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2021-08-24 15:28:20

Public universities in Switzerland: admission requirements for foreign students

Public universities in Switzerland: admission requirements for foreign students

Swiss educational system is known worldwide for its high academic standards, recognized research results, student-centered teaching methods. Higher education in Switzerland follows the Bologna process and is divided into three program cycles with the receipt of bachelor's, master's, doctoral degrees.

The Swiss education system is decentralized, each of the 26 cantons is subordinate to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).


Higher educational system in Switzerland

In Switzerland, there are public and private universities of applied sciences, higher educational institutions of arts, music, universities of pedagogical education.

Ten cantonal universities offer a variety of programs in economics, mathematics, science, humanities, and social sciences. Switzerland is one of the leaders in education in the field of hotel management: eight of the world's ten best hotel schools, such as Les Roches International are located here.

The language of instruction depends on the location of the educational institution: it can be Italian, French, German.

In Switzerland, there are 10 state (cantonal) universities, two federal institutes of technology. The oldest educational institution, the University of Bern, dates back to 1460, and the youngest, the University of Lucerne, has been operating since 2000.

The state follows the Bologna process, based on the European system of transfer and accumulation of credits (ECTS credits), which allows foreign students to easily move from local universities to any educational institutions in the world.

Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Studies in Switzerland

The duration of undergraduate programs is three years, 180 ECTS credits. There are special programs, medicine or pharmacy, which last up to 5-6 years. Obtaining a bachelor's degree is a prerequisite for admission to master's courses.

The language of instruction depends on the location of the university. During the bachelor's degree, students attend compulsory courses in the specialty (main), additional elective courses (secondary), as well as free elective courses. The last year is devoted to writing a dissertation.

The duration of master's programs is 1-2 years of full-time study with 90-120 ECTS credits. A master's degree is required for the transition to the highest academic level - doctoral studies. A master's degree in Switzerland is an excellent choice for an international student without prior knowledge of French, Italian or German: universities offer several programs with teaching in English.

Master's courses allow you to acquire advanced knowledge, include various modules, practical tasks. Students study independently, attend group classes, write a dissertation at the end of their studies.

Doctoral degrees in Switzerland are awarded only by traditional universities. Education involves independent work on a doctoral dissertation under the guidance of a supervisor. Doctoral studies take three to five years and require 240 ECTS credits.

Higher education institutions in Switzerland award two types of doctoral degrees:

  • Traditional,or general doctoral degrees – are held on the basis of one university under the guidance of one/several managers. The main attention is paid to research, most of the study time doctoral doctors devote to work on the dissertation.
  • Structured doctoral degrees include more practical exercises, involve cooperation, partnership between different institutions (universities of applied sciences).

The academic year in Switzerland lasts from September to May and is divided into two academic semesters: from September to December, from February to May.

Types of universities in Switzerland

Public Universities in Switzerland

12 Swiss universities are funded by the state – 10 cantonal universities and 2 federal institutes of technology.

  1. University of Basel
  2. University of Bern
  3. University of Fribourg
  4. University of Geneva
  5. University of Neuchâtel
  6. University of Lausanne
  7. University of Lucerne
  8. University of Lugano
  9. University of St. Gallen
  10. University of Zurich
  11. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne
  12. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich.

Universities of Applied Sciences and Arts

Switzerland has eight public universities of applied sciences and arts, one private, all of them are closely connected with the Swiss economy, culture, society. Their goal is to establish educational partnerships with companies, institutions, and other organizations. They are focused on practical activities, teachers with experience in specific industries with specific experience and knowledge work here.

Curricula are built on the formation of practical competencies, combine the theory and the formation of working skills, help students enter the Swiss labor market.

Universities of Teacher Education

Pedagogical universities are responsible for the education of teachers in Swiss primary, secondary and high schools. Today there are 20 pedagogical universities in the country, each engaged in continuous research, preparation of professionals in the field of teaching. The goal is to preserve the best practices of the Swiss educational system through the introduction of the latest educational trends and technologies.

