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Swiss universities get top marks from students

Polytechnics scored top-marks in the survey

(Keystone Archive)

Students have given their stamp of approval to higher education institutions in Switzerland.

A new ranking of all Swiss universities and polytechnics shows most of them scoring high marks for the quality of tuition and courses on offer.

The survey, by swissUp, ranks universities by subjects by taking into account both official government rankings and the opinions of 3,500 students.

Six criteria were taken into consideration: the quality of the courses and teaching staff, staff-student ratios, the attractiveness of the institution, how well it prepared students for employment, public research subsidies and overall student satisfaction.

The vast majority of universities scored at least seven out of ten in most categories.

In many cases, the rankings confirmed long-held opinions about the strengths of individual universities. For instance, the University of St Gallen came top in economics, scoring ten out of ten in four of the six criteria.

Similarly, the University of Lausanne also came up with very strong results.

Polytechnics outstrip universities

The two polytechnics - the Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich and Lausanne - were well ahead of other universities in many subject areas, most notably in architecture, IT, mathematics and natural sciences, such as biology and physics.

"This has a lot to do with the fact the polytechnics have a lot of money, and that they offer a teaching environment which is a bit different from universities," says Madeleine von Holzen, the president of swissUp.

Some universities fared far better than expected. For instance, swissUp said the University of Geneva scored "impressive" results in medicine and pharmacology.

Von Holzen said this was as a result of these faculties having undergone major overhauls in recent years.


The University of Lucerne scored top marks went it came to student satisfaction, quality of teaching and for the law courses - well ahead of Neuchâtel (eight points) and Lausanne (6.5).

Students reading social sciences and psychology at the University of Zurich were the most dissatisfied, awarding it a paltry 6.9 points.


In brief

A survey of Swiss universities and polytechnics shows students are mostly satisfied with the courses and tuition on offer.

Most institutions scored 7 out of 10 or above in all subjects.

Polytechnics scored particularly high marks in sciences, IT and architecture.

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