Studying an LLM (Master of laws) Program in Switzerland
Switzerland is a country with an undisputed reputation for quality, precision and excellence, whether we’re talking about pharmaceuticals, chronographs, banking or education. Switzerland has some of the most highly regarded higher education institutions in the world and is ranked among the top ten countries with the highest quality of life in the world, making it a magnet for foreign students.
It is a country that welcomes the world, as host nation to several well known international humanitarian and sporting organisations such as the International Labour Organisation, the International Intellectual Property Organisation, the World Health Organisation, the United Nations, FIFA, UEFA, the International Olympic Committee, the World Trade Organisation and the World Economic Forum that meets annually in Davos. Not surprisingly, many of the LLMs on offer in Switzerland tend to have a strong international focus.Find LLM programs in Switzerland
WHERE TO DO YOUR LLM IN SWITZERLAND
Most of the main cities in Switzerland have universities or other higher education institutions, providing a wide choice. The University of Zurich is the largest university in the country and it offers a range of joint and double Master of Laws degrees in partnership with other globally recognised universities such as King’s College London, University of California Berkeley, University of Hong Kong, University of Strasbourg and University of Lausanne. The University of Fribourg offers an LLM in Cross-Cultural Business Practice, a program that is now more relevant than ever in this era of globalisation. You can find out more about the other universities in Zurich, Fribourg and Lausanne.
At the prestigious Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva you can study for a Masters in International Law. University of Basel offers Masters in Business Law, Corporate and Tax Law, Finance Law and International Law. These programs are offered in English, some with a bilingual option in either German or French. At the University of Bern, LLMs offered in English include Business and Law, International Law and Economics. Other LLMs are on offer at Bern in German but do check with the institution to confirm whether the courses in German are available in English. The University of Geneva is Switzerland’s second largest university and offers a comprehensive LLM in International Dispute Settlement. The duration of the LLMs vary, with some lasting a year and others two years.
A first degree in law from recognised universities is the basic requirement, with certain specialisations accepting other relevant qualifications such as degrees in economics, international relations or finance. Language proficiency is essential; check to confirm whether the course you’re applying for requires you to be bilingual. If you’re applying to a degree taught in English and your first degree was not conducted in English, you will be required to provide international test results to prove your proficiency. Whether you only recently learned English, or you consider yourself fairly fluent, read our useful advice and on language requirements. We also have some general information on the application process.
TUITION FEES AND LIVING COSTS
The currency in Switzerland is the Swiss franc (chf.) The country’s high quality of life is reflected in the high cost of living and there isn’t much of a difference in living costs from city to city. As a rough estimate, students can expect to pay anything between 500chf and 900chf for student digs, depending on whether it’s shared or private. After factoring in groceries, transport and utilities, monthly living costs could hover around 2,000chf.
Tuition fees vary, with some courses costing around 2,500chf per semester and others up to 25,000chf for the year. Some institutions apply a surcharge to students with foreign qualifications. Check out our page on fees, funding and student bursaries.
VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
Most Swiss universities advise international students to find out what the visa requirements are from the Swiss embassies in their country. Students from the EU or EEA (European Economic Area) are exempted from student visas, though some applicants from newer EU member states may have to meet a few requirements. Generally, visa requirements would involve demonstrating the ability to maintain yourself adequately during your course.
All students – including those who do not need visas – are required to register at the local registration office in the municipality where their school is located within 14 days of arrival. After registration you will be issued a residence permit and an identity card. To register you will need to provide proof of admission to an institution, confirmation of the address you have secured in Switzerland (such as a tenancy agreement) and proof of funds. Health insurance coverage is also mandatory for all students, whether from the EU / EEA or international.