Wood Technology

Are you a wood engineer, civil engineer or materials engineer seeking to deepen your knowledge in the sustainable use of wood?

With this full-time or part-time master’s degree programme, you will specialise in complex, earthquake-resistant, timber-framed and load-bearing structures. Or you will develop expertise in innovation management, and digital manufacturing or in technologies for bio-based materials. Your new technical and methodological skills will help pave the way to interesting management positions.

«I love wood and my curiosity brought me to the right place.»

Start your studies in the autumn semester 2023

Factsheet

  • Title/Degree Master in Wood Technology (MSc)
  • Specialisations Complex Timber Structures CTS
    Management of Processes and Innovation MPI
    Innovation in Bio-based Materials BBM
  • Mode of study Full-time (4 semesters)
    Part-time (5 to 6 semesters)
  • Start date 18 September 2023
  • Application deadline 15 July 2023
    If you need a visa for Switzerland, you are advised to apply as soon as possible
  • ECTS credits 90 ECTS
  • Teaching language Englisch
  • Location Biel
  • School School of Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering

Main areas of study

This practice-oriented degree programme, the only one of its kind in Europe, seeks to provide you with a firm grasp of the latest technologies in the wood industry, in timber construction, and in timber engineering. You will be collaborating closely with industry partners.

What you gain from the programme

You will gain in-depth knowledge of future-oriented themes in the wood industry. You will develop specialised skills in planning complex timber structures, devising innovation and digitisation strategies and implementing ecodesign strategies for biobased materials and products.

Specialisations

To individualise your personal profile, you choose an area of specialisation.

In this specialisation, you will develop specialist skills for the planning and realisation of sophisticated timber structures.

Content

  • Multi-storey timber-framed and hybrid construction
  • Earthquake resistant construction
  • Fire protection and building physics
  • Assessment of building condition and retrofitting
  • Complex free forms and shell structures
  • BIM and digital processes in construction

 

You will complete two semester long specialisation projects:

Modelling of Complex Timber Structures

In your first project, you will analyse free-form and shell structures. Your focus will be on modelling, static analysis and performing calculations related to complex load-bearing structures and other details. You will also examine how these structures are implemented in practice. You will take an interdisciplinary approach to optimising designs for manufacturing and assembly. You will also use the CNC machines in our Technology Park to manufacture multiple-curved connection pieces.

Multi-storey Timber and Hybrid Structures

In your second project, you will examine the load-bearing behaviour of multi-storey timber structures. You will then design, model and perform calculations related to earthquake-resistant load-bearing structures. You will apply all current structural standards regarding seismic impact to your work and learn how to critically evaluate results from earthquake evaluations. In interdisciplinary teams, you will draft plans for multi-storey timber buildings, considering the constraints placed on high-rise structures with respect to construction processes, planning and cost security. You will apply procedural methods for assessing the condition of buildings and implementing structural reinforcement. You will also address aspects of structural physics, fire safety, networked planning and building process management (building information modelling, BIM).

This specialisation equips you with the skills needed to develop innovative technologies, products and business models and manage relevant processes with an entrepreneurial focus.

Content

  • Innovation and process management
  • Digital manufacturing in the wood industry
  • Composite materials technology
  • Ecodesign of products and buildings

you will complete two semester long specialisation projects:

Digital Manufacturing in the Wood Industry

In your first case study, you will design a Smart Factory – a model facility in which the production systems organise themselves to a large extent autonomously – with an integrated digital information network. You will then build your Smart Factory in our Technology Park. Throughout the project, you will be introduced to the basic principles of information management as well as to the planning and structuring of organisational, logistic and financial business processes.

Innovation Management (together with BBM specialisation)

In your second case study, you will create an innovative project based on an idea and develop it to the point of market launch. This will give you experience in how innovation strategies, structures and cultures are developed and implemented in business. As part of this case study, you will create and present a business case to a potential investor.

This specialisation enables you to develop and realise bio-based, sustainable and recyclable materials technologies.

Content

  • Technology, processes and development of bio-based materials and products
  • Ecodesign and life cycle assessment of products and processes
  • Bio-based polymers and composites
  • Modification of solid wood, particles and fibers
  • Innovation management

You will complete two semesters long semester specialisation projects:

Prototyping of Sustainable Products

In the first case study, you will work with a business partner to develop a novel and sustainable product based on bio-based materials, biopolymers and composites on the principles of eco-design. You will define a new production process, balance it in economic and ecological terms and create prototypes of the product for a final assessment.

Innovation Management (together with MPI specialisation)

In your second case study, you will create an innovative project based on a central idea and develop it to the point of market launch. You will learn how innovation strategies, structures and cultures are developed and implemented in business. As part of this case study, you will create and present a Business Case to a potential investor.

