Circular Innovation and Sustainability

As an expert in the circular economy and sustainability, you will develop and manage innovative transformations – thanks to BFH's unique and interdisciplinary master's programme. Your studies will be characterised by a strong practical orientation. You will combine your newly acquired knowledge of circular systems, resource efficiency and sustainable development with business management skills. Study full- or part-time and gain the qualification you need for a responsible specialist or management position.

«We’re closing the loop. Are you in?»

Start your master's degree in autumn 2022 and apply now. Do you still have questions? Get answers at the next online information event on 17 February 2022 at 5.30pm.


  • Title/Degree MSc in Circular Innovation and Sustainability
  • Specialisations none
  • Mode of study Full-time (4 semesters), part-time (5-8 semesters)
  • Start date 19 September 2022
  • Application deadline For autumn 2022 start: 15 May 2022
  • ECTS credits 120 ECTS credits
  • Study language English
  • Location Bern, Biel und Zollikofen
  • Department School of Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering
    School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL
    Business School
  • Next info event Thursday 17 February 2022 5.30pm, online via Microsoft Teams

Areas covered by the programme

The interdisciplinary master's programme in Circular Innovation and Sustainability combines business skills with a technical and ecological understanding of production cycles and the sustainable use of our natural resources.

What you will gain with this degree programme

Take responsibility today for the changes of tomorrow and play an active role in shaping the future. The unique programme of BFH's first interdisciplinary master's provides a broad insight into the fields of circular economy and sustainable development.

Your own project as the core of your studies

You will work on a freely selectable practical project throughout your studies, giving you the opportunity to apply your newly acquired skills in a real-life environment and thus initiate transformation.

Career prospects

This master’s programme addresses the most important topics for a successful transformation. It combines technical-ecological and organisational-business expertise and teaches you to link a wide variety of perspectives when solving problems. With the degree ‘Master of Science in Circular Innovation and Sustainability’ you therefore have the best prospects on the job market.

Equipped for demanding specialist and management functions

The programme qualifies you for demanding specialist and management functions in all industries. Possible employers are medium-sized and larger companies, the public sector, non-profit organisations or international companies.

Fields of activity

  • change agent/manager in a company or organisation for the circular economy 
  • sustainability officer
  • researcher in an NGO
  • consultant in sustainable development, circular economy and transformation 
  • project manager at federal, cantonal or communal level 
  • doctoral candidate in bioeconomics, circular economy and resource management

Duration of studies + Curriculum

The programme lasts four semesters full-time. If you choose to study part-time, the programme should be completed in five to eight semesters.

Full-time or part-time studies?

Part-time and full-time students take the programme together. Part-time students take fewer modules per semester and thus have the opportunity to combine their studies with employment or family. Part-time study enables students to bring problems from their everyday working life into the classroom and vice versa.

The study modules

120 ECTS credits must be earned to complete the degree. The programme structure is based on four module categories.

All students must take at least 42 ECTS credits from this category. This includes compulsory modules on methodological basics and on the programme’s three main subject areas:

  • Circular product and process innovation
  • Circular business models
  • Institutional environmen

Of these, at least 12 ECTS credits must be taken in the form of bridging modules. These include:

  • Bridging technology: compulsory module for all students with a disciplinary background in life sciences or economics 
  • Bridging natural sciences concepts: compulsory module for all students with a disciplinary background in technology or economics
  • Bridging economics and management: compulsory module for all students with a disciplinary background in technology or life sciences

All students must take at least 30 ECTS credits from this category. 21 of these credits must be selected from the modules provided by the programme. The remaining 9 credits may either be chosen from the programme or credited from the BFH diagonal programme or from another degree programme. Requests for accreditation must be submitted and approved by the heads of the programme before modules are taken.

