Best universities in Switzerland 2020

Find the top universities in Switzerland, using Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings data

October 22 2019
Best universities in Switzerland

Despite being a small country nestled in the centre of Europe, Switzerland has many great opportunities for international students. 

With 11 of its 12 universities featured in the World University Rankings (all in the top 600), there are a number of great institutions that students can choose from that all have high numbers of international students among the student body. 

On top of that, studying in Switzerland offers students the chance to brush up on language skills in one of the country’s four official languages (French, German, Italian and Romansh), as well as take advantage of the many international businesses that operate in the country. 

EU and EEA students do not require a visa to study in Switzerland, and students from elsewhere will need to apply for a visa, leaving a few months for the process to complete. 

These are the best universities in Switzerland based on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020


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1. ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich was established in 1855 as the Federal Polytechnic School and has since become one of the world’s most prestigious science and technology universities. 

The university has produced over 20 Nobel Prize Laureates, including Albert Einstein – one of the most influential and well-known scientists of modern times. 

As well as providing excellence in science and technology education, the university is also a key contributor in science and technology research. 

2. École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne is a highly international university with almost half of its students coming from abroad and 112 different nationalities represented. 

It specialises in natural science and engineering and is well-regarded across the world for its research output. 

The campus is located beside Lake Geneva and it is powered entirely by electricity produced by hydropower. 

3. University of Zurich

The University of Zurich is located in the city of Zurich, which is the largest city in Switzerland. It is the largest university in Switzerland. 

There are seven faculties at the university: philosophy, human medicine, economic sciences, mathematics and natural sciences, engineering, computer sciences and robotics, theology and veterinary medicine.

Undergraduate degrees are mainly taught in Swiss Standard German, but all master’s courses are taught in English. 


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4. University of Basel

The University of Basel, founded in 1460, is the oldest university in Switzerland and is among the world’s oldest surviving universities. 

Up to a quarter of students that study at the university are international. 

The university has seven faculties: theology, law, medicine, humanities and social sciences, science, business and economics, and psychology. 

5. University of Bern

The University of Bern is based in the Swiss capital city of Bern. The university is not located on a single campus. Instead the faculties and schools are based in the Länggasse area, which is a part of the city centre known as the academic part of the city. 

The university has had some prestigious former faculty members. Albert Einstein taught theoretical physics at the university in 1908, and the following year the Russian philospher Anna Tumarkin became a professor (and the first European lecturer to accept PhD students).


Best universities in Switzerland 2020

Click each institution to view its World University Ranking 2020 profile

Switzerland Rank 2020  World University Rank 2020  University City
 =13  ETH Zurich Zurich
 =38  École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Lausanne
 90  University of Zurich Zurich
 =94  University of Basel Basel
 =113  University of Bern Bern
 =144  University of Geneva Geneva
 =198  University of Lausanne Lausanne
=8   301–350  University of Fribourg Fribourg
=8   301–350  Università della Svizzera Italiana Lugano
10   401–500  University of St Gallen St. Gallen
11   501–600  University of Neuchâtel Neuchâtel

Read more: Best universities in the world

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