Study in Switzerland: the ultimate guide for a Short Course in 2024

The Ultimate Guide to Studying in Switzerland in 2024

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  • Sep-Jul Academic Year
  • 30 Listed Institutes
  • 58,000 Int. Students
  • 320,000 Students
  • 8,774,000 Population

Study in Switzerland

If you're looking to study at a university in Switzerland, you will find numerous higher education opportunities and a focus on research and international cooperation. Moreover, if you are a student who loves chocolate, high-end things, and gorgeous landscapes, Switzerland was tailor-made for you.

A great plus is the kind population, the great shops and economy, and the international atmosphere, where students and people from all over the world come in search of great education and living conditions.

We cannot stress enough how great your decision of studying in Switzerland is, but we can elaborate on some details and break some of the stereotypes of yodelling and shady banks where mobsters keep their money.

Why Study in Switzerland?

1. Tuition fees are affordable

Given the fact that Switzerland has one of the most advanced free market economies, it's quite surprising that tuition fees are relatively affordable. Both EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA students usually pay between 400 and 3,700 EUR per academic year.

Not spending a lot on your education is a great advantage because living costs in Switzerland are well above the European average.

2. Swiss universities are among the world's best

Institutions like Times Higher Education, TopUniversities, and US News release their global university rankings every year. And every year Swiss universities earn their places among the best educational institutions out there.

Swiss universities stand out by providing some of the best study programmes in Business, Tourism and Hospitality, Culinary Arts, and Engineering.

Have a look at this article about the best English-taught universities in Switzerland

3. Explore multilingualism and cultural diversity

If you dream of becoming a polyglot one day and knowing a little bit about as many cultures as possible, Switzerland can help you fulfil this dream.

There are 4 official languages — German, French, Italian, and Romansh — and the Swiss society and people are very welcoming towards internationals from all over the world.

4. High salaries and low unemployment rates

High livings standards go hand in hand with high salaries — and this is so true in Switzerland. The country has a healthy economy, a stable society, and one of the best healthcare systems out there. Unemployment rates are also very low.

All in all, Switzerland is a great place to settle, especially after your graduation. 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're proud of.

Read more about the countries with the best work-life balance, Switzerland being one of them. 

5. Travel and enjoy nature's beauty

Living in Switzerland isn't only about hard study, work, and a lot of money. It's also about travel, nature, and enjoying yourself. And there are certainly enough places where you can do that.

These are only a few of the popular destinations that attract tourists from all over the world, although, we must confess, the iconic mountains and peaks have already won our hearts: the Matterhorn, Interlaken, Lucerne, Lake Geneva, Chillon Castle, Lake Lugano and Ticino, the Rhine Falls, the Swiss National Park, etc.

Which universities to attend in Switzerland?

Switzerland has some amazing universities, with its education system being ranked very high, and international students flocking to its programmes like it’s the promised land.

In case you don’t know where to start, you could always check out these universities we recommend wholeheartedly:

What is it like to study in Switzerland?

You will feel like home in Switzerland. Seeing as I’m not sure what your country of origin is, that’s a great assumption on my part, but I’m backed up by the international environment.

Students who share their studying abroad experience always applaud the people and the diverse market of nationalities the universities accommodate.

Also, the distances between the university, campus, library, and so forth, can be really small, considering the country and cities are tiny, but the spaces are beautiful and fit for students.

Another point in favour of Switzerland is that the universities here focus more on papers and thesis, the grade being awarded after considering your whole learning process, not just what courses you crammed in the night before.

What to study in Switzerland?

Switzerland is famous for the neutral, yet special position it holds in the EU. Seeing as they produce the best bankers and the best lawyers, it comes as no surprise that the best and most sought-after degrees in Switzerland are in fields such as:

Where to study in Switzerland?

Switzerland doesn’t have a de jure capital, meaning that no city is recognised as the capital. However, the de facto city recognised as the governmental seat is Bern.

And, because Switzerland won’t make things easier for us, the largest city in the country is Zurich.

There’s not just only one good location. You can take your pick from the list below:

How to apply

Switzerland, unlike other countries, doesn’t have a special website or application centre that can manage your documents and apply on your behalf.

As it stands, you simply have to check the website of the programme you chose and:

  • Complete the online application
  • Pay the application fee
  • Upload all the necessary documents before the deadline expires

Because each degree and university has its own requirements, you have to pay attention and check the list of documents carefully.

