Conditions and procedures to study at Swiss Universities
Home > Swiss Residency > Residence permits > For all others > Other > Studying > University System

This section applies to foreign students who wish to study in a Swiss university. If you are a Liechtenstein national, a recognized political refugee, a foreigner residing in Switzerland with either you or your parents having a Swiss work permit for at least five years or a state-recognized Swiss maturity certificate, or you are the child of a diplomat, you will be treated as a Swiss candidate. The procedure described below does not concern you. 

If you are already enrolled in a university in your country, please inquire about multilateral agreements (such as ERASMUS/SOCRATES) or bilateral agreements between your university and a Swiss university. 

You must be a minimum of 18 years of age and have a good knowledge of the official language of instruction. You should also possess a state-recognized Swiss maturity certificate or a foreign certificate recognized as being equivalent. All Swiss university-level institutions are autonomous in the recognition of certificates and in their decision to admit candidates. Consult the list of recognized certificates by country established by the Admissions Commission to find out whether your diploma is acceptable.

Step 1
Contact the university of your choice, in writing and within the appropriate deadlines, to request admission to study. You will need to submit the following documents with your application:

  • A copy of your maturity, baccalauréat or other school-leaving certificate.
  • Copies of any college or university certificates and examination marks together with an official statement about the content of your studies
  • A detailed Curriculum Vitae 


Step 2
Once you have received confirmation of acceptance by a Swiss university, contact the Swiss Embassy in your home country for information on entry formalities. In general, the following documents are requested:

  • A valid passport
  • Confirmation that you have been accepted by a Swiss university
  • A guarantee of sufficient financial means to support yourself during your studies. See the section on work and study.
  • A Curriculum Vitae stating your reasons for wanting to pursue your studies in Switzerland.

Furthermore, you need to ensure that you return to your country once you have completed your studies. Warning: tourist visas cannot be processed into student residence permits after your arrival in Switzerland.


Step 3
Upon arrival in Switzerland, you need to request a residence permit from the Aliens Police. The following documents are required:

  • A valid passport, with a visa if need be
  • Confirmation that you have been accepted by a Swiss university
  • A guarantee of sufficient financial means to support yourself during your studies. See the section on work and study.
  • Proof of a permanent address in Switzerland

Your residence permit must be renewed each year.


Entrance examination
If you hold a certificate that is only partly recognized or are asked by the university to take an entrance examination, you can sit the examination in Fribourg. It is held twice a year (June and October). A special course designed to prepare students for the entrance examination is held in Fribourg between October and end June. Course fees are approximately SFR 4,200. The contact address is:

Fribourg preparatory courses
Route du Jura 1 
CH - 1700 Fribourg


  • The Ecoles Polytechniques Fédérales in Lausanne and Zurich (Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology) organize their own entrance examinations. Application deadlines for Zurich are mid-January for the February session and mid-July for the September session. Deadlines for Lausanne are end May for the summer session and mid-August for the autumn session. Lausanne also offers a one-year preparatory course
  • The University of St. Gallen accepts only a limited number of foreign students, who are all required to take an entrance examination. Candidates holding a maturity certificate accepted for admittance to the University of St. Gallen can sit the entrance examination in St. Gallen. Candidates with maturity certificates that are only partly accepted must sit the examination in Fribourg.

© Micheloud & Cie 2013      Tel. ++41 21 331 48 48  info@switzerland.isyours.com. No part of this site may be reproduced in any form or by any means without our prior written permission. Printed from http://Switzerland.isyours.com/e/immigration/programs/study/conditions.html