PhD in Switzerland


Switzerland is a well-known destination to study abroad throughout Europe because the national and international students who study in Switzerland get an opportunity to study from highly reputed universities and teachers. Universities of Switzerland provide practical courses and diverse research opportunities, which is one of the reasons to study in Switzerland. Studying in Switzerland will surely play a major role in giving your career a kick start. The beautiful cities and the natural beauty of Switzerland attract most of its international students and make it an equitable destination to study abroad. Various events and social life of Switzerland are appreciated by the international students studying there. Moreover, Switzerland provides a welcoming environment and opportunities to learn to the international students studying there.


Why Study in Switzerland

There are many reasons to study PhD in Switzerland. Following are some reasons to pursue PhD in Switzerland for Indian students:

Great Educational System

Switzerland’s educational system is renowned for its high standards and teaching methods that encourage students to actively participate in their studies. Switzerland offers an educational system that is both inexpensive and of excellent quality. The majority of public colleges in Switzerland do not impose tuition fees higher than $1100 USD.

Good Number of International Students

As Switzerland attracts international students to study in Switzerland due to the factors like World class educational system, plenty of scholarships and affordable prices it have become a hub of international students. A huge number of students studying in Switzerland are foreigners. Therefore the chances of feeling left out should not disturb you.

Culture and Diversity

Switzerland is a country that is characterized by diversities in both culture and geography. With a population of about 2 million people it is impossible for the culture of Switzerland to not get impacted. If you have decided to study in Switzerland then the language barrier will never bother you as there is a plenty of then languages spoken in the country other than its official languages. English is one of such language. Diversity in the culture of Switzerland is also a result of the impact from neighboring countries.


Top Universities in Switzerland

  • ETH Zurich
  • University of Zurich
  • Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
  • University of Basel
  • University of Geneva
  • University of Lausanne
  • University of Bern
  • University of Gallen
  • Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies


Popular Fields of PhD Study

Following are some popular PhD programs in Switzerland:

  • Biological Sciences
  • Education
  • Anthropology
  • Engineering
  • Sociology
  • Psychology


Program Duration and Cost of Studying

PhD programs in Switzerland have a duration of 3-5 years. The duration of traditional PhD programs in Switzerland has a shorter duration in comparison to the structured PhD programs, this is because the structured PhD program involves extra training and other activities.

The cost of pursuing a PhD program depends on the university you have opted for. However, the tuition fees of PhD programs in Switzerland can range between 1,000 CHF to 2,000 CHF. Some PhD universities of Switzerland offer PhD programs as paid assistant jobs in which you would not have to pay the tuition fees and you get paid for the job you would be doing.


Eligibility Criteria for PhD Programs

Following are some eligibility criteria for PhD programs in Switzerland:

Strong Academic Credentials

A candidate would need an exceptional profile along with a master’s degree in the relevant subject in order to pursue a PhD program in Switzerland.

Language Requirements

In order to pursue a PhD program in Switzerland, you would need to prove your language proficiency in the language of instruction. Following are the recognized language proficiency exams you can give-

For English: IELTS (score must be at least 7), TOEFL (score of 600 for paper based and a score of 100 for online), or CAE.

For Italian: CELI or PLIDA

For German: Goethe certificate C1 or TestDaF

For French: DALF C1


Intakes and ​Deadlines

Usually, there are no deadlines for applying to PhD programs in Switzerland but it is recommended to apply as early as possible so that the candidate would be left with enough time for applying for a visa and another application process. However, PhD programs in Switzerland usually begin from September to May and follow two teaching semesters that is September to December and February or May to June.


PhD Application Process in Switzerland

The following documents are required to pursue PhD programs in Switzerland:

  • Valid passport (for 3 months beyond the duration of your degree program)
  • 3 completely filled forms of Application for long stay visa
  • Letter of acceptance from any University of Switzerland
  • 4 passport sized photograph
  • Registration and tuition fees payment receipt (copy and original)
  • Documents proving that you can afford to live and study in Switzerland
  • CV
  • Letter of Motivation
  • Healthcare Insurance
  • Copies of previous studies
  • A signed letter committing that you will leave Switzerland after your studies


Student Visa Terms and Provisions

Non-EU and EEA citizens who want to pursue PhD in Switzerland would have to apply for a Swiss student visa. You would have to apply for a type D visa which is granted for employment or studying longer than 90 days in Switzerland. The application process for a Swiss student visa may take 56 days or more therefore it is advised to apply for the visa as soon as you receive a university acceptance letter. The cost of a Swiss student visa is 60EUR.

Non-EU and EFTA students would also need to apply for a residence permit for staying longer than 60 days in Switzerland.

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