There are three types of higher education institutions: universities and institutes of technology (UIT), universities of applied sciences (UAS) and universities of teacher education (UTE). UAS and UTE offer courses which mainly have a practical orientation. All higher education institutions award bachelor and master degrees following the application of guidelines from the Bologna declaration. A doctorate may only be obtained at UIT.
The proportion of qualifications awarded to students of foreign origin varies greatly by the type of higher education and level of graduation. This is especially the case for foreign nationals educated abroad prior to starting their studies at a Swiss higher education institution. In 2020, this category of students were awarded 55% of doctorates and 36% of master degrees at universities of applied sciences. In contrast, at the universities of teacher education, less than 10% of qualifications were awarded to this population.
Although the year 2020 was marked by the covid-19 pandemic, the statistics on higher education institutions graduates only partially reflect this particular situation. Indeed, in most cases, higher education institutions have taken a series of measures to ensure the maintenance of examination sessions. Within UIT, there was a general increase in the number of all degrees awarded between 2019 and 2020, comparable to the increases observed in previous years. The situation at UAS was more complex, with a slight decrease in the number of Bachelor's degrees between 2019 and 2020 but an increase in the number of Master's degrees. At the UTE, a situation similar to that of the UAS can be observed: a decrease in the number of Bachelor degrees but stability or a slight increase in the number of other titles.
|Universities and institutes of technology|
|Bachelor||2 926||11 536||14 292||15 396|
|First university degree and diploma||9 187||3 326||495||110|
|Master||1 290||7 961||13 440||14 684|
|Degree of continuing education and training*||1 692||1 767||1 677||1 659|
|Universities of applied sciences|
|Diploma||6 871||1 050||0||0|
|Bachelor||0||8 528||12 678||13 982|
|Master||0||1 280||2 721||3 471|
|Degree of continuing education and training||2 436||2 691||2 400||2 345|
|Universities of teacher education|
|Degres of continuing education and training||17||34||169||60|
Since the Bologna reform, bachelor and master degrees account for the main qualifications awarded by higher education institutions. At the universities and institutes of technology, master degrees have replaced the traditional "licence/diplôme" study courses. The bachelor degree is the first final qualification awarded but most university students continue their studies to master degree level. Only universities and institutes of technology are able to award doctorates.
At universities of applied sciences, bachelor degrees are the final qualification, replacing the previous "diplôme". The master degree programmes offered by universities of applied sciences are currently expanding.
The universities of teacher education are an exception as the final qualification depends on the prospective teacher's level of teaching.
Statistical sources and concepts