Switzerland is taking part in the Bologna Process in the field of higher education. This process aims to guarantee, at national and international level, permeability, transparency and mobility and hence in the European context to work towards strengthening Europe’s competitiveness as a learning location.
Swiss higher education institutions have numerous exchange programmes and partner networks. They cooperate with foreign higher education institutions in various fields and have concluded bilateral exchange agreements. Under these agreements students may spend one to two semesters studying abroad.
Each higher education institution has set up a specialised information service. These special offices inform students about all exchange programmes.
Less than one-fifth of students at Swiss higher education institutions complete a guest semester at another higher education institution in Switzerland and/or abroad. Around 13% of students have completed a guest semester abroad. Student mobility is much higher at universities (24%) than at universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education (11%).
Swiss Federal Statistical Office (FSO): Student mobility of university graduates, surveys 2005-2011
Mobility programmes between Swiss higher education institutions
Students may spend one to two semesters studying at another Swiss higher education institution. They remain registered at the home university and continue to pay tuition fees there. No semester fees are levied by the host university. A temporary period of study at another Swiss higher education institution gives students an opportunity to improve foreign language skills and to take advantage of an expanded specialist/subject range.
Mobility programmes between partner higher education institutions
Swiss higher education institutions have extensive partner networks with higher education institutions worldwide. Under bilateral agreements with various European and non-European partner institutions students can spend one to two semesters studying at these partner institutions. As students they remain enrolled at the home university and continue to pay the tuition fees there. Generally no semester fees are levied by the host university.
The European programme Erasmus is aimed at higher education institutions and supports them in carrying out mobility projects for students and also in cooperation projects with foreign partner institutions. Mobility projects enable students to complete part of their studies or a traineeship in one of the Erasmus programme countries. Erasmus promotes cooperation projects between higher education institutions. Partnerships serve the transfer of know-how and the development and implementation of innovative practices.
Government grants for Swiss students to study abroad
There is no central grant award office in Switzerland. The Rectors’ Conference of the Swiss Universities (CRUS) manages, on behalf of the Swiss Confederation, foreign grants offered to Swiss students and/or researchers by around 40 countries for a study period abroad. In return Switzerland offers foreign students government grants for studies in Switzerland.
Academic Staff Mobility
The higher education institutions offer their academic staff the opportunity to work in an academic capacity as guest lecturers at international higher education institutions. The higher education institutions govern programme, duration, salary and application procedure. Academic staff are generally advised to apply to partner higher education institutions as guest lecturers.
The European programme Erasmus is aimed at higher education institutions and supports them in carrying out mobility projects for staff and also in cooperation projects with foreign partner institutions. Mobility projects enable lecturers to teach at a partner institution. The teaching assignment lasts from two days to two months (at least eight teaching hours). The programme also allows the entire staff to carry out continuing education and training in one of the countries participating in the programme. Erasmus supports cooperation projects between higher education institutions or another educational level and with companies. Partnerships serve the transfer of know-how and the development and implementation of innovative practices.