at the University through the UNIL Master’s Grants.
The amount of the grant is CHF 1,600.- per month from 15 September to 15 July, for a duration not exceeding the regulation minimum period of the program.
d. University of Geneva Excellence Master Fellowships
The University of Geneva Faculty of Science, in partnership with numerous sponsors, has an Excellence Fellowship Program to support outstanding and highly motivated candidates who intend to pursue a Master of Science in any of the disciplines covered by the Faculty.
e. PhD Research Fellowships for Developing & Emerging Countries in Switzerland
PhD Research Fellowship Programme for outstanding young professors from universities from developing and emerging countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America at The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland.
f. Karlstad University International Scholarships for International Students
The Karlstad University Global Scholarship program targets the best academic students from countries outside the European Union/European Economic Area (and Switzerland) who are required to pay tuition fees for studies.
g. IMD MBA Scholarships
IMD gives a number of scholarship programs for international students from various countries and backgrounds. Each scholarship program awards around CHF 25,000-50,000.
What are the best universities in Switzerland?
Carefully compare and contrast, side by side, all the schools listed below and make a choice of your desired school to study in Switzerland.
Here are the best universities in Switzerland:
i. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich is a public research university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland.
The school was founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, the university focuses mainly on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
In the latest edition of QS World University Rankings, the school was ranked as 6th best in the world. In the 2020 QS World University Rankings by subject, it ranked 4th in the world for engineering and technology and 1st for earth and marine science.
The school is an attractive destination for international students and has a world-class reputation in academia and industry.
ii. University of Lausanne
The University of Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland was founded in 1537 as a school of theology, before being made a university in 1890. The university is the second oldest in Switzerland, and one of the oldest universities in the world to be in continuous operation.
Its research activities focus on three main themes: human and social sciences, life sciences and medicine, and environmental sciences.
iii. Università della Svizzera italiana
The Università Della Svizzera Italiana, sometimes referred to as the University of Lugano, in English-speaking contexts, is a public Swiss university established in 1995, with campuses in Lugano, Mendrisio and Bellinzona.
USI is the only university in Switzerland where the official language is Italian, but many of its programs are in English. As of 2020, the school was ranked 273° in the 2020–2021 QS World University Rankings.
In other university rankings, USI ranked 54th in the 2020–2021 “Young University Rankings” of Times Higher Education World University Rankings, where universities with less than 50 years of activity were ranked.
iv. University of Fribourg
According to information from the school portal, The University of Fribourg is a place where learning, research, employment, and events all happen at the same time. Its innovative force makes it an important mover in the commercial and cultural life of the region.
The University of Fribourg is Switzerland’s only bilingual university and offers full curricula in both French and German, two of Switzerland’s national languages.
v. University of Neuchatel
The University of Neuchâtel is a French-speaking university based in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. The university has four faculties (schools) and more than a dozen institutes, including arts and human sciences, natural sciences, law, and economics. The Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences, with 2,000 students, is the largest school of those that comprise the University of Neuchâtel.
How to apply for a Swiss student visa
The first step in applying for a Swiss student visa is to be accepted by a Swiss institution. Once the Swiss school you applied to study at offers you admission, you will be sent an acceptance letter and proof of provisional admission. With this letter of admission, you can then start the application process for your Swiss student visa.
After receiving the acceptance letter from your university, you should be setting an appointment with the Swiss embassy or consulate in your area. These procedures take time, so make sure to set the appointment 6 months prior to your studying. The processing time for the short stay visas is around 10-15 days and for long-stay visas, eight to ten weeks
European Union and European Free Trade Association (EU/EFTA)Resident Students:
If you are an EU/EFTA resident, you won’t need a visa. You will only need to register with their local authorities at your location within 14 days of arriving in Switzerland.
The applicant must verify that you are in Switzerland to study and that you have been enrolled at an institution. For this, they will have to get a certificate from the school. You will also proof of your ability to cover health insurance and your ability to cover living costs during your stay.
Switzerland Visa for Non-European Union and European Free Trade Association(non-EU/EFTA):
Non-EU/EFTA member states students can apply for a visa at the Swiss embassy or consulate in their country. The application requires the following documents.
- A letter from the school or institution to be attended,
- Evidence of payment of school fees and means of support during studies,
- A written agreement that you will leave Switzerland upon completion of your studies,
- Your CV
You might also be required to undergo a language test to determine if you will be able to follow lessons.
Also, you will have to apply for a saying permit. The cantons are responsible for issuing permits.
What type of Switzerland Visa do I Need?
Below are two types of visas that you can apply for:
- C Visa: This is a short-duration visa that allows its holder to stay in Switzerland for a short period of time. This visa is good for summer schools, seminars, and language schools that last up to three months.
- D Visa: This is a long-duration visa for those seeking to study, work, or reside in Switzerland.
Switzerland Student Visa Requirements
Here are Switzerland Student Visa Requirements:
- Valid passport
- Confirmation of enrollment at a recognized Swiss educational institution
- Proof of finances and the ability to support yourself while in Switzerland
- Proof of healthcare insurance
- Motivation letter outlining why you want to come to Switzerland to study and how this will be beneficial to your career
- Copies of previous educational certificates and diplomas
Why study in Switzerland
Here are some reasons you should consider Switzerland for your studies:
- Affordable fees:
Tuition fees in Switzerland are affordable. EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA students usually pay between 400 and 3,700 euros per academic session.
Spending less on your educational pursuits is a great advantage because living costs in Switzerland are well above the European average.
- Universities in Switzerland are among the world’s top schools:
Every year, universities in Switzerland earn their mark among the best educational institutions ranked by institutions like Times Higher Education, Top Universities, and US News.
Switzerland’s universities are exceptional for providing some of the best study programs in Business, Tourism and Hospitality, Culinary Arts, and Engineering.
- Home for multilingualism and cultural diversity:
If you dream of becoming a multilinguist and also have wide knowledge about as many cultures as possible, Switzerland can help you fulfill this aspiration.
There are four diverse languages—German, French, Italian, and Romansh — and the Swiss people are very accommodating towards foreigners from all over the world.
- Lucrative salaries and fewer unemployment rates
High living standards have a significant effect on high salaries, and this is so true in Switzerland. The country has a prosperous economy, a stable society, and one of the best healthcare sectors out there.
However, Switzerland is an amazing place to settle, especially when you are done with your education. You’ll already be familiar with the language(s), lifestyle, and locals, which will make it so much easier to find your place and build a life you will be proud of.
It is a great idea to want to study in Switzerland. You can find the program that best suits your career ambition in any of the schools listed in the article. You can be sure you can a scholarship in any of the opportunities here in our article.
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