Physiotherapy

As a physiotherapist, you treat patients experiencing pain or with physical impairments. You assist in their rehabilitation and combine treatment and counselling to help them prevent future discomfort or injuries.

  • We prepare you to undertake treatment and other demanding tasks in physiotherapy, whether you practise independently or in cooperation with other healthcare specialists.
  • We instruct you in anatomy as well as examination and treatment techniques. You will put your skills into practice during work placements.
  • You will learn to take a holistic approach to the clinical treatment process: from examining your patients and analysing the results, to developing targeted treatments and evaluating your own clinical reasoning.
  • You will become familiar with the interdisciplinary facets of modern healthcare and feel confident contributing to debates in the field of physiotherapy.
  • You will learn to develop and implement solutions, whether working independently or in an interprofessional team.
  • Following graduation, you may choose to specialise, or continue your studies with our consecutive master’s programme, or even a doctorate (PhD).

Portrait Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapie (German)

Factsheet

  • Title/Degree Bachelor of Science (BSc)
  • Specialisations None
  • Mode of study Full-time study (6 semesters), followed by a 10-month additional internship module
  • Start date Calendar week 38
  • Application deadline Academic year 21/22: 15 January 2021
  • ECTS credits 180 ECTS credits
  • Study language German
  • Location Bern and Basel
  • Department Health Professions
  • Next info event 2 December 2020

Content + Structure

The bachelor’s degree programme in Physiotherapy at BFH offers the ideal blend of theoretical content and practical experience to equip you with the critical knowledge and tools you need to launch your career in physiotherapy.

Portrait

The bachelor’s degree programme in Physiotherapy at BFH prepares you to manage the many responsibilities of this demanding career. Physiotherapy is both a profession and a scientific discipline. A career in physiotherapy requires extensive knowledge as well as expert theoretical and practical skills. This profile cannot be achieved by either hands-on experience or book learning alone, which is why our programme is built around integrating theory and practice.

This combination of practical and theoretical learning prepares you to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree as well as a professional qualification.

Learning outcomes

To achieve this professional qualification, you will need to demonstrate the utmost integrity, honesty and respect for others. You will be able to reflect upon your emotional experiences and actions. You will take ethical, medical, legal and professional values and guidelines into consideration in practising physiotherapy. You will be versed in the WHO International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) and deliberately apply this classification to your own clinical reasoning process.

By the end of your studies, you will possess the following skills:

  • You will have thorough biomedical knowledge of the anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, neurology and pathology of the musculoskeletal system. This will prepare you to recognise, analyse and assess your patients’ motor control and neurological condition. You will test patients’ joint mobility, muscle strength and coordination of the sensorimotor system to gain a holistic understanding of their physical functioning. This assessment will be carried out in accordance with the ICF and guidelines for clinical reasoning processes.
  • You will be familiar with the foundations of physiotherapy treatment as well as preventive care and health promotion in general. This includes the key components of motor skills: power, stamina, mobility, speed and coordination. Taking the resilience of various tissue types into consideration, you will introduce the appropriate and necessary physical measures for improving patients’ mobility.
  • You will be able to understand and contextualise each patient’s medical history: you will be familiar with the goals, content and structure of medical records and apply various lines of questioning in full awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of each. You will be comfortable using a range of communication strategies in dialogue with your patients (taking into consideration their social background), team and other colleagues in medicine. Your conversations will be professional and tailored to the needs and circumstances of whoever you are addressing.
  • You will examine patients for simple disorders and impaired functioning of the lungs, heart, vascular and lymphatic systems. You will interpret your findings in accordance with the ICF and guidelines for clinical reasoning processes. You will also know how to respond appropriately to more complex disorders and physical impairments, including in emergency situations. You will design, discuss and implement individualised treatment plans based on your patients’ needs, then evaluate and document the ensuing process.
  • Whether working autonomously or in a group, you will be skilled in identifying, analysing and solving problems, then evaluating both the process and outcome. To solve problems within interprofessional teams, you will assume the role appropriate to your area of expertise. You will be familiar with the role other medical professionals play and cooperate with these colleagues to reach effective, sustainable solutions.
  • You will be practised in constructing appropriate, scientific lines of questioning within the field of physiotherapy. You will take a systematic, evidence-based approach to answering such questions, turning to the relevant literature for insights. You will be comfortable preparing, presenting and publishing your findings in a manner tailored to your audience. You will actively contribute to developing new and furthering established examination and treatment methods in physiotherapy as well as encouraging general health promotion.

Mode of study + Duration

Full-time study (6 semesters), followed by a 10-month internship module.

Curriculum + Modules

You will complete about two thirds of your Bachelor's degree at the BFH. In the remaining third you will do practical work during your studies.

  • Fundamentals of medical examination
  • Fundamentals of treatment
  • Interprofessional module 1
  • Communications
  • Musculoskeletal system 1
  • Scientific work Basic
  • Scientific work Evidence-based practice
  • Internal organs and geriatrics
  • Interprofessional module 2
  • Communications
  • Musculoskeletal system 2–3
  • Neuromotor and sensory systems
  • Practical module 1
  • Practical module 2
  • Scientific work Statistics
  • Internal organs and gynaecology
  • Interprofessional module 3
  • Healthcare management
  • Neuromotor and sensory systems
  • Practical module 3
  • Specialised fields: Sport, pain, psychiatry or paediatrics
  • Transcultural communication and diversity
  • Scientific work Evidence-based practice
  • Practical module 4
  • Bachelor’s thesis
Structure of bachelor's degree programme in Physiotherapy Enlarge image
Structure of bachelor's degree programme in Physiotherapy

Student mobility

We highly value mobility for our students and professors alike. We maintain partnerships with various foreign universites of applied sciences, which helps streamline our study abroad options.

The bachelor’s degree programme aligns with the Bologna model, which ensures transparency and mobility among universites of applied sciences across Europe. Student performance is measured and recognised according to the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS).

Projects + Student theses

Bachelor’s theses

Partners

BFH and the Bildungszentrum Gesundheit Basel-Stadt (BZG) have partnered to offer a bachelor’s degree programme in physiotherapy in Basel, in addition to the programme in Bern.

The programme in Basel is overseen by BFH faculty and staff. Students based in Basel are matriculated at BFH and complete the same course of study as those in Bern. For more information on the bachelor’s degree programme in Basel, please refer to the BZG website.

Praxispartner Standort Basel

Requirements + Admission

The number of places available on our bachelor’s degree programme in Physiotherapy at BFH is determined by a numerus clausus. Provided you meet formal admission requirements, you must then complete a written aptitude test.

Formal admission requirements

For admission to the programme, you must meet our academic requirements, pass the aptitude test and complete a two-month nursing internship at a healthcare clinic or social services centre before the first semester begins. You must also provide proof of language skills in German at level C1.

Academic requirements

You have earned one of the following Swiss training qualifications:

  • Vocational baccalaureate
  • Specialised baccalaureate (four-year)
  • Baccalaureate
  • Degree in a healthcare field from a professional college (see list)

 

Foreign qualifications are evaluated according to swissuniversities guidelines.

Language requirements

If your prior training (at least three years) was not conducted in German, you must demonstrate proficiency in the German language. We require students to have achieved level C1 in the Common European Framework of Reference.

Knowledge + Abilities

The field of physiotherapy is best suited to mentally and physically resilient, self-competent individuals with excellent social skills. The BSc programme in physiotherapy is suited to men and women alike.

