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Study in Zurich

By Staff Writer

Updated July 28, 2021 Updated July 28, 2021

Zurich for students

In seventh place this year in the QS Best Student Cities ranking is Zurich. Zurich is renowned for its prosperity, orderliness and low taxes, which may make it sound more like a place for millionaires than international students. However, look a little closer and you’ll see it certainly deserves its place among the world’s top student cities.

Currently ranked joint eighth in the world, 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® 2022 in joint 70th place.

Zurich enjoys an improved score in the desirability indicator this year, beaten by only three other cities. Zurich certainly 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: 7th

World ranking Institution
=8th ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology)
=70th University of Zurich (UZH)

More about Zurich

This year, two of Zurich's universities can be found in the QS World University Rankings. The best of these is ETH Zurich, ranking joint eighth in the world. Zurich scores particularly highly in the desirability and affordability indicators, but earns excellent scores across each of the indicators used to compile the QS Best Student Cities rankings.

Number of universities ranked by QS

2

Highest-ranked institution

ETH Zurich (Joint eighth in the world)

Population

1,395,000

Average international fees (at ranked unis)

US$2000

Desirability rank

3rd

Employer Activity rank

6th

Affordability rank

70th

Student View rank

11th

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

Why study in Zurich?

Affordable study destination

Despite ranking 70th for affordability this year, Zurich's high living fees are offset by its low tuition fees.

A desirable city

Zurich earns a top five score in the desirability indicator this year, ranking third globally. 

World-class education

Switzerland is known for its world class education. This year, two of Zurich's universities feature in the global top 100: ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich.

Excellent job prospects

Zurich is one of the best cities in the world to work, with a good quality of life and excellent job prospects for graduates.

Cost of studying in Zurich 

Zurich is one of the more expensive student cities for living costs, ranking 70th in the affordability indicator this year.  While rent and socialising may be expensive, international tuition fees in Switzerland are relatively low, so the overall costs of studying in Zurich are likely to be considerably lower compared to cities in the UK, US or Australia, for example. 

Tuition fees are reasonably low, costing an average of US$2,000 per year. Living costs are significantly more pricey, with Numbeo estimating that a single person living in the city would need around £1,210 per month for general expenses, plus an additional £1,540 for rent on a one bedroom apartment in the city centre. 

Life & culture 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. 

It’s certainly 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.

Career in Zurich

Regarded as Switzerland's economic powerhouse, Zurich has one of the country's largest financial sectors. For this reason, graduate jobs are widely available in the finance sector, including in banking, accountancy, tax consultancy, business consultancy and wealth management. 

Other sectors hiring graduates include engineering, media, health, trade, education and architecture. Overall, Zurich ranks sixth for employer activity.

This article was originally published in November 2014 . It was last updated in July 2021

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