Documents and diplomas

Here we have provided some information regarding the documents you will need in order to be admitted to a higher education institution.
You can read about how you should properly submit the required documents and how to proceed if you no longer have or have access to your diploma or certificates.

  • What certificates and documents do I need to study at a university?

    In Switzerland, each university is responsible for admission and thus for the assessment of diplomas for admission. Therefore, they assess the certificates which are submitted to them in the application process individually.

    You normally need all documents that prove your last and highest qualification (diploma, transcriptions and sometimes descriptions of the different courses you attended). Some institutions also have grade requirements for upper-secondary school leaving certificates. Depending on which degree you are aiming for, different documents may be required:

    Bachelor’s degree (Undergraduate study)

    You will need the baccalaureate certificate or an equivalent foreign qualification in order to be admitted for university study in Switzerland.

    A foreign upper-secondary school leaving certificate needs to meet the following conditions for recognition:
    • It needs to roughly be equivalent to the Swiss baccalaureate.
    • The range of subjects studied need to be proof of a general and comprehensive education.

    As well as the school leaving certificate and depending on your country of origin other documents may be required for the undergraduate admissions process. Use the country list on swissuniversities.ch to find out which qualifications are accepted, and which requirements need to be met.

    Master’s degree

    For admission to a Master’s degree course, you need a scientific Bachelor’s degree from a state-recognized university.

    To make it easier for the admissions services to assess your Bachelor’s degree, it may help if you also bring a list of the work you have completed in your Bachelor’s degree, with descriptions of the content of the individual courses.

  • Admissions process: How do I submit my documents?

    In order to have your qualification assessed, you need an officially certified copy of the original document. If the document has not been issued in either German, French, Italian or English, you also need to submit a translation that is a certified copy of the official document.

    Foreign documents are only accepted when all copies, including copies of the translation, have been certified! Some institutions will demand the translation and the certified copy to be submitted as a single document. Make sure to inform the translation agency about this.

    NB: Never send the originals of your certificates and documents. Only ever send certified copies of your original certificates. You may be asked to provide original documents at a later time, i.e. upon enrolment at the institution of your choice.

    To have your qualifications assessed, it may be helpful to provide an official grading scale or a grade conversion table from your old university.

    • What is a certified copy and who can issue it?

      A certified copy is a copy that is made by an official authority, which ensures that the copy corresponds to the original document.

      To get a certified copy, you must have the original document: copies of copies cannot be certified. Your original document (e.g. your diploma, diploma supplement) will be copied and stamped and signed. This notarisation says nothing about the content or authenticity of the signed document.

      You can apply for a certified copy at a Swiss office (e.g. State Chancellery) or a Swiss notary. At some universities, the admissions services can issue certified copies of your diplomas.

      You must submit the original certified copy in your application dossier. A copy of the certified copy is not valid.

      A certified copy costs between CHF 10-25 and CHF 3-5 per additional page.

    • What is an official translation?

      An ‘official translation’ is a translation made by an official translation agency. The translation agency confirms with its stamp that the translation corresponds to the original document. The two documents are often stapled together for this purpose.

      Translations made abroad are not always recognised. Find out about this from the registration services.

      A certified copy of the official translation must be submitted. In some cases, the original translation may also be required.

      An official translation can cost around CHF 150-250 for one page or more. Additional costs are added for each additional page.

    • How do I submit the documents?

      Most universities have an electronic admissions process where you are able to enroll online and submit documents as scans. Generally, however, at least the copies and translations of certificates must be sent in physically at some point in the admissions process.

      You can find information on this on the website of the university’s admissions office.

  • What other documents can be requested from me?

    Check with the institution of your choice for the required documents. Some higher education institutions provide checklists on their websites.

    As well as qualifications, transcripts and certificates, you might be asked for any of the following:

    • Passport photo
    • Letter of motivation
    • Curriculum vitae
    • Copy of your passport or identity card
    • Copy of your residence permit
    • A grade conversion table
    • Application for admission to the Master’s programme
    • Descriptions of the courses attended (especially in the Master’s programme)
    • In some degree programs, a summary of your Bachelor’s thesis may also be required for admission to the Master’s degree program
  • What do I need to write in an application for admission to the Master's program or a letter of motivation?

    You will need to provide the date, your surname, first name, your full address as well as your email address. You sign the letter and ideally provide a telephone number.

    Explain your intentions in the language of your application, e.g. “I am writing to you in application for the Bachelor/Master’s programme XXY”.

    This is your chance to shine. Explain your motivation for the course of your choice. If applicable, provide an explanation for missing documents. The cover letter should not exceed 1-1.5 pages.

  • You already have a degree and want to work with it (not study)?

    This is not the right page for you.

    Regulated professional activities will require proof of recognised training. Your previous education or chosen career path will determine which authority is responsible for recognising your training.

    Foreign degree holders who are seeking employment and wish to work in a non-regulated profession can obtain a recommendation of recognition from Swiss ENIC.

  • My documents are in my home country / are lost

    If you already have a university degree but do not have any documents to prove it, you can apply for a diploma evaluation and a diploma background report from Swiss ENIC. However, this is only possible for non-regulated professions. The diploma background report describes your higher education and shows how Swiss ENIC would categorise this higher education qualification if the required documents were available. This explanation can help to make your qualification understandable for the authorisation services, for further education purposes or when looking for a job.

    You must be able to give good reasons for the lack of your documents and explain why you do not have them and will not be able to obtain them in the foreseeable future. You can find information on how to apply for a diploma background report here.

    The statutory declaration has a similar function to the diploma background report. This serves as a substitute for missing documents. If you can credibly explain that you are unable to provide the necessary documents that prove your previous education, many universities allow you to apply for admission via a statutory declaration. Enquire directly with the admissions services whether this option is available. No information on this can be found online on the university websites. There is no right to this declaration. It is only used in exceptional cases if it is clearly demonstrated that a person cannot prove their previous education in any other way.

     

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