Usually, the documents required are:

  • A printed and signed copy of your application form
  • Two passport photos
  • A copy of your ID
  • Official academic transcripts, from each university you attended
  • High school diploma or your Bachelor’s degree
  • Language proficiency certificates for German, French, or English
  • CV
  • Evidence you paid the application fee
  • Personal essay or motivation letter

You can also make sure you’re accepted to a university if you:

  • Show how you performed as a student, and be sure to know what your Grade Point Average (GPA) was during your studies.
  • Can increase your chances of going to Switzerland by being sure to apply to more than one university! 

Helpful ways to make sure you qualify for a Swiss university

Take Preparation Courses

These kinds of courses enable degree-seeking students to get an extra educational boost just before they start their Master’s degree or other post-graduate degree programmes.

Try a pre-M.B.A., pre-Law, or pre-Medicine programme, as well as any other foundation or preparation courses that will allow you to study in the degree programme of your choice.

Improve your English through an English-language prep course

If you’re attending a degree programme in Switzerland, you will need to prove that your language skills are good enough to participate in the classes and understand the lectures. These courses will also prepare you for any of the English-language tests that universities require.

English-language tests

Switzerland has three official languages: German, French, and Italian.

The language in which your degree will be taught depends on where you wish to apply to. In addition, most universities also offer a wide range of programmes taught in English.

The certificates of proficiency you will need to provide, depending on the language you wish to study, are:

  • For German: DSH, TestDaF, OSD, telc, and others
  • For French: DELF or DALF
  • For English: IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic

If you don’t hold a language certificate, you can take a language test at the university and they can decide if your level is sufficient for you to complete your studies.

This option is not available in all universities, so always check with the institution!

Living in Switzerland

Let's take a closer look at tuition and living expenses in Switzerland:

Tuition fees in Switzerland

In Switzerland, both EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA students pay the same tuition fees at most public universities (with a few exceptions listed further below). For Bachelor's and Master's degrees, students pay between 400–3,700 EUR per year.

Private universities are much more expensive. Their tuition can go over 40,000 EUR per academic year. But not all study programmes cost that much; it depends on the discipline and the university.

Students who come to Switzerland on an exchange programme don’t pay any tuition fee. At universities from Fribourg, Lucerne, Neuchatel, St. Gallen, Zurich, and Lugano, you can encounter 2 different situations:

  • only non-EU/EEA students pay higher tuition
  • both EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA students pay higher tuition compared to local (Swiss) students

Accommodation, food and other expenses

Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in Europe, but every penny is worth it, thanks to the high standard of living and the high average salaries. To live there as a student you need to budget around 1,300–1,700 EUR per month.

Here's a breakdown of the average living costs in Switzerland:

  • Rent: 400–800 EUR per month
  • Utilities: 220–250 EUR per month
  • Monthly transport pass: 74 EUR
  • 1 litre of milk: 1.45 EUR
  • Loaf of bread: 2.60 EUR
  • Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: 23 EUR

About Switzerland

Facts about Switzerland

Switzerland, also known as Confoederatio Helvetica (CH) in Latin, is famous for its neutral position throughout history. In the immortal words of Frank Liebkind, from “The Producers”: “I had nothing to do with the war! I didn't even know there was a war on! We lived at the back, near Switzerland. All we heard was yodelling.” The history behind that joke is the almost 500 years of independence of the Swiss; aside from Napoleon’s occupation, at the beginning of the 19th century, Switzerland was independent since 1499.

That’s one of the reasons why the Vatican is protected by the Swiss Guards, these men being the only ones allowed to serve foreign armies. That can be a very good thing, too, seeing how the Swiss are rather bad at the whole “military” thing: let’s not forget that, in 2007, Switzerland accidentally invaded Lichtenstein. Makes the time you forgot the milk on the stove feel rather small, when put into perspective.

Now, getting back to praising Switzerland.

Everybody can tell you that it’s really famous for its chocolate, cheese, banking system, watches, alpine areas, and, let’s not forget, that the flag is, also, a huge plus. Heh!

Also, Switzerland is the quintessence of a perfect destination for students. For instance:

  • The first convenience food was invented here, by Julius Maggi and Carl Knorr, in 1886. By convenience food, we mean the famous “just add water” cup of soup. So you could say the Swiss invented the broke student’s menu;
  • The APPP was founded here, APPP standing for the Anti-PowerPoint Party. It is exactly what you imagine: a bunch of politicians working to decrease the number of PowerPoints used in professional presentations, claiming that “Microsoft PowerPoint and its other software products are economically harmful”. Also, their motto? “Finally do something!”
  • Finally, the Swiss government mandated a program to provide every Swiss citizen a bomb shelter, making it one of the safest and readily equipped countries in the world.

