When it comes to studying a subject with a strong emphasis on real-world applications and with numerous career opportunities, science certainly doesn’t get left behind in the world of universities of applied sciences (UASs)! These institutions play an important role in bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical skills, ensuring that scientific education is not confined to lecture halls but extends into laboratories, research centers, and collaborative projects that mimic the challenges of the professional world.

But what’s better than finding a UAS in Switzerland, a land often hailed as “heaven on earth”? With beautiful cities, efficient administration, highly ranked universities, and substantial industrial development, read on to discover where and which Swiss UAS can be the optimal choice for you!

Top Universities of Applied Sciences in Switzerland

Mentioning the names of a couple of top Swiss UASs won’t do them justice. Hence, in this section, we will not just look at a handful of Swiss UASs, but the very essence of what makes them stand out!

1. ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences

Situated across three campuses in Winterthur, Wädenswil, and the main campus in Zurich, the ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences is a leading Swiss UAS that consists of over eight schools under its umbrella.

Driven by a dedication to both rigorous academic theory and real-world application, each of the eight schools at ZHAW specializes in distinct fields, ranging from engineering and business to health and social work. Two of the most sought-after programs at ZHAW are the Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and the Bachelor in Business Administration, offered through the School of Engineering and the School of Management and Law, respectively. Both programs attract motivated students seeking impactful careers.

2. Bern University of Applied Sciences

Not confined to merely three campuses, the Bern University of Applied Sciences, or Berner Fachhochschule BFH, in German, distinguishes itself by offering courses in three languages. With campuses in various locations, including Bern, Biel, Burgdorf, and Zollikofen, BFH provides a diverse educational experience to students across the German, French, and English-speaking regions of Switzerland.

This type of multilingual education facilitates effective communication, which is necessary for the spectacular degree programs BFH provides at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. From the Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Food Science to postgraduate programs in Business Administration and Computer Science, BFH tailors its courses to meet the demands of various industries.

3. University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland

With a practical-oriented and interdisciplinary approach, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland propels students beyond traditional theoretical lectures, equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to tackle real-world challenges in this ever-evolving world.

Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz FHNW (in German) is structured into several schools, each specializing in distinct fields. The School of Business, School of Engineering, School of Life Sciences, and School of Computer Science are among the key contributors to FHNW’s diverse academic offerings. Notably, programs such as the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, and Masters in Architecture are highly sought-after within their respective schools.

Despite the wide array of offerings and appealing courses, FHNW maintains an accessible fee structure, with semester fees starting at just 700 CHF making them remarkably accessible compared to many European universities.

4. Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts

One of Switzerland’s oldest and largest universities of applied sciences, Hochschule Luzern or Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts can be one of your primary gateways to a diverse and enriching educational experience.

The School of Business at HSLU stands out with sought-after programs like the Bachelor of Business Administration and the Master’s in Banking and Finance. Similarly, the School of Engineering and Architecture complements this reputation, offering programs like the Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and the Master of Science in Engineering.

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

Switzerland’s largest university network, HES-SO, hosts around 22,000 students across two major campuses in picturesque Western Switzerland. The university’s ideal location provides convenient access and its specialized faculties spanning Engineering, Business, Healthcare, and Arts, empower students to pursue their passions and contribute meaningfully to society.

Besides all these benefits, HES-SO also offers generous scholarship opportunities, ensuring that financial constraints don’t affect education in any possible way.

6. University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons

  • Location: Chur, Switzerland | Medium of Instruction: German, English

Also known as Chur UASs, Fachhochschule Graubünden or University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons is a Swiss institution focusing on cutting-edge education and promoting digitalization. Its unique programs, from photonics to mobile robotics, and specially designed degree programs in tourism are widely recognized, attracting international students seeking innovative and specialized knowledge.

With a commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancements, FHGR is also research intensive with research topics including applied future technologies, development in Alpine regions, and entrepreneurial management.

7. University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland

With a substantial 48 million CHF research budget and partnerships with over 170 universities worldwide, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland has rightfully earned its place on this esteemed list. This extensive network positions SUPSI as a good choice for international students and researchers who wish to enroll in its academic programs ranging from Music and Therapy to Engineering and Business.

FAQs about Studying in ‘University of Applied Sciences’ in Switzerland

What is the Difference Between a ‘University’ and a ‘University of Applied Sciences’?

Traditional universities have long been recognized for their in-depth focus on theoretical knowledge and fundamental research, offering a comprehensive and rigorous academic experience across diverse disciplines. However, when it comes to Europe, they are not the only educational institutions shaping individuals’ knowledge and skills at the undergraduate level.

In recent years, ‘Universities of Applied Sciences’ (UAS) have gained prominence in a hands-on and practical approach to learning. Compared to traditional universities, UASs such as Zurich University of Applied Sciences and Bern University of Applied Sciences prioritize the immediate applicability of knowledge, often partnering with businesses and emphasizing real-world experiences through internships and collaborative projects.

 

What is known as “Heaven on Earth” for its beautiful scenery can also be a haven of education for international students. With top-tier institutions like SUPSI, HSLU, BFH, and others on this list, global students have a wealth of exceptional options to discover in Switzerland while ensuring their education translates directly into real-world impact.

 

We hope this article on the best universities of Applied Sciences in Switzerland helped narrow down your choices for where to study in Switzerland For more information about studying abroad, you can check out the Switzerland Page and sample some of the Open Courses 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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