PhD in Switzerland: Guide on Universities in Switzerland for PhD, Fees, Requirements, Scholarships, Scope Image
Masters abroad: preps and steps

PhD in Switzerland: Guide on Universities in Switzerland for PhD, Fees, Requirements, Scholarships, Scope

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Yocket Editorial Team
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Le News revealed, ‘’Switzerland breaks record for the highest number of PhD students.’’ In 2017, the number of PhD students in Switzerland was 31,293, and in 2022, the number has grown twice more, 54,279. Pursuing PhD in Switzerland is a popular choice amongst international students for its QS-ranked PhD universities, fully funded PhD in Switzerland and a diverse choice in Swiss PhD programs. 

Did you also know that PhD graduates in Switzerland receive the highest salary? Working as a doctoral assistant in EPFL offers you 52,700 CHF/year on a general salary range. All of this clearly states your decision to pursue a Swiss PhD is a wise investment. Read along to explore your study and career options for PhD in Switzerland.  

Table Of Contents:

  1. Why Study PhD In Switzerland?
  2. An Overview Of Swiss PhD 
  3. Top 5 Universities In Switzerland For PhD 
  4. Eligibility Criteria For Swiss PhD 
  5. Admission Process For PhD In Switzerland For Indian Students
  6. Documents Required For A Swiss PhD 
  7. Cost Of Studying PhD in Switzerland
  8. Scholarship Opportunities To Study PhD In Switzerland
  9. Career Opportunities After PhD In Switzerland
  10. Frequently Asked Questions About PhD In Switzerland

 

Why Study PhD In Switzerland?

Before we can proceed further, let’s first understand why pursuing PhD in Switzerland is a great choice:

  1. QS-Ranked PhD Universities: Switzerland is home to multiple QS-ranked universities, especially PhD studies. A few are University of Zurich (Rank 70), University of Basel (Rank 138), etc.

 

  1. Preferred choice by international students: Academics revealed 50% of PhD students in Switzerland are international students. As you also learnt above, the number of PhD students in Switzerland has increased since 2017. 

 

  1. Different types of PhD: The Swiss PhD is of two types, general and structural. The general PhD refers to focusing n a doctoral thesis and may include training and development. The structural PhD includes more coursework, formal training and even collaboration with different institutions.

 

  1. Multiple Scholarship opportunities: Studying PhD in Switzerland is easy due to the range of scholarship opportunities provided. These scholarships help fund PhD studies and provide payment convenience in recurrent student expenses.

Suggested: How is the education system in Switzerland?

 

An Overview Of Swiss PhD 

To help you get a better understanding of what to expect from a Swiss PhD study, we have curated brief information on the same:

Course Duration

3-5 years

Top PhD specialisations

Food science, Finance, Management, Law, Physics, Economics, etc.

Top PhD programs

Engineering, Education, Psychology, etc.

PhD tuition fees

8- CHF- 500 CHF/semester

Popular PhD universities

University of Zurich, University of Geneva, University of Bern, etc.

No of PhD universities

43

No. of PhD international students

54,279

PhD Academic Year

Spring/ Autumn 

PhD Cycle

Bachelor- 1st cycle, Masters- 2nd cycle, PhD- 3rd cycle

 

Top 5 Universities In Switzerland For PhD 

There are multiple universities to choose from when pursuing PhD in Switzerland for international students. These are popular choices amongst international students, and the universities offer multiple PhD programs to choose from. Here are the top 5 choices:

  1. University of Lausanne
  2. University of Bern
  3. University of Zurich
  4. University of Geneva
  5. University of Basel

Details of each of these universities to study in Switzerland is mentioned below: 

 

3. University of Lausanne

University of Lausanne is a research institution that offers seven different facilities. It provides a range of PhD programs for international students to choose from. University of Lausanne is also home to multiple Nobel prize winners in PhD. 

Type

Public

QS World University Rankings 2022

176

Academic Reputation

32.8

International Student Ratio

61.7

PhD Programs Offered

PhD in Business Analytics, Actuarial Science, Economics, etc.

Average Tuition Fees

80 CHF/semester

Location

Lausanne

 

2. University of Bern

University of Bern offers a diverse range of PhD programs for international students to choose from. The university is well known for its teaching methods and campus environment.

Type

Public

QS World University Rankings 2022

119

Academic Reputation

30.4

International Student Ratio

44

PhD Programs Offered

PhD in Art history, Business Administration, Computer Science, etc

Average Tuition Fees

200 CHF/semester

Location

Bern

 

3. University of Zurich

University of Zurich is on the top list of the best PhD universities in Switzerland. Zurich is a popular student destination and the university offers a range of PhD programs based on different faculties. 

Type

Public

QS World University Rankings 2022

70

Academic Reputation

59.3

International Student Ratio

57.8

PhD Programs Offered

PhD in Informatics, Theology, law, etc

Average Tuition Fees

150 CHF/semester

Location

Zurich

 

4. University of Geneva

Another widely popular PhD choice is University of Geneva. Geneva is well known for its academic excellence and the teaching methods they offer. With every PhD program, students are encouraged to do more self work. 

Type

Public

QS World University Rankings 2022

105

Academic Reputation

48.7

International Student Ratio

97.3

PhD Programs Offered

PhD in Biology-Medicine, Biomedical science, Neurosciences, etc

Average Tuition Fees

500 CHF/semester

Location

Geneva

 

5. University of Basel

University of Basel is a great choice to pursue PhD studies as the list of PhD programs available here are multiple. The university has a great staff student ratio and offers better research based learnings. 