You should demonstrate the following interests, knowledge and abilities:

  • You have excellent tactile perception and manual skills.
  • You are interested in movement and have wide-ranging experience with movement.
  • You are a great communicator and take an active interest in other people’s experiences.
  • You have extensive background knowledge of baccalaureate-level sciences: anatomy and physiology, biology, chemistry and physics.
  • You demonstrate intellectual drive and good observation skills, and you are quick to analyse, understand and relay complex concepts.
  • You have a deep sense of responsibility.
  • You work well in a team of colleagues or individuals from other professional fields.
  • You will need strong English skills for this programme: level B2–C1 or completed First Certificate (grade A).

Professional prerequisites

There are no professional prerequisites for the BSc programme in Physiotherapy.

In the year of the planned start of your studies, you must complete a binding aptitude assessment (which is subject to a fee). This will determine your admission to the bachelor’s degree programme in Physiotherapy at BFH. The aptitude test is conducted in German and comprises a written part and an oral/practical part.

Important information on the aptitude test
 

  • When applying to the bachelor’s degree programme in Physiotherapy, you must indicate either Bern or Basel as your preferred location.
  • BFH reviews the applications for both locations. After completing the second part of the aptitude test, prospective students are ranked according to score. This list determines priority in assigning students to their preferred location until all places in a given location are filled. Remaining students will be assigned to the other location.

The two-part aptitude test must be completed in the same year as your studies will begin.

Testing day (part 1, written section):

  • Saturday, 20 February 2021

Testing day (part 2, oral/practical section):

  • Monday, 12 April – Friday, 16 April 2021
  • Monday, 19 April – Friday, 23 April 2021

(Subject to change)
(Pooling with BZG Basel)

Nursing internship (additional module A)

Before beginning your studies, you must complete a two-month nursing internship (additional module A) at a healthcare clinic or social services centre. Exceptions to this requirement are individuals with a specialised baccalaureate in a healthcare-related field and those with a Swiss Federal Vocational Education and Training diploma (EFZ) and vocational baccalaureate in a healthcare-related field.
The goal of the nursing internship is to introduce you to the tasks and work environment of healthcare professions. You will be responsible for performing various nursing duties, which will give you an idea of your own resilience. You must complete this free-form internship over the course of two consecutive months, or 40 eight-hour workdays. Sick and/or days of absence must be made up. This is a chance for you to discover how well or poorly you adapt to this work environment, what you enjoy and what poses a challenge.
You are responsible for planning and securing the internship – BFH does not provide any recommendations. Please refer to the following handout for more information regarding the internship and/or get in touch with the admissions team in our Health Professions Department well in advance.

All prospective students must submit the following form by calendar week 35 to prove completion of the nursing internship (additional module A).


Certain professional healthcare qualifications are recognised in lieu of the nursing internship. The following provides an overview of eligible credit transfers for additional module A within our Health Professions degree programmes.

Contact Admission

Degree + Career prospects

Physiotherapists are in high demand in the healthcare system. You are autonomous and analytical, problem-centred and focused in your approach to examining and treating patients. Your work as a physiotherapist is defined by examination, analysis, treatment and evaluation.

Title + Degree

Upon graduating, you will obtain the title ‘Bachelor of Science BFH in Physiotherapy’. This bachelor’s degree is federally recognised in Switzerland, compatible with other European systems and counts internationally as a university degree.

Career prospects

As a physiotherapist, you may work in hospitals, rehabilitation centres or private practices.

There are many options for specialisation in such a complex field, with a wide range of possible occupations. The primary areas of specialisation are:

  • Musculoskeletal system (orthopaedics, surgery, rheumatology)
  • Internal organs (esp. lungs and cardiovascular system)
  • Nervous system (neurology)
  • Gynaecology
  • Geriatrics
  • Paediatrics

Typical workplaces include:

  • Clinics (urgent care or rehabilitation)
  • Retirement and nursing homes
  • Private physiotherapy practices
  • Home-based treatments
  • Health centres, HMOs
  • Institutions for differently abled persons
  • Training centres
  • Sport organisations and clubs

After gaining years of professional experience, you may also open your own physiotherapy practice.

