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University of Bern (in new window)

University of Bern© Uni Bern

There are 5 universities in the German-speaking part of Switzerland (Basel, Bern, Zurich, Lucerne, St Gallen), and 3 in the French-speaking part (Geneva, Lausanne, Neuchâtel). Fribourg University is bilingual in German and French. Since 1996 there has been a university in Italian-speaking Ticino, with its main base in Lugano.

The Federal Institutes of Technology are in Zurich (ETHZ) and Lausanne (EPFL).

At the universities and institutes of technology, women made up 48% of the students overall in 2003-4, although the figure varied considerably between institutions.

The central government regulates the Institutes of Technology, while the traditional universities are regulated at the level of the relevant canton.

The Zurich Federal Institute of Technology (ETH)

The Zurich Federal Institute of Technology (ETH)© swissinfo/SRI

Universities of Applied Sciences

The system of Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS) was established in 1993 to specialise in higher level vocational training. They continue to grow in popularity as the range of subjects covered is expanded.

They provide a university-level education which includes practical job-experience. The 15 teacher training insitutes are also UASs.

The UAS option is significantly more popular with men than with women, although as teacher training, health and social work have been added to the list of UAS subjects, the number of women has risen sharply. Overall in 2003-4 39% of UAS students were women. But in technology, construction and life sciences, women accounted for only 10% of UAS students.

Most of the UASs are regulated at federal level.

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