Universities of applied sciences

Created in the second half of the 1990s, the public universities of applied sciences (UAS) cover 12 different fields. There are also additional private UAS which teach in the areas of economy, health and art. Some UAS also train teachers.

The development of education and training programmes notably in the areas of health and social work has notably allowed a great increase in the percentage of women at universities of applied sciences over time. While women made up 26% of students at universities of applied sciences at the beginning of the 2000s, they accounted for 49% of people in education in 2023/24. Students of foreign origin make up one fifth of students at universities of applied sciences. Accounting for less than 15% of students at the beginning of the 2000s, their percentage has stabilised to around 20% since 2010/11.

Entrances (at bachelor) and students at universities of applied sciences by field of study, sex and nationality (category), 2023/24
  Entrances Students    
  Total Total % Female % Foreign
Architecture, Construction and Planning 1 064 4 256 33.0 23.3
Engineering and IT 3 479 14 337 14.5 18.6
Chemistry and Life Sciences  725 3 422 52.4 18.5
Agriculture and Forestry  139  537 44.5 6.0
Business, Management and Services 5 641 28 368 44.7 20.4
Design  735 3 546 63.8 30.5
Sport  38  185 35.7 4.3
Music, Theatre and other Arts 1 013 7 041 56.1 53.8
Applied Linguistics  255  942 76.0 8.9
Social Work 1 792 8 004 72.1 11.4
Applied Psychology  531 2 943 73.6 7.9
Health 2 599 10 003 81.1 17.3
Total 18 011 83 584 49.3 21.5
Source: FSO - SHIS-studex

Almost 84 000 people studied at a university of applied sciences in 2023/24. The areas which attract the largest number of students are economics and services (34% of students) and technology and IT (17%). The number of women varies greatly depending on the field of study. While more than three quarters of students are women in the areas of applied linguistics and health, they account 15% of students in engineering and IT. Foreign students are particularly well-represented in the artistic fields. In the fields of music, theatre and other arts, the percentage of foreign students is higher than that of Swiss students.

We highly recommend checking the results published in the tables available under the heading "Tables" beforehand.

Further information

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