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2018-07-30 11:56:59

Study in Switzerland: educational system and tuition fees

Study in Switzerland: educational system and tuition fees

This article provides a detailed description of the stages of obtaining a prestigious education in Switzerland. A teenager will have a full understanding of the requirements that need to be met when enrolling in an institution. If you have any questions after reading the article, feel free to contact our highly qualified specialists who will gladly answer all your questions.

It is universally recognized that the Swiss educational system is considered the best. Foreign, including teenagers, can be trained in the leading private and public school-boarding schools and universities in Switzerland. It was from the walls of the rating Swiss universities that several dozen Nobel laureates came out.

The stages of education in Switzerland and its types

Regardless of the time of year, you can at any time proceed to obtain a prestigious education in Switzerland. However, there are no restrictions on the age of the student. Considering the sphere of education in Switzerland, it should be noted that a variety of effective and effective educational programs have been developed, within the framework of which students study several foreign languages. In addition, foreign teens actively work on their own projects, using the most modern equipment of classrooms and laboratories, and also having access to the resources of large libraries. The only drawback of obtaining an elite education in Switzerland is a fairly high cost of education.

Taking into account the differences in educational programs that are observed between the cantons of Switzerland, the federal authorities guarantee the accessibility of education and a high level of teaching. Small Swiss at the age of 6 and up to 16 years have the right to receive free of charge compulsory high-school education in the best Swiss schools-boarding schools and universities. Below are the powers of state bodies of all levels of government within the educational system:

  • The cantonal authorities are responsible for and monitor the preschool institutions, primary boarding schools, as well as for educational institutions in the first stage of compulsory secondary education. On the part of state authorities, the highest level of quality of educational services is guaranteed, as well as accessibility and its free nature.
  • Control over prestigious secondary schools of the second stage is entrusted to the cantonal authorities, with the exception of vocational education institutions, the responsibility for the regulation of which is vested in the federal authorities. It is worth noting that the elite state-run gymnasiums, colleges, boarding schools are subordinate to the regions, at the same time Swiss top boarding schools are responsible for the qualitative preparation of schoolchildren for the successful passing of the federal exam. Thus, the diplomas received in the walls of the leading public schools are quoted only in Switzerland, on the contrary, recognition of certificates of private boarding schools takes place in other countries, not only in Switzerland.
  • As for universities, there is a simultaneous submission to the center and regions. State bodies exercise control over educational institutions of higher professional education, while regional bodies are entrusted with control over universities, however, central authorities are responsible for their financing. The elite Swiss higher education completely corresponds to the requirements of the Bologna agreement, thus the educational process is divided into two stages, namely the bachelor's and master's degrees.

As for the academic year, it lasts from September to June, and consists of:

  • The autumn trimester, which begins in September and ends in mid-December
  • The spring trimester, which lasts from mid-January to mid-April
  • Summer, which falls on the end of April and the beginning of June.

Prestigious preschool education in Switzerland

When a child reaches four years old, he has an excellent opportunity to go to study in Switzerland, which is one of the richest countries. So, every advanced Swiss school-boarding house has specially developed family programs that provide training for the baby in conjunction with his parents. Parents should not be concerned about sending their child to Switzerland for the holidays, as during this period there is an effective development of language skills and, in general, the physical rehabilitation of the child.

It is worth noting that preschool education is not compulsory in Switzerland. However, the majority of parents decide to register their child in prestigious public or private kindergartens in Switzerland.

We draw your attention to the fact that when getting an elite preschool education in state educational institutions, the training is not completely free. Local budget funds only partially cover the stay of the child in Switzerland, and the rest of the cost of education is paid by the parents of the child, based on their income level. At once we will notice, that in walls of prestigious Swiss kindergartens teaching in mathematics, reading and writing is not provided. So, within the framework of training, emphasis is placed on holding various outdoor games, repeating various words and sentences, poems, and songs. Upon completion of the training, the children develop a basic knowledge of several dialects, they lack short-sightedness, scoliosis, and they have excellent physical development. And parents will immediately be noted for their children's excellent mood. However, compared with children, Swiss preschool children are somewhat worse read and considered.

Elite secondary and vocational education in Switzerland

All the leading Swiss boarding schools offer various national educational programs to the attention of foreign teenagers, namely Italian, Anglo-American, Swiss, French and German.

