Switzerland is one of the leading countries in medical education, with most of its schools included in the top 100 medical institutions in the world. However, getting into their medical schools is almost impossible for international students, especially those who have no relation to the country. We will dig deep about these relationships later. In the meantime, let us figure out why despite the slim chances of getting in, you should still try and apply to Switzerland medical schools.

There are only six universities in Switzerland offering medicine, and all of them are included in the top 100 medical schools by QS World University Ranking for Medicine. Their medicine educational system is recognized globally and offers a better work-life balance for its graduates. It is also imperative to consider the cost of living before deciding to pursue your studies in Switzerland. The country is one of the most expensive places to live in; their tuition fees also cost more than other neighboring European countries. In this article, we will be looking at the best medical schools in Switzerland.

Can International Students Enroll in Medical Schools in Switzerland?

The answer depends on many factors, but generally NO since they only have a few medical schools, which are more often reserved, to train their citizens. However, there are special provisions for non-Swiss applicants to get accepted to Swiss medical schools like the University of BaselUniversity of GenevaUniversity of Zurich, and more, which are as follows:

  • Residents of the Principality of Liechtenstein
  • International Students with Swiss or Principality of Liechtenstein Settlement Permit
  • International Students with Citizenship in Member States of the European Union, Iceland, or Norway
  • Children Whose Parents Originated From Member States of the European Union, Iceland, Norway, or  Liechtenstein
  • International Students Who Have Resided in Switzerland for Past Two Years
  • International Students Whose Parents Hold Diplomatic Status in Switzerland
  • International Students Who Are Recognized as Refugees in Switzerland

The above list is just an overview of qualifications. Check the full list here. If you satisfy any of the criteria to get admitted to Swiss medical schools, do not forget to prepare all the verifying documents for the provision and the academic requirements, which may vary in every school. Please check the website of the university of your choice for complete details.

Check Also: Programs in Europe for International Students

What Is the Medical Curriculum Like in Medical Schools in Switzerland?

Medicine education in Switzerland is in English (University of Basel), German (University of Bern), and French (University of Geneva and Lausanne) languages. Medical education in Switzerland lasts for six years. Divided into Bachelor’s (3 years) and Master’s (3 years) degrees. Let us look at the overview of the medical program from University of Basel.

Students are generally required to undergo a four-week nursing internship before the start of the program. But the students can complete it until the second year of the Degree program, where it will be required prior to registration to the performance exam. The Bachelor’s degree curriculum includes cultivating the manual, diagnostic and therapeutic skills of the students. All through different clinical course courses and mantle studies.

Completion of the Bachelor’s degree allows that student to proceed to the Master’s program. It is better to take your Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in the same schools as finishing an undergraduate degree from another school will not guarantee acceptance to other schools as slots for each school are limited. The first three semesters of the Master’s degree curriculum consist of studying the organ and topic-related blocks taught in the Bachelor’s degree but with more depth in the Master’s with a clinical focus on diagnostics, therapy, and prevention.

The fourth and fifth semesters in the second year of the Master’s program will be an elective year of study where students will become sub-assistants in different hospitals in Germany and abroad. The colleges dedicate the last semester to writing a master’s dissertation. The Federal examination awaits the students at the end of the Master’s program. Passing it will make the graduate eligible for the federal medical diploma. The diploma-holder can now practice under supervision or proceed with specialization. Only physicians who have undertaken the specialization training and exam can treat patients independently.

Best Medical Schools in Switzerland

1. University of Basel

The University of Basel is the oldest yet presently the best medical school in Switzerland, founded in 1460. The medical education at the University of Basel based on the Bologna system has a topic block structure; where instead of the subjects separated per semester, it is in organ-based blocks. Despite the strict regulation of the country for non-Swiss nationals, there remains a large proportion of international students at the University of Basel equal to 24.2%.

2. University of Geneva

University of Geneva Faculty of Medicine is one of the nine original faculties in the university since 1876. The faculty offers medical education and research at an international level. The university is also in partnership with the University Hospitals of Geneva, the largest hospital complex in Switzerland. Because of all this, the University Faculty of Geneva is one of the leading institutions in neurosciences, genetics, transplantation, and more. The language of instruction at this top medical school in Switzerland is French, so they require prospective students to take the French Language Test before admission.

3. University of Zurich

The University of Zurich was founded in 1833 and became the first European university independent of the Church. It has the largest Faculty of Medicine among the six medical schools in Switzerland. The university started as having only six faculty members, which increased to 170 in its first century since establishment. Medical admission to the University of Zurich is regulated by the Government Council of the Canton of Zurich for both Swiss and non-Swiss candidates.

4. University of Bern

The medical program at the University of Bern is German structured by the Swiss Confederation. The university is second to the University of Zurich as the largest Medical Faculty in Switzerland. It provides high-end education, training, and research conducted in the University clinics and institutes from Insel Hospital, University of Bern, and University Psychiatric Services UPD. The University of Bern, one of the best medical schools in Switzerland, is also popular with international students despite their limited slots of two to five per academic year.

5. University of Lausanne

Like the University of Geneva, the University of Lausanne also teaches its medical programs in French. This top medical school in Switzerland has a seed planted in 1537, yet its Faculty of Biology and Medicine only came to life in 2003. Medical education at the University of Lausanne focuses on patient care and clinical research with interdisciplinary collaboration with Biology and Nursing. The university also has an international atmosphere as a fifth of its student population is of foreign origin.


Switzerland had always been facing a shortage of physicians, and with limited medical institutions, getting into their medical schools as a foreign national is highly competitive. Nevertheless, if you fit into the special provision for non-Swiss students, then do not miss the chance to study at some of the top medical universities in the world.


I hope that this article on the best medical schools in Switzerland was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Programs in Europe for International Students to know more information!