Switzerland offers world-class education and a multicultural environment, making it an attractive destination for international students. Known for its high living standards and strong academic reputation, studying here also provides ample networking and career opportunities. The primary challenge, however, lies in managing tuition and living expenses.

Indeed, Switzerland carries a reputation for being a high-cost country, yet it presents numerous avenues for savings. From student discounts and affordable accommodation options to clever budgeting hacks and part-time work possibilities, mastering the art of Swiss living can turn this potential con into a minor hurdle. For in-depth insights, stay tuned to this article to discover effective strategies for managing expenses while enjoying the unique Swiss educational experience!

Costs of Studying in Switzerland

Academic Costs / Tuition Fees

In Switzerland, tuition fees for public universities range from CHF 1,000 to CHF 2,000 for bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Private universities can charge up to CHF 20,000 per year. Education isn’t free for international students, and fees are generally the same for all students at public universities, although there can be some exceptions which can be found on your prospective university’s website.

ETH Zurich Bachelor’s: 1,200 – 2,000 CHF per year
University of Geneva Bachelor’s: 1,200 – 2,000 CHF per year
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) Master’s: 4,000 – 12,000 CHF per year
University of St. Gallen Master’s: 18,000 – 25,000 CHF per year
Lugano University of Applied Sciences and Arts (SUPSI) Bachelor’s & Master’s: 2,000 – 10,000 CHF per year

 Other Academic Costs

Beyond tuition, consider additional costs like application fees, which range from CHF 50 to CHF 250 depending on the university. Healthcare insurance is mandatory, typically costing around CHF 100 per month, while on-campus housing averages CHF 450 – 800 monthly. For example, the University of Lausanne charges around CHF 200 application fees for bachelor’s programs. Remember, living expenses like food and transportation add another layer, so factor in these costs for a comprehensive budget.

Costs of Living in Switzerland

1. Zurich

Switzerland’s largest city and country’s economic hub, Zurich, is also the world’s most expensive city, tied with a handful of others for the top spot in global cost-of-living rankings. While this might sound daunting, don’t let it demotivate you!

Zurich’s high living costs are offset by the unparalleled quality of life, with students needing a budget of approximately 2,000 CHF per month. This includes expenses for insurance, accommodation, transportation, and other living costs.

Besides cost, Zurich is also known for its world-renowned institutions like ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich, and its historical architecture spread around the town.

2. Geneva

Famed for its role in international diplomacy, Geneva houses institutions like the University of Geneva, attracting students in fields like international relations. The living expenses here can go approximately up to 1,500 – 1,900 CHF per month, encompassing housing, food, and transportation. The city’s cosmopolitan atmosphere, combined with its educational opportunities, makes it an attractive destination for students, despite the high costs.

3. Lausanne

Situated on the shores of beautiful Lake Geneva, Lausanne is home to the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and the University of Lausanne. Students can expect slightly higher living costs of around 2,500 CHF, compared to Zurich and Geneva, but should always look out for options that minimize it.

Ways to Minimize Academic and Living Costs in Switzerland

1. Scholarships for International Students

For international students looking to study in Switzerland, scholarships are a great way to ease the financial burden. The Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships are specifically designed for talented postgraduate researchers and artists, offering a comprehensive package that covers tuition and living expenses.

Then there’s the ETH Zurich Excellence Scholarships, perfect for outstanding master’s students at ETH Zurich, providing not just full tuition coverage but also a living stipend. Another excellent opportunity is the University of Geneva Doctoral Grants, which support doctoral studies financially.

These scholarships are just a few examples of the many funding opportunities available to international students in Switzerland, making the dream of studying in this beautiful country more accessible.

2. Part-time Work for International Students

International students in Switzerland have the opportunity to work part-time in various fields, aiding their financial situation while gaining valuable experience. As Research Assistants, they can look into academic projects at universities, expanding their knowledge and skills in their chosen field. Moreover, In Tutoring or Language Teaching roles, students proficient in English or other languages can find flexible, well-paying work, teaching students of various ages.

Furthermore, the Hospitality and Tourism sector offers roles in hotels, restaurants, and cafes, providing a fast-paced environment to develop customer service skills in Switzerland’s dynamic tourism industry. These part-time jobs not only help students financially but also enhance their overall educational experience in Switzerland.


Overall, studying in Switzerland can be expensive for international students. Tuition costs vary based on university type and degree program. While the prestige of a Swiss education comes with a heavy price tag for international students, scholarship opportunities, budget-friendly living hacks, part-time jobs, and discounted transportation can come in very handy, mitigating the financial impact. So, with every financial aspect unfolding in front of you, it’s now your time to tackle all these financial challenges while rewarding yourself with the best quality education out there.


We hope that this article on the cost of studying and living in Switzerland was helpful. If you would like to know the academic and living expenses of different countries, go visit our Cost of Studying and Living by Country to compare and contrast the countries of your choice! You can also find more information about studying in this beautiful country on the Switzerland Page plus several Open Courses 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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