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The Swiss School System - University

When writing (and talking) about the Swiss education system, there is one part of it that is fairly easy to explain to a foreigner: university and other higher education. This is mainly due to the fact that in the last 10-15 years, Swiss university education has been adapted to international standards and norms.

How to Enter a Swiss University

One of the biggest differences between Swiss universities and American universities (and universities in other places around the globe) is that there is normally no entrance exam or the need to formally apply. If you successfully passed your Matura exams you are free to inscribe to any university in Switzerland. The big exception is the field of human medicine which requires an entrance exam called Numerus Clausus. Also, Technical Universities usually require at least one year of work experience in a relevant field before they receive applicants with a Matura certificate.

Degrees Available at Swiss Universities

A lot of university related vocabulary has been adopted from the English terms which make more sense in an international setting. It is much easier to talk about the different bachelor and master degrees available in Switzerland than about the different Lizenziate (licenciates). I mean, nowadays even in Switzerland few people know what a Lizenziat is and there is quite some confusion about it. Is it equal to a bachelor degree? Or a master degree? As much as you might have liked the old system in Switzerland, there is no need for it anymore and if you've got a certificate from the olden days you can continue using your original title. Some (Swiss) German terms obviously are still in use and I'll gladly share them with you.

Swiss German for University Students

If you're planning to study in Switzerland, you're probably required to learn German or French. There are a few programs in English but generally it's the local languages that are used in classrooms. Outside the actual lectures, Swiss German is the dominant language and you will definitely pick up some of the most common words. Here are a few of my favorites:

Büecherlischte (book list, reading list)
Ewige Schtudent (eternal student, someone who keeps changing majors)
Fakultät (faculty)
FH (pronounced "eff-haa", technical university)
Numerus Clausus (entrance exam for medical students)
Prof (short for professor)
Schtudent (student)
Schtudente (students)
Schtudis (short for students)
schtudiere (to study, can be a bit confusing since it also means "to think" or "to reflect")
Uni (short for university)
Vorläsig (lecture)

university studies - I-vista  /

Related Posts:
The Swiss School System - Kindergarten & Primary School
The Swiss School System - Secondary & Middle School
The Swiss School System - Apprenticeship



  1. Hello,
    Thank you for sharing this informative post..I got all essential points regarding international schools switzerland...Very nice post...Thank you too much........


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