Higher Education and Research

Drone in the mountains
Drone in the mountains ©EDA

University education has a centuries-long tradition in Switzerland: its first university was founded in Basel in 1460. Today, Switzerland is a hub for top-quality higher education, research and innovation. It has outstanding universities offering a wide array of programs, numerous world-class public research institutions, and a thriving private sector that encourages research and development. 

Swiss Higher Education and Research

Switzerland’s higher education landscape is diverse and comprehensive, comprising federal institutes of technology, cantonal universities, universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education. They offer a wide range of high-quality degree programs in all disciplines and figure prominently in international university rankings.

Switzerland has the second highest level of expenditure on education and training worldwide, accounting for about 5% of its GDP. Research and development (R&D) activities account for a further 3.4% of Swiss GDP. Swiss researchers produce roughly 1.1% of all scientific papers published worldwide, and these papers receive above-average recognition within the international research community. The country also tops international rankings in terms of the average volume of published scientific articles per capita. R&D activities ultimately give rise to patents: Switzerland files the third largest number of PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) patents per capita.

International research cooperation is also a high priority for Switzerland, because it enables Switzerland to take part in numerous international research organizations as well as to pursue bilateral research cooperation with specific partner countries. 

Why Study in Switzerland

Many Swiss universities and researchers work in close collaboration with universities in the United States. Switzerland is an attractive destination for U.S. students because of its top-ranked universities, its highly intercultural and international environment, as well as its status as one of the most competitive and innovative economies worldwide. In addition, employment rates of Swiss university graduates are among the highest in the world and Switzerland is known for offering one of the best qualities of life.

Recognition of Foreign Qualifications

In the absence of a bilateral agreement between Switzerland and the U.S. on the recognition of educational degrees, each university in the U.S. operates independently when recognizing Swiss degrees. Moreover, there is no comprehensive authority for the recognition of foreign degrees and other qualifications. Individual evaluation recommendations for international diplomas can be obtained by credential evaluation services for a fee.

For information on the recognition of foreign qualifications in Switzerland, please refer to the following web pages: