The 10 steps to study in Switzerland for international students

We are going to present to you in this article, the 10 steps to follow to study in Switzerland for foreign and international students .

Studying in Switzerland guarantees you quality training and an internationally recognized diploma.

Indeed, Switzerland offers the best university education in Europe and in the world.

Moreover, it must be taken into consideration that you must start having your procedures between 4 and 9 months before your desired departure.

In addition, there are 12 recognized university-type establishments in Switzerland, including 10 cantonal universities and 2 federal polytechnic schools.

In addition, Switzerland is a multilingual country (French, German, Italian) and each establishment has its own language of instruction.

Teaching is given in German in the universities of German-speaking Switzerland (universities of Basel, Bern, Zurich, Saint Gall and Lucerne) and in French (the universities of Geneva, Lausanne and Neuchâtel) in the universities of French-speaking Switzerland.

As for Italian Switzerland, there is only one university, namely the Università della Svizzera italiana in Lugano.

The studies are sanctioned by a license or a diploma.

The Faculties and Institutes of Medicine and Pharmacy as well as the EPF award federal diplomas which are legally protected.

To study in Switzerland, you have the choice, either to seek a scholarship in Switzerland (to study for free in Switzerland ) which will allow you to pay your study fees.

Or you study at your own expense.

Thus, to study in Switzerland , there is a procedure to follow and steps to follow.

This is why in this article, we will give you the 10 steps to follow to study in Switzerland !

So, discover these steps and go study at Swiss universities !

The 10 steps to study in Switzerland for international students

To go and study in Switzerland, you must have an idea of ​​the procedures to follow and the points to respect.

Indeed, in order to facilitate the study procedure in Switzerland, we have tried to group together 10 steps that we consider essential to follow.

Here is the process of studying in Switzerland in 10 steps:

  1. Choose the type of university you want.
  2. Choose the faculty where you wish to study.
  3. Contact the Swiss university or faculty.
  4. Check the admission requirements of the Swiss university.
  5. Apply for admission to Swiss universities .
  6. Pass the entrance examination if necessary.
  7. Respect the registration dates.
  8. Prepare and send your registration file to Switzerland .
  9. Pay the costs of university studies in Switzerland .
  10. Submit your visa application.

So, discover more details on these points!

1. Choose the type of university you want

Before leaving to study in Switzerland, the first thing you should know is that there are 2 types of Swiss universities, namely:

Each type of these universities has its own specificities that you should know!

Indeed, public universities in Switzerland include the majority of students.

They include hundreds of faculties with outlets in all fields.

In addition, the tuition fees are lower than in private universities.

As for universities, private, the conditions of admission are much more flexible.

But, private universities in Switzerland do not teach all specialties.

In addition, the costs of studies are much more expensive in private universities.

2. Choose the faculty where you want to study

Choosing the faculty is considered to be the 2ᵉ step to follow.

Indeed, to choose the “right faculty” you must first have an idea of ​​the study specialties you intend to study.

Depending on the specialty of study, you can find dozens of faculties throughout Switzerland that meet your search criteria.

3. Contact the university or faculty

After choosing the university, faculty or Swiss Grande Ecole, you must contact the organizations of your choice.

Indeed, you must contact them to get an idea of ​​the availability of the specialty you have chosen.

Check the conditions and prerequisites for registering and obtaining admission.

Ask for the costs and fees of the studies that you must pay to register.

And, any other information that you consider useful to request.

Moreover, to get in touch with the university, the first thing to check is the university’s website.

You can find answers within the site in the categories corresponding to your search.

Otherwise, in the contact category, you will find the university’s contact details: email, telephone or address.

So you can contact her by the way you prefer!

4. Check the admission requirements of the university

The conditions for admission to Swiss universities for foreigners are very restrictive.

To be able to study in Switzerland, you will not only need to have a well-funded bank account, but also good academic references.

In addition, you must have good language skills certified with appropriate diplomas.

Most public establishments will ask you:

  • To have obtained the secondary school leaving certificate from your country of origin with an average higher than the average sufficient to obtain the diploma (12/20)
  • Or to have already completed one or more years of study at a university in your country of origin.

You may also need to provide various official documents.

Like transcripts from secondary or post-secondary institutions.

5. Apply for pre-admission

After having chosen your  university in Switzerland  and your specialty and study program, it is now time to apply for admission to Swiss universities.