The degree of saturation of the academic course is universally recognized by the federal program of the Swiss national school of education, which includes five types of training, namely:

  • A - provides for the study of Latin and Greek languages
  • B - provides for the study of Latin and modern languages
  • C - Teaching of mathematics and natural sciences
  • D - schoolchildren are taught modern foreign languages
  • E - teaching of economic disciplines is conducted.

The educational program provides for the study of 12 compulsory disciplines, which, in turn, are divided into:

  • Basic - the study of native and second state language and mathematics
  • Compulsory - include drawing / music, history, chemistry, physical education, physics, biology, geography, two subjects within the profile specialty.

Switzerland's leading secondary education involves, on an additional basis, the study of two of the four possible foreign programs, namely the French Baccalaureat, the American HighSchoolDiploma, the English A-level, the German Abitur, and the Italian Maturite. In addition, the universal educational program InternationalBaccalaureate developed directly in Switzerland, and is universally recognized in over 50% of all countries in the world. In addition, boarding schools successfully operate on the territory of Switzerland, within the walls of which there is an in-depth study of foreign languages, and partial instruction is also conducted. Parents can have no doubt that by receiving a rating secondary education in a boarding school in Switzerland, the teenager will develop fully and will pass qualitative academic preparation for future education at the chosen best university in Switzerland.

The best colleges in Switzerland

Even at a young age, you need to think about and plan for a future career. In the case of a clear understanding of the child's future professional field in the period of education, then it is worth thinking about further training in one of the leading colleges in Switzerland.

When entering a Swiss prestigious college, a foreign teenager should be prepared for training within a narrow focus, having a positive impact on the quality of vocational education. In particular, the curriculum in the field of tourism and hotel management provides for the teaching of accounting, several foreign languages, international financial systems, information technology, etc.

The greatest popularity and demand for the best school-college TACIS, which is located in a picturesque region among the most beautiful Alps. It is worth noting the modern and advanced equipment of educational buildings, computer auditoriums. Scientific labs, libraries with access to the worldwide network are open for classes. For the physical development of students a variety of sports grounds and halls are open.

Elite education in Switzerland

Once again, we note that at the first mention of the Swiss education there is an association with such words as prestige and elitism. In fact, Switzerland wants to come to those who want to get the highest level of quality and the best.

Comparing with the countries of Europe, it is for Switzerland that the highest level of public investment in the educational sphere is characteristic. Simultaneously, leading Swiss educational institutions are given full autonomy, thus, educational institutions not only follow the latest modern educational trends, but also take an active part in their formation.

Structure of education and its cost in Switzerland

Below is a table in which you can see the prices for training in terms of the type of educational program and the language requirements for applicants.

Type of educational program

Age of student

Duration of training

Average cost, Swiss francs

Level of proficiency in a foreign language

Summer camp

From 6 years

From 1 week to 1 month

1000 a week

Beginner A1

Language classes

At the age of 12

1-12 weeks

700 per week

Beginner A1

Secondary education

From 11-12 years old

From 1 year to 6 years

60 thousand per year

Intermediate (B1)



At the age of 17

1-2 semesters

2000 per year

Intermediate (B1)

Bachelor's program


3-4 years

1500 per year



Master's Courses


2 years

1500 per year

Passing the test DAF 4 / DELF C1

The MBA program


From 1 year to 1.5 years

50 thousand per year

Passing the IELTS exam on an assessment of at least 6.5 points

Doctoral studies


3 years

300 per year

Test DAF 4 / DELF C1

Top Universities in Switzerland

Below you can find a list of top-10 best Swiss universities, as well as information on the cost of training.

Position in the rating

Name of university

The cost of studying under the bachelor's program, dollars

The cost of studying in a magistracy, dollars


Swiss Higher Technical School of Zurich




The Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne




Zurich University




University of Geneva




Basel University




Bern University




Lausanne University




University of St. Petersburg Gallen




University of Friborg




University of Neuchatel



The successful development of Swiss education was influenced by the following factors: the stability of life in Switzerland, the specific features of the democratic regime, as well as the political structure. Leading universities in Switzerland are given almost complete autonomy, thus giving the opportunity for independent development of educational programs. At the same time, taking into account economic crises and instability, the Swiss government and local authorities allocate considerable budgetary funds for financing prestigious universities, gymnasiums, boarding schools, and pre-school institutions. To teach students, including teenagers, only experienced and professional teachers are involved, regardless of the canton of Switzerland and the existing educational features.

