Why study in Switzerland?

Switzerland is a multilingual country with German, French, Italian, and Romansh for its four official languages. Switzerland welcomes immigrants from all around the world. 25 percent of Switzerland’s population are foreigners. The Indian community is 24,567 strong and is mostly concentrated around Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Baden, Bern, and Lausanne. About 1000 Indian students are studying in Switzerland.

Swiss universities are high performers, and over the years, have come to be known as providers of superior quality education. Switzerland is picked by international students for the diversity in its choice over a breath of study fields.

In places best suited for international students, Switzerland placed third in Europe.

Climate of Switzerland  

Summers in Switzerland are pleasantly warm, with daytime temperatures ranging from 18oC to 28oC. Winters are cold, with temperatures falling to lows of 7oC to -2oC. Springtime temperatures range between 8oC to 15oC. Rain showers are light.

Education System of Switzerland

The education system of Switzerland is comprehensive, robust, and is considered among the best in the world. The country of Switzerland is made up of cantons. Every canton has its government, constitution, and laws. There are a total of 20 cantons and 6 half cantons.

Every canton decides for itself the curriculum, academic calendar, and criteria. Despite the differences, the entire system is tied together by the central government under the watchful eye of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).

Despite the diversity students have all to gain, the Swiss government takes into account the capabilities and ability of its students. Education in Switzerland is compulsory for at least 9 years; after school students branch out choosing their career paths, post realizing their abilities and yearning.

Secondary Education

Secondary education in Switzerland comprises of lower and upper levels. Students must complete their lower secondary education; upper secondary education is a matter of choice.

Public Lower Secondary Education 

Pursued by students at the age of 11-12, students attend middle school, commonly called Gymnasium or Kantonsschule. Education at this level is usually provided in a language local to a canton, the second national language, and sometimes in a third language, and English.

Public Upper Secondary Education

Upper secondary education is optional after completing 9 years of mandatory education. However, close to 90 percent of students choose to pursue further studies. Secondary education is divided-

  • Vocational education and training (VET)
  • Baccalaureate
  • Upper secondary specialized

 Vocational education and training

The most commonly opted line of further study is vocational training and education programs. VET programs run for durations of 2 to 4 years. Students gain practical knowledge with training made available through dual programs. Dual programs offer students a combination of teaching with practical learning made available through the corporation of private employers.

VET programs cover 230 different professions in Switzerland. Students pursuing VET programs can graduate with Federal VET certificates, a Federal VET diploma, or the Federal vocational baccalaureate (Berufsmaturität / maturité professionelle). Using the said degrees allows students to be admitted to universities of applied sciences.

Baccalaureate schools

Baccalaureate schools provide general education in preparation for study at a university. Baccalaureate courses are tenured for a minimum of 4 years; however, courses can run for 3 years to as many as 6 years, depending on the canton.

Baccalaureate courses offer specializations in the national language, the second national language, and third national language (English, Latin, or Greek). All students are required to take an introductory course in law and economics. Assessment after each year determines if the student furthers to the next level. At the end of a Baccalaureate program, a student is required to successfully pass their examination in five subjects as well as submit a Baccalaureate essay.

A Matura or a Baccalaureate certificate earns a student the opportunity to enroll at cantonal universities, institutes of technology, and teacher training universities.

Upper Secondary Schools

Upper secondary schools are opted by 5 percent of Swiss students. Studying in an upper secondary school provides students with knowledge-based general training while preparing them for professional education and training (PTE). This includes healthcare, social work education. There are upper secondary schools in 22 cantons that are run both privately and publicly.


For a student to be enrolled in a university, they need to graduate. The degree earned on graduation greatly differs on the type of institution studied. Students graduating from the public education system receive a Matura- federal high school diploma. Students graduating from International Baccalaureate (IB) graduate with an IB Diplomas. Other school formats have their qualification. Despite the difference in the degree received, all stand eligible for university enrolment.

