Switzerland is a country in Europe that sits right in between the Western, Central, and Southeastern parts of the continent. Famous for its chocolates, banks, watches, winter sports, and neutral political stance, the country is one of the most developed nations in the world, with a very high standard of living and the highest nominal wealth per capita.

Switzerland also has very lenient immigration laws, which allow many foreigners to move to the country. This extends to universities as well, and despite being some of the best out there, Swiss universities are some of the cheapest in the region for international students, and in some cases, the tuition for foreigners is even lower than the one for Swiss nationals. This attracts many foreign students to come to the country, and in this article, we will be naming the cheapest universities for international students in Switzerland.

Affordable Schools in Switzerland for International Students

1. University of Zurich

With a student pool of nearly 30,000, the University of Zurich is the next on our list of cheap universities in Switzerland, It is also one of the oldest, having been founded in 1833. It currently consists of seven different faculties including law, economics, medicine, philosophy, mathematics, engineering, computer sciences, and more. This makes it the university with the highest range of different subjects and courses available in Switzerland.

The university is home to many international students, who can enjoy the excellent facilities and the very high quality of education at the University of Zurich. While the main language of study for bachelor’s degrees is Swiss-German, there is an increasing number of English programs as well, and most master’s programs, at least in some faculties, are being held in English.

2. University of Geneva

The University of Geneva is a public research university based in Switzerland’s second-largest city – Geneva. It is one of the largest universities in the country and has a large number of foreign students, who make up around 40% of the student population. The main language is French, but there are also many programs available in English. The University of Geneva is regularly ranked among the top 50 universities in the world.

Nine faculties make up this affordable university in Switzerland which are spread across different areas of the eastern part of Geneva.

3. University of Lausanne

The University of Lausanne dates all the way back to the 16th century when it was originally founded as a School of Theology. It has since evolved into a university, comprising seven faculties. Currently, there are around 1,500 international students at UNIL, many of whom are exchange students from some of the world’s most renowned universities.

The university’s main campus sits in a beautiful location on the shores of Lake Leman. From the library, which also serves as an eating hall, there is a great view of the Alps, allowing for a great atmosphere for studying.

4. ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is an Institute of Technology based in Zurich. It was founded by the government in 1854 and has played a crucial role in educating the country’s aspiring engineers and scientists. Most of the programs are in the fields of mathematics, engineering, technology, and science, so if any of these fields are of interest to you, there is literally no better place to study than ETH Zurich, especially if you have a low budget since this is one of the cheapest universities in Switzerland. That being said, it is also one of the best, as it ranks among the top 10 universities in the world, as well as the top five among engineering schools.

Nearly 40% of the students come from outside Switzerland, and one notable international alumni of ETH Zurich is Albert Einstein.

5. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne or EPFL is one of two institutes of its kind developed by the government to support the education of engineers and scientists in Switzerland. It ranks as one of the best universities in Switzerland and as one of the best technology schools in the world. It is located in the suburbs of Lausanne in the French-speaking area of Switzerland.

Due to its incredibly high standards and very low tuition fees, this cheap university in Switzerland attracts a large number of international students, who make up over 50% of the total student population. To help them unwind, the institute offers its students plenty of options when it comes to extracurricular activities, including music festivals, reading clubs, anime clubs, and much more.

6. University of Bern

Founded in 1834, the University of Bern, ideally located in the Swiss capital offers a wide range of courses in many fields spread across its eight faculties and 150 institutes. With a little less than 20,000 students, the University of Bern is the third-largest and one of the best public universities in Switzerland. Most of the university’s institutes are located near the center of the city, and there are others spread throughout Bern.

This affordable university in Switzerland offers many programs for its international students, including English-taught bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees. There is also a large number of visiting and exchange students, due to the university’s collaboration with other institutions and organizations.

7. University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland

FHNW is one of the top universities of applied sciences in Switzerland. Its nine schools are spread across a few places in the German-speaking area of Switzerland, including Basel, the third-largest city in the country. It has a broad range of available programs and utilizes all the latest technology and innovation to provide the best learning experience for its students.

It has a global network of collaborators which makes it an attractive option for many international students, especially from EU nations.

FAQS About Studying in Switzerland

What are the General Requirements to Study in Switzerland?

Each university has its own set of admission requirements. However, like any other university in Switzerland, some entry requirements will be the same.

For instance, when you apply for a bachelor’s degree, most institutions will require applicants to submit their high school diploma and an official transcript of records. On the other hand, a bachelor’s degree will be asked if you plan to apply for a master’s. Proof of a master’s degree and a curriculum vitae are the major documents you need to obtain if you are applying for a doctoral program in Switzerland.

Do Universities in Switzerland Offer English-taught Programs?

Yes. While most programs are in either French, German, or Italian, there are also quite a few programs being taught in English at nearly all Swiss universities, especially at the master’s and doctoral levels. The EU Business School in Geneva, for example, offers all of its courses in English, and the University of Basel has a Master’s Degree in Animal Biology that is taught in English.


In this article, we hope that you’ll be able to decide which low-cost institution in Switzerland to enroll in. If you need more articles about studying in Switzerland, then visit our Study in Switzerland Page for more valuable tips and information. Make sure to also check Available Programs in Europe for more study options!

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. EM August 30, 2023 10:55 pm - Reply

    Hi, University of Lausanne website says its too late to apply for masters, but deadline is on 30th Nov