Building on the foundations and specialisations, this category enables individual subject-specific and interdisciplinary consolidation. The programme provides for all students to take three modules of 6 ECTS credits each with self-defined learning content and guided self-study (individual coaching). The content is in the form of concrete case studies. The modules relate to the three main subject areas: 

  • Expansion of personal competences: circular products and processes
  • Expansion of personal competences: circular business models
  • Expansion of personal competences: inter- and transdisciplinary project

The master's programme is completed with a thesis. All students choose a topic in the area of their individual specialisation. The thesis is a module in the form of an independent piece of work worth 30 ECTS credits. 

MSc in Circular Innovation and Sustainability: Programme structure and study modules Enlarge image
Programme structure and study modules.
MSc in Circular Innovation and Sustainability: Module categories at a glance Enlarge image
Module categories at a glance.

Entry requirements

The MSc in Circular Innovation and Sustainability is aimed at graduates from a wide range of disciplines. The basic requirements are a bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline and a feasible project idea. Admissions decisions are taken by the programme board after a personal interview (aptitude assessment).

Your previous education and professional experience

You will be admitted to the study programme,

  • if you hold a bachelor’s degree from a Swiss university of applied sciences in the disciplines of economics, life sciences or technology.
  • if you hold a bachelor’s degree from a Swiss university of applied sciences in another discipline, provided that at least 30 ECTS credits of the programme were completed in subjects with an economic, scientific or technical orientation or are made up in the first year of study of the master's programme.
  • if you are studying at a Swiss or a foreign university, provided that you have at least three months of work experience related to sustainable development. 
MSc Circular Innovation and Sustainability: Aptitude assessment Enlarge image

Additional information about the entry requirements

The aptitude assessment consists of a 45-minute interview. We assess both your motivation and your conceptual skills in the field of sustainable development.

The aptitude assessment builds on your personal motivation letter and on the project outline you submitted with your application.

Personal motivation letter

Outline your personal motivations and development prospects in relation to the “Circular Innovation and Sustainability” master’s programme (max. 500 words).

Project outline

Submit the outline of a student project that you could imagine developing or working on during your studies, for example for your master’s thesis. You are free to choose any subject that interests you, as long as it relates to sustainable development and/or the circular economy. It can be a completely hypothetical own idea, a project you worked on during your bachelor’s studies or an existing real case. Suggested structure and length:

  • background and research objectives
  • methodology and implementation
  • expected results
  • 500–1500 words

You can submit your application in English, German or French. If you are not sure about your personal eligibility, you can ask us to review your application before you submit it officially. 

If you have any questions, please contact us at

The study language is English. You must demonstrate English language skills that are at least equivalent to level B2. You can write your thesis in English, German or French.


Secure your place on the programme in good time. You can submit missing documents at a later date.

Important dates

  • Application deadline: 15 May 2022
  • Start: 19 September 2022
  • Induction week: 12 - 16 September 2022
  • Aptitude assessment: by individual agreement from March 2022

Online application overview

You can only apply online. Our instructions for online application explain everything you need to know step by step.

Prepare the following documents in PDF or JPG format:


  • ID or passport
  • passport photo according to international passport standards

Additional (references, etc)

  • CV in tabular form
  • copies of the required certificates and confirmations
  • upper-secondary education (university entrance) certificate
  • a certified translation of all documents issued in a language other than German, French, Italian or English
  • copy of the confirmation of withdrawal from studies if the applicant was already enrolled at another higher education institution 
  • a personal letter of motivation in German, French or English
  • a project outline with a subject-related reference to sustainable development in German, French or English.

The study costs include application, tuition and examination fees, and costs for teaching materials and excursions.

There are two ways to finance your studies: loans and grants.

Advisory service + Information

Do you have questions about the programme? Our lecturers will happily answer them at our information event.

Advisory service

Choosing a degree or continuing education programme is an important decision. During an individual advisory session, we will answer your questions and clarify with you your personal criteria for this programme.

Information events

At our information events, you will learn everything about the programme, admission requirements and your career prospects. Lecturers will answer all your questions about your studies and everyday student life.


The MSc in Circular Innovation and Sustainability programme takes place in Bern, Biel and Zollikofen. All three locations are easily accessible by public transport or car and offer a varied environment.