Before we go, you should also know that Switzerland has a law that makes owning only one guinea pig illegal, so they wouldn’t get lonely. If this fact doesn’t make you happy, nothing will.

Universities, colleges and schools in Switzerland






Zürich (Kreis 11) / Seebach

How to Apply to a Master's in Switzerland

If you've decided to study a Master's degree at a university in Switzerland, you will have to gather the right documents to prove that you fit the university requirements. Provide complete personal information, previous qualifications, financial information, and a personal statement.

What documents do I need to provide to apply in Switzerland?

You'll be asked to present supporting documents including:

  • signed application form;
  • two passport-size photos;
  • copy of your identity document;
  • academic transcript(s) from each university you attended;
  • high school or Bachelor's diploma;
  • language proficiency certificates (German/French/English);
  • resume;
  • receipt of the application fee;
  • motivation letter.

If a document/statement is not written in English/French/ German a translation may be required, from a recognised translator – confirmed by an official stamp. In some cases, universities may ask for additional documents after you have submitted your application. To avoid delays or missed deadlines send your evidence with plenty of time in advance.

Prove your language skills

To show that you have the right English skills, you'll have to also present an IELTS or TOEFL language certificate. If you don't meet the minimum language scores you will have to improve them by taking an English preparation course.

If you want to study in French or German, you’ll need one of the following certificates:

  • German: DSH, TestDaF, OSD, Telc and others
  • French: DELF or DALF

Application deadlines for Switzerland

The deadlines for applying to a Master's in Switzerland are usually during autumn (November), or in spring (April). Many universities have rolling applications, which means you can apply whenever you are ready.

Interesting programmes for you

Find Short Courses in Switzerland

Numerous education initiatives in the world were formed to promote international cooperation and academic exchange between universities as well as attract students and staff worldwide. This focus on international student education provides high quality programmes in various fields of study and prepares students for future careers anywhere in the world.

Studying, for instance, in Australia, Asia, Europe or America represents a wide range of opportunities to see the world and interact with other students from different countries. Different study options allow students to hold a job during their study years in order to pay for their education, if they wish to do so. Online programmes help you get an international education without having to leave home.

The number of English-taught short courses in Asia, Australia, Europe and The United States are continuously rising in popularity in the last few years. Many countries offer English-taught study programmes, including: Australia, China, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, France, Spain, Sweden, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the United States and more. Other English short courses may be found in the rest of the European countries as well.

Short courses / Summer Courses

Short courses offer a great variety of subjects for a short and fixed period. This period can vary between a week to six weeks, depending on country, institution and course. This is an excellent opportunity to gain academic, cultural and social experience if you are not able to access long-term study opportunities. A wide variety of countries and institutions offer summer and short courses in all kinds of subject areas. It is a great opportunity to get some background information for your own research, to learn a language or to gain knowledge on a related topic.

Sometimes summer and short courses provide students with short-term housing. Therefore, it is useful to find out if housing is included in the fee of the summer or short course you wish to apply for.

