There are 12 official higher education institutions in Switzerland
The universities of Basle (BS), Berne (BE), Lucerne (LU), St Gall (SG), Zurich (ZH) and the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) are located in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. The universities of Geneva (GE), Lausanne (LA) and Neuchâtel (NE), as well as the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) are in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. The University of Fribourg (FR) is situated in a bilingual canton. Therefore the courses are offered in German and / or French. The Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) is located in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. The following may also be considered as institutions of higher education: the Pedagogical College of St Gall, the Graduate Institute for International Studies in Geneva and the Graduate Institute for Advanced Public Administration.
In addition to the institutes of higher education mentioned above, there are a number of private colleges which offer courses based on the Anglo-Saxon system. The studies and examinations offered by these colleges are not recognized in Switzerland.
Some of these colleges may even offer courses which are not serious or even relevant. It is therefore advisable to anyone interested in following such a course to make careful initial investigations into the problem of recognition.
The academic year is divided into two semesters the winter semester from mid-October to beginning of March and the summer semester from mid-April to mid-July. The total length of studies up to the first academic exam is generally 4 to 5 years depending on the course of study, and 6 years for medical studies. Experience shows that the total length of study is usually 1 or 2 years longer. The Swiss academic degrees are the Lizentiat / Licence, the diploma and the Doktorat / doctorat.