While it is common for students to consider studying in universities close to their homes, there are those who aspire to hit many birds with one stone. It means studying abroad to take advantage of numerous opportunities beyond their academic reasons. It could be the fulfilling sense of living independently and standing on their own feet and like, having to take care of their every need and, as millennials put it, “adulting.”

Others find studying abroad the perfect reason to explore the world as early as they can. Countless cities and countries in the world that you can consider visiting for vacations and holidays but finding a country you wish to stay in for several years requires more research and preparation. Switzerland, a small yet prosperous nation in Europe, makes an excellent destination for your education and holiday expectations.

There are numerous excellent reasons to live in Switzerland as you complete your college degrees, such as its food and its proximity to other countries in Europe you wish to visit as well. You have a better chance of establishing your career, putting up a business, or choosing to be a Swiss citizen there. However, as the country is known for its high cost of living, it can be very taxing to be away from home and adjust to your destination country. Beyond your schoolwork, you mostly have yourself to rely on when it comes to financial matters. Fortunately, there are universities in Switzerland that offer free tuition and living allowances to international students so that international students can study in Switzerland for free.

How to Study in Switzerland for Free

1. Put Together an Excellent Application

As soon as you made a decision about pursuing your higher education in Switzerland, it would be best if you also secured your chances of studying in Switzerland for free. The first thing that review panelists check on your application is your academic excellence and your potential to contribute to your preferred school’s high standards. For this matter, you should already be doing beyond excellent in your current school. Studying hard can help you maintain your outstanding grades and sustain your good relationship with your school people. You should also participate in school clubs and network well with your teachers and mentors to secure an excellent recommendation.

If you intend to submit applications to multiple schools and universities, ensure to keep track of the application schedules. This way, you can prepare your application accordingly and submit those at the earliest time. Preparing your application usually doesn’t happen in a couple of hours within the same day, as you will need forms and paperwork that may even take days or weeks to accomplish.

Utilize tools such as Microsoft Office or Google Productivity Tools to keep track of your application schedule and essential documents for submission. Getting everything organized can help you keep track of your progress, and more importantly, submit your application early. Late submissions are definitely a no-no, and no matter how great your application is, they may lose you the chance to get into your dream school.

2. Apply for scholarships in Switzerland

As previously mentioned, Switzerland may be a challenging place to stay due to its high cost of living. In this case, scholarships and subsidies can be your saving grace. With a little internet researching skills, you can find a list of government and private sectors that offer partial and full scholarships to international students. Aside from these, some universities provide scholarships for outstanding students.

It is also advisable for you to apply for as many scholarships as you can so that you can study in Switzerland for free. Don’t just put your application in one place and hope you’ll get accepted. Imagine that you are competing against thousands of students from different countries, most of whom belong to the top of their class. It is why it only makes sense for you to apply to several scholarship providers.

3. Apply to affordable universities in Switzerland

Switzerland is also known for its world-class education, thus a favorite destination for international students. The good thing about this is that Switzerland also has affordable schools and universities that deliver the same high-quality education. You can also consider public universities, as most of these have more affordable tuition costs as the government funds these institutions. Bachelor’s and Master’s programs have tuition fees between 400 to 3,700 EUR per year, while Ph.D. programs cost cheaper at 100 to 900 EUR annually.

Similarly, with scholarships, make sure to check the affordable universities in your destination country and send several applications if you can. You might have an increased chance of getting into at least one university, bringing you closer to your academic goal.

Check Also: Available Programs in Europe for International Students

Study Undergraduate in Switzerland for Free

The University of Gallen offers scholarships to students in the Bachelor’s programs through the University of St. Gallen Excellence Scholarship. The Scholarship covers its recipients’ full tuition costs and especially caters to international students in the university so that international students can study in Switzerland for free. As it is an Excellence scholarship, applicants are considered based on their university admission test scores. Once assessed, prospective recipients are requested to submit additional requirements and proof of their academic achievements before the application deadline.

After getting accepted, recipients should complete their Bachelor’s without any delays. They are also subjected to a yearly review to confirm their scholarship program participation if they meet the specified grade requirement. With consistently outstanding academic performance, recipients of this Scholarship receive an equivalent of CHF6,258 yearly. The Scholarship from the University of St. Gallen and other providers worth mentioning such as the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships and Studyportals Scholarship International Distinction Awards can help you study for an undergraduate degree for free in Switzerland.

Study Master’s in Switzerland for Free

Getting your Master’s degree in Switzerland is another excellent step to level up your academic and professional competence. Of course, completing a full Master’s program for free is an even better option for you in the country. Though some provide partial scholarships, the ETH Excellence Scholarship offers not one, but two Scholarship supports to international students in the Master’s program.

The Excellence Scholarship & Opportunity Programme covers the full tuition and living costs while the recipient completes their degree in Switzerland. Aside from this, the ETH-D Scholarship provides a stipend and any additional scholarship and assistance. Applicants should belong in the top 10% during their undergraduate studies and should not be already enrolled in any ETH Zurich Master’s programs to be eligible in the scholarship programs.

Another university offers a scholarship to students in their Master’s programs. The recipients of the University of Geneva Excellence Master Fellowships receive around CHF10,000 to CHF15,000 annually, and they are not required to render teaching hours. However, a yearly review process will determine their continued participation in the scholarship program.

Meanwhile, The Geneva Academy provides a partial Scholarship that covers the tuition costs and a full scholarship that covers tuition costs and living expenses of their recipients. With these scholarship programs, aspiring graduate students have better chances of studying their Master’s degree for free in Switzerland.

Study Ph.D. in Switzerland for Free

Aspiring doctorate students can study in Switzerland for free while receiving grants for their research. The University of Zurich provides this through an employment opportunity where students can apply as a teaching or research assistant at the university. Once accepted, students can proceed with their education for free while the school compensates them for their work and refer them to additional funding for their research studies. The university website lists several funding programs for their Ph.D. students.

International students in Ph.D. programs can also receive funding through The Graduate Institute of Geneva. Similarly, with the University of Zurich, students can apply for teaching and research jobs in the university. However, the Graduate Institute of Geneva provides scholarships of CHF20,000 yearly, which is more than the annual CHF8,000 tuition costs for Ph.D. programs in the university.


We hope that this article on how to study in Switzerland for free was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Europe!

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. T.R. Sai Sudhakar July 3, 2023 4:46 am - Reply

    Very informative article

    • Hyun Lee July 3, 2023 10:27 am - Reply


  2. Sandy August 3, 2023 4:07 pm - Reply

    Thank you for letting me know how I should get a scholarship and what I can do in Switzerland and showing me the schools or universities

    • Hyun Lee August 4, 2023 2:01 pm - Reply

      Hi Sandy, regarding scholarships, you should get high marks in your latest degree as well as having some standardized test scores depending on your desired degree. Check out our Best Scholarships in Switzerland article for the list of scholarships available as well as Best Universities in Switzerland for international students article for a list of universities in Switzerland. Those are good places to start, but if you have any other questions, please let me know!

  3. Sehaj August 22, 2023 7:37 pm - Reply

    Hey I was hoping if you could pls tell me about the procedure.
    I am totally lost ..how to apply, where to apply for the university and how to avail scholarship.

    • Hyun Lee August 30, 2023 1:43 pm - Reply

      Hello, the application procedure is different by university unfortunately, and the best way is to go to the websites of Swiss Universities and find the application procedure there. The admissions page of individual university websites will tell you exactly how to apply and where to apply. Regarding scholarships, you can check the university websites or go to our Best Scholarships in Switzerland Page for more information.

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