Tertiary education - Higher education institutions

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 2019, this category of students were awarded 56% 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.

Graduates by type of institutions and level of graduation, since 2005
  2005 2010 2015 2019
Universities and institutes of technology        
Bachelor's degrees 2 926 11 536 14 292 14 771
First universitiy degrees and diplomas 9 187 3 326  495  101
Master's degrees 1 290 7 961 13 440 14 365
Degrees of continuing education and training* 1 692 1 767 1 677 1 644
Doctorates 3 100 3 593 3 853 4 307
Universities of applied sciences        
UAS Diplomas 6 871 1 050  0  0
Bachelor's degrees  0 8 528 12 678 14 118
Master's degrees  0 1 280 2 721 3 353
Degrees of continuing education and training 2 436 2 691 2 400 2 463
Universities of teacher education        
UTE Diplomas 1 018  974 1 048 1 074
Bachelor's degrees  684 2 037 3 219 3 363
Master's degrees  0  801 1 110 1 454
Degrees of continuing education and training  17  34  169  88
*incl. deepening and specialisation's studies Source: FSO - SHIS-studex

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

On this topic

Universities and institutes of technology

10 cantonal universities, 2 federal institutes of technology and 2 other institutions, 20 fields of study

Universities of applied sciences

8 universities of applied sciences, 12 fields of study

Universities of teacher education

Around 20 universities of teacher education, 11 branches of study

Contact

Federal Statistical Office Section Educational Processes
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