Switzerland 1A Dream Destination, for not only tourists, but also students for the excellent education systems and a life surrounded by nature.

Switzerland is a wonderful place. It’s a place for mixing business with chocolate, skiing and expensive watches, but it is also an amazing place to study. Studying in Switzerland offers a European experience in a developed, yet diverse country. With a variety of nations bordering the country, it’s a cultural melting pot, which makes it great for an inspiring study experience.

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In total there are 12 general universities located in Switzerland and a smaller number of science and research specific institutions. Switzerland is home to the highest ranking university in Continental Europe (according to the QS World University Rankings 2016), with a total of 4 ranked in the top 100 and 8 in the top 200. There are many reasons why you should consider studying abroad in Switzerland.

In 2009 more than 49,000 international students were studying in the institutions in Switzerland. The information below will help you to understand why such a huge number of students chose to move to Switzerland for university studies.

Switzerland regards education as hugely important in the day to day success of the country, and believes it is essential for its stability in terms of politics and its increase in wealth.

There are a number of institutions which focus on specific subjects, making them highly specialised and an excellent choice for anybody who wants that extra focus.

The education system in Switzerland is internationally recognised for its excellence. Alongside the state-funded establishments, Switzerland also offers a wide choice of high quality education at private schools. Both public and private establishments provide a comprehensive range of education at all levels.

Switzerland divides its education system into primary, secondary and tertiary levels. At every level there are educational possibilities open to foreigners. The tertiary stage covers universities and higher vocational training. Switzerland has universities providing general education and universities of applied sciences. Higher vocational training is provided by higher technical schools and technical schools, leading to vocational certificates and higher vocational diplomas. Both types of institute make up a dense network of education outlets in Switzerland, offering Swiss and non-Swiss students alike high quality tertiary education opportunities.

Universities in Switzerland

There are the 10 Cantonal Universities and the 2 federal institutes of technology in Switzerland. These are the university institutes, some of whose histories, particularly in the case of the cantonal universities, date back to the 15th century. The oldest university in Switzerland in Basel was founded in 1460. All twelve universities operate more or less in the classical tradition of European universities in that they both teach and conduct research and offer a wide range of studies within the faculties of law and economics, mathematics and natural sciences, the humanities and the social sciences.

University-level education in Switzerland follows the bachelor-master system. Like other countries, Switzerland wants to make it easier for international students to move between universities, and in 1999 signed the so-called Bologna declaration. Reforms aimed at standardizing the structure of studies and of degrees should have been completed by 2010. Under this new two-tiered system, the first grade awarded is the Bachelor’s degree (180 ECTS credits or three years full-time study) and the second one the Master’s degree (90 – 120 ECTS credits or one and a half years full-time study). A Bachelor’s degree is the pre-requisite for admittance to studies at Master’s level. A Master’s degree and good grades are the pre-requisite for undertaking a doctorate.

Universities of Applied Science in Switzerland

Then there are the 8 Universities of Applied Sciences in Switzerland which have emerged since 1997 from the amalgamation and specialization of around 70 advanced technical schools consisting of technical colleges and higher commercial comprehensive schools. The universities of applied sciences work under the motto “Equal standards, different approach”. In other words, they have the same educational task combined with elements of general vocational training while taking a more practice-oriented approach through a close link between teaching and research. The universities of applied sciences provide applied vocational science-based training, carry out applied research and development, are key players in promoting knowledge and technology transfer and offer specialized graduate studies for professionals as a part of life-long learning. In 2004 around 44,000 people were studying at the universities of applied sciences.

Private Universities in Switzerland

In addition to the institutions of higher learning named above, there are also a number of private universities and educational institutes in Switzerland. With 3 official languages (French, German and Italian) Switzerland has a lot of international schools. Switzerland in general has earned international acclaim for the excellence of their private schools. Private schools offers language studies, a wide variety of hospitality and service programs, as well as Commercial & Management Courses for BBA, MBA, Executive MBA and DBA degrees.

