How much money do I need to study in Switzerland?

How Much Does It Really Cost to Study in Switzerland

Switzerland is known for a lot of things—the alps, the United Nations, picturesque villages, the Swiss Army. No wonder it is a favorite holiday destination for many people worldwide. 

Aside from being a holiday favorite, Switzerland also offers one of the best education systems in the world and is home to some of the world’s top higher educational institutions (HEIs). Switzerland prides itself in its high standard when it comes to study abroad, research and teaching quality.

Switzerland’s academic excellence is also reflected through prominent university global rankings. Switzerland has only 12 state-run institutions, and in the 2021 QS world university rankings, 10 of its institutions ranked, with 2 belonging in the top 20. When it comes to the 2020 Shanghai Rankings, 9 of its institutions ranked, with 5 belonging to the top 100. 

If you are planning to study in Switzerland, you must have an idea of the study and living costs you will have to prepare for, including tuition fees and daily expenses. 

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees have always been an important factor for international students when choosing where they should study. Many of the countries in Europe, due to the high cost of living, also have some of the highest tuition fees in the world. Luckily, Swiss education is accessible. In fact, Switzerland’s tuition fees for international students are relatively lower than its neighboring countries in Europe. That said, private institutions in Switzerland are a different matter, and the cost of studying in one is more expensive. 

Tuition fees in Switzerland may vary depending on the institution, its location, the student’s program of choice, and place of origin. In most public institutions, non-EU/EEA and EU/EEA international students pay the same amount of tuition fees. However, there are some exceptions, where non-EEA/EU students pay higher than EEA/EU students. 

Bachelor’s Degree. In public universities, students can expect to pay around €400 to €3,700 per year. However, in private institutions, they may have to pay up to €43,000 per year. 

Postgraduate Degree. For a master’s program in a public university, students may pay around €400 to €3,700 per year. Doctoral programs in a public university cost less, and international students may pay around €100 to €900 per year.

Cost of Living

Due to the high quality of life in Switzerland, the cost of living is also high, especially in its two major cities, Geneva and Zurich

Before they can be allowed to study in Switzerland, international students must first prove they have sufficient means to stay in the country. Thus, they are required to show that they have at least CHF21,000 for a year of stay there. 

Below is the approximate cost of each necessity from Numbeo. 

Food (inexpensive restaurant) CHF 25
Transportation (1-way ticket) CHF 3.50
Transportation (Normal Tariff, 1km) CHF 69
Utilities (electricity, water, heating, cooling, garbage) CHF 194.46
Movies CHF 19
Accommodation (1 bedroom apartment) CHF 1,147 to CHF 1,507

Ways to Support Your Education in Switzerland 

There are various ways to support one’s education or supplement one’s living expenses in Switzerland. The first is through any financial support such as scholarships, grants, awards, and so on. The Swiss government, non-government organizations, and even educational institutions offer various financial aid to international students. 

Luckily, international students are eligible to work in Switzerland, so they can apply for a part-time job to supplement some of their living costs. Also, international students may qualify for various discounts from different types of establishments and transportation, as long as they have a valid student ID and an international student card such as an ISIC. 

Check out MSM Unify’s articles and list of courses to learn more about Switzerland and the different courses the country offers.


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