Epitaxial growth of SrTiO3 on silicon by molecular beam epitaxy has opened up the route to the integration of functional complex oxides on a silicon platform. Chief among them is ferroelectric functionality using perovskite oxides such as BaTiO 3. However, it has remained a challenge to achieve ferroelectricity in epitaxial BaTiO 3 films with a polarization pointing perpendicular to the silicon substrate without a conducting bottom electrode. Here, we demonstrate ferroelectricity in such stacks. Synchrotron X-ray diffraction and high-resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy reveal the presence of crystalline domains with the long axis of the tetragonal structure oriented perpendicular to the substrate. Using piezoforce microscopy, polar domains can be written and read and are reversibly switched with a phase change of 180. Open, saturated hysteresis loops are recorded. Thus, ferroelectric switching of 8- to 40-nm-thick BaTiO 3 films in metal-ferroelectric-semiconductor structures is realized, and field-effect devices using this epitaxial oxide stack can be envisaged. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.