Switzerland is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe and famous for high standard education and ground-breaking research. For this reason, Swiss MBA and PhD programmes are renowned and appreciated worldwide. As a European business hub, young adults not only dream of studying here, but they also consider pursuing a career in Switzerland after finishing their degree studies.

If you thought about studying abroad in Switzerland or already got accepted to a Swiss university, read below and find out more about tuition fees and living costs.

The article will cover:

  • Average tuition fee information for different degrees in Switzerland
  • Monthly living expenses for students
  • Important facts about student accommodation in the country
  • What students will spend on food in Switzerland
  • Expenses for transportation
  • Additional study costs
  • Student scholarship information for Swiss universities
  • Money saving tips for students
Tuition fees for degree studies in Switzerland

Public Swiss universities receive significant funding which makes tuition fees seem affordable compared to tuition fees charged by universities from the UK or U.S. Fees are variable depending on each university and the study programme you choose, but the average is 535 EUR per semester for a Bachelor and Master degree and around 200 EUR per year for a PhD programme. Students who come to Switzerland on an exchange programme don’t pay any tuition fee.

Universities from Fribourg, Lucerne, Neuchatel, St. Gallen, Zurich and Lugano charge extra tuition fees for foreign students.
Private universities usually have higher tuition fees that range from 750 and 8,000 EUR per semester.

PhDs are very popular in Switzerland not only due to the world’s famous and acknowledged research work made by the most prestigious institutions, but also because candidates that pursue a PhD in Switzerland are also considered employees, thus, they are paid for their work. In addition, tuition fees for a PhD can get lower than 100 EUR per semester in public universities.

Living costs in Switzerland

Living costs all over Switzerland are expensive, with Geneva and Zurich as the most expensive cities to live in. Although it highly depends on your life style, managing your monthly expenses without making any compromise could be a tough challenge in Switzerland.

You should plan an average budget of around 1,000 and 1,400 EUR/month to pay for: housing, food, transportation, tuition, supplies and a few leisure activities. Take into consideration that at the beginning of your studies you will have to pay bigger sums for the first term health insurance, first-semester tuition fees and first rent payment, as these often include an obligatory security deposit.

Check this website to see detailed prices of living in Switzerland.

Accommodation options and costs

Out of the total monthly expenses of EU students, they usually pay around 33 % on accommodation, 7 % on transportation and around 8 % on tuition fees. Rates for accommodation in Switzerland are above the international range of 200 – 300 EUR/month, as the average for any housing option is around 450 – 500 EUR/month.

On average, students that live alone pay about 700 EUR/month, students living in student accommodation pay around 450 EUR/month, while those who live with partner/child(ren) spend around 750 EUR/month.

A percent of 8 % of the international students in Switzerland live in student halls of residence, the rest choose other housing options. Around 68 % of students are very satisfied with their accommodation in Switzerland; as the average rate of student satisfaction in Europe is 60 %, this could mean that accommodation options and facilities in Switzerland are very good.

The most common housing choices among international students in Switzerland:

  1. Student halls of residence – between 360 and 800 EUR/month.
  2. Rent/share an apartment – average price ranges between 650 and 800 EUR/month for a one-bedroom apartment.
  3. Hostel – rates start at 33 EUR/night for a studio.
Food costs in Switzerland

Prices for food varies significantly depending on the exact region in Switzerland you live in. Most students choose to buy their food from the supermarkets and eat out only once in a while. Food bills from the supermarket would be around 180 – 200 EUR/month, but they could get higher, to about 280 – 300 EUR/month. However, they could be a good option as most of them sell pre-made meals for between 4 – 8 EUR.

Inexpensive restaurants in Switzerland serve meals at prices that range from 12 to 22 EUR per person. Restaurants that serve international cuisine can have lower prices.

Some of the Swiss dishes that are worth trying are: fondue (made with cheese, or chocolate), Zurich-style veal ragout (“Züri-Gschnätzlets”), Älplermagronen, a sort of macaroni, and for dessert you will love meringues and whipped cream (from the Gruyère region), or B”undnernusstorte –a caramelised nut-filled pastry.

