10 Cheap Universities in Switzerland for International Students

Chocolates, cheese, banks, and the Swiss Army knife are some of the things that come to mind when people talk about Switzerland. This mountainous central European country is also known for its high-end watches, like Rolex and Omega. Moreover, the neutrality of the Swiss is known around the world.

But, Switzerland is also known for its impressive education system. This country of less than nine million has one of the best education systems in the world. With a literacy rate of nearly 100 percent, Switzerland is a good choice for students looking to study abroad. In this article, we will be going over the cheapest universities in Switzerland for international students.

Cost of Studying in Switzerland

Even though Switzerland is a first-world country, the cost of studying is not quite high. Since the Swiss government provides considerable funding to public universities, the tuition is not expensive.

You can enroll at a Swiss university for as low as 500 CHF ($500 USD). But, the cost can vary depending on the course and university you’re eyeing.

On the other hand, the cost of living in Switzerland can be somewhat expensive. International students can expect to spend between 1,500 EUR ($1,800 USD) and 2,500 EUR ($2,900 USD) every month depending on the city where you’re staying. This budget will cover the cost of your accommodations, food, transportation, and supplies. It may even include the cost of some leisure activities.

Are Universities Free in Switzerland?

Even though the universities in Switzerland are not free, they receive significant funding from the Swiss government. Moreover, you can also find a scholarship to cover your tuition while studying in Switzerland.

What are the languages of instruction for universities in Switzerland?

Since the education system of Switzerland is basically under the authority of the cantons, the language of instruction is based on the main language of the canton.

The languages students can expect in Swiss universities are German, French, and Italian. But, English is also used as the second language in the curriculum of some cantons. Moreover, many universities in Switzerland offer courses taught in English.

Cheapest Universities in Switzerland

1. University of Geneva

  • Tuition Fee For Undergraduate Programs: 500 CHF ($500 USD) per semester
  • Tuition Fee Link

Established in 1599 as a law school and theological seminary by John Calvin, the University of Geneva is the second-largest university in Switzerland. It became officially secular after it dropped its religious affiliation in 1873. With the tuition fee of $500 per semester for undergraduate students, the University of Geneva is considered cheapest Swiss university for undergraduate international students.

The university excels in research and is among the best research universities in Europe. It offers over 500 programs covering a wide variety of fields, including social sciences, medicine, law, and humanities, among others. Moreover, the university also has strong ties with international organizations, including the European Organization for Nuclear Research, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Health Organization, and the International Telecommunications Union.

Aside from studying, students of the University of Geneva can also look forward to visiting museums, watching cultural events, or touring must-see sites in Geneva during weekends. They can also take advantage of sports activities available for students of the university. Moreover, the students can also volunteer for charity work in and around Geneva.

2. HES-SO University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland

  • Tuition Fee For Undergraduate Programs: 500 CHF ($500 USD) per semester
  • Tuition Fee Link

Next in our list of cheapest universities in Switzerland for international students is the HES-SO University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland. This university is made up of different institutions of higher learning located in seven cantons in Western Switzerland. It has contributed to the cultural and socio-economic development of these cantons.

The university is the largest university of applied sciences in Switzerland. It offers a wide range of study programs through its six faculties. The programs offered by the university include Interior Architecture, Economic Law, IT Management, Electrical Engineering, Music, Theater, and Nursing, among others.

Students at the university can take advantage of free productivity software they can use for their university work. A free downloadable app also allows them to learn a foreign language. Moreover, they also have access to the sports facilities of the university.

3. University of Lausanne

  • Tuition Fee For Undergraduate Programs: 580 CHF ($600 USD) per semester
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: 580 CHF ($600 USD) per semester
  • Tuition Fee Link

Established in 1537, the University of Lausanne was originally a school of theology that trained ministers for the church. After the number of faculties increased, it gained the status of a university in 1890. The main campus was later moved from the old city center to its present location in Dorigny in 1970. With the tuition fee of $600 per semester for graduate students, the University of Lausanne is considered the cheapest university in Switzerland for graduate international students.

The university has seven faculties offering a variety of courses for both local and international students. It also has 175 research units as well as 358 partner universities. The programs offered by the university include Biology, Law, Geosciences and Environment, Management, and Psychology.

One-fifth of the student population of the University of Lausanne comes from abroad giving it an international atmosphere. Students can look forward to using modern and well-equipped facilities along with a green ambiance with its lakeside setting.

4. ETH Zurich

  • Tuition Fee For Undergraduate Programs: 730 CHF ($800 USD) per semester
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: 730 CHF ($800 USD) per semester
  • Tuition Fee Link

ETH Zurich was originally called the Federal Polytechnic School when it was established in 1855. It is a federal institute that is directly under the Swiss government, unlike other Swiss universities that are managed by cantons. It received its present name in 1911 and has built partnerships with the state and the industry over the years that followed.

The school offers a diverse range of Bachelor’s and Master’s programs for local and international students. These programs include Architecture, Computer Science, Physics, Human Medicine, and Materials Science.

The school features modern facilities to support its culture of academic excellence. The students can look forward to a wide variety of sports and leisure facilities designed to enhance their campus experience. Moreover, its urban character belies the spaces it offers for relaxation and recreation activities for the students.

5. Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

  • Tuition Fee For Undergraduate Programs: 780 CHF ($900 USD) per semester
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: 780 CHF ($900 USD) per semester
  • Tuition Fee Link

The Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne was established as a private school in 1853. It was originally called the École spéciale de Lausanne and was once a part of the Académie de Lausanne. The school became a federal institute and given its present name in 1969.

The institute aims to fulfill three missions: teaching, research, and innovation. It is one of the most vibrant science and technology institutes in Europe. It offers a good selection of Bachelor’s and Master’s programs, including Mathematics, Architecture, Communication Systems, and Data Science.

The campus offers everything the students need during their stay at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. There are several food shops, a medical center, a dental clinic, and restaurants. Additionally, the students can also look forward to exhibits, cultural presentations, and concerts held inside the campus.

6. University of Basel

  • Tuition Fee For Undergraduate Programs: 850 CHF ($900 USD) per semester
  • Tuition Fee Link

The University of Basel was established in 1460, making it the oldest university in Switzerland. It originally had four faculties when it was established. The University of Basel is also another cheap university in Switzerland for international students. The university earned the right to self-government in 1996 after it separated from the cantonal administrative body.

The university currently has seven faculties and is one of the top 150 universities in the world. It offers a good selection of programs for local and international students, including Computer Science, Physics, Actuarial Science, European Global Studies, and Sustainable Development.

Its close connection to the city allows the university to offer a host of cultural and sports activities for its students. The university also has several organizations the students can join depending on their interests.

7. University of Fribourg

  • Tuition Fee For Undergraduate Programs:
    • Swiss/Lichtenstein students – 835 CHF ($900 USD) per semester
    • International students – 985 CHF ($1,100 USD) per semester
  • Tuition Fee Link

While the University of Fribourg traces its roots to the Collège Saint-Michel, which was established in 1580, its recognized foundation came after the Academy of Jurisprudence was established in 1763. By 1889, the university was officially founded through a parliamentary act by the Swiss Canton of Fribourg.

The university features five faculties offering a range of Bachelor’s and Master’s degree courses. While these courses are mainly offered in French and German, some courses are available for international students in English. The course offerings include Law, Theology, Management, History, and Human Medicine.

A host of activities are available for students who want to unwind after classes. They can join workshops and conferences at the student center, watch films presented by the university cinema club, or join any of the student organizations in the university. The sports center also offers a diverse program with more than 60 sports catering to the different interests of the students.

8. University of Bern

  • Tuition Fee For Undergraduate Programs:
    • Swiss students – 750 CHF ($800 USD) per semester
    • International students – 950 CHF ($1,000 USD) per semester
  • Tuition Fee Link

Next on our list of cheapest Swiss universities for international students is the University of Bern. The roots of the University of Bern can be traced to the conversion of the former School of Theology in 1805 into an Academy as part of the reorganization of higher education in Bern. In 1834, the Academy was converted into a university. The university flourished as the city of Bern prospered. This resulted in the expansion of the university.

Today, the university offers a broad array of Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs for local and international students. These degree programs include Art History, Education, Theology, Physics, Law, and Linguistics.

Aside from its rich selection of courses, the university also gives its students the opportunity to contribute to finding solutions to global issues and challenges. Moreover, the students have the chance to enrich themselves culturally through the museums located in and around the university.

9. Zurich University of the Arts

  • Tuition Fee For Undergraduate Programs:
    • Swiss students – 750 CHP ($800 USD) per semester
    • International Students – 1,250 CHP ($1,400 USD) per semester
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs:
    • Swiss students – 750 CHP ($800 USD) per semester
    • International Students – 1,250 CHP ($1,400 USD) per semester
  • Tuition Fee Link

The Zurich University of the Arts was the result of the merger of the Zurich Canton University of Design and Art and the Zurich University of Music and Theatre. Both Zurich institutions have a rich history dating back to the 19th century. They were established to meet the music and art needs of the people of Zurich.

The university is among the top arts universities in Europe and offers a large selection of Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs. These programs result in a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree, respectively. The subject areas of these degrees include Dance, Art Education, Music, Fine Arts, and Theatre.

Being a university of the arts means the students are exposed to different cultural and artistic events that enrich their learning. Aside from a theatre where the students can watch and perform, the university also has a museum where a wide variety of artworks are on display.

10. University of Zurich

  • Tuition Fee For Undergraduate Programs:
    • Swiss students – 720 CHF ($800 USD) per semester
    • International students – 1220 CHF ($1,300 USD) per semester
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs:
    • Swiss students – 720 CHF ($800 USD) per semester
    • International students – 820 CHF ($900 USD) per semester
  • Tuition Fee Link

The final candidate in our list of most affordable universities in Switzerland is the University of Zurich, which was established following the merger of three colleges in 1833. It was the first European university established by the state rather than the church or a monarch. One of the more notable lecturers of the university was Albert Einstein who taught theoretical physics for two years.

The University of Zurich is the largest in Switzerland and has seven faculties offering a wide variety of Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs. These programs include Theology, Law, Informatics, Veterinary Medicine, and Psychology.

Students at the university can look forward to watching performances at the theatre and opera house of the university after classes. They can also join any of the sports offered by the Academic Sports Association Zurich (ASVZ) for students who want to improve or maintain their fitness while studying.

 

With their affordable tuition, universities in Switzerland are good options for students aiming to get high-quality education in a country where the scenery is as amazing as the products they make. I hope that this article on the cheapest universities in Switzerland was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Cheap Tuition Category!

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