Admission to public universities in Switzerland

There is no centralized admission procedure in Switzerland. Each university is autonomous, sets its own criteria for admission. General information about admission to universities:

  • Enrollment in the undergraduate program: the main requirement is a high school diploma, which is equivalent to the Swiss matriculation certificate. Please note that additional requirements must be met to enroll in medical courses, admission to them is extremely limited.
  • Admission to the magistracy: the main requirement is the presence of a bachelor's degree from an accredited university in a certain field.
  • Admission to doctoral studies: the main requirement is the presence of a master's degree from an accredited university in the relevant field.
  • Language requirements: A good knowledge of the language of instruction is a prerequisite for successful study. Knowledge of Italian can be confirmed with the help of the CILS/CELI test, French - with the help of the DELF / DALF test, German - with the help of ÖSD, TestDaf, Goethe Institut tests, English - with the TOEFL exam, IELTS.

Why it is better to enter universities in Switzerland with SMAPSE?

We help to enter some of the best public universities in Switzerland:

  • Université de Genève
  • Université de Lausanne
  • Université de Fribourg.

Correctly chosen education is the basis of a future career, the opportunity to get the desired job in any country of the world.

Our team has many years of experience of successful admission to leading universities in Europe, study abroad, student life in Europe, student exchanges, work in international teams, as well as experience in science and research work at the international level.

Members of our team - specialists in international issues, education in Europe, the quality of the dossier - have gained invaluable personal experience in the transition from the status of a Russian student / entrant to the European one, we are ready to share this experience with you.

Specialists with practical experience will help in detail to avoid mistakes, prepare a win-win dossier for admission. Knowing what details determine a successful applicant for admission to European educational institutions, our consultants will help to properly prepare a package of documents and submit an application on time.

Why is it difficult to understand for yourself how to enter a European university? The system of admission and admission in Russian-speaking universities is significantly different from the European one. Collection and execution of documents together with specialists will multiply the chances of enrollment many times, will give confidence in yourself, your knowledge.

Why do experts recommend paying great attention to the preparation of dossiers? European universities pay great attention to the representation of themselves, the ability to express goals, motivation. This is followed by the entire administrative procedure of admission, individual for each university. It is not necessary to be an excellent student, have a red diploma or medals - an ordinary certificate or credit (if you are already a student), real knowledge of a foreign language, a huge desire and undeniable motivation to study in Europe are enough. Our specialists prepare a dossier of each student after an individual consultation.

SMAPSE services

1st stage – consultation (from 1 to 2 hours).

What's included:

  1. Choice of country of study
  2. Selecting a city(s)
  3. University Selection
  4. Determination of the language level: takes place in the format of a short interview in a foreign language with the company's specialists within the framework of the courses / tutoring / school or university language programs taken by the applicant
  5. Search for academic programs by the announced criteria, level of preparation, expectations, budget
  6. Determination of the budget for education, calculation of average costs for living abroad
  7. Consultation on scholarships.

2nd stage – preparation of the dossier and admission.

  1. Filling in, sending registration forms to selected universities
  2. Assistance in payment of registration fees
  3. Consultation before an interview at the educational institution (if planned)
  4. Drawing up a list of necessary documents for enrollment
  5. Indication of deadlines for submission of applications to selected universities
  6. Selection of the necessary international tests for passing, the right timing
  7. CV (resume), motivation letter, letters of recommendation
  8. Verification of the correctness of the translation, legalization of the diploma / school certificate
  9. On request: contact with partner translators, if the applicant finds it difficult to find a good translator
  10. Assistance, consulting support at each stage of admission
  11. Submission of dossiers.

3rd stage – support after admission.

  1. Assistance in preparing a package of documents for the consulate for obtaining a student visa
  2. Recommendations for choosing a future profession: consideration of the market of professions in the selected country, throughout Europe
  3. Consultation on employment abroad, planning of further education (MBA, doctoral studies)
  4. Providing additional information to help the country adapt quickly.

Grants and scholarships

State universities in Switzerland offer grants and scholarships for foreign students. Our company conducts consultations, helps in the preparation of dossiers for applying for scholarships (without guarantee of its confirmation), if the chosen specialty, level is suitable for the criteria for applying.

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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