Swiss drinks include a range of wines and beers as well as the famous Absinthe.

Transportation costs

The most popular means of transportation for students in Switzerland are: 11 % on foot, 10 % bicycle, 10 % public transport. In any city in Switzerland, a monthly pass on the public transportation is around 40 – 50 EUR.

Major Swiss cities like Zurich, Basel, Bern, Geneva, Lausanne and Neuchâtel have extended S-Bahn networks – fast metropolitan area trains with frequent stops running at short intervals. In these cities, all providers unite in a transport association, meaning the same tickets are valid on trains, tramways, buses and even ships.

You have the option to buy a Swiss travel pass (340 EUR for 15 days) and travel as much as you like in Switzerland without tickets, simply boarding with this pass. With this pass, you can also travel for free by bus and tram in most towns and cities in Switzerland.

Extra costs for students

You will have to pay for a monthly health insurance, between 300 and 330 EUR.

The books and supplies will cost you another 90 EUR/month.

Leisure is part of any student’s budget, so you should know that it costs around 27 EUR to see a show and a cinema ticket is around 14.5 EUR.

By presenting the student ID card, a museum ticket should only cost around 6 – 7 EUR.

If you live in an apartment, you would have to pay at least another 100 EUR each month on utility bills.

Scholarship options for students in Switzerland

In Switzerland, international students can get scholarships offered by the Swiss government, based on partnerships established with several countries. Most of these scholarships are granted to postgraduate candidates and researchers.

Check out scholarship opportunities in Switzerland.

You should check if you are entitled to receive a scholarship by contacting the Swiss embassy or consulate in your home country.

Other scholarships are offered by some of the Swiss universities; you can benefit from grants ranging from 9,200 EUR to 13,700 EUR, available only for one year, with the possibility of extension, provided you will be academically successful at the end of your first semester of studies.

In some universities, you can apply for an interest-free loan of up to 11,000 EUR per year, which covers up to 40 % of fees and living costs. In Zurich, you can also opt for the solidarity fund for foreign students – available for Bachelor students who have completed their first semester. The amount of the fund can get up to 520 EUR/month, for up to ten semesters.

Student money saving tips in Switzerland
  • Try having a meal in the university dining hall where you would only pay 7 – 8 EUR or at the snack bars or restaurants located in department stores (like: Migros, Coop or Manor).
  • In restaurants, beer is often cheaper than water, so better have a beer and it will also help you look more like a local.
  • Try making most of your shopping after 5 p.m., as many stores add 25–50 percent discounts on perishable items. You should also take advantage of the traditional sale months, January and July, or consider shopping across the border in Germany or Italy once in a while.
  • If you’re only considering a drink, in hostel bars you can enjoy 2-for-1 happy hours and cheap drinks for around 4.5 EUR.
  • In ethnic restaurants like Chinese, Middle Eastern, Indian, or Thai you can get good deals for large portions and pay only 9 EUR.
Universities & Colleges in Switzerland
  • Business and Hotel Management School
  • Business and Management University
  • Business School Lausanne (BSL)
  • Cubidor University Switzerland
  • DCT International Hotel & Business Management School
  • European Graduate School, Media & Communications
  • FachhochschulePur
  • Franklin College Switzerland
  • Graduate School of Business Administration Zurich (GSBA Zurich)
  • HochschulefürGestaltung und Kunst Zürich
  • International Hotel Management Institute (IMI)
  • Lausanne Hotel School (EHL)
  • LiberaUniversitàdegliStudi di ScienzeUmane e Tecnologiche
  • Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts
  • NTB Interstate University of Applied Sciences of Technology
  • PädagogischeHochschule Zürich (Zurich School of Education)
  • Schiller International University, American College of Switzerland
  • Swiss Business School Zurich (SBS)
  • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne
  • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich
  • Swiss Management Center
  • University Center “César Ritz”
  • University of Applied Sciences Aargau
  • University of Applied Sciences Basel (FHBB )
  • University of Applied Sciences Chur
  • University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil
  • University of Applied Sciences Solothurn Northwestern Switzerland
  • University of Basel
  • University of Berne
  • University of Fribourg
  • University of Geneva
  • University of Lausanne
  • University of Lucerne
  • University of Neuchatel
  • University of St. Gallen
  • University of Switzerland
  • University of the Italian-speaking Part of Switzerland
  • University of Zürich
  • Victoria University
  • Webster University Geneva
  • Zurich University of Applied Sciences Winterthur