Discover other countries

The Netherlands is a very popular study destination. Internationals choose this beautiful country because Dutch universities are some of the best in Europe, the living standards are high, foreigners are always welcome, and you get to live in one of the happiest and safest countries in the world. The Netherlands is also renowned for innovative technologies and engineering solutions, which is reflected in the wide range of Engineering degrees offered by universities. English is spoken by around 90% of Dutch citizens, so forget about language barriers. Also, bike lanes and the “cycling culture” will help you to stay fit and healthy, and there are diverse job opportunities and internships for international students.
Finland is an excellent choice for all internationals and especially for EU/EEA students who can study at local public universities for free. The beautiful Nordic country has one of the best education systems in the world and ranks among the safest and happiest nations in the world. You can also choose from over 400 English-taught programmes. In your spare time, you can explore the breathtaking Finnish nature and landscapes, as well as the numerous lakes that give the country the nickname ‘The Land of a Thousand Lakes.’ From here, you can easily travel to neighbouring countries like Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, or Estonia.
Ireland is among the top countries in the world in terms of quality of life, peace, safety, and development. It represents an appealing blend of beautiful landscapes, English-speaking environments, and a strong, welcoming, and rich culture — of which the Irish people are very proud. International students also enjoy the full support of Irish universities, which hire and train staff that are able to help with accommodation, studies, visa details, or any other challenge.
Norway is a paradise for anyone who wants to study abroad for free. Public universities don’t charge any tuition fees. This policy applies to all international students, regardless of their nationality. The academic standard is very high, and professors are easy to approach, always willing to go the extra mile for their students. Additionally, classes are organised in small groups, which further improves learning and cooperation. You can choose from a wide range of English-taught programmes, and you don’t need to worry about language barriers outside of classes either, because most Norwegians speak English as a second language. Internationals should find it easy to adapt to Norway’s society, which is based on equality and fair opportunities — reflected both in the legal system and in people’s behaviour.
Greece is the cradle of European civilization and the birthplace of philosophy. Greek universities and colleges have a long history in academics, attracting international students from all over the world. Classes are not typically formal, so you can expect open discussions between students and professors, in line with the classical philosophical debate tradition. EU/EEA students don’t pay any tuition at public universities, while non-EU/EEA citizens pay low fees. In Greece, you’ll also enjoy the well-known local hospitality and the wonderful Mediterranean climate. There are many landmarks and monuments waiting to be explored, including the Acropolis, Delphi, the Parthenon, and many others.
Sweden is a very ambitious, eco-friendly, and visionary country. For example, by 2040, it aims to produce all its energy from renewable sources. Universities play an important role in achieving development goals, thanks to their world-class research facilities. If you’re from the EU/EEA, you can study at public universities for free. As a student, you will discover and easily adopt the three main values of Swedish society: freedom, equality, and sustainability. These values are reflected in every aspect of the local society, and you’ll quickly learn to appreciate them. Language barriers are also almost non-existent since around 80% of Swedes speak English.
Switzerland has one of the most advanced free-market economies, which is reflected in the high living standards and the satisfaction of people living here. In terms of higher education, Swiss universities are constantly ranked among the best in Europe, and they shine in areas like Business, Tourism, Culinary Arts, and Engineering. When compared to Western universities, tuition fees in Switzerland are affordable, and all studies — especially PhD programmes — are world-class. You’ll have the opportunity to develop in a multilingual environment and try learning international languages like German, French, or Italian. If you settle down here, the unemployment rates are low, and salaries are well above the European average.
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Universities in the UK are some of the most highly regarded in the world, and for good reasons. Some of the world's most highly regarded research takes place in British universities, which are regularly featured in international rankings. While studying in the UK, you will be able to develop in a highly multicultural environment with high chances of pursuing lucrative careers after graduation. The teaching in the UK is designed to encourage new idea generation, encouraging individual research and group cooperation, through class discussions and creative assignments.
Canada is one of the most popular study destinations in the world due to its high focus on the quality of its universities and its emphasis on attracting international students who can later immigrate. Canadians are very welcoming to international students and they invest a lot into making sure students are safe, treated fairly, and enjoy their stay in the country. Study in one of the strongest economies in the world while enjoying a high living standard and a flexible study environment. Classes have smaller student groups ensuring everyone gets the attention they need, and encouraging group assignments and debates.
United States
United States
The United States is home to some of the most prestigious universities and colleges in the world. With over 150 universities featured in international rankings, the U.S. has some of the best business schools, medical schools, and engineering schools. Universities and colleges in the U.S. are well known for academic flexibility and ways to customize your study experience with optional studies and extracurricular activities. Depending on where you will be studying, you will be able to visit iconic places like the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Goldengate Bridge, The Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Disney's Magic Kingdom Park, and much more.
Israel attracts international students through high standards of education and a wide range of English-taught degrees. Local universities shine in areas like Technology, Sciences, Business, and Entrepreneurship. In fact, Israel is a renowned land of innovation, having earned itself the nickname ‘Start-Up Nation’. While living and studying here, you will discover a wonderful culture developed throughout 4,000 years of history; different cultural influences are noticeable everywhere, especially in Israeli food, art, and history. In major cities, English is widely spoken, so communication shouldn’t be a problem. In your spare time, you can visit one of the over 400 nature reserves and 80 national parks.
By studying in Australia you will take advantage of the great student environment both inside and outside classrooms. In addition to some of the best business and engineering schools in the world, you will be able to explore a greatly developed country that still retains its wild side with its warm climate, beautiful beaches, and the Great Outback, with over 500 national parks. Many Australian universities provide internships and work placements, preparing students early on for the job market.


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