Swiss Coordination Centre for Research in Education

Political orientation and choice of university

Using data from a survey of all high-school graduates in a Swiss canton, we analyze the relationship between students’ political orientation and their choice of a university major. Analyzing this question in the context of the Swiss higher education system adds to the existing literature because unlike students in other countries, Swiss students are completely free to choose their place of study and their major. The selection of a university major is therefore not affected by university admission rules and policies. We find that students in different university majors differ systematically with regard to their political orientation. However, when controlling for socio-demographic factors, school-related aspects and personality, the association between political orientation and educational choice becomes small and mostly statistically non-significant. We can conclude from this that political orientation is not influencing the choice of university major in a causal way.

Studies in Higher Education

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