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Swiss Universities: First in class Institutions and undiscovered gems

Switzerland: One of the worlds’ best higher education systems 

Switzerland has many great opportunities for international students. With 11 of its 12 universities featured in the World University Rankings (all in the top 500), there are a number of great institutions that students can choose from, all of which have high numbers of international students.[1]https://www.timeshighereducation.com/student/best-universities/best-universities-switzerland

Moreover, with a population of only 8.4 million, Switzerland is ranked as the second-best higher education system worldwide, after the USA.[2]https://www.s-ge.com/en/article/news/20182-ranking-universitas21 The Times Higher Education ranking has a “Universitas 21 » (U21)[3]https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/universitas-21-finland-leads-world-pound-pound-basis ranking which assesses national higher education systems as a whole rather than individual universities. The ranking is based on 24 separate variables, including the number and impact of research articles produced, university enrolment and graduate unemployment.

 
Universities in CH
Universities of Applied Sciences (x 8)
Public (cantonal) Universities (x10)
Private Universities (> 30)
Hotel schools (x 25)
Federal Institutes of Technology (x2)

A particular strength of the Swiss system is its connectivity with business and international researchers and the private sector. Switzerland has 10 major public Universities in 10 different cities as well as 8 Universities of Applied Sciences and Arts and 2 major Institute of Technology with a first class global reputation. In addition, Switzerland has 25 hotels schools, and a large number of private business schools that provide both undergraduate and graduate studies, as well as full-time or part-time learning.

How to navigate the many choices and what are the opportunities for international and IB students wishing to study in English ?….

A conversation with University Guidance Counselor, Mary Mayenfisch-Tobin

Mary Mayenfisch-Tobin is Careers and University Guidance Counselor, at Lausanne based Collège Champittet, one of Switzerland’s premium private schools with 115 years history in providing bilingual education paired with Swiss values and tradition.  A lawyer, Mary taught law at the world-renowned Ecole Hotelière Lausanne (EHL) for many years and continues to work as a lawyer and mediator. She speaks to TechSpark Academy’s Marta Gehring about the exciting opportunities that are available in Switzerland.
Mary Mayenfisch-Tobin
Careers and University Guidance Counselor, Collège Champittet

Swiss opportunities for IB Students

With its origins in Geneva in 1968 and over 170,000 students worldwide, the International Baccalaureate (IB) is gaining ground – not only worldwide, but also in Switzerland. 
 
“For the IB, one has to start to plan at 15 or 16 years of age” Mary explains. To attend a public university, such as the University in Zurich, Basel, or Geneva – all of which rank high on both the Shanghai and IQ rankings – students have to be very careful that their choices correspond to what is required. Student IBs have to include a second language, mathematics (higher level / standard level) and a natural science (either biology, chemistry or physics). More recently, some universities such as the EPFL among others, have decided to also accept Computer Science as an IB science topic.[4]https://www.swissuniversities.ch/en/topics/studying/admission-to-universities/international-baccalaureate 
 
Swiss Public Universities generally require 32 points on the IB, without bonus points. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) and Lausanne (EPFL) require 38 points, again without bonus points. 
 
But there is a wide variety of choices beyond these Universities. We explored the options with our expert.

Swiss Hotel Schools in high demand, EHL Lausanne at the top

Lausanne was the location of the world’s first hospitality management school, the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL), which opened in 1893. Since then, Switzerland has become a hospitality training hub, with around 25 schools in operation with English language programmes.[5] … Continue reading We asked Mary how she would characterize the hotel school segment in Switzerland? “Full of choices” was the answer.

This year, EHL achieved the number one spot in the QS World University Rankings for Hospitality & Leisure Management : #1 worldwide, #1 in 2020, #1 in 2019 (and #2 in 2018).

But there are other great schools Mary explains. In fact Switzerland holds four of the five top spot on the QS world ranking for hospitality and leisure management:

  • The Glion Institute of Higher Education (near Lausanne and with a campus in London) is Nr 3 after EHL
  • Les Roches Global Hospitality Education (in Crans-Montana, and with campuses in Spain and China) is nr 4
  • The Swiss Hotel Management School (in Leysin, is the mountains near Lausanne) is nr 5
Swiss Hotel Manag. School in Leysin
EHL Lausanne
Glion Hotel School

The Glion Hotel school is highly appreciated by the students, Mary explains. With a second campus in London, this is a very practical set up for students to gain necessary work experience. 

