Universities and institutes of technology

The ten cantonal universities, both federal institutes of technology and several other institutions of higher education form together the universities and institutes of technology (UIT). The main services offered by the UIT are teaching and research across seven broad areas: humanities and social sciences, economics, law, natural sciences, medicine and pharmacology, engineering sciences and an interdisciplinary field.

Generally, master rather than bachelor degrees are more appealing to foreign nationals who come to study in Switzerland. At the universities and institutes of technology, this observation is also valid but above all doctoral studies are preferred by this group. The percentage of foreign entrants educated abroad at doctoral level increased from 35% at the start of the 2000s to 54% in 2020/21.

Entrances (at bachelor/diploma level) and students at universities and institutes of technology by group of fields of study, sex and nationality (category), 2020/21
  Entrances Students    
  Total Total % Female % Foreign
Humanities and social sciences 6 498 47 387 68.7 25.1
Economics 3 555 23 037 36.0 35.3
Law 2 470 16 668 60.3 17.8
Exact and natural sciences 4 907 32 048 39.9 42.6
Medecine and pharmacy 2 484 20 478 63.7 22.7
Engineering, architecture 2 737 20 332 31.6 45.7
Interdisciplinary and other  509 4 625 47.6 24.0
Total 23 160 164 575 51.8 31.4
Source: FSO - SHIS-studex

In 2020/21, more than 164 000 students pursued a university education. Humanities and social sciences attracted the largest number of students (29%). The percentages of men and women do differ by fields of study. Although women make up 69% of people in education in the humanities and social sciences, they account for 32% in the engineering sciences. The number of foreign students is highest in engineering, architecture (46%) and in exact and natural sciences (43%) and lowest in law (18%) and in medecine and pharmacy (23%).

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

Further information

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