Unlike many countries worldwide, Switzerland is highly selective to foreign applicants in its medical schools due to its government regulations. Despite this, the country known for its stunning landscapes and fun outdoor adventures continues to attract international students. This article lists the best medical schools in Switzerland and answers some of the frequently asked questions among aspiring medical students.
Can Foreigners Study in Medical Schools in Switzerland?
Yes, medical schools in Switzerland accept foreign applicants, subject to Cantonal regulations on foreign candidates admission to Medicine studies. With the limited available slots against the high demand to study Medicine, the Swiss government established this regulation across all universities offering human medicine programs.
The University of Lausanne website includes a link to foreign applicants’ registration conditions under the Cantonal regulation. Some of the requirements include allowing foreigners established in Switzerland, nationals, and their children from any European Union member countries, Norway, Iceland, and refugees recognized by Switzerland to study Medicine in a Swiss university.
What is the most prestigious medical school in Switzerland?
The most prestigious medical school in Switzerland is ETH Zurich. The university stands at 40th in Times Higher Education ranking by subject and 14th in the overall rankings in 2021. QS Top Universities placed it at 44th for its subject rankings in 2020 and 6th in 2021 overall rankings. Meanwhile, the Academic Ranking of World Universities, also known as the ShanghaiRanking, placed it at 20th in its top 1000 for 2020.
Best Medical Schools in Switzerland
1. ETH Zurich – Department of Health Sciences and Technology
The Department of Health Sciences and Technology, officially inaugurated in 2012, is an education and research entity of ETH Zurich. As the best medical school in Switzerland, ETH Zurich aims to create the foundations in sustaining and improving human life quality into old through an accelerated transfer of learning and technology in clinical institutions, industries, and society. It also provides education to incoming medical professionals at the interface of Science, Medicine, and Technology.
Along with Health Sciences and Technology, the department has Biomedical Engineering, Food Science, and Human Medicine programs. Aspiring doctors looking to apply to ETH Zurich should have a language skill of German Level C1.
Medical studies start with a three-year Bachelor’s degree that requires a 4-week nursing internship in accredited institutions and ends with a 6-week research internship. Graduates need to complete the Master’s program for another three years before taking the national examination, granting them the medical doctor degree for residency training.
2. The University of Zurich – Faculty of Medicine
Medicine was among the four faculties included when the University of Zurich started in 1833. Since then, the faculty grew to become the largest in Switzerland, with more than 700 instructors guaranteeing to deliver a sound research-based medical education to over 3,000 students.
This top medical school in Switzerland also proved its global competency as reputable ranking institutions recognized its excellence. It ranked 70th in Times Higher Education ranking by subject in 2021 and 43rd in QS Top Universities ranking by subject in 2020.
The University of Zurich offers the six-year Master of Human Medicine program. After the first three years in the program, students receive the Bachelor of Medicine degree. Upon completing the additional three years of study, the internship year, and thesis writing, students receive their Master of Medicine degree. Successful passers of the federal examination in Medicine can start with their mandatory training as assistant physicians for at least three years.
3. University of Bern – Faculty of Medicine
Since its transition from being an academy to a university in 1834, the University of Bern has the faculty of Medicine, along with Law and Theology. Through its years of improvements and reorganization, it became one of the biggest and best medical schools in Switzerland. It landed in the top 100 universities in 2021 Times Higher Education and 2020 QS Top Universities rankings by subject. The faculty actively promotes teaching and research in Human Medicine and provides opportunities for high-quality, future-oriented research.
This top medical university in Switzerland offers a six-year Bachelor of Human Medicine degree taught in the German language and structured and regulated by the Swiss Confederation. The first three years of study grants the medical student a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree upon completing the next three years. With a strong focus on problem-solving and practical training, students most of the time work in groups and at patients’ bedsides.
4. University of Basel – Medical Faculty
The Medical Faculty, founded in 1460, brought international recognition to the university in the 16th century as Paracelsus and Andreas Vesalius introduced a teaching culture that combines theories and practice. More than 500 years later, the faculty continues to bring global excellence in healthcare education and research. The university landed in the top 100 Academic Rankings of World Universities in 2020 and Times Higher Education rankings in 2021.
Its Bachelor of Medicine program lasts for three years and covers fundamental knowledge on people’s health through subjects structured by organ systems and scientific work. Moreover, the Bachelor’s program focuses on developing students’ professional behavior and mastery of diagnostic procedures and treatments. Upon degree completion, students can proceed with the three-year Master’s program. Only Master of Medicine degree holders can take the Federal Medical Examination, which determines admission in medical residency.
5. The University of Geneva – Faculty of Medicine
The University of Geneva Faculty of Medicine, established in 1876, is one of Switzerland’s best medical schools. It delivers quality training through its pioneering teaching strategies, enabling students to meet society’s healthcare demands. As a leader in genetics and neuroscience, the faculty’s work with the largest hospitals in the country, such as the University Hospital of Geneva, showcases its global health involvement.
Aligned with Swiss Confederation regulations, the faculty offers Bachelor and Master in Human Medicine programs, taught in French. Both degree programs require three-years of study. However, the Bachelor’s program allows students to learn the human body’s systems and experience theoretical education with practical skills acquisition. Meanwhile, the Master’s program primarily takes place in a clinical environment within the university hospital. This way, students become devoted to the clinical approach on various medical disciplines such as surgery, pediatrics, or psychiatry.
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