Upon graduation from graduation universities, technical colleges or business schools in Switzerland, graduates are fluent in several foreign languages. Receiving an elite diploma, the graduate is awarded the status of a true professional, who will not have difficulties in finding a promising position with a good level of payment regardless of the country. However, it is indisputable that the foreign teenager will have to work hard during the training, spend a lot of time reading books and teaching materials in the library. Therefore, you will need to provide yourself with financial means for living and eating while studying, or an alternative is to receive a scholarship. The spent efforts will fully pay for themselves by the fact that after graduating from an elite university in Switzerland, a graduate becomes a sought-after specialist, who has all the opportunities for building a successful career in Europe and a prosperous life.

Key advantages of obtaining top education in Switzerland

  • Advanced innovation and research

Rating universities in Switzerland are developing quality and effective education programs. In addition, the leading Swiss universities are universally recognized as the strongest scientific centers among other European countries. The high results achieved in the elite universities of Switzerland have an impact not only on science, but also on commerce. The majority of companies, in particular pharmaceutical and town planning, are active sponsors for research in Switzerland. In connection with which, a foreign student, who came to Switzerland for the purpose of training, will be at the very center of events, where technological and scientific disclosures take place.

  • Language of instruction

As you probably know, Switzerland is a multi-lingual country. Thus, in accordance with Swiss law, the official languages are the following, as German, French, Italian and Romance. It is worth noting that the majority of the population communicates in German, accounting for 63.5%. Despite the lack of official language status in English, all Swiss, without exception, speak English perfectly. Thus, within the walls of the top universities in Switzerland, teaching in the framework of educational programs is conducted in different languages. In many cases, bilingual educational programs are offered to foreign students. Foreign applicants, who are representatives of the most diverse countries of the world, attract such a variety of educational programs. In addition, the entrant is given the opportunity to improve the language skills, which will be taught. Also, in case of interest, it is possible to learn a new foreign language.

  • Multiple trips around Switzerland

Among foreign tourists Switzerland enjoys great popularity and demand. Among the rest of Europe, Switzerland is a "mecca" for foreigners, who are attracted by the picturesque Alps, which allow them to practice various winter sports, unusual architecture of cities. In addition, staying in Switzerland, provides a unique opportunity to explore several cultures. It is not necessary to stop in only one Swiss city due to the high level of transport infrastructure development. So, you can easily get to Zurich, Geneva, Basel, also deserve the attention of small cozy cities that are on the very border of Switzerland.

Swiss Higher Education System

  • Bachelor's programs

The duration of the Bachelor's program is 3-4, the difference being due to the specialty chosen by the student. Comparing the Swiss learning process with the EU countries, it is in Switzerland that the passage of the main part of the academic courses is mandatory. Immediately at the beginning of the training, the student makes a choice regarding the scope within the previously chosen direction, in particular town planning at the Faculty of Engineering. Thus, the choice of the student is decisive in the formation of a list of compulsory disciplines for the passage.

We draw attention to the fact that, when entering the leading university in Switzerland, it is worthwhile for a foreign entrant to find out which diploma will be given to him upon completion of training. So, many elite universities in Switzerland conduct teaching, both in accordance with the Bologna system, and within the old system. Thus, while passing the training according to the old program, the graduate is given a diploma of a licentiate.

  • Master's Courses

The duration of training in the Master's program is 1-2 years. Passing training, both in the rating university of Switzerland, and the business school, the student has an excellent opportunity to obtain a master's degree, while the duration of training will be on average 1.5 years. Speaking about the process of admission to the magistracy of a prestigious Swiss university, a foreign applicant will need to have a bachelor's degree in the same specialty or related, according to which he plans to study as part of the master's program. This condition is due to the fact that, without a master's degree, it is impossible to successfully build a career in Switzerland. In connection with which, many students decide to enter the magistracy, and not only those who aspire to become holders of the degree of PhD.

