For students of Swiss origin university study is supported by the government and therefore the costs of study for nationals is low. At a large number of institutions in Switzerland the fees are the same for international students too, with only a small premium to be paid. The country has a huge desire to attract overseas students, with 21% of total students in Switzerland being foreign.
If you choose to study in Switzerland you can take advantage of the low tuition fees you will be expected to pay at most of the public universities. These universities often charge between £650-£1000 per year, though others may charge fees as high as £2600.
As with higher education in any country there are some scholarships available to foreign students, so you should check with your local Swiss embassy or your chosen university to enquire as to whether you are eligible for extra funding in this form. To be accepted as a candidate you must be under 35 and speak prominently English, Italian, German or French. Before applying for a scholarship you must ensure you receive a written confirmation of acceptance, which will prove that you have a spot at that university.
Moving to another country can be a difficult step for many people so it is important to organise accommodation early on to ensure you have a home whilst studying. Switzerland does have some subsidised on-campus accommodation for students but many students choose to rent flats or rooms privately. To organise accommodation in Switzerland it is best to contact the housing office at your university and enquire about assistance and recommendations. When considering what you should be spending on living arrangements it is best to budget around £500 per month for shared accommodation.
If you’re worried about how far your money will stretch it may be an idea to budget your living costs. It is also possible for EU students studying in Switzerland to work up to 15 hours per week whilst studying without a work permit being necessary.
Foreign students studying in Switzerland have to register with the local Residents’ Registration Office within 14 days of arriving in the country. To complete the registration process as a EU citizen you need to have proof of identity, applications for residence permit, proof of address and 2 passport photographs, as well as evidence that you are enrolled with a university and have sufficient funds to live there.
If you are a foreign national student from outside the EU you must contact the Swiss embassy in your own country to apply for a visa. Once the relevant checks are carried out and the application is approved then you will be allowed to enter the country.
If you wish to study at an institution in Switzerland you should apply directly to the university of your choice. It is important to note that deadlines differ at the various universities, but it is often required that you apply in the spring for autumn enrolment.
As with any university application it is important to check what requirements need to be met for the course and institution you are applying for. Some institutions may expect entry examinations to be completed before you are eligible to enrol so ensure you know whether you are required to take them or not.
Courses in Switzerland at undergraduate level are most commonly taught in German, Italian or French, but English-language course are more common at Master’s level. Undergraduate level courses in English are slowly expanding, especially at universities of applied science.
There are many advantages to studying in Switzerland, from generous fees to the possibility of work without requiring a permit. There are also many attractions which draw in tourists every year and you can make the most of them as they will be on your very own doorstep.