Combining theory and application in research projects

Lecturing, practical application and research are all closely linked. In the master’s programme, you can gain experience in the following areas of research:

  • Timber construction, structural engineering and earthquake engineering
  • Fire safety and building physics
  • Built environment
  • Digitalisation of processes in the construction and timber industry
  • Composites and innovative wood technology
  • Eco-design and lifecycle analysis
  • Wood chemistry and substitutes for oil-based substances
  • Wood modification and surface treatment
  • Management and market research

Career prospects

You are highly sought-after in the woodworking, construction and related industries. Your employment will become increasingly international and interdisciplinary with time.

If you specialise in Complex Timber Structures, you can work as a timber engineer to create structural or technical plans for complex tasks. If you specialise in Management of Processes and Innovation, you will be ready to take on assignments in the fields of product development and management, production planning, marketing and sales, or innovation management. The specialisation Innovation in Bio-based Materials enables you in particular to develop and realise bio-based, circular and sustainable materials technologies and processes as well as resulting products.

Ready for challenging technical and management roles?

As a graduate of our master’s degree programme in Wood Technology, your expertise and leadership skills are in demand across the wood industry, timber engineering and the bioeconomy. Your comprehensive knowledge, sound technical expertise and ability to make savvy business decisions set you apart from the crowd.

You can work in the following professions or career fields:

  • Structural or technical planner
  • Timber engineer
  • Product developer
  • Product manager
  • Sales
  • Research and development
  • Timber construction, timber industry, materials industry and related sectors

Further study opportunities

With a master’s degree in wood technology, you are eligible to pursue a doctorate at another university. You may also work on your dissertation at BFH, in cooperation with an academic university. You benefit from modern infrastructure and laboratories, as well as sound specialist knowledge. We support you in finding the right partner university and selecting the research topic.

Duration of study + course content

Choose the options to suit you: You can pursue this master’s degree programme full-time or part-time and combine it with a year-long internship, part-time employment or as an assistant in applied research and development at BFH.

Full-time or part-time studies?

Full-time studies

You study in Biel for 4 semesters. Classes are held during the day, three days a week.

Part-time studies

You study in Biel for 5 to 6 semesters. Students attend lectures and events on either Mondays and Tuesdays or Thursdays and Fridays.

Studienmodelle Enlarge image

Strong practical emphasis

You will be taught and coached by a team of highly experienced lecturers and experts from the private sector. Workshops, excursions and assignments at the Technology Park and in the The programme has a modular structure and is made up of core, specialisation and optional modules.

The degree programme

The programme has a modular structure and is made up of core, specialisation and optional modules.

The following chart provides an overview of the subject areas covered in the MSc Wood Technology programme.

Studienverlauf Enlarge image

The study modules

You will enrol in a number of core and elective modules and complete two specialisation projects spanning the entire semester. You will complete your studies with a master’s thesis. The core modules are interdisciplinary in nature, meaning you work alongside students from the other specialisations. Your specialisation projects, elective modules and master’s thesis will allow you to individualise your personal profile.

Would you like to plan your degree course in advance and combine work, family and studying? The curriculum and year plan offer you guidance on this.

Download

Graduation Theses 2022 – Book

On approximately 70 pages, the book presents the results of these forward-looking studies. The abstracts of the bachelor’s and master’s theses are undeniable proof that the graduates in Wood Technology have acquired extensive competencies for a sustainable future with wood and that they can put their knowledge into practice. It is worth taking a look!

We offer the MSc in Wood Technology in cooperation with Rosenheim Technical University of Applied Sciences (Germany). Excursions and some practical modules take place with students from Rosenheim.

Rosenheim Technical University of Applied Sciences

There is close cooperation with the École Supérieure du Bois ESB in Nantes (FR) and French-speaking students have the opportunity to obtain a double degree. At least 60 credits must be attained at the university to achieve this.

École d’ingénieurs des sciences & technologies du bois et des matériaux biosourcés – ESB

We help you plan and arrange an optional stay abroad. Thanks to ERASMUS and other academic exchange programmes, you have the option of spending a semester at one of our many partner universities across Europe and the world.

International study

Admission conditions

You have successfully completed your bachelor’s degree and wish to broaden and deepen your technical knowledge with the Master of Science in Wood Technology degree programme.

Requirements

You may apply for the program if:

  • You have completed a bachelor’s degree in wood technology, timber engineering, civil engineering, materials science or another engineering science with a total of 210 ECTS. You may earn up to 30 missing credits during your master studies.

Supplementary information on admission

Sufficient qualifications in timber, structural or civil engineering are required for the specialisation Complex Timber Structures.

Courses are taught in English. If your native language is not English, you must provide proof of English language skills to qualify for admission.
Student research papers can also be written in German or French, subject to agreement.

If you fail to meet all admission requirements, we may consider admitting you based on your academic background and performance (‘sur dossier’). If this applies to you, please contact us.

