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Zurich for students

Maintaining its position in eighth place this year in the QS Best Student Cities ranking is Zurich: the only Swiss city to be included in the ranking this year.

The city has two excellent universities, which both rank in the worldwide top 70 this year. Currently ranked sixth in the world, after rising four places in the table, ETH Zurich is the highest-ranked university in continental Europe – and the best performing university from outside the US and UK. The University of Zurich is also ranked within the top 100 in the QS World University Rankings® 2020, in joint 69th place.

Zurich gained plenty of acclaim in our student survey, with one student pointing out its “natural beauty and high standard of living” while another praised its “perfect combination of city life and nature”.

Would Zurich get your vote? Tell us why.

Best universities in Zurich - QS Best Student Cities ranking: 8th

More about Zurich

   Study in Zurich overview

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

ETH Zurich (6th in the world)



Average international fees (at ranked unis)


Desirability rank


Employer Activity rank


Affordability rank


Student View rank


To find out how each of the above categories is calculated, view the methodology. 

Why study in Zurich?

Stunning scenery and landscape

With the backdrop of the Swiss Alps, students can enjoy beautiful views while walking to and from lectures.

High employment rate after graduation

Graduates can job seek for up to six months after graduating and degrees from Switzerland are highly recognized around the world. It’s unsurprising then that Zurich ranks fifth in the world for employer activity this year.

It’s Switzerland’s biggest city

With its population of 1,830,000 people, students will get the opportunity to meet interesting people from all over the world and enjoy a variety of different cultures.

The chocolate

The world-famous Swiss chocolate alone is enough of a reason to want to study in Zurich. Other local food traditions include the cheese fondue, Rösti, Raclette and Zurcher Geschnetzeltes.

Excellent quality of life 

Ranking fourth in the world for desirability this year, Zurich’s residents enjoy an exceptionally high quality of life, with great public transport options, a large international community and excellent healthcare.

Cost of studying in Zurich

An international hub, Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and among the wealthiest in Europe – which brings both pros and cons for international students.

On the one hand, its affluence means Zurich is clean, safe and immaculately maintained, frequently ranking among the world’s most liveable cities. But on the other hand, living expenses can be eye-wateringly high.

The city ranks a low 70th worldwide for affordability, with rent on a one bedroom apartment in the city center costing around 1,933 CHF (approximately US$2,110) according to Numbeo. The cost of living is by no means cheap and consumer prices in Zurich are 67 percent higher than London.

That said, while rent and socializing may cost a packet, international tuition fees in Switzerland are relatively low, with average annual tuition fees costing only US$900, so the overall costs of studying in Zurich are likely to be considerably lower compared to cities in the US or Australia, for example.

Life & culture in Zurich

It’s tough to beat Zurich when it comes to scenery. Situated on the banks of picturesque Lake Zurich and with the stunning Swiss Alps within day-trip reach, this city would suit those who want to combine the attractions of city life with close proximity to some of Europe’s most beautiful natural landscapes.

Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and has a vibrant culture, with many museums, concerts, theaters and festivals to enjoy. Students can admire the incredible architecture in Zurich in the Sechseläutenplatz, in front of the Zurich opera house.

The city is very multicultural and is home to people from all around the world, with German, French and English spoken around the city, including many other languages. In fact, 29 percent of the city’s 39,200 students are from outside Switzerland.

Career in Zurich

After graduation, non-EU students are allowed to stay in Switzerland for up to six months to job hunt, which they can do if they obtain a residency permit. During these six months, they are allowed to work for up to 15 hours.

Zurich is a popular destination among graduate job seekers. The city has low tax rates, high wages and an excellent quality of life. The city also boasts one of the most stable economies in the world and the unemployment continuously low. 

However, the competition for jobs is often high, due to the number of people wanting to work in the city and the small number of jobs available.

Tourism and hospitality roles are available throughout Zurich, as well as jobs in banking, IT, pharmaceuticals and finance. 

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Written by QS Staff Writer

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Dear Sir/Madam,
I will complete my graduation in Forensic Science Hons. in 2017 Sharp. Without wasting time I want to continue my masters in Environmental Sciences from ETH Zurich. I have no enough money for such an expensive city but a degree with first class. my question to u is that
* Is TOEFL/GRE necessary for ETH Zurich
* When do I need to apply for ETH zurich keeping my 2017 graduation completion in mind.
* I am an Indain National therefore wanted to know if there are Scholarship/Fellowship for me
*Does cost of living include in Fellowships
* when do i need to apply for Zurich Visa if i get selected from concerned university...
I hope you will reply me by the latest !
Sibtain Kadri

Study in Switzerland : I'm very much interested in doing my masters from Zurich. I need procedure to how to apply in Universities in Zurich and whats the scope of Computer Science Masters in Zurich, Switzerland. I'll be very obliged if you help me out with this query of mine. Have a nive day.

Hi Hrishikesh! Have you looked at our guide to studying in Switzerland? You may also be interested in our ranking of the world's top universities for computer science - you can sort the results by country.

i am so much interested to go for higher education to study in zurich and i am on of the orphanage students but i don't have money if you kind to me i well be happy

Hi there, Germany is a good choice for students looking for inexpensive tuition fees. For more guidance of the overall costs for study in Germany go here - https://www.topuniversities.com/student-info/student-finance/how-much-does-it-cost-study-germany - or, for practical information about visas and lifestyle go here - https://www.topuniversities.com/where-to-study/europe/germany/guide - and finally, for a selection of scholarships you may be eligible for, go here - https://www.topuniversities.com/student-info/scholarship-advice/scholarships-students-looking-study-abroad . Good luck! Laura

I am so much interested to go for higher education to study in ZURICH.