Switzerland is famous for its awe-inspiring mountainous views, gourmet cheese, and chocolate, and scenic cable car rides through the alpines. More than its mesmerizing landscapes, Switzerland is one of the countries with the most affordable education compared to other EU countries, making it a popular destination for international studies. Moreover, students can even study for free with the numerous scholarships available. Switzerland has scholarships offered by the government, universities and institutions, and private organizations.

Education is highly valued in the country, and inviting students of great minds across the world is believed to be a key player for economic growth and creating top schools. Switzerland has a top-notch education system, so who wouldn’t want to spend a few years of study for free in a beautiful country? In this article, we have listed the top five scholarships offered in Switzerland. Get the chance to live and study for free when you apply for one of the Switzerland scholarships.

Top Scholarships in Switzerland for International Students

1. Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships

  • Scholarship Page
  • Scholarship Amount: A monthly stipend of CHF 1,920, CHF 300 monthly housing allowance, a full-tuition waiver, health insurance, airfare costs
  • Eligible Degree/s: Master’s, Ph.D.

The Government Excellence Scholarship is the best scholarship in Switzerland for international students and is granted by the Swiss Confederation and is offered through the Federal Commission for Scholarships (FCS). The scholarship is awarded to international postgraduate researchers and artists to encourage international exchange studies. There are two types of scholarships: research scholarships and art scholarships. The research scholarship is for doctoral and post-doctoral researchers in any field of study who wish to further their studies in Switzerland. To avail of the scholarship, researchers must be recommended by their mentors from any Swiss research university, university of applied sciences, and federal institutes of technology.

Art scholarships are for art students aiming to pursue a master’s degree program at any Swiss university of arts. However, it is only available in some countries, so it’s best to check its availability in your country. Qualified applicants need to be excellent students from their previous universities with a master’s degree for research scholarships or a bachelor’s degree for an art scholarship. The degree of the applicant must be equivalent to Swiss education standards, which is then checked by the FCS. The success of your scholarship application depends on your profile, research project, or art portfolio, and potential future contributions.

If you pass the preliminary selection, your application will be short-listed. The application is then evaluated by the professors from Swiss public universities of the Federal Commission for Scholarships (FCS). The FCS makes a final list of scholars that still highly depends on your academic standing and excellence.

2. Excellence Scholarship & Opportunity Programme (ESOP)

  • Scholarship Page
  • Scholarship Amount: CHF 12,000 per semester, full-tuition scholarship
  • Eligible Degree/s: Master’s

ETH Zürich is a public university in Zürich, Switzerland that offers an Excellence Scholarship & Opportunity Programme to applicants pursuing a master’s degree at ETH. The scholarship is offered for three or four semesters. It covers living expenses of about CHF 12,000 per semester, a full-tuition waiver, and a mentorship or assistantship program. Qualified applicants must be in the top 10% of their bachelor’s program or equivalent to grade A. Only incoming master’s students are eligible to apply. If you already have a master’s degree or are currently enrolled in one, you are no longer qualified to apply.

To apply for this Switzerland scholarship, simply send your pre-proposal master’s thesis with two references. The application is assessed by the Admissions Committees of the program you are applying for.

3. Alfred Werner Masters Scholarships

  • Scholarship Page
  • Scholarship Amount: CHF 30,000 for two years
  • Eligible Degree/s: Master’s

The Master’s Scholarship from Alfred Werner Fund is granted to exceptional international applicants who are in the top 10% of their bachelor’s degree program. Applicants intending to pursue a master’s degree at a Swiss university or institute can apply for the scholarship from there. Among their partner universities are École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), University of Berne, ETH Zürich, University of Basel, University of Fribourg, University of Geneva, and the University of Zurich. Only ten Alfred Werner Masters Scholarships are given, and it is a must to apply as early as possible for this Switzerland scholarship since it takes two months to evaluate eligible applicants.

