Higher Education Degree Programs in Switzerland

Switzerland is internationally known as a centre of excellence for education and is hence an attractive study destination. Since 2001, universities of Switzerland have been rapidly adapting their curriculum to comply with the Bologna Declaration. Such a transition would make it more comfortable and easy for pupils to move around European borders during their studies as either exchange program students or in order to be able to transition smoothly from a Bachelor's to a Master's degree program.

Under the two-tiered Bologna system, the Bachelor’s is the first level degree being awarded while the second is the Master's degree. To gain admission to Master’s studies, a bachelor’s degree is a necessity, while a Master’s degree with high scores or grades is the major requirement for taking on a doctorate study.

Bachelor’s Degree

The Bachelor's degree is the initial degree and the foremost step for the students to take in order to acquire a practical and technical approach to their education.

Duration: A bachelor study is about three years of full-time study and requires 180 ECTS credits for admittance.

Admission Requirement:  The Bachelor study is open to students holding a valid secondary school diploma, a Switzerland school-leaving certificate, or a foreign degree that has been viewed as equivalent.

The majority of the Switzerland universities applies a numerus clausus policy (a fixed upper limit number of entrants admissible to an academic institution) in the areas of medicine, dentistry and chiropractic studies. The Bachelor's degree is a necessity for admission in a Master's course of study.

Master’s Degree

The prerequisite for admission to a Master's studies is a successfully completed Bachelor's degree. Each university has their own conditions and requirements for admission to Master's studies. Master course of study allows students to advance his or her knowledge and specialise in a particular field of study. This degree requires a thesis to be submitted at the end of the course for its completion. In the Bologna structure, a Master's studies lasts three to four semesters depending on the area of study and awards 90 to 120 ECTS credits.

The Switzerland universities offers the following Master's degrees: Master of Theology (M Th), Master of Law (M Law), Master of Medicine (M Med), Master of Dental Medicine (M Dent Med), Master of Veterinary Medicine (M Vet Med), Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (M Sc) and Master of Engineering (M Eng).

Doctorate/PhD Degree

A doctorate is the highest level academic degree. The doctorate degree comprises of Research doctorate and Professional Doctorate degrees. Professional doctorates are awarded in the professional field of study like law or medicine. The twelve state-run university institutions of academic learning - 10 cantonal universities and 2 Federal Institutes of Technology award doctoral degrees in Switzerland.

Duration: Research doctorate degrees are awarded after 3-5 years of postgraduate research and study, and require the students to submit a thesis for successful completion of the degree.

Admission  Requirement: A Master’s degree with high grades is the primary requirement for admission to a doctoral course of studies.

Application to doctoral studies is subject to specific conditions, the most significant of which are the acceptance of the thesis proposal by the Faculty and a professor willing to be the supervisor. The doctoral student must carry out an original research for the thesis and defend the thesis content before a committee of professors. Also, in some universities, depending on the Faculty or the field of research, the student has to finish an advanced course of study, pass examinations on the chosen subject, and even attend specific doctoral seminars offered by the university.
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