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Study in Switzerland

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Studying in Switzerland

Switzerland universities offer a wide range of courses of study at all levels (bachelor, master, doctorate) at different institutions of higher education (academic universities, universities of applied sciences, universities of teacher education) and in different languages (German, French, Italian, English). The websites of the universities provide information about the courses and the criteria for admission: .

For those looking to expand their cultural horizons, Switzerland could be the perfect choice as a study abroad destination. It has four national languages — Swiss German, French, Italian and Romansch — and is equally rich in cultural diversity.

Entry and visa regulations

Students must register with their local Residents’ Registration Office within 14 days of arrival. To register, students need proof of identity and address, along with evidence of sufficient funds and enrolment at university.

Applicants wishing to study at a Swiss university should apply directly to the institution of their choice. Deadlines for entry vary between institutions, but as a general rule you’ll need to apply in the spring for courses beginning in the autumn.

Funding your study

  • At most of the general universities, the annual tuition fee for international students is between £650 and £1,000,
  • with some exceptions — the University of Italian Switzerland, for example, charges a much higher fee of about £2,600 per year.
  • UK students are allowed to work up to 15 hours per week alongside their studies without acquiring a work permit.
  • There are some scholarships available for foreign students – check with your local Swiss embassy in the first instance.

The cost of living is high in Switzerland. In this year’s Worldwide Cost of Living Survey, compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Zurich was named as the most expensive city in the world, with Geneva in third place.

Prices vary depending on location, but typical prices (GBP, March 2015) are:

  • Apartment rent, 1 bedroom: £755 - £946 per month
  • Meal, inexpensive restaurant: £13.47
  • Meal at McDonalds: £8.76
  • Domestic beer (0.5 litre draught): £4.04
  • Imported beer (0.33 litre bottle): £3.54
  • Cappuccino: £2.91
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre bottle): £2.66
  • Water (0.33 litre bottle): £2.24
  • Loaf of bread: £1.68
  • Cigarettes: £5.39
  • One-way ticket local transport: £2.02
  • Cinema ticket: £12.12

Health and safety

  • Health insurance is compulsory for all students intending to stay in Switzerland for more than three months, but for EU students basic medical care is available using the European Health Insurance Card.
  • Switzerland is considered a very safe country to live in and violent crime is rare. Although gun crimes are low, Switzerland has one of the highest per capita gun ownership rates in the world.