If you are not a Swiss citizen, but want to take advantage of quality education and training system in Switzerland, you must apply for a student visa at the Swiss embassy in Delhi or any VFS Global Services centre in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jalandhar, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Cochin, Mumbai, Puducherry, Chennai and Pune.

Embassy of Switzerland in India
Nyaya Marg, Chanakyapuri
New Delhi – 110 021, India
website: https://www.eda.admin.ch/newdelhi
email: ndh.visa@eda.admin.ch

  • You must e-mail to ndh.visa@eda.admin.ch with subject: “Student application” with a scanned copy of the acceptance letter of the Swiss university/ institute, name & other info about your chosen course of study & 3 preferred dates for an appointment.
  • Now the embassy will decide whether you need to show up in person at the embassy or not.

To be granted a student visa you must satisfy the visa requirements and comply with a number of visa conditions for attendance and academic performance which come into effect after you have entered Switzerland. Your student visa will list the conditions that apply specifically to you. It is important to comply with your visa conditions to avoid visa cancellation.

Foreign nationals can study in Switzerland for a period of up to 3 months without a student/residence permit.

Switzerland Student Visa Fee

The visa fee for a student application is Rs.4,500.

Checklist for Getting a Swiss Student Visa from India

  1. Your passport (issued within the last 10 years and with at least 3 months validity after the scheduled return; with at least two blank pages.
  2. Four passport size pictures, not older than 6 months (size 35 – 40 mm in width, no copy or scanned picture): 3 photos to be pasted on the three application forms, the 4th picture to be clipped face down on top right hand corner of the form, stapled or pinned pictures cannot be accepted; for more details, please refer
  3. to:http://www.icao.int/Security/mrtd/Downloads/Technical%20Reports/Annex_A-Photograph_Guidelines.pdf
  4. 3 copies of Visa application form completed, all forms signed in original by the applicant & authorization for third person if applicable
  5. Previous passport if any
  6. 1 original and 1 copy of personal covering letter signed by you explaining a) your reason for pursuing studies in Switzerland b) your future plans after finishing your course c) that you will leave Switzerland after the course
  7. 2 x copies acceptance / confirmation / registration letter from the school, university, etc. in Switzerland confirming that the university entry fee has been paid (with relevant bank statement) – if applicable
  8. 2 x copies of student cards or certificates of the university/ institute you have joined
  9. 2 x copies proof of academic degrees (previous diplomas / certificates / English language certificates such as TOEFL or IELTS or language certificates of German, French or Italian language if available) and 2 x curriculum vitae
  10. 2 x copies of proof of your financial status or of your parents etc.) if no fellowship is granted (all documents have to be in format A4)
  11. 2 x clear photocopies of the 1st and last page of the passport (bio data)

Swiss Student Visa is free of charge:

  • For applicants / visitors going for research (provided that they will not receive any type of financial compensation such as fellowship or any other amount).
  • For applicants, who have been accepted on scholarship basis. (Swiss governmental scholarships or scholarships provided by EPFL,ETH or universities)

However please take note that if the planned stay in Switzerland is exceeding 90 days, postal charges is to be paid.

Proof of occupation in India


  • Photocopies of all relevant documents must be provided for the Embassy.
  • Do not submit originals. Once submitted, no document will be returned.
  • Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. If necessary, you may be requested to bring additional documentation or to appear for a personal interview.

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