Requirements for Studying in Switzerland

By | July 1, 2021

To study in Switzerland, you usually apply directly to the respective Swiss university. Their requirements differ considerably in some cases. In general, the universities of applied sciences require a minimum age of 17 years and the advanced technical college entrance qualification. To apply to a university, however, candidates must have reached the age of 18 and have the Swiss Matura or the German Abitur.

In many cases, universities require applicants to study in Switzerland to have minimum grades in certain school subjects. It can also happen that foreigners subsequently have to take supplementary exams or the Swiss or cantonal Matura examination.

A successfully completed bachelor’s is a prerequisite for a master’s degree. A master’s degree qualifies for a doctorate. However, applicants have no right to be accepted for a doctorate. The universities select their doctoral candidates individually. Incidentally, there is currently an admission freeze for foreign students in all medical subjects.

Another basic requirement for admission to study in Switzerland is mastery of the respective language of study. The verification is in the hands of the respective university. In the case of an English-language subject, you usually have to provide evidence of sufficient English skills via a minimum number of points in standard tests such as TOEFL or IELTS. Corresponding language tests exist in French and Italian. You should find out about the specific language requirements at the respective university in good time.

Costs and financing options

Those who want to study in Switzerland have to pay tuition fees. The study-related costs vary considerably depending on the university. You should calculate around 1,200 to 2,000 euros per semester. The fees are made up of the semester fees and the so-called college allowance. This college fee includes the accident insurance, library and all student organizations. Given the high quality of studies in Switzerland, this is a moderate amount of contributions. In certain cases, socially needy students receive exemption from tuition fees at most universities. Foreign students have to pay an additional fee in some places.

According to top-mba-universities, the cost of living in Switzerland is higher than, for example, in Germany. Zurich is now even considered the most expensive city in the world. Equally, incomes in Switzerland are at a higher level: they are sometimes three to four times as high as in most other European countries. According to the DAAD’s calculations, monthly costs of around 900 to 1,400 euros can be assumed. For a room in a shared apartment in a student residence you should expect around 250-400 euros per month.

In order to be able to finance the study stay in Switzerland more easily, interested parties should find out about possible financing options in advance. The so-called mobility offices of the individual Swiss universities are happy to provide information about the university’s own funding.

For example, through the Federal Scholarship Commission for Foreign Students in Switzerland (ESKAS), Switzerland grants talented foreign students postgraduate scholarships. Another option is partial scholarships from political, economic or cultural organizations. University exchange programs or the DAAD also provide partial scholarships for studying in Switzerland.

Not to be forgotten is, of course, the BAföG abroad: The office pays the tuition fees of up to 4,600 euros for a maximum of one year and subsidizes the cost of living, travel and any additional costs for health insurance. The funding rates for BAföG abroad are higher. Therefore, those students who are not eligible for BAföG in Germany often also receive funding.

There is also the option of studying abroad in Switzerland with the help of a student loan.

Visa and entry requirements for Switzerland

To study in Switzerland you need a valid passport or identity card. If you are going to study for a longer period of time, you must also apply for a residence permit from the Swiss Aliens Police. The following documents are required for this:

  • Detailed CV
  • two passport photos
  • Confirmation of admission from a Swiss university
  • Explanation of the course content
  • Possibly proof of sufficient financial means for the duration of the stay

Universities of applied sciences in Switzerland

At the universities of applied sciences, the training of students is also very practice-oriented. The departments include, among others

  • technology
  • Computer science
  • chemistry
  • Economy and management
  • Architecture and planning
  • Agriculture and forestry as well
  • Art and music.

Due to the importance and tradition of the Swiss tourism industry, several renowned specialist schools for hotels and restaurants have also established themselves in the country. They provide both theoretical and practical training that takes place at the universities and hotels on site.

Requirements for Studying in Switzerland