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How higher education works in Switzerland and its European surroundings: a Bachelor’s degree possibly followed by a Master’s programme. Plus: advanced education and life-long learning, who’s who in Swiss universities and contact info.

Swiss education

The Swiss educational system is as varied and exciting as the Swiss landscape. Mirroring the diversity of languages, cultures and history in Switzerland, it is built on a complex interplay between the Confederation, the cantons and the communes. While the Swiss Constitution guarantees autonomy to the country's 26 cantons in the area of education, the Federal Government and cantons share responsibilities on higher education and on the tertiary level. The Confederation is responsible both for advanced vocational training and for the universities of applied sciences. In addition, it has jurisdiction over the two Federal Institutes of Technology and regulates and promotes research through the Swiss National Science Foundation (FNS). Each of the 10 university cantons is responsible for its cantonal university. Cantonal universities receive financial support from the Confederation and from those cantons which do not have their own university.

Higher education in Switzerland comprises academic studies at the 10 cantonal universities and the 2 Federal Institutes of Technology, at the more professionally-oriented universities of applied sciences and at the universities of teacher education. A few more University-level institutions are considered public institutions of higher education.

With their different histories, approaches, and research focus, as well as their language diversity, the 10 cantonal universities and the 2 Federal Institutes of Technology are poised to usher a multicultural Switzerland into the future. They all share a drive for quality in teaching and research, an ambition for excellence, the flexibility to cater to a multitude of demands, and the foresight to anticipate future requirements and challenges. This results in their consistently being ranked among the best universities in the world.