Sustainable development in teaching

Goal by 2023

Sustainability is an integral part of the education and training offered at BFH; the aim being to enable students to contribute to a sustainable society.

Why this topic is relevant for BFH

Studies at BFH should enable people to think and act in a sustainable way. Graduates should be able to assess the impact of their own actions on people and the environment and on future generations and make responsible decisions accordingly. Without such future-oriented competences, BFH graduates will only be able to contribute actively to the transformation of society to a limited extent. Teaching is a central performance mandate of the university. In this respect, the anchoring of sustainable development with regard to the implementation of mission and vision is particularly important.

New Master ‘Circular Innovation and Sustainability’

For the first time, BFH has created an interdisciplinary Master's programme in the field of sustainability. The interdisciplinary degree programme combines business skills with a technical and ecological understanding of circular production cycles and the sustainable use of natural resources. With this new degree programme, BFH is training professionals who will play an essential role in the transformation process towards sustainable development.

BFH SUSTAINS: Projects and funding programme

The BFH SUSTAINS platform connects BFH students interested in sustainability and supports projects, activities and entrepreneurial ideas that contribute to sustainable development. In the autumn semester of 2021, the ‘Sustainable Entrepreneurship’ funding programme was launched as part of BFH SUSTAINS, which supports students' entrepreneurial projects that aim to benefit society with financial contributions and professional expertise. In addition, BFH SUSTAINS enables BFH students to acquire the Certificate of Engagement in Sustainability.

Projects and funding programme BFH SUSTAINS

Ideencafés and workshops held in the reporting year

8 (reports to read up on)

BFH SUSTAINS certificate projects completed in 2021


BFH SUSTAINS projects with successful U Change application (in brackets: number of project submissions in the reporting year)


Student sustainability week Bern

BFH supports Bern Sustainability Week which is organised each year by BENE, the student association for sustainable development at the universities in Bern. The topic of sustainability at Bern's universities is discussed at several events with students being informed and their awareness raised.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, 30 exciting events took place online and on site from 6 to 13 March 2021 with an average of 30 - 35 participants. Attendance figures were in line with those of the previous year.

How BFH addresses this topic

The commitment to sustainable development in teaching is anchored in the BFH Strategy. The heads of departments and degree programmes are responsible for integrating sustainable development into the degree programmes.

The range of courses offered in the field of sustainable development is diverse. Some degree programmes have an explicit sustainability focus or offer sustainability-oriented specialisations. Many degree programmes have sustainability-related compulsory and elective modules. In addition, there are three interdisciplinary sustainability modules that were developed within the framework of ‘BFH diagonal’. However, in many degree programmes sustainable development is not yet explicitly anchored, and thus the goal of integrating sustainable development into all degree programmes by 2021, as set out in the ‘Sustainable Development Action Plan 2018-2022’, has not yet been achieved.

Sustainable development in the curriculum

Study programmes with an explicit sustainability focus:

MSc Circular Innovation and Sustainability

MSc Life Sciences – Agricultural Sciences

MSc Life Sciences – Food, Nutrition and Health

MSc Life Sciences – Forest science

MSc Wood technology

BSc Agriculture

BSc Food science

BSc Forest science

BA Conservation

MA Conservation-Restoration

Study programmes with a major or specialisation and an explicit sustainability focus

MSc Business Administration

MA Architecture

BSc Wood Technology

BSc Business administration

BSc International Business Administration
Courses with a compulsory module (at least 2 ECTS) with an explicit sustainability focus

MSc Civil Engineering

BA Architecture

BSc Civil engineering

BSc Business information technology

"BFH diagonal" elective modules for the entire BFH with an explicit sustainability focus


Lernen und Gestalten für eine nachhaltige Zukunft

Diversity & Inclusion

Due to their complexity, sustainable development issues can usually only be understood and addressed with inter- and transdisciplinary approaches. Therefore, university graduates with subject-specific but also interdisciplinary competences are needed. With ‘BFH diagonal’, the new Master's programme in Circular Innovation and Sustainability, ‘BFH SUSTAINS’ and other programmes, BFH is meeting this demand.

BFH will continue to promote innovative, action-oriented programmes in the field of sustainable development. At the same time, it strives to develop further the methodological and didactic as well as the inter- and transdisciplinary competences of teachers in the field of education for sustainable development. 

From 2022 onwards, the anchoring of sustainable development in teaching from the perspective of students and graduates will be surveyed annually.