Universities of Switzerland

There are a total of 12 universities in Switzerland. 10 of the universities are under the jurisdiction of cantons, while the other two are Federal Institutes of Technology. State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation holds authority over the two Federal Institutes of Technology – ETHZ in Zurich and EPFL in Lausanne. 11 of the 12 Swiss universities rank in the World University Rankings. Both ETHZ and EPFL are within the top 20, while additionally, 4 universities are placed within the top 200.

Moreover, eight Swiss universities rank in the top 100 for the number of international students.

Top Universities of Switzerland 

  • ETH Zurich
  • Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
  • University of Zurich
  • University of Geneva
  • University of Bern
  • University of Basel
  • University of Lausanne
  • USI Università della Svizzera italiana
  • University of St. Gallen
  • University of Fribourg

Indian students In Switzerland have a lot to receive from the Universities of Switzerland. World-class education, recognized degrees, research facilities, high-ranking universities, and more are the offerings an International student gets from their study in Switzerland.

Quality of Education in Switzerland

The universities of Switzerland continually perform well in categories contributing to higher rankings – teaching, research, knowledge, and international outlook. Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, ETH Zürich is the highest ranked Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Imparting quality education in Science, mathematics, technology, and engineering – ETH Zurich has birthed over 20 Nobel price laureates, including the most brilliant mind known to humankind – Albert Einstein.

Besides, Switzerland is home to many international organizations. International employees have appreciated Switzerland for its cosmopolitan, cultural tolerance, receptive atmosphere, which encourages innovative thinking, all of this contributing to outward-looking universities.

Top Courses for Indian students in Switzerland

The top universities of Switzerland feature in the top 50

Switzerland offers courses at the Research, Masters, and Bachelors levels. The broad subject areas include:

  • Business Management
  • Hotel & Hospitality Management
  • Sustainability Management
  • Quantitative & Systems Biology
  • International Law
  • Banking & Finance
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Interdisciplinary Sciences

 Career Outlook 

Knowledge and practice, when coupled together in an academic environment, yield highly sought-after graduates. Universities of Switzerland focus on the employability of their graduates and thus, closely work to offer their students practical and research-driven teaching methods.

Graduates from the Universities of Switzerland are a highly employable workforce. As compared to other countries, the rate of unemployment in this mountain country is relatively low. Indian students graduating from Swiss education bodies with diplomas and degrees hold the same stance in Swiss job markets as their Swiss peers.

Switzerland is the hub for many top businesses. Hospitality, finance, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals are some of the best performing job sectors in Switzerland. 15 Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Switzerland. Nestlé, ABB, Google, and Swatch are among the many International companies that call Switzerland their home.

Working as A student in Switzerland

Studying in Switzerland could be expensive. Indian students in Switzerland can take up part-time jobs while pursuing their degree courses. 75 percent of international students studying at Swiss Universities work part-time while studying. As an Indian student studying in Switzerland, one is permitted to work 16 hours a week during their term and full-time during vacations. A student from any region other than EU/EFTA can work part-time after 6 months of course commencement.

An employer must provide an employment request against which a verification is carried out. After fulfilling the employment check, the Immigration services provide the student with a work permit.

Cost of Studying in Switzerland

Switzerland is considered to be an expensive country where the cost of living is high. Despite the higher cost of living, tuition is fairly affordable; this, a result of Switzerland spending 5.6 percent of its GDP on education. Thus, International students like Swiss nationals get this extended indirect support of the Swiss government.

Cost of studying in Switzerland for an Indian student

Study in Switzerland cost for Indian students per year in CHF and INR as follows:

Bachelors’ degree CHF 5,000 – CHF 24,000Approx INR 4,08,000 to INR 19,58,000
Master’s degreeCHF 3,000 – CHF 13,000Approx INR 2,45,000 – INR 10,61,000
MBA programsCHF 24,000 – CHF 85,000Approx INR 19,58,000 – INR 69,32,000

Note: The prices and exchange rates may vary in future

Source: Study in Switzerland website

Master programs in private institutions have higher fees.

Doctoral Studies

Tuition fees for students pursuing doctoral degrees are considerably lower when compared to students pursuing bachelor’s or master’s programs.

