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?»

We still accept some late applications for autumn 2022. Interested? Please contact us: msc.sustainability@bfh.ch

Factsheet

  • 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
  • Teaching language English
  • Location Bern, Biel und Zollikofen
  • School School of Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering
    School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL
    School of Engineering and Computer Science
    Business School

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 from this degree programme

Take responsibility today for the changes of tomorrow and play an active role in shaping the future. BFH’s first interdisciplinary master’s programme (business, life sciences and technology) provides a uniquely broad insight into the fields of circular economy and sustainable development.  On this programme, you will gain an in-depth understanding of biological and technical cycles and come to know the potential they offer for developing sustainable product and process innovations. You will also acquire the skills to rethink conventional business models and make them circular.

Core features of your programme

Interdisciplinarity

The master’s is underpinned by an interdisciplinary foundation programme, equipping you with broad knowledge from research and practice about circular economy, resource efficiency and sustainable development. You will gain insight into the fundamental principles of a sustainable transformation in sectors ranging from food to energy management. Both the modules and the teaching staff on the programme are put together to be interdisciplinary. 

Specialisation

After the foundation programme, focused specialisation becomes a possibility. Thanks to a generous range of focus modules, you can pursue your personal interests in depth, not only in theory but also in practice with individual projects. Internships are an additional means of acquiring skills in specific areas. 

Subject competence

The new master’s programme brings together subject knowledge on circular economy and sustainability from all departments at BFH. Benefit from the scholarly expertise of leading researchers and pursue your studies at the cutting edge of applied research. 

Flexibility

Innovative teaching approaches guarantee you a highly flexible timetable. For full-time students, in-person classes take up around 40 per cent of the programme. The remaining time you spend working individually or in groups on specific learning objectives.

Relevance to practice 

During the programme you benefit from a large network of companies and organisations working in the field. A key component of the master’s is that these are directly integrated into modules – for example, in the form of excursions, guest speakers, internships, or working on problems identified in real cases.

News

Management team of the MSc now complete

On 1 June 2022, Stefan Flückiger joined the interdisciplinary management team of the MSc in Circular Innovation and Sustainability, where he has taken on the role of spokesperson. On the same date, he took office as the new Head of MSc Programmes at BFH-HAFL. He is a forest engineer (ETH Zurich) with extensive experience in the education sector. Since 2013, he has been contributing to the BFH-HAFL continuing education programmes as an associate lecturer and an expert in silviculture, urban forestry, and forestry strategy and organisation.

Stefan Flückiger Enlarge image

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 study programme promotes entrepreneurial thinking and offers you the possibility to individually steer your specialisation. It therefore qualifies you for sustainability-related profiles in different 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.

The study modules

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

Curriculum


* At least 12 ECTS credits must be taken in the form of bridging modules. These include: 

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

** Requests for accreditation must be submitted and approved by the heads of the programme before modules are taken. 
*** Contents of the modules in the module group cases can be combined into one project. 

Code   Module title   ECTS
    Basics    
0.1   Introduction to circular economy   3
0.2   Bridging technology   6
0.3   Bridging life sciences    6
0.4   Bridging economics and management    6
1.1   Technological cycle: materials and processes    3
1.2   Biological cycle: environmental systems    3
2.1   Circular business models    3
2.2   Circular supply chain   3
3.1   Society and technology   3
3.2   Society and the environment   3
4.1   Scientific methods 1   3
4.2   Scientific methods 2   3
4.3   Scientific methods 3   3
    Minimum required*   42
    Focus    
1.3   Pathways to net zero GHG emissions in the energy and chemical sectors    3
1.4   Pathways to net zero GHG emissions in the mobility sector    3
1.5   Pathways to net zero GHG emissions in the food sector    3
1.6   Cities and infrastructure   3
1.7   Circular use of materials   3
2.3   Social entrepreneurship   3
2.4   Digitalization and sustainability   3
3.3   Innovation and the circular economy in a spatial context   3
3.4   Corporate social responsibility   3
4.4   Impact assessment   3
4.5   Circular design   3
    Minimum required   21
    Further modules     
    Further modules can be selected from the BFH diagonal programme**   3
    Cases     
1.8   Expansion of personal competences: product and process innovation***    6
2.5   Expansion of personal competences: business models***   6
3.5   Expansion of personal competences: inter- and transdisciplinary project***    6
    Minimum required   18
All areas   Minimum required   90
Thesis   Required from master’s thesis   30
Total   Minimum required   120

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.

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 msc.sustainability@bfh.ch.

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.

Application

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
  • Aptitude assessment: by individual agreement from March 2022

We still accept some late applications for autumn 2022. Interested? Please contact us: msc.sustainability@bfh.ch

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:

Mandatory 

  • 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.

Location

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.