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Access to higher education: baccalaureate qualifications

Candidates require a baccalaureate qualification to be able to study at a higher education institution (university, university of applied sciences, teacher training college). Different kinds of baccalaureate.

Academic Baccalaureate

Academic baccalaureate schools prepare candidates to study at a higher education institution such as one of the cantonal universities. There are academic baccalaureate schools in every canton. Students normally attend for four years from year nine.

Federal vocational baccalaureate

Learners enrolled in a Swiss vocational education and training programme also have the option of preparing for a general education examination (in Switzerland: federal vocational baccalaureate examination) either in parallel to their training for the Federal Diploma of Vocational Education and Training or after obtaining this qualification. Those who pass the FVB examination are awarded the federal vocational baccalaureate. This university entrance qualification provides the holder with direct access to a Swiss university of applied sciences (UAS) in a field of study relevant to the completed VET programme. The various preparatory options for the FVB are as follows:

  • FVB1 option: attendance of preparatory general education classes at an FVB school in parallel to their training for the Federal Diploma of Vocational Education and Training;
  • FVB2 option: attendance (on a part-time or full-time basis) of preparatory general education classes at an FVB school after obtaining the Federal Diploma of Vocational Education and Training;
  • Self-study for the FVB examination.

Holders of a federal vocational baccalaureate may also broaden their access to the Swiss higher education sector by preparing for the University Aptitude Test (UAT). Those who pass the UAT may enrol in a Swiss cantonal university or federal institute of technology.

University Aptitude Test (UAT) for holders of the federal vocational baccalaureate who wish to enrol in a Swiss cantonal university or federal institute of technology

Specialised Baccalaureate

Upon completion of the first three years of study at a Swiss specialised school, pupils are awarded a specialised school diploma. At this point, they have the option of completing a fourth year to obtain the specialised baccalaureate. The latter is a university entrance qualification that entitles the holder to enrol directly in a study programme in a related field of study at a Swiss university of applied sciences (UAS) or university of teacher education (UTE) (e.g. study programme to obtain teaching credentials for primary school, including Kindergarten/pre-school).

Holders of a federal vocational baccalaureate may also broaden their access to the Swiss higher education sector by preparing for the University Aptitude Test (UAT). Those who pass the UAT may enrol in a Swiss cantonal university or federal institute of technology.

University Aptitude Test (UAT) for holders of the federal vocational baccalaureate who wish to enrol in a Swiss cantonal university or federal institute of technology