Swiss universities loved by foreign students

Swiss universities are known to be very international Keystone

More than half of those doing a doctorate in Switzerland come from abroad, according to a new global education report. Foreign students are especially drawn to courses in the natural sciences.

International students make up 17% of those studying at Swiss universities, said the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in its Education at a Glance 2017, published earlier this week.

This is almost three times more than the OECD total of 6%.

The higher the level of study, the more international students in Switzerland. Only Luxembourg has more international doctoral students (87%), the report found.

“As a result, Switzerland has 20 international students for every 100 national of the highest ratios after some of the English-speaking countries such as New Zealand (26) and the United Kingdom (22),” the report said about Switzerland.

International students coming to Switzerland are particularly keen on science-related fields.  In fact, they are now almost three times more international than Swiss students studying natural sciences, mathematics and statistics.


Swiss universities are well known for their international status. In February, the country's two federal technology institutes (ETH Zurich and EPFL) claimed the top two slots in the Times Higher Education ranking of the world’s most international universities; the University of Zurich was ranked 15th

This list compared the proportion of international students and faculty members, as well as the share of publications published by at least one author from another country. 

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