Type

Public

QS World University Rankings 2022

138

Academic Reputation

28.7

International Student Ratio

86.7

PhD Programs Offered

PhD in Ancient History, African Studies, Botany, Geography, etc

Average Tuition Fees

350 CHF/semester

Location

Basel

Suggested: View more PhD universities in Switzerland

 

Eligibility Criteria For Swiss PhD 

To pursue PhD in Switzerland, there are certain eligibility criterias that have to be met. These differ based on the university choice, but there are two standard processes for this field of study:

  • A Bachelor and Masters Degree
  • Language requirements



1. A Bachelor and Masters Degree

International students need to have a three year Bachelor's degree as well as a Master's degree or equivalent in the relevant field of study.

 

2. Language requirements

Based on the language of instruction of the PhD program, international students will write the language proficiency test like IELTS, TOEFL. For instance, for English, you require a C1 level to pass, etc.

 

Admission Process For PhD In Switzerland For Indian Students

To apply to the top PhD universities in Switzerland, here is an overview of the admission process:

  • Identify which PhD program you wish to study. Choose the PhD university that offers the same.
  • Search for a supervisor and confirm the supervision based on your PhD program choice
  • Visit the selected PhD universities' official website to learn about the entry requirements
  • Clear any tests required and attach them and other relevant documents to send before the application deadline. 
  • Pay the application fee ( 100 CHF-400 CHF)
  • Wait for confirmation, once accepted apply for the student visa and start arranging for funds

Suggested: How to apply for student visa in Switzerland?

 

Documents Required For A Swiss PhD 

When submitting your PhD application, there are certain documents that need to be attached. Ensure the below is checked:

  • All educational transcripts
  • Valid identity proof
  • Scorecard of exams required(ELP Scores, GRE, GMAT, etc)
  • Proof of payment
  • Proof of application fee payment
  • CV
  • Signed declaration of consent
  • Information of residence with regards to last educational background

Note: Ensure all documents are translated as per the language enquired on the universities official website.

 

Cost Of Studying PhD in Switzerland

To study PhD in Switzerland, there are two cost factors you need to consider. These factors are important as they will contribute to your fund planning when you arrive in the country. 

Let’s learn about them one by one:

 

  • Tuition Fees

The tuition fees of doing a PhD in Switzerland ranges from 80 CHF- 500 CHF/semester.  

 

  • Cost of Living

The cost of living in Switzerland ranges from 1,400 CHF- 2,250 CHF/month. Most of your recurring monthly expenses will be accommodation, transport, health insurance, food, and miscellaneous expenses.  

Suggested: A detailed guide on cost of studying in Switzerland

 

Scholarship Opportunities To Study PhD In Switzerland

You can now study for a PhD in Switzerland with scholarship conveniently. There is a list of popular Switzerland PhD scholarships for international students. They help cover multiple expenses such as travel, etc and also offer grants. 

Here are the top 5 Switzerland PhD scholarships for international students:

Scholarship Name

Amount/Grants/Fellowship/Covers

University of Geneva

Pursue PhD in Life Sciences


Covers the cost of living in Geneva

Bizoentrum PhD fellowship in Life Sciences

Pursue any Bizoentrum PhD program


Covers full and independent funding for complete PhD program and also offers travel funds

Life Sciences Zurich Graduate School

Pursue PhD in Life Sciences


Provides financial support based on the PhD student salary

Swiss Excellence Scholarship for Foreign students

Pursue doctoral studies in any discipline


Covers monthly payments and exempts tuition fees, health insurance, airfare and housing, etc expenses

EPFL Postdoctoral Fellowships in Switzerland 

Pursue PhD project in EPFL


Provides salary for the academic year

Suggested: View more scholarships in Switzerland for international students

 

Career Opportunities After PhD In Switzerland

After completing PhD in Switzerland for Indian students, there are a range of job profiles to choose from. Based on your expertise and experience, the salary figure will fluctuate. On average a PhD graduate in Switzerland will earn 116,000 CHF/year. 

Here is an overview of the popular PhD job profiles and expected salary for each:

Job Profile

Average Annual Salary

Lecturer

112,000- 272,000 CHF

Senior Research Analyst

110,000 CHF

Advanced Nutrition Aide

182,000 CHF

Clinical Psychologist

408,000 CHF

General Medical Practitioner

260,000 CHF

Suggested: What is it like to work in Switzerland?

Switzerland offers research-based PhD programs that are tutored well with the help of academic experts. Pursuing a PhD program should always be from an institute that offers a blend of theory and practical approaches whilst also offering additional knowledge about the real world. Luckily this is exactly what a PhD in Switzerland will offer you. With all the information listed above, it's time to apply to top universities in Switzerland for PhD.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About PhD In Switzerland

Ques: Is GRE required for PhD in Switzerland for Indian students?

Ans: Yes, GRE scores are required for PhD studies in Switzerland. GRE Analytical- 3.5 and GRE Quantitative- 165

 

Ques: Can you study PhD in Switzerland In English?

Ans: Yes, most PhD programs in Switzerland are taught in English.

 

Ques: Can PhD students work in Switzerland?

Ans: Yes, PhD students are allowed to work for 15hrs/week during semesters and unlimited in holidays.

Suggested: How to do part-time jobs in Switzerland?

 

Ques: Is it easy to get a Swiss PhD?

Ans: To get accepted in a PhD university, you need to have a good academic score in your previous educational qualifications. Based on this, the university will measure your candidature. 

 

Ques: Can PhD in Switzerland for international students complete their PhD in one year?

Ans: No, to complete your PhD studies in Switzerland, international students will take up to three to five years based on the PhD programs in Switzerland chosen. 

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