4. Excellence Scholarships of the University of St. Gallen

  • Scholarship Page
  • Scholarship Amount: Tuition waiver of six semesters, amounting to a total scholarship of CHF 18,774.
  • Eligible Degree/s: Bachelor’s

The Excellence Scholarship, one of the best scholarships in Switzerland for international students, is a merit-based scholarship given to international students who are taking a bachelor’s degree program at the University of St. Gallen. The scholarship covers the current level’s fees of up to a total of six semesters, amounting to CHF 18,774 or CHF 6,258 per year. Outstanding students during their Assessment Year at HSG are automatically considered for the scholarship.

Moreover, the University of St. Gallen also offers scholarships for master’s students called the Starr International Foundation Scholarship Fund. Outstanding international students who obtained a bachelor’s degree and are taking a master’s degree program in one of their English-curriculum master’s programs can apply for the scholarship. The Advice Center for Study Funding recognizes outstanding students who are eligible to apply. If granted a scholarship, an annual scholarship fund of CHF 20,000 is given.

5. UBS Center Scholarships

  • Scholarship Page
  • Scholarship Amount: Stipend of CHF 42,500 per year, full-tuition waiver
  • Eligible Degree/s: Ph.D.

The UBS Center Scholarship is a merit-based scholarship in Switzerland awarded to excellent graduate international students pursuing a doctoral degree at the Graduate School of Economics at the University of Zurich. Eligible applicants are given scholarships that cover living expenses of about CHF 42,500 per year and a full-tuition waiver for up to four years. International students can apply for the scholarship, but those working with research projects related to the UBS International Center of Economics in Society are given priority.

If you are applying for a doctoral degree at the Zurich Graduate School of Economics, you need to specify in your application that you are interested in a UBS Center Scholarship.

6. University of Geneva Excellence Master Fellowships

The University of Geneva is a public university located in Geneva that is recognized as a leading research institution in Switzerland. The university offers a fellowship program for students interested in pursuing a Master of Science degree.

All students are eligible to apply regardless of their home university and completed degree. However, each Master’s program follows specific criteria that candidates must pass to be selected. To view the complete list of programs available, visit the enrollment section of the University of Geneva website.

Successful candidates will receive a grant of 10,000 CHF to 15,000 CHF. To apply, you will need a passport, Curriculum Vitae, and letter of interest describing your motivation for pursuing a Master of Science degree. You can check the website in the link above to see the full list of requirements.

7. Friedrich Naumann Foundation Scholarship for European Students

  • Scholarship Page
  • Scholarship Amount: 300 € monthly for study costs and subsidies for 12 months
  • Eligible Degree/s: Bachelor’s, Master’s

The Friedrich Naumann Foundation offers full-time scholarships for students from Europe. If you are from a university located in one of the Member States of the European Union, this scholarship is suited for you.

To be eligible for this Switzerland scholarship, you must either be in your last year of high school or completed your high school diploma. Students from vocational and technical schools may also apply. Candidates will also be screened according to their academic records and socio-political involvement. For German students, they must be involved in liberal political organizations, associations, and initiatives.

Scholarship holders will receive funding for the duration of their program and subsidies for a maximum of 12 months. The initial funding will only last for one year. However, you may apply for extensions every year until you receive your degree.

8. IMD Master of Business Administration Scholarship

  • Scholarship Page
  • Scholarship Amount: Up to 30,000 CHF
  • Eligible Degree/s: Master’s

The Institute for Management Development is a premier Swiss academic institution that offers scholarships for students pursuing a Master’s degree in Business Administration. Students from around the globe who are passionate about learning but lack financial support are encouraged to apply.

Candidates must prove their financial needs before applying. Exceptional academic skills, strong reference letters, and a steady employment record will also be considered an advantage. You will need to submit proof of salary, the latest tax return form, and an essay to qualify for the scholarship. Keep in mind that you must apply for the admissions application before applying for the scholarship.

Grantees will receive up to 30,000 CHF based on their financial needs. If you wish to increase your chances of obtaining financial assistance, there are other scholarships from the IMD that you can view on their website.

9. ETH Scholarship

  • Scholarship Page
  • Scholarship Amount: study and living costs depending on the program
  • Eligible Degree/s: Bachelor’s, Master’s

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, located in Zurich, offers a variety of scholarships for international students. This scholarship in Switzerland is mainly for a secondary source of finance and will not cover the entire living costs.

