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Social Work Education in Switzerland

IMG_4273Social Work Education in Switzerland

Recently I visited Switzerland and learn about social work in the country where I did not speak any of the four official languages, but thanks to the wonderful hospitality of local people I was able to use my English skills and felt welcomed in all parts of the country. I am thankful for Joseph Coquoz who shared with me information about Schools of Social Work in Switzerland that helped to map all of them on Google Map

Here is the list of the Schools and their respective websites:

Name of the School School Website
CHE Berner Fachhochschule BFH, Fachbereich Soziale Arbeit www.soziale-arbeit.bfh.ch
CHE FHS St.Gallen, University of Applied Sciences www.fhsg.ch
CHE Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz Hochschule für Soziale Arbeit www.fhnw.ch/sozialearbeit
CHE Hochschule Luzern – Soziale Arbeit www.hslu.ch/sozialearbeit
CHE SUPSI – Dipartimento economia aziendale, sanità e sociale (DEASS) www.supsi.ch/deass
CHE Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften, Departement Soziale Arbeit www.zhaw.ch/sozialearbeit
CHE Haute école de travail social de Genève www.hesge.ch    www.hes-so.ch/travail-social
CHE Haute école de travail social et de la santé – EESP – Lausanne www.eesp.ch    www.hes-so.ch/travail-social
CHE Haute école de travail social de Fribourg (HETS-FR) www.hets-fr.ch   www.hes-so.ch/travail-social
CHE HES-SO Valais-Wallis – Haute Ecole de Travail Social – Filière Travail social www.hevs.ch    www.hes-so.ch/travail-social


Based on information provided by Joseph Coquoz there are two main categories of universities in Switzerland: the universities and the universities of applied sciences (UAS)  and Swissuniversities is the coordinating body of all these academic institutions.

Social work schools are departments or faculties of the seven public UAS: 5 are schools in German, 1 in Italian and the last one, the HES-SO is mainly French speaking UAS (partly German too). They are:  Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz (FHNW); Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften (ZHAW); Fachhochschule St.Gallen (FHSG) Berner Fachhochschule (BFH); Hochschule Luzern (HSLU);  Scuola universitaria professionale della Svizzera italiana (SUPSI);  and  Haute école spécialisée de Suisse occidentale (HES-SO). The HES-SO is the largest UAS in Switzerland, bringing together more than 20’000 students located in about thirty sites. The Social Work faculty itself has 4 schools (Geneva; Lausanne; Fribourg and Sierre). The 7 departements or faculties of social work coordinate at the national level within an association, SASSA, which recently published a booklet to present the social work studies in Swiss schools and in 2014 a research brochure Panorama.

Information about Social Security System in Switzerland is also available in the brochure. This brochure is aimed at Swiss employers and anyone who is subject to the Swiss social security system by living or working in Switzerland, regardless of their nationality. It provides an overview of the Swiss social security system only. Decisions on individual cases, however, are made in accordance with the relevant legislation. Additional information can be found on the website dealing with both old-age and survivors’ insurance and disability insurance: http://www.ahv-iv.ch. This brochure is regularly updated at www.ahv-iv.ch

Overall I had an excellent trip and learnt a lot about Switzerland social work and met many wonderful local people who shared their stories and homes. Thank you, everyone, for such a great experience.