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PhD in Switzerland for Indian Students – Types, Scope & More

Updated on 22 February, 2024

Bulbul Sharma

Bulbul Sharma

Manager- Content @upGrad

As an international student, you are sure to feel instant comfort in Switzerland. The country has a long and eminent history of distinction in hospitality education. Students who talk about their experiences studying abroad often praise the people and their warmth. Also, because the country and cities are small, the distances between the universities, campus, library, and so on can be extremely short, making the commute easy.


Another advantage of studying in Switzerland is that its institutions place a greater emphasis on papers and theses, with grades given after taking into account students’ practical knowledge.

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These are a few reasons why you should start thinking about pursuing your Ph.D. in Switzerland:

  • Multicultural environment- Most PhD students at Swiss universities come from abroad. You’ll be part of a varied and inclusive academic community wherever you study.
  • Focus on doctorate education — The Swiss higher education system concentrates on expanding PhD training and creating creative new research possibilities.
  • Multilingual education — Switzerland has four official languages. Many PhD programs are also offered in English, providing diverse options for students of various linguistic backgrounds.
  • Support for postdoctoral and early career researchers – The Swiss National Science Foundation provides considerable funding to postdoctoral and early career researchers who choose to conduct research in Switzerland after completing their PhD.

Popular PhD Specializations in Switzerland

Swiss universities are well-funded, well-regarded, and well-liked by foreign students. It’s no surprise that Switzerland produces the most outstanding bankers and attorneys. The best and most sought-after PhD degrees are in subjects such as:

  • Food Science
  • International Law
  • Social Psychology
  • Mathematics
  • Architecture
  • Finance
  • Business Administration
  • Neuroscience
  • Economics
  • Computation Science and Engineering
  • Physics

Cost of a PhD Degree in Switzerland

Individual universities have complete autonomy over their pricing. For a complete PhD, they normally range between €182 (Rs 15,391.45) and €1,995 (Rs 1,68,651.32) (but they may go as high as €6,145 (Rs 12, 256.76)).

Sometimes, universities don’t list the complete fee structure. They tell the semester fees. Therefore, you must double-check what the published fee refers to. Universities also levy additional charges, including registration fees, examination fees, student union fees, etc. They are usually affordable, but it is always best to know the breakdown of your PhD fees.

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Career Opportunities after PhD in Switzerland for Indian Students

Switzerland generally seeks qualified employees in STEM fields, and so a PhD in STEM courses is highly valued. Non-EU foreigners must apply for government permission to live in Switzerland, which is granted only if the (potential) employer can demonstrate that no qualified Swiss or EU persons are available for the job.

PhD applicants are usually hired as Research Assistants/PhD Candidates at a university. The remuneration ranges from CHF 2000 (INR 1.64 lakh) to more than CHF 6000 (INR 4.91 lakh) per month, depending on the university and research topic. In the employment contract, the wage is usually stated.

PhD students can also work as researchers in a company or at a university of applied sciences. However, this option is less popular among students.

Eligibility for PhD in Switzerland for Indian Students

Before applying for a Swiss PhD degree, you need to have a master’s degree in a relevant field. It will be a primary academic requirement for doctoral research admission.

Language Requirements

PhD programs are offered in either the native language or in English. The popularity of your subject area may affect the availability of English-language PhD opportunities in Switzerland. Universal subjects, such as science, engineering, and business, are more likely to be taught in English; however, arts and humanities subjects may only be taught in the local language.

Application Deadlines

 There is no deadline for PhD applications in Switzerland in most cases. International students from outside the EU / EEA, on the other hand, should apply as soon as possible to ensure enough time for the visa application to be processed.

EU and EEA Students

Students from the EU and EEA don’t need a visa to study in Switzerland. For up to 90 days, you can freely enter the country.

However, because this isn’t nearly enough time to complete a PhD, you’ll need to register with your local cantonal authority and apply for a long-term residence permit. It must be completed within 14 days of your arrival in Switzerland.

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International Students (Non-EU / EEA)

Students from outside the EU or the three EEA countries (Lichtenstein, Iceland, and Norway) will require a student visa to pursue a PhD in Switzerland. It will be a type D visa for work or study that will last beyond 90 days.

Health Insurance

Switzerland has a mandatory health insurance system that ensures access to a wide range of high-quality medical services and treatments. Students from countries that provide international health coverage, such as the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) issued by the EU, may be exempt from the mandatory health insurance requirement. Other students may be exempt if their home country provides equivalent health insurance coverage.

Evidence of Sufficient Funds

All foreign PhD students in Switzerland (from the EU, EEA, and elsewhere) must be financially self-sufficient.

Alternatively, you may be able to provide a sponsorship declaration from a Swiss national or another suitable third party who is willing to cover your expenses while you study abroad.

PhD in Switzerland for Indian Students: Scope

A Swiss PhD will prepare you well for a career in academia or corporate. Switzerland’s universities are well-known and respected worldwide, and they take part in a variety of international research projects and collaborations.

It means that your PhD in Switzerland will not only be recognized and respected in academic departments worldwide, but you will also be introduced to a variety of research networks outside of Switzerland.

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Bulbul Sharma

Manager- Content @upGrad

Bulbul is a self-driven professional and an expert writer & editor. She has been a part of the ed-tech industry for the past 2 years now and is motivated to provide study abroad aspirants with factually correct and relevant information. Her knack for impactful writing makes her blogs worth a read!

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