For the Bachelor’s degree scholarship, candidates must first pass the first-year exams. For the Master’s degree scholarship, they must complete the preceding Master’s study year. The requirements include a tax return form, evidence of assets, transport costs, and other financial-related information about the applicant.

If you qualify for the scholarship, your living and study costs will be subsidized by the university. However, the fund is limited so it will not cover the entire payment. You may check the website for the approximated chart of the study and living costs for international students.

10 University of Lausanne Master’s Grants

  • Scholarship Page
  • Scholarship Amount: Exemption from registration fees, monthly monetary award of 1,600 CHF
  • Eligible Degree/s: Master’s

The University of Lausanne is an internationally-accredited research institution located in Lausanne, Switzerland. They offer Master’s scholarships to exceptional students who graduated from foreign universities.

To be eligible, the student must have obtained a foreign university degree with exceptional grades. A language level of at least B2 in French or C1 in English is also required. However, only selected programs are available for this scholarship which you can see in the link above. The scholarships are also very limited since only ten are awarded each year.

To apply for this Switzerland scholarship, you will need to submit a copy of your passport, Curriculum Vitae, program description of your previous degree, and other documents which you can view on the official website. Also, a 200 CHF administration fee is required for the processing of requirements. Successful scholarship holders will be exempted from registration fees for the courses.

11. Geneva Graduate Institute Refugee Scholarship

  • Scholarship Page
  • Scholarship Amount: Annual scholarship of 20,000 CHF, possible tuition fee reduction, a paid position
  • Eligible Degree/s: Ph.D.

The Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies offers scholarships to exceptional students around the globe. This scholarship is mainly for Swiss refugees interested in continuing their studies in the country.

Applicants must be Swiss Refugees living in Switzerland or must have a Provisional Admission for Foreigner Status. In cases wherein the institute is unable to find a candidate, the application will be open to other students outside of the criteria. Another main requirement is a master’s degree in the social sciences. To apply, you must specify your motivation and interests in your chosen program. Candidates will also need to submit information regarding their financial needs since the scholarship is need-based.

Scholars may receive an annual subsidy of 20,000 CHF for the living costs, tuition reduction, or a paid position in the institute based on their financial needs. The Geneva Graduate Institute also offers other scholarships for non-refugees which you can check on their website.

12. Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) Scholarship

  • Scholarship Page
  • Scholarship Amount: Loan for semester fees, covered academic fees and living costs
  • Eligible Degree/s: Bachelor’s, Master’s

USI offers assistance and financial support to students affected by the conflict in Ukraine. Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees are available for interested students with financial difficulties. The funding for this scholarship is from the donations of the USI academic community and private institutions.

A candidate must be undergoing financial difficulties related to the crisis in Ukraine to be eligible for the fund. They must also choose a study program that offers good prospects and a steady career progression. To apply, submit a transcript of records, income tax certificate, Curriculum Vitae, motivation letter, and a rental agreement in the online application system which can be found on the link above.

This Switzerland scholarship covers the grantee’s tuition fee in the form of a loan. Repayment is also possible in cases where the semester fee has already been paid. Scholarship holders will also receive a six-month academic fee and partial living expenses.

13. Suyana Scholarship

  • Scholarship Page
  • Scholarship Amount: Monthly contribution of 1,200 CHF
  • Eligible Degree/s: Bachelor’s, Master’s

The Suyana Foundation is a non-profit organization that empowers people through education and change. They provide financial assistance for students with potential from areas of the world stricken by poverty. Along with their advocacy for education, the foundation also provides health care in communities with high rates of poor health.

To be eligible, students must have a GWA of 5.3 above for their high school or university degree, knowledge of two languages, and a sense of social responsibility. The candidate must also be aged 28 or below and have at least three semesters left until Bachelor’s or Master’s graduation. During the scholarship funding, scholarship holders are expected to maintain exceptional grades. Consistent participation in social organizations and events of the Swiss Study Foundation is also important for successful candidates.

