Higher education area

The Swiss higher education system comprises three types of universities:

Research Universities

These universities offer tertiary education leading to Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD degrees and undertake basic research. The standard admission requirement is an academic baccalaureate. Besides the ten cantonal research universities, this type of university also includes the federal institutes of technology and science.

Universities of Applied Sciences

These universities offer programmes leading to Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Teaching and research at universities of applied sciences have a strong practical focus. The standard admission requirement is a completed apprenticeship (dual occupational training including theoretical training at a vocational school and practical training at a company) and a vocational baccalaureate, to be earned after the completion of basic training. Switzerland currently has seven public universities of applied sciences and one private, state-recognised institution.

Universities of Teacher Education

Together with other teacher training institutions, universities of teacher education are responsible for training a sufficient number of qualified teachers for all levels of compulsory education. Their remit includes teaching, research & development, further training / additional training, services (documentation centres, expert reports, consultancy, etc.).

As a rule, students may transfer from one type of university to another by fulfiling additional requirements.

Other university institutions, supported by the federal government, include the «Institut universitaire des hautes études internationales et du développement (IHEID)» in Geneva, the «Institut Universitaire Kurt Bösch (IUKB)» in Sion, and the «Stiftung Universitäre Fernstudien Schweiz» in Brig.

Further information is available from the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI