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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.


Baccalaureate schools prepare candidates for higher education institutions such as universities or universities of applied sciences. There are baccalaureate schools in every canton. Baccalaureate school normally begins in grade nine and lasts four years.

Federal Vocational Baccalaureate

The Federal Vocational Baccalaureate is awarded to learners who have had additional instruction in general education subjects. It allows direct access to a university of applied sciences and may be taken:

  • During the apprenticeship (through extra classes in general education subjects at upper-secondary vocational school)
  • After the apprenticeship (as a full- or part-time course)
  • Through self-study (by taking the Federal Vocational Baccalaureate Examination as an independent candidate).

Specialised Baccalaureate

After completing a three-year programme at an upper-secondary specialised school, learners can enrol in a one-year Specialised Baccalaureate programme, which allows direct access to their chosen course of study at a university of applied sciences.