Practicalities + Application

If you fulfil the formal entry requirements, we will look forward to meeting you. Earn your Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy and join a fascinating, vital professional field.

Academic year 2020/2021
 

  • The application deadline for the 2020/21 academic year has passed.
  • Start date: 14 September 2020

Academic year 2021/2022
 

  • Application deadline: Friday, 15 January 2021
  • Written aptitude test: Saturday, 20 February 2021
  • Oral/practical aptitude test: Monday, 12 April – Friday, 16 April 2021 and Monday, 19 April – Friday, 23 April 2021

Fees + Costs

Tuition fees for a semester at the Berne University of Applied Sciences currently amount to a standard CHF 750, plus costs for study materials (photocopies, literature, internet access at home, etc.) and examination fees of roughly the same amount per semester.

Own notebook necessary

Your own computer (ideally a notebook) with a powerful internet access is required. The Berne University of Applied Sciences will assist you with the procurement.

Internship compensation

During the practical work accompanying your studies, you can count on a monthly internship compensation. The course is designed as a full-time course. Accompanying employment is therefore only possible within a very limited framework.

Grants, loans and other funding options

Financial aid. Financial aid is available through grants and loans. Grants are one-off or ongoing payments that don’t usually have to be paid back provided you complete your course. Loans are one-off or ongoing payments that must be paid back after you finish your course.

Cantonal grants

Grants and loans for Swiss students and overseas students are generally paid out by the canton where the students’ parents are tax residents.

Students who have been tax residents in the Canton of Bern for at least two years are able to apply for cantonal grants and loans. Applications should be submitted to the Financial Aid Office at the Department of Education.

Further information (incl. financial aid calculator):

The websites ausbildungsbeiträge.ch, stipendium.ch and European Funding Guide cover all the key information about grants in Switzerland and overseas.

Foundations and funds

There are also numerous private foundations and funds that offer financial support to students. The electronic foundation directory administered by the Federal Department of Home Affairs offers a comprehensive summary of these organisations and can be searched by keywords (e.g. student, research, financial aid, etc.). Other sources include the foundation directories for individual cantons and private foundations.

The following foundations offer funding specifically to BFH students and students from other universities:

Bern University of Applied Sciences has various sites in the Canton of Bern. At Biel and Bern, new campus-style buildings are now being built and from 2022 and 2026 will connect previously separate locations.

In principle, you are responsible for finding your own accommodation. The HAFL department has a limited number of rooms for students of BFH-HAFL who live a long way from the university.

Rooms and appartments for students in Bern:


The Bern University of Applied Sciences is a partner and member of studentlodge.ch, a non-profit association for the promotion of student living in Bern.

More available rooms and appartments

   

WG-Zimmer

Flatshare classifieds (mainly Switzerland)

airbnb

Holiday homes, apartments and rooms for rent

students.ch

Student flatshares and flats

meinwgzimmer.ch

Flatshare accommodation service Switzerland

STUWO

Student accommodation association

Studentenresidenz Stöckacker

Furnished studios and flats in Stöckacker

Immobern

Bern property portal

Wohnungsmarkt Stadt Burgdorf

Accommodation in the city of Burgdorf and the surrounding area

Alle-Immobilien.ch

Search machine for all properties in Switzerland

Homegate

Swiss property portal

Immoscout24

Swiss property portal

Immowelt

Swiss property portal

More Information

Living expenses

Average living costs (in CHF) per month:

Average living costs per month

from to
Course costs
(Tuition fees, learning materials excluding study trips / study weeks)
CHF 140.– CHF 180.–
Fixed costs
(Sickness / accident insurance at non-reduced rate, taxes / social insurance, travel costs)
CHF 420.– CHF 500.–
Personal Expenditure
(Clothes / shoes, spending money / mobile phone, hairdressing / grooming)
CHF 250.– CHF 350.–
Provisions
(Health costs: retention, deductible rate, dentist)
CHF 60.– CHF 60.–