  • Doctoral studies

In accordance with Swiss law, leading universities have a unique right to award a PhD degree. The number of such elite universities is only 12. To successfully enter a doctorate, you will need to provide the admissions committee with a master's degree in the same specialty. With regard to the duration of studies, the minimum period is 3 years, during which the student writes a dissertation, which is defended before the university scientific council.

Study in English in Switzerland

If you had doubts, we can tell you the pleasant news that in Switzerland you can take the educational program in English. So, English-language programs are offered not only in the bachelor's degree, but also within the framework of post-graduate programs. At the same time, before applicants entering the magistracy, there are wide opportunities for choosing English-language courses due to the fact that the Swiss universities have developed over 200 international master's programs. The number of English-language bachelor's programs is increasing every year, in particular, this situation is especially characteristic for the field of applied sciences.

Assessment and monitoring of performance in Switzerland

Let's start with the exams. In the rating universities in Switzerland the following exam formats are accepted, namely oral and written. However, in most cases, the student will need to pass an "open-book examination" that provides for the use of literature taken with him. According to most students, an extremely difficult process of passing exams is observed in elite universities in Switzerland. During the time allocated for writing the exam, students perform only 2/3 of all assignments.

Universally, Switzerland's leading universities use the 6-point grading system. As you can guess, 6 is the highest score, while 1 is the lowest. The examiner may issue an estimate with a non-integer number, in particular 4.5 or 4.25. In extremely rare cases, it is possible to obtain a higher score, as a rule, students get a score from 4 to 5. Due to the large autonomy of the Swiss cantons, significant differences in the assessment system are possible. So, in some regions of Switzerland you can find a 5 or 10-point assessment system.

In Switzerland, there are identical requirements for the final work of the student, practically not different from other European countries. So, the final work should have a kind of independent research within the chosen topic. Special attention should be paid to the fact that according to the recommendation of the Swiss teachers in the final work, it is worth highlighting the section concerning the practical application of the results of the scientific research. It is in this recommendation that there is an emphasis on innovation practiced by most prestigious universities in Switzerland. Within the framework of training under the bachelor's program and in the magistracy, students are expected to write term papers, not just graduate ones. In its essence, there is no significant difference between term papers and diplomas, the key difference is due to the amount of work, since the course has a small amount.

Experienced teachers and academic environment

Candidates who are candidates for an academic position must meet various requirements that are independently established by the cantons of Switzerland. Thus, in the French-speaking regions, in the case of having an assigned PhD degree, it is possible to obtain the initial position of the reviewer. As for the German-speaking regions, the graduate student is given the opportunity to work as a lecturer or junior research assistant. If the student is worried about the issue of future promotions, it depends more on the length of service, the number of publications published, and academic competence.

Among all the countries of the world it is for Switzerland that the highest salaries of academic employees are characteristic. In particular, the salary for posts postdoktora makes 55 thousand dollars. It is worth noting that in Switzerland all academic staff, without exception, are intensively engaged in science, in connection with which, with respect to their established high and strict requirements.

Underworking during training, is it possible?

At the official level, it is stipulated that no more than 15 hours a week an international student can engage in labor activity. In other words, on the day of work, it can take only 2 hours. In this case, variations in this indicator are possible, which is determined by the concrete canton. In particular, in Geneva, a student is allowed to work no more than 30 hours during the week. During the holidays the student can work for a full working day. We draw your attention that only after the expiry of six months of residence and stay in Switzerland does a foreign, teenager have the right to conduct employment.

Prospects for employment in Switzerland

It is worth starting with the fact that Switzerland has the lowest unemployment rate. Thus, in the German-speaking cantons this parameter is 3%, while in the French-speaking cantons it does not exceed 5%. At the same time, we draw attention to the fact that foreigners account for 50% of the non-working population. Many people from European countries and other regions come to Switzerland every year, which contributes to the growth of competition in the labor market.

We draw your attention that in any EU country the diploma of the prestigious university of Switzerland is universally recognized and highly valued. Evaluation of the diploma is so high that a large part of large international corporations makes an offer to students who are studying at the last courses, with respect to an internship with further permanent employment.

According to statistics, at the end of the training at the top university in Switzerland, over 90% of graduates immediately successfully find employment. Thus, if you intend to return home, you do not have cause for concern, since any large company will be only glad to take you to a permanent prospective position.

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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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