Application

Be sure to apply well in advance. Any missing documents can be submitted later.

Application deadlines

Registration deadline:

15 July 2023

Programme start:

18 September 2023

Start your studies autumn 2023

The online application in short

Applications can only be submitted online. Our online application guide explains everything you need to know, step by step.

Documents required for the application

Please provide the following documents in PDF form:

The following documents are required:

  • ID or passport
  • Passport photo in .jpeg format
  • Bachelor diploma
  • Vocational/specialised baccalaureate with grades, university entrance qualification, Abitur or upper secondary level qualification)
  • Work and/or internship references
  • CV in table format
  • Letter of motivation (max. 2 A4 pages)
  • Depending on your previous education, additional documents may be required
  • Proof of English proficiency, if your native language is not English
  • TOEFL Internet-based Test (IbT) score of 66 points or higher
  • TOEFL Internet-based Test (IbT) score of 88 points or higher
  • IELTS Academic with a band score of 6.5 or higher
  • Cambridge ESOL CPE with Grade C or higher
  • Cambridge ESOL CAE with Grade C/B or higher
  • TOEIC Reading and Listening with a combined score of 785 or higher, in combination with a TOEIC Speaking score of 160 or higher and a Writing score of 150 or higher

We require a certified translation of any documents issued in a language other than German, English or French.

Application procedure

After you have submitted your completed application and paid the enrolment fee, our Head of Degree Programme will review your application. You will then be invited to an interview, online or in Biel. You can check the status of your application online at any time.

The costs for the degree programme include registration, study and examination fees as well as contributions for course materials and trips.

Here, you will find helpful information about financing your studies at BFH. Details regarding individual living costs are not covered, however.

The cost of study includes tuition and examination fees, as well as costs for teaching materials and excursions.

Costs

At BFH, different fees apply for programmes and examinations.

Application (per application)*

CHF 100

Matriculation**

CHF 100

Tuition fees (per semester)

CHF 750

Tuition fees for international students*** (per semester)

CHF 950

Examination fee (per semester)

CHF 80

Fee for social, cultural and sport offerings (per semester)

CHF 24

Membership fee for the Bern University of Applied Sciences Student Association (VSBFH) (per semester)

CHF 15

* plus CHF 10 processing fee if paying by paying-in slip/paper invoice.
** If the application leads to matriculation, the matriculation fee is covered by the application fee.
*** International students are defined as persons of foreign citizenship who at the time of obtaining their university entrance qualification were domiciled under civil law neither in Switzerland nor the Principality of Liechtenstein. This rule applies as of the 2018/19 autumn semester.

There is also a fixed fee for material, which can vary from programme to programme, and additional costs for teaching materials, specialist literature, supplies, etc.

An invoice for the application fee is generated upon applying online and must be paid within 10 days. If payment is made by paying-in slip/paper invoice, a processing fee of CHF 10 is applied. There are no waivers or refunds for withdrawn or abandoned applications.

The application is processed after payment has been received.

Grants and loans are available to help finance your studies. Further information can be found here:

Counselling and further information

Do you have any questions about the programme? It will be our pleasure to answer them at our online information events or in a personal appointment.

Advice

Your choice of training course or continuing education programme is an important decision. We would be pleased to offer you a personal consultation to answer your questions and explain the requirements for the programme you are interested in, as they apply to you.

Info event

Have your questions answered at our online information events. We invite you on a virtual tour of our premises and explain what makes the BFH master’s degree programme special. Our students give you their personal take on daily life on campus and share their experiences.

Location + Facilities

The Wood Division is a unique, internationally recognised hub of innovation and expertise. A dynamic environment and our multilingual team of more than 120 specialists in education, research and development make BFH a wonderful place to study.

The Biel site

Parking is available on the Biel campus (charges apply). A parking pass may be requested from the administration, but we recommend travelling by train, bus or bicycle.

Infrastructure

Our research centre in Biel is the largest of its kind in the Swiss wood industry. Our campus offers everything from a canteen to the technology park.

An open access library with a reading room is available to students. The library’s documents are incorporated into the Switzerland-wide library platform (SLSP, network of libraries and information centres in Switzerland).
You may also use these facilities outside study hours.

You will receive a personal email address as well as direct access to our Intranet and Wi-Fi network.

The university cafeteria at the Biel campus offers inexpensive meals from Monday to Friday.

Timber Technology Park – the only one of its kind in Switzerland. Our park features CNC machines and robots, testing facilities and chemistry laboratories for materials and wood components. It also includes equipment for surface treatment, climate chambers and testing systems for windows, furniture, construction elements and load-bearing structures.

The Technology Park is an open workshop and can be used by students, academic staff and lecturers. The hands-on curriculum offers many opportunities to get to know the Technology Park.

Most of the tests performed are accredited in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025 by the Swiss Accreditation Service (SAS). The tests are internationally recognised.