Basic information

The universities of teacher education, together with other teacher education institutions, have the task of educating sufficient numbers of highly qualified persons for the following levels: early years, primary, secondary I, secondary II, special education (specialisations in early years special education and school-level special education), speech therapy and psychomotor therapy, teaching in vocational schools and the practice and teaching of sport and movement.

Courses at universities of teacher education lead to a teaching qualification (for the various school levels) and an academic title (bachelor, master). The teaching qualifications are recognised by the EDK/CDIP/CDPE/CDEP (Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education), provided they correspond to the minimum requirements contained in the EDK recognition regulations for the various school levels. A teaching qualification recognised by the EDK entitles the holder to teach in the corresponding level school throughout Switzerland. The academic titles are conferred by the Universities and are regulated and certified in the Council of the Universities of Applied Sciences Bologna guidelines of 5 December 2002; these state that the corresponding courses at each academic level lead to a bachelor’s or a master’s degree.

The overview of education and training courses shows all courses that are offered by the member institutions.


Languages of instruction

The language of instruction at teacher education institutions is, according to the geographical location, German, French, Italian or Rhaeto-Romanic.

  • Language of instruction German: PHBern, PH FHNW, PHTG, PHZ, PHSH, PHSG, PH Zürich, HfH.
  • Language of instruction French: IUFE Genève, HEP Lausanne, HEP-BEJUNE.
  • Language of instruction French and/or German: As PH FR / HEP FR is located in a bilingual canton, courses are offered in German and/or French. PH VS / HEP VS has German and French language sections in the corresponding parts of the canton. Students must complete two training semesters in the section of the other language.
  • Language of instruction Italian: SUPSI-DFA offers education in Italian.
  • Language of instruction German, Italian and Rhaeto-Romanic: PHGR.
  • The appropriate institution for the education and training of vocational teaching staff has three locations in different language areas: in German-speaking Switzerland (Zollikofen), in French-speaking Switzerland (Lausanne) and in Ticino (Lugano).


Duration of study

The duration of study depends on the course of study chosen. Courses for early years and primary school level comprise three years of full-time study (180 ECTS credits). Courses for secondary level I comprise 270 to 300 ECTS credits (Master), which can be obtained, depending on the number of subjects studied, in the framework of an integrated or consecutive course.

Teacher education for secondary level II corresponds to 60 ECTS credits and assumes academic education in one or two teaching subjects, which leads to a master’s degree or an equivalent qualification. Students normally first complete the academic subject education in two teaching subjects and then the pedagogical courses for secondary level II. Students who have elected to take only one academic subject can decide to take an integrated pedagogical course.

Courses in special education take the form of a Master’s course of study, in which specialisations in early years special education and school-level special education, or both, can be offered. The basic education for both specialisations comprises modules of general and common content worth 60 ECTS credits. The other course components are specific to each specialisation. At least 40 credits are awarded for participation in lecturer-led courses. Practical training is worth at least 20 credits.

Courses in speech therapy or psychomotor therapy are worth 180 ECTS credits, and correspond to three years of full-time study.


Further education

In addition to the basic education and training, the universities offer teaching courses leading to Masters of Advanced Studies, Diplomas of Advanced Studies and Certificates of Advanced Studies. You can find more information on further education and training courses in our brochure entitled “Studying in Switzerland”, on our website, or on the universities websites.


Applications for admission to universities of teacher education and conditions for application

To be able to study at a university of teacher education, students must submit an application for admission together with an application folder to the appropriate university of teacher education. This normally comprises two parts:

- Application form
- Documents, references and evidence of achievement

Each university of teacher education has its own conditions of admission. These are also associated with the chosen course of study. It is therefore essential that you consult the university’s website to find out about the relevant procedures, documents and deadlines. You will find this information on the following webpages:

    • PHBern, deutschsprachige Pädagogische Hochschule
    • Pädagogische Hochschule Wallis PH VS
    • Pädagogische Hochschule der Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz PH FHNW
    • Pädagogische Hochschule Graubünden PHGR
    • Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg PH FR
    • Universität Freiburg, Departement Erziehungswissenschaften
    • Université de Genève, Institut universitaire de formation des enseignants IUFE
    • Pädagogische Hochschule Thurgau PHTG
    • Haute école pédagogique du Canton de Vaud HEP Vaud
    • Dipartimento formazione e apprendimento già Alta Scuola Pedagogica SUPSI-DFA
    • Pädagogische Hochschule Zentralschweiz PHZ
    • Haute école pédagogique – BEJUNE HEP-BEJUNE
    • Pädagogische Hochschule Schaffhausen PHSH
    • Pädagogische Hochschule St. Gallen PHSG
    • Pädagogische Hochschule Zürich PH Zürich
    • Zürcher Hochschulinstitut für Schulpädagogik und Fachdidaktik ZHSF
    • Interkantonale Hochschule für Heilpädagogik Zürich HfH
    • Eidgenössisches Hochschulinstitut für Berufsbildung EHB
    • Eidgenössische Hochschule für Sport Magglingen EHSM


Swiss immigration formalities

After you have been accepted by a university of teacher education, find out from the Swiss embassy in your country about Swiss immigration formalities. You must provide proof that you have sufficient financial means for your stay in Switzerland.


Residence permit

After arriving in Switzerland you must apply for residence at the foreigners’ police department of your canton. When you do so, you must provide the following documents:

  • Valid passport, with visa as necessary
  • Confirmation of acceptance by the university of teacher education
  • Proof that you have the financial means to study (bank authorisation or notarised document)
  • Proof of residential address in Switzerland

The permit will only be granted if you can prove that you can finance your stay in Switzerland. The residence permit must also be renewed annually. Foreign students may work a maximum of fifteen hours per week, provided that their period of study in Switzerland is not thereby lengthened.


Further information

You can find further information in our brochure entitled “Studying in Switzerland, Universities of Teacher Education"