Swiss Universities Handbook

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Universities Handbook of Switzerland


Studying in Switzerland

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Swiss Universities are Top Ranked universities in the world - World's Best Universities and Business Schools you can find them in Switzerland

The choice of tertiary-level education is large and varied. The Public 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.

  • Universities

The term universities includes the cantonal universities and the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, the ETH Zurich and the EPF Lausanne.

The ten cantonal universities come under the jurisdiction of the cantons in which they are situated, but receive financial support from the Confederation. Five of these cantonal universities are in German-speaking Switzerland: the University of Basel, the University of Bern, the University of Lucerne, the University of St. Gallen and the University of Zurich. There are four universities in French-speaking Switzerland: the University of Fribourg, the University of Geneva, the University of Lausanne and the University of Neuchatel. And finally, there is the University of Lugano in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino.

In 2008, around 121,000 people were studying at universities in Switzerland, around 50% of which were women and around 20% were from abroad.

  • Universities of applied sciences

Since 1997, the Swiss tertiary education scene has included another type of higher education institute in addition to the universities. These are the universities of applied sciences which have emerged since 1997 from the amalgamation and specialisation of around 70 advanced technical schools consisting of technical colleges and higher commercial comprehensive schools and which comprise the backbone of the Swiss tertiary education network.

The universities of applied sciences work under the motto "Equal standards, different approach". In other words, they have the same educational task combined with elements of general vocational training while taking a more practice-oriented approach through a close link between teaching and research.

On a national level there are eight universities of applied sciences (seven public and one private) recognized by the Federal Council.

The main thrust of the education offered by the universities of applied sciences is in the following fields: general technology and information technology, architecture, construction and planning, chemistry and life sciences, agronomy and forestry, economics and services, design, public health, social work, music, the performing and other arts, applied psychology, applied linguistics and sports.

In 2008/2009 around 64,000 people were studying at the seven public universities of applied sciences.

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