Rent / shared accommodation costs

CHF 300.– CHF 600.–
Other accommodation costs
(Electricity, telephone / radio / TV / Internet, home contents and personal liability insurance)
CHF 70.– CHF 100.–

Food / drink, including refectory

CHF 400.– CHF 500.–
Other houskeeping costs
(Washing powder and cleaning products, general toiletries, waste removal costs)
CHF 20.– CHF 40.–
Total CHF 1700.– CHF 2550.–

Meals outside the home CHF 8 to CHF 10 per meal

   

Source: Budgetberatung.ch

Annual average living costs for students living alone or in shared accommodation. The effective yearly amount may vary between approximately CHF 18,000 and CHF 27,000.

At Bern University of Applied Sciences BFH, we promote balance between study, work and family.

A limited number of nursery places are available to BFH staff and students. If you’d like to take advantage of this offer, the relevant documents can be found on the BFH Intranet. The fees are based on your income and are in line with the cantonal rates described in the Verordnung über die Angebote der sozialen Integration (Decree on Social Integration Offer ASIV) issued by the Canton of Bern. You can apply for a nursery place using the online form on the BFH Intranet. If you’re a new student or member of staff and don’t have access to the Intranet, please contact Corinne Badertscher (Tel. +41 (0)31 848 33 01, corinne.badertscher@bfh.ch). There is no legal entitlement to a nursery place.

Apply online for our bachelor’s degree programmes. Speed up the application process by having all your electronic application materials ready in advance (please see checklist). We only accept applications for the bachelor’s degree programme via our online application form. We cannot accept any applications after the application deadline.

The application and aptitude test fee of CHF 300 is itemised as follows:

  • Application processing fee of CHF 100 (credit card) or CHF 110 (paper invoice*). This fee is required.
  • Aptitude test fee of CHF 200 (blanket charge).

* Please remit payment within 10 days. We review applications only once payment has been received.

If you are admitted to the programme following the aptitude test, please provide written confirmation that you accept our offer within 20 days. The first semester fee is due upon accepting our offer of admission.

Information events + Advice

Visit one of our information events for further details on our bachelor’s degree programme in Physiotherapy. We are happy to advise you individually.

Student for a day

Would you like to «get a taste» of the bachelor's programme in Physiotherapy for a day? Get an insight into skills training? Experience a lecture? Further information is available from the administration of the bachelor's programme.

Location + Learning Centre

Centrally located and easy to get to: the Department of Health Professions is located within a 10-minute walk or five-minute ride with public transport from Bern central station.
You can reach the BZG by public transport in about 15 minutes from Basel main station.

The Learning Centre with its Digital Learning, Communication Training and Skills Centre supports a modern and realistic teaching and learning environment at the Department of Health Professions.

Digital learning

Digital media play an important role in all degree programmes. Via the web-based learning platform Moodle, students have access to all relevant teaching and learning content independent of time and location. Numerous other web applications such as Microsoft Teams, the video platform Kaltura or web applications developed in-house support students in their daily studies.

Skills Centre

The Skills Centre of the Department of Health Professions represents a teaching and learning landscape which, thanks to practice-oriented premises, a variety of equipment, models and materials, allows individual use by students and lecturers. It offers ideal conditions for the systematic training and optimisation of profession-specific skills. The focus here is on the further development of practical and technical skills and abilities. The available infrastructure should, among other things, also offer the opportunity to prepare specifically for practical work as encountered in practice.

Communication training

Communication training is an innovative learning method. With professional actors and actresses, students practise communicative skills by simulating challenging situations from professional practice: Handling a patient who hardly speaks German, a patient who has just received a serious diagnosis or emotional relatives. Mobile video recording systems enable the recording and immediate viewing of the communication situation. In this way, students learn how to deal professionally with demanding tasks in the health care sector in communication training.