Grantees will receive a monthly contribution of 1,200 CHF for a maximum period of ten semesters. Aside from financial aid, individual support and networking opportunities are also provided to the students to enhance their career growth.

14. Ernst Göhner Scholarships

  • Scholarship Page
  • Scholarship Amount: Monthly contribution of 1,200 CHF
  • Eligible Degree/s: Bachelor’s, Master’s

The Ernst Göhner Scholarships are perfect for students who excel in the field of art. This scholarship provides an opportunity to outstanding students who lack financial means and allow them to reach their maximum potential. If you want to choose the best program, you may choose from a variety of disciplines offered in the Ernst Göhner grants.

The qualifications for this Switzerland scholarship include enrollment in the field of arts or applied sciences, a Bachelor’s degree, justified financial need, GWA above 5.3, and knowledge of two languages. Candidates who are interested in exploring subjects beyond their program will be prioritized for the application. To increase your chances of getting this scholarship, you must be creative, curious, and open to extracurricular activities.

For a maximum of ten semesters, awardees will receive a monthly payment of 1,200 CHF. In addition to financial aid, students are given one-on-one coaching to help them advance their careers.

15. Swiss Study Foundation Scholarships

  • Scholarship Page
  • Scholarship Amount: 20,000 CHF for a one to two-year mobility period and up to 5,000 CHF for a shorter study period
  • Eligible Degree/s: Master’s, Ph.D.

The Swiss Study Foundation offers scholarships to students who successfully pass the assessment for admission to the foundation. The State Secretariat for Education, Research, and Innovation department of the ERI Embassy provides funding to make this scholarship possible.

Students must meet the following requirements to be considered for this Switzerland scholarship: have a GWA of 5.3; be bilingual, and be socially engaged. Additionally, the applicant must be under 28 years old and have at least three semesters left before earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Scholarship recipients are expected to maintain high grades throughout the sponsorship. Successful candidates must also consistently participate in social activities and Swiss Study Foundation events.

Scholarship holders for the Bachelor’s and Master’s programs will receive a grant of 20,000 CHF. For shorter visits such as attending congresses or research visits, the holder will receive up to 5,000 CHF.


We hope that this article on the Switzerland scholarships was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Europe for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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  1. Mohamed Isse July 15, 2023 11:44 pm - Reply

    I need help about free scholarships of international students
    All the best

    • Hyun Lee July 17, 2023 2:39 pm - Reply

      Hi, please ask questions if you have any questions on scholarships in Switzerland or scholarships for international students in general. We also do offer consulting service, and if you are interested, please fill out this form.

  2. Chris Jijith September 13, 2023 4:16 am - Reply

    I want to study in Switzerland and it’s my dream to study in one of the best modern country
    May I know the scholarships available for international students for bachelor degree for course like data science

    • Hyun Lee September 14, 2023 2:38 pm - Reply

      Hello, there are some bachelor’s scholarships mentioned in this article that is for bachelor’s students like Excellence Scholarships at University of St. Gallen. Many of these scholarships don’t have any subject criteria so it applies to data science as well. If you wish to get more scholarship information, search through out Scholarship Database!

  3. TIBEBU AMARE October 8, 2023 3:35 am - Reply

    Switzerland is one of the best modern country and I would like to study there. if you have scholarships for international students such as Msc in Forestry, Environment, etc, that would be great.

    • Hyun Lee October 10, 2023 2:41 pm - Reply

      Hello, many of these scholarships in Switzerland don’t have any subject restrictions. So, students studying forestry and environment are also eligible.

  4. Abdullahi musa hussain February 20, 2024 1:17 am - Reply

    Hello, can anyone here help me, to have a fully funded scholarship in Europe?

  5. Anonymous February 26, 2024 5:12 am - Reply

    How do you help very bright students but from poor background?

    • Hyun Lee February 28, 2024 12:19 pm - Reply

      Hello, we don’t offer consulting, but if you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I’ll do my best to answer your questions.

  6. Sulaimon March 7, 2024 5:46 pm - Reply

    Please, what are the cheap public schools in switzerland that offers medicine and surgery for international students

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