Switzerland’s List of Top 10 Universities for International Students (2021 Update)

Switzerland has some of the top universities in the world and offers amazing educational opportunities for international students. Over the past few years, the country has established itself as one of the most popular study destinations in the world.

As the most economically stable country in the world, it is no surprise that students flock here from all over the world to explore the business principles one can learn from Swiss schools. Degrees in Finance and Business remain popular amongst international students as well as Science and Innovation disciplines.

Top 10 Universities in Switzerland for International Students

If you wish to become an international student in Switzerland, here is a list of top 10 universities that are highly recommended for international students.

1. ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich)

ETH Zurich is a trailblazing university in the world of science and technology. This school is the alma mater of physics pioneer, Albert Einstein, and an impressive list of a further 20 Nobel laureates. Students here can expect to attend nearly twice as many lectures as students at similar schools so the workload is not for the faint of heart. But your hard work will be rewarded with plenty of opportunities to gain real-world experience and gain valuable knowledge from exclusive exhibitions and research programs facilitated by the institute.

Most of the undergraduate programs are offered in English but if you choose to further your studies here, most master’s and doctoral programs are available in English. ETH Zurich is considered the best university in Switzerland for international students.

2. École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne)

The second of Switzerland’s federal institutes of technology, EPFL lies on the northern banks of Lake Geneva. This part of Switzerland is predominantly French-speaking and the university is bilingual, teaching in English and French. Their campus sprawls over 136 acres and includes technological advancements like a nuclear reactor, a supercomputer, a fusion reactor, and bio-hazard facilities. The student body consists mostly of international students and students are able to take advantage of a vast network of international research opportunities.

3. University of Zurich

UZH is one of the best universities in Switzerland for international students with around foreign 5,000 students around the world. Throughout their 7 faculties, most courses are offered in German and they have delivered excellent results in the fields of biology and medicine, neuroscience, and economics. Zurich is the business hub of Switzerland which has turned this city into a cosmopolitan metropolis.

4. University of Basel

Switzerland’s oldest university has stood proud for over 500 years. The medieval city of Basel is in the northwest of the country and the Rhine River peacefully runs through it. UNIBAS has achieved high recognition in the fields of life science and is taking a future-orientated approach to achieve global sustainability.

5. University of Bern

The breathtaking city of Bern is another treasure of Switzerland. Nestled amongst the Swiss Alps, Bern is the capital of Switzerland but offers a peaceful comfortably paced lifestyle. Here, students can explore a vast variety of courses through the 8 faculties, even branching into fields of international trade or space research. Students from more than 100 countries are represented on campus.

Subsidized cafeterias, state of the art sports centers and affordable student housing are all added benefits that help students settle into life in Switzerland. The University of Bern is yet another of Switzerland’s institutions where Albert Einstein’s footstep lay, as he was once a physics professor here.

6. International University of Geneva

Geneva is the home of international co-operation and the International University of Geneva takes full advantage of this city’s globalized nature. The school only enrolls around 300 students yearly but all 11 courses are taught in English. As a top Swiss university for international students, the International University of Geneva was ranked under the top 60 best business schools in the world. Here students are encouraged to gain equal amounts of theoretical and practical knowledge.

Class sizes are also kept intimate to ensure quality time and attention paid to each student. Geneva is truly a global city bursting at the seams with culture and innovation. This city grants foreign students the opportunity to immerse themselves in a diverse society, preparing them for a career on a global scale.

7. University in Geneva

Another one of Geneva’s flagship schools is UNIGE. Here students can look forward to upward of 300 courses, mostly taught in French. This leading research institution is also affiliated with world-renowned schools like Oxford and Cambridge and also has ties with global agencies such as the UN and CERN. Nearly 40% of the students come from abroad, thus ensuring an incredibly diverse student body. Popular fields of study include Neuroscience and International Relations and more specifically, specialty disciplines such as Bioethics and Human Rights. They are also praised for their highly interactive classes pushing students to their limits.

8. University of Fribourg (Université de Fribourg)

Fribourg, in the west of Switzerland, is a gothic city with numerous renaissance era buildings and palaces and is home to this bi-lingual university. Here students can study in both French and German and enjoy a relatively low cost of living compared to the rest of the country. Nearly a quarter of the city’s population attend UniFR, one of the best universities in Switzerland for international students. They uphold an impressively low student to staff ratio and put the study of humanities and current developmental challenges at the forefront of their research. Ironically the departments of law and theology are both garnering worldwide acclaim.

9. University of St. Gallen

The University of St. Gallen is widely regarded as one of the top business schools in Europe. Upon completion, 80% of students from St. Gallen have already been swept up from the job market. Here students are challenged to think critically to prepare them for the ever-changing world of economics. Many undergraduate courses are available in English and aren’t only restricted to the field of business. The Law and Computer Science programs are also highly regarded.

10. Università della Svizzera Italiana (University of Lugano)

The final university in our list of best universities in Switzerland for international students is the University of Lugano. This university lies in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland and is heavily influenced by the Lombardy region of Italy, Switzerland’s Mediterranean neighbor. Here students can choose from 5 faculties, Informatics, Economics, Architecture, Biomedical Science, and the all-encompassing Faculty of Communication, Culture, and Society.

It is a relatively small school but with an incredibly high number of students coming from abroad to study here. No doubt this school’s multi-language approach is a contributing factor as it successfully prepares students for careers in the international spectrum.

The list of top universities in Switzerland for international students was compiled based on an indicator focused on teaching performance, research and impact, international perspectives and knowledge transfer.

We hope you find this article helpful.

Want more information on top international universities? If so, be sure to visit that section of our site. There’s tons of valuable information on international universities you may find interesting.

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