The procedures vary slightly depending on the university and faculty in Switzerland.

Indeed, it is advisable to start the process nearly 4 to 10 months before the planned start date, in order to ensure optimal conditions.

Discover the formalities:

You must therefore send your documents and your application for admission either directly by post, or by email or via the university’s website.

For the spring session: the procedure is done between the months of December and January for the start of the school year in February of each year.

For the autumn session: the procedure is done between the months of February and August for the start of the school year in September of each year.

We advise you to send several files to several universities in order to increase your chances.

The authorization letter that will be sent to you after steps 6 and 7 will specify the terms of your final registration and in particular the balance of your registration fees.

If you are admitted, contact the university to validate your choice.

6. Pass the entrance examination if necessary

For some students, sending an application is not enough.

This will depend on the faculty and the chosen study specialty.

They must also have successfully passed an additional exam called the Friborg exam.

This exam concerns 3 compulsory disciplines:

  • French
  • Math
  • Story

As well as 2 subjects to choose from in the following branches:

  • Physical
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Geography
  • Latin
  • German
  • Italian
  • English

7. Respect the registration dates

You should note that each university in Switzerland has its own admission system.

Indeed, university admissions  differ from one university to another.

You should always check directly with your university for exact dates and required documents.

In addition, you should note that the registration dates also vary according to the study cycle and even according to the specialty.

In addition, there are two academic semesters in Switzerland, namely:

  • Fall semester
  • Spring semester

And each of these semesters has two periods of university registration in Switzerland , namely:

  • Normal registration period
  • Late registration period

We strongly recommend that applicants requiring a visa submit their application file within the following deadlines:

  • No later than  February 28  for the fall semester
  • No later  than September 30  for the spring semester

8. Prepare and send your registration file

Generally, each university and each faculty has its own university registration file documents.

Indeed, depending on the university, the faculty and the specialty of study, the university registration file documents may differ.

It is advisable to  begin the process nearly 9 to 10 months before the planned start date, in order to ensure optimal conditions.

Here are the main documents of a registration file that you must prepare:

  1. A registration form withdrawn from the relevant faculty website
  2. A copy of the bachelor’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree and transcripts
  3. A favorable response to the pre-registration request
  4. Your language test score if you study in English or German (TOEFL, IELTS, Test Daf)
  5. Copy of your passport
  6. ID photo
  7. A well-detailed CV
  8. A cover letter
  9. Proof of payment of registration fees or proof of obtaining a scholarship in Switzerland
  10. Letters of recommendation from professors or former managers (optional)

Thus, after having prepared the registration file, you must follow the steps for administrative registration in universities in Switzerland.

9. Pay university fees

Studying in Switzerland is not particularly expensive in itself  as university tuition fees are rather low compared to other countries.

The costs of university studies in Switzerland vary according to the type of university, the cycle of study and the nationality of the student.

Indeed, to get a general idea, here is an estimate of the costs of university studies according to the type of university:

On the other hand, you can study in Switzerland for free through Swiss scholarships .

10. Submit your visa application for studies in Switzerland

To apply for a study visa in Switzerland as a student, you will not only need a visa.

You will need to register with the Aliens Police Service to obtain a residence permit.

Before your departure for Switzerland, you must complete a number of important formalities,  which must be undertaken upon receipt of  the certificate of admission to registration at the University.

To do this, contact the  Swiss diplomatic representation closest to your home.

You must provide the following documents:

  • Your valid passport
  • Your certificate of admission to registration
  • All the documents to demonstrate that you will have the financial means to continue your studies in Switzerland.

Make your visa application as soon as possible, some embassies agree to open the application with the pre-admission document.

If you are expecting a document, ask when it will arrive and already make an appointment at the embassy, ​​even if it means moving it if the document has not yet arrived.

Indeed, the deadlines for appointments are long and the closer you get to the start of the academic year, the longer they get.


Thus, to conclude our article on studying in Switzerland, we have presented for you 10 steps to follow to study in Switzerland for foreign students.

Indeed, we have tried to clarify the most important points to know before leaving to study in Switzerland.

All the points mentioned in this article are very important to know.

You can consider these steps as a Checklist to follow to advance in your admission and study procedure in Swiss universities.

We always advise you to contact the universities of your choice for more information on registration and admissions procedures.

So don’t hesitate to follow these steps, and ask the questions that come to mind to the universities of your choice, and good luck with your further studies!

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