There is also renewed interest in the International Management Institute Switzerland (IMI) in Lucerne  (nr 11 in the Qs ranking for hospitality)  and in the HIM Hotel institute in Montreux (nr 24 in the QS ranking for hospitality)

« I would also like to mention César Ritz » Mary reminds us. The César Ritz provides hospitality bachelors and master’s degrees. Their teaching is very practical, very applied, with programs based on the philosophy of César Ritz, founder of the famous Ritz hotels, recognised as the pioneer of luxury hotels. They have campuses in Le Bouveret (near Lausanne), in Lucerne and in Brig (near Zermatt).

Get ready for your bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management!
More and more Hotel schools include coding in their curriculum.
This blog post is brought to you by Tech Spark Academy Switzerland – the leading provider of extracurricular digital education for teens and pre-teens. Check out our courses, and join us online and in person at premium locations across the country.

IB points required for acceptance to Swiss Hotel Schools 

« These schools may request 32 points on the IB », Mary explains; “but if there is an interview and a student can show they can add real value to the school, they may be accepted with 28+ IB points. 

EHL has in the past accepted students with a 28 on their IB, but are currently requesting 32 points, while Glion remains more likely to accept a student with 28 points. It is important to know is that when you attend these schools, there are many orientations from Luxury management to Human Resource management. Indeed, only 25% of students end up in hospitality. These schools are International with some 90 to 100 different nationalities, so students create contacts the world over for life.[6]EHL became part of the HES system in the 90s. If your hotel school is not part of the HESS system, it’s hard to do a Masters in Switzerland

English speaking universities in Switzerland ‘Undiscovered Gems’

Indeed, the English language University education offering has been on the rise in Switzerland. Consider not only the many hotel schools which teach in English, the graduate programs at most Public Universities as well as the undergraduate English language programs at the Universities of Applied Sciences. 

An undiscovered jewel is the University of Applied Sciences in Luzern (HSLU) which has a variety of degrees available entirely in English including a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in International business administration, a BSc in energy and environmental systems engineering, and a BSc in IT Management.[7]https://www.hslu.ch/en/lucerne-university-of-applied-sciences-and-arts/international/our-study-programmes/bachelor-programmes-e/

University of Applied Sciences in Luzern
University of Italian speaking Switzerland

Indeed, the English language University education offering has been on the rise in Switzerland. Consider not only the many hotel schools which teach in English, the graduate programs at most Public Universities as well as the undergraduate English language programs at the Universities of Applied Sciences. 


An undiscovered jewel is the University of Applied Sciences in Luzern (HSLU) which has a variety of degrees available entirely in English including a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in International business administration, a BSc in energy and environmental systems engineering, and a BSc in IT Management.

A large business school offering is attracting international students wishing to study in English’

Stay tuned for our next blogpost on the topic of business schools….

Get ready for your bachelor’s degree in Switzerland!
More and more faculties include coding in their curriculum.
This blog post is brought to you by Tech Spark Academy Switzerland – the leading provider of extracurricular digital education for teens and pre-teens. Check out our courses, and join us online and in person at premium locations across the country.

Good to know: Tuition, Grades and Nationality requirements

Here is a summary of a few facts and figures which you will find useful when considering an education in Switzerland

Tuition Fees – For public universities, tuition fees vary between CHF 500 and CHF 2,000 per semester/term.[8]https://www.studyinswitzerland.plus/scholarships/ For private Universities the cost is higher, please check the websites for further information. 

IB requirements – Plan on an IB with 26/30 points and you will have many study options in Switzerland! 32 for public universities and most HES universities, and 38 points for the Federal Institutes of Technology. 

Nationality requirements – There are no specific nationality restrictions in terms of attending the Swiss Public Universities, except for Medical School where you need to either be a Swiss national or your family must reside in Switzerland. For private Universities, there are no restrictions.

For More from Mary Mayenfish

If you want to know more about how the « THE Impact Ranking » from the Times Higher Education looks at how education can lead to a better, more equitable world, read Mary’s blog post here.