Master’s degree from a foreign university – CHF 150 (Approx INR 12,300)

Master’s degree from a Swiss university – CHF 50 (Approx INR 4,100)

Master’s degree in an EPF – Free of charge

Apart from tuition fees, a student will have to pay an application fee – CHF 50 – 250 (Approx INR 4,100 – INR 20,500), examination fees CHF 100 to 800 (Approx INR 8,200 – INR 65,400), CHF 30 towards sports facilities, and CHF 10 (INR 820) towards social funds.

Cost of living in Switzerland

Accommodation can be expensive. International students can opt to stay in rented apartments, shared accommodation. Universities offer students stay on campus in residence halls; these are affordable and cost less. Students can approach the Housing Office or an International Office in their institution for help with accommodation.

The average cost for renting a studio apartment CHF 900 to 2000 (Approx INR 75,000 – INR 1,64,000)

The average cost for sharing a flat CHF 500 to 900 (Approx INR 41,000 – INR 75,000)

Transportation in Switzerland 

Traveling in Switzerland is expensive. Most cities of Switzerland have travel cards that can be used in trams, trains, and buses. An Indian student, on average, may spend an approximate CHF 100 (INR 8200) per month on travel.

Other costs to be factored in are internet bills, entertainment, groceries, etc.

Scholarships offered to Indian students for study in Switzerland

Switzerland offers its students the chance to fund their education with the help of scholarships. Mentioned are lists of scholarships Indian students can avail to fund their study in Switzerland –

  • Excellence Scholarships of the University of St. Gallen
  • ETH Zurich Excellence Scholarship 2020/2021 for International Masters Students – Student pursuing a full-time Master degree at ETH Zurich
  • EPFL Excellence Fellowship for Master’s Students – Students pursuing Master’s degree
  • Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships for Foreign Scholars and Artists for the 2020-2021 Academic Year – postgraduate student researchers in any discipline
  • International Summer Research Fellowship in Computer and Communication Sciences in Switzerland: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) – Bachelor and Master in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Telecommunications, or Electrical Engineering.
  • Alfred Werner Master’s Student Scholarships – Students pursuing Master of Science (MSc) in Chemistry or biochemistry
  • International Academic Master’s Scholarship at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland – Student pursuing master’s degree program at the Lucerne University
  • Studyportals Scholarship International Distinction Awards 2020 – Student pursuing full-time Bachelors or Master’s or Ph.D.
  • Kizi Scholarship Program – Undergraduate, postgraduate, and Ph.D. in Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Science, and similar departments

Visa application

As an Indian student one would receive either a C- Visa or a D-Visa, depending on the tenure of the course. To stand eligible for a student visa in Switzerland, a student is required to produce their certificate of acceptance to an academic institution in Switzerland. It is also needed that the students produce proof of fee payment, CV, and give in writing that they do not intend to stay back in Switzerland post completion of their course.

C-Visa – A visa of this nature is a short-term; it is valid for three months. Students can use a visa of this nature to attend seminars, summer schools, and language schools.

D-Visa – The holder of a D-Visa can stay in the country to study, work and reside in Switzerland. Intentional students are granted Schengen visas, which are valid for a year and stand the possibility for extension.

Post Study Work Permits

The L-Permit – This permit is issued for 12 months to both EU/EFTA and non-EU nationals. The L-Permit is subjected to quota restrictions if the period exceeds 4 months; there are no restrictions in quota if the permit is under 4 months.

The B-Permit   – This permit is issued for 12 months to both EU/EFTA and non-EU nationals. B-Permits are extendable and can cover long-term work.  Quotas apply for permits over 4 months; quotas do not apply for a permit under four months.

The G-Permit – Awarded to employees and candidates that travel to the country from across the border. G-Permits are available to candidates that are permanent residents of the neighboring country or have family residing in the neighboring country’s border for a minimum of 6 months.

The C-Permit – Awarded for those living for 10 consecutive years in Switzerland. US and Canadian citizens are granted this permit after 5 years of consecutive stay in Switzerland.

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