Switzerland has ten "cantonal" universities as well as two Institutes of Technology that are considered federal higher education facilities. In addition, numerous colleges are spread throughout the country to accommodate a growing number of international and local students. Universities and colleges in Switzerland adhere to the semester schedule, with winter semester lasting from October to March and summer semester continuing from April to July. Switzerland also has many private colleges, fine arts universities and pedagogical universities that offer diplomas recognized by the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education, or the EDK.
There are three basic academic degrees given in Switzerland: The Bachelor, the Master, and the Ph.D. It is still possible to obtain a Diploma, also called "Lizentiat", which corresponds to a U.S. master’s degree. Most students earn a License and Diploma within four to five years. Students must earn these two degrees first before they can pursue a Ph.D.
While English is not one of Switzerland’s four national languages, most locals speak great English and are committed to global culture. Some schools particularly business programs offer complete courses of study in English.
Working in Switzerland while you’re a student
If you are coming to Switzerland to study you may take up part-time work for up to 15 hours a week in term time and full-time during holidays, but only after you have lived in Switzerland for six months.
If you already hold a Master’s degree from a foreign university and you’re in Switzerland working for your Swiss university or institute, you don’t have to wait six months but can start work straight away. Your employer will need to get a work permit for you. You will need to maintain your full-time student status and show that you are continuing to make progress in your studies.
Your family members cannot come with you or join you while you are a student in Switzerland. This is because students are issued with a temporary residence permit (eg. permit B) and only foreigners holding a settlement permit C can bring their families to join them. However, there are some exceptions: those holding Confederation grants, doctoral students, visiting professors, post-docs and other academics.