How to Study in Switzerland for International Students

Known for its scenic places, Switzerland is an engaging place to have your study-abroad journey! Its higher education institutions are acknowledged internationally for their first-rate performance in academics and research. Despite the higher cost of living, there are tuition-free schools and scholarships available.

When it comes to the choices that are available, Switzerland currently has 23 universities, from which 20 universities are a part of the public sector and 3 universities are private institutions.

Suppose you’re not just looking for any school but a well-performing school. In that case, the top universities in Switzerland you should definitely check out are ETH Zürich, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, and University of Zurich.

Being able to study in Switzerland as an international student starts with planning ahead of time, as the process of researching your institution, filling out forms, and completing your paperwork can take a vast amount of time. In this article, you will find out the application process to study in Switzerland, along with information on tuition, language requirements, and visa applications. So, let’s dig in!

1. Cost of Studying in Switzerland

When choosing a university, you also need to consider the tuition fees and your budget. Before applying to a university in Switzerland, it’s best to have a general knowledge of the tuition fees there. The annual tuition fees for international undergraduate students range from 1,000 CHF to 34,300 CHF, while for master’s degree studies, the yearly tuition fees are between 1,000 CHF and 46,000 CHF.

Cost of Studying in Public Universities in Switzerland

To give you an idea of how much it costs to study in Switzerland, here are the tuition fees in these public and private universities:

Institution Bachelor’s International Tuition Fee Master’s International Tuition Fee
ETH Zürich 1,460 CHF 1,460 CHF
Zurich University of Applied Sciences 2,440 CHF 2,440 CHF
University of Basel 1,700 CHF 1,700 CHF
University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland 2,400 CHF - 4,400 CHF 2,400 CHF - 4,400 CHF
University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland 1,000 CHF 1,000 CHF
University of Lucerne 2,200 CHF 2,200 CHF
University of Lausanne 1,160 CHF 1,160 CHF
University of Geneva 1,000 CHF 1,000 CHF
Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts 1,600 CHF 1,600 CHF
University of Italian Switzerland 8,000 CHF 8,000 CHF
Bern University of Applied Sciences 1,900 CHF 1,900 CHF
University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland 2,000 CHF - 10,000 CHF 2,000 CHF - 15,000 CHF
University of Fribourg 1,740 CHF 1,740 CHF
University of Zurich 2,440 CHF 1,640 CHF
Geneva Graduate Institute 8,000 CHF
University of St. Gallen 6,258 CHF 6,658 CHF
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne 1,460 CHF 1,460 CHF
University of Bern 1,900 CHF 1,900 CHF

Cost of Studying in Private Universities in Switzerland

Institution Bachelor’s International Tuition Fee Master’s International Tuition Fee
Webster University Geneva 34,300 CHF 26,000 CHF
Glion Institute of Higher Education 30,900 CHF - 33,900 CHF 46,000 CHF

If you’re looking for the most affordable universities in Switzerland, check out the Cheap Universities in Switzerland!

Besides tuition fees, you also need to consider other expenses like books, accommodation, and living expenses.

2. Requirements to Study in Switzerland for International Students

Once you have an idea of how much tuition fees are to study in Switzerland, it’s time to consider preparing the paperwork to apply to those universities. Academic institutions have varying admission requirements, but the ones you should always prepare in advance are your academic records, such as a transcript of records or diploma from a previous academic level, and travel documents, such as your passport and visa.

Some institutions that offer master’s programs might also ask for a statement of purpose, a curriculum vitae or résumé, and letters of recommendation. There are also degree programs where you need to take an admissions test before you can apply. Besides these, universities might also require you to submit proof of language proficiency.

In Switzerland, English and French are the languages of instruction. If you’re looking to study in any of the academic institutions here, you might need to prove language proficiency by taking standardized tests, such as TOEFL, IELTS, and Duolingo for English. Depending on the institution and the language of instruction for your program, you might also have to prove your language proficiency by submitting DELF for French.

To give you an idea, here are some universities in Switzerland and their required minimum scores for each program level.

ETH Zürich

Bachelor’s degree

Master’s degree

Geneva Graduate Institute

Master’s degree

Glion Institute of Higher Education

Bachelor’s degree

Master’s degree

Typically, you can find information about language requirements on the admissions requirements page of the university. You can also check out if the university has a dedicated language requirements page for international students.

Application Procedure to Study in Switzerland

The specific admission process may vary depending on the university. The good news is that most institutions in Switzerland have online applications available on their websites, like ETH Zürich and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. To help you with this, we also compiled the official websites and admission pages of some of the top institutions in Switzerland.

ETH Zürich

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne

University of Zurich

Make sure to gather all the information you need for the admission process. As you apply to these institutions, expect that they may ask for additional requirements depending on your nationality, degree, or program. So, it’s best to keep your lines active.

After completing your academic and language requirements, it’s time to apply!

The admission process in Switzerland differs from one university to another, so it’s best to contact your chosen school beforehand. Please note that the admission process for international students may take some time, so be sure to know the application dates and apply early.

The application process may take weeks or months, depending on your timing, nationality, degree, and other factors. To make the most of your application, make sure to completely follow the admission steps and submit the necessary requirements to ensure that you’ll be accepted to your chosen university in Switzerland.

The key to being admitted to your chosen school will depend on your punctuality and the quality of your application. So make sure to complete the requirements beforehand and follow the steps in applying. After this, you’ll wait for a week or a month for the results.

4. Visa Application for International Students in Switzerland

Now that you’re accepted into your chosen institution, it’s time to apply for a student visa in Switzerland. A student visa is an essential document for studying abroad. It’s an important government document that you need to present before going to Switzerland as an international student.

In this section, let’s briefly discuss the requirements needed and how you can apply for a student visa in Switzerland. If you’re going to stay here for your studies, you will need to obtain a D Visa . Long-stay Visa (Visa D).

To start your student visa application in Switzerland, you will need to present the following:

  1. Valid passport
  2. Two passport pictures
  3. Application for residence permit
  4. Proof of sufficient funds
  5. Proof of accommodation
  6. Proof of admission to the university

Kindly take note that these requirements may vary depending on your nationality. So, please expect that may ask for additional requirements. Moreover, you will be required to pay a student visa application fee. The visa application fee in Switzerland is 88 EUR.

After preparing your requirements and application fees, it’s time to apply for a student visa! The first steps in getting your student visa are:

  1. Download the visa application form from Switzerland's government website.
  2. Answer the application form and attach the required documents.
  3. Present your documents to the nearest Swiss embassy or consulate.
  4. Pay the required fees

For more information regarding the specific steps in applying for a student visa, visit or contact the nearest embassy or consulate in your home country. They are the ones responsible for processing your student visa application.

That’s it! After getting your student visa, you can now officially study in Switzerland. Make sure to book a flight early, before your classes start, so that you’ll have ample time to explore and familiarize yourself in your new place!