FAQ Studying and Education

Have you fled your home country and are you looking for information about studying in Switzerland? Here you can find useful links with details about the Swiss university and education system.

Where can I find information about the Swiss education system?

The Swiss education system is very diverse. There are many different paths that can lead to university education. One possibility is to graduate from high school and directly go on to study at university. But it is also possible to do an apprenticeship first and study afterwards. In addition, there are different types of higher education institutions, namely universities, universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher training. It therefore makes sense for you to find out about the Swiss education system. You can do so on the following websites:

The website of the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education can also provide you with a good graphical overview of higher professional education in Switzerland: http://www.edk.ch/dyn/16833.php

Which subjects can I study in Switzerland?

Swiss higher education institutions offer a wide range of subjects. You can find an overview of all Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs available at Swiss higher education institutions on studyprogrammes.ch. Please note that some degree programs are offered by universities as well as universities of applied sciences, whereas others are only available at universities of applied sciences or only taught exclusively at universities.

Where in Switzerland can I study?

In Switzerland, you can study at universities, universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education. For more information on this topic, please visit the website bildungssystem.educa.ch. An overview of all Swiss higher education institutions is available on the website of swissuniversities. The illustration below lists every university in Switzerland:

Universities in Switzerland
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What are the admission requirements for studying at a higher education institution?

It’s important that you find out about the exact admission requirements once you’ve chosen a higher education institution. The admissions offices of higher education institutions will generally check your university entrance qualification as well as your level in the language of instruction. For general information on the admission requirements of universities, please visit the website of swissuniversities. There you will a general overview on the recognition of prospective students’ foreign school-leaving certificates. The website also lists country-specific information. However, if you are looking for more specific information, it’s always best to contact the admissions office of the higher education institution at which you would like to study. To visit the website of the University of Zurich’s Admissions Office, please follow this link.

On swissuniversities.ch, you will also find information on the admission requirements of universities of applied sciences as well as universities of teacher training (in German only).

What other options are there besides higher education institutions?

Besides higher education institutions, Switzerland also has professional colleges (“Höhere Fachschule”). These offer practical degree programs and are aimed at people seeking to start a career in a given field. All types of vocational training at professional colleges are listed on the website of the Swiss Conference of Professional Colleges (in German only): https://www.k-hf.ch

My diplomas are not recognized. What options do I have?

It is possible that the university of your choice does not or only partially recognize your educational qualifications. This, however, does not exclude you from studying. If your diplomas are only partially recognized, you may be able to take the ECUS exam. Please note that you cannot register for the ECUS exam yourself. Only the admissions office of the university of your choice can do this. If your diplomas are not recognized at all, you may be able to take the academic baccalaureate. Moreover, at many universities, admission is possible without a recognized educational certificate if you pass an entrance exam or meet certain requirements. You can find more information on this at berufsberatung.ch. Please pay special attention to the information sheets on the left side of the page. 

Where can I go to get personal advice?

People with a refugee background who are interested in studying in Switzerland can contact the contact point for refugees within the International Relations Office of the University of Zurich. Should we be unable to answer your questions ourselves, we will forward you to the relevant expert who can do so. Please use our contact form to contact us.

Additional information on further advisory centers (e.g. biz Oerlikon career counseling or HEKS/EPER MosaiQ offices) is available on our Other Education Options page.