Studying in Switzerland

Image of students at the Rolex Learning Centre library in Lausanne
Students at the Rolex Learning Centre library, Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne. © FDFA, Presence Switzerland

In order to be able to study in Switzerland you require a proof of acceptance from the higher education institution where you will be studying. Depending on your nationality, with this letter you can either apply for a residence permit in a Swiss canton or submit a visa application to the Swiss representation covering your country of residence.

Apply for Admission

Contact the university of your choice prior to the admission deadline. Most of the universities also accept online applications. The main documents that you will have to send to the university are your upper secondary school-leaving certificate (the original or a notarized copy) and an up-to-date passport photograph. 

Registration deadlines, addresses and other useful information

Entry/Visa and Residence Permit

Within 14 days of entering Switzerland, EU/EFTA citizens must register with the local authority (Einwohnerkontrolle, Residents’ Registration Office) at the place of residence and apply for a residence permit.

You will need to present the following documents:

  • Personal application for residence permit
  • Valid passport or identity card
  • Proof of registration at the university
  • Evidence of sufficient funds (e.g. certificate or certified document of a bank authorised in Switzerland)
  • Proof of address at place of residence
  • 2 passport photographs

Other foreign national students - other than EU/EFTA nationals - must contact the Swiss embassy or consulate in their own country and apply for a visa. If the responsible immigration or police authorities approve the application, the requirements for entry into Switzerland and for residence for the purpose of study are met. Further information at the Federal Office of Migration.

Foreign nationals who are not EU/EFTA citizens and who do not require a visa should consult the Swiss embassy or consulate in their country for the current entry and residence requirements and formalities.

Scholarships

The Swiss government, through the Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students (FCS), awards various postgraduate scholarships to foreign scholars and researchers:

  • University scholarships (Swiss universities, Federal Institutes of Technology, as well as Universities of Applied Sciences)
  • Arts scholarships (schools of music and fine arts, only for a limited number of countries).

These scholarships provide graduates from all fields with the opportunity to pursue doctoral or postdoctoral research in Switzerland at one of the public funded university or recognised institution.

For more information, please visit: Scholarships for Foreign Students

 

For information regarding your visa application for a study permit, please check visa information page.

E-Mail: bei.vertretung@eda.admin.ch

Visa application for the purpose of study in Switzerland (PDF, Number of pages 2, 43.2 kB)

For students from Hong Kong and Macau

Every year, many students from Hong Kong and Macau depart to Switzerland for an exchange semester at university or to begin their higher studies abroad.

Most popular and very renowned are Switzerland's higher education programs in hospitality management. Switzerland has a variety of schools and universites offering programs in hotel and tourism management. Naturally, many other sciences are taught throughout the country as well. Especially master programs are more and more available in English and not only in one of the official languages of Switzerland.

Please do not hesitate to contact this Consulate General for more information on studying in Switzerland or for enquiries regarding your visa application for a study permit:

E-Mail: hon.vertretung@eda.admin.ch

Visa application for the purpose of study in Switzerland (PDF, Number of pages 2, 43.2 kB)

Higher education in Switzerland

The institutes of higher education can be separated into two types having the same status but with different educational goals: the traditional universities and the universities of applied sciences (UAS). The main task of the universities is to carry out basic research and teaching while the universities of applied sciences place a greater emphasis on practically oriented studies and on applied research and development.

Both types of institute make up a dense network of education outlets in Switzerland, offering Swiss and non-Swiss students alike high quality tertiary education opportunities.

For more information on Sino-Swiss collaboration on higher education, visit: swissnex China