MSc in Engineering | Profile Civil Engineering

As a civil engineer, you shape the world in which we live and assume responsibility for society and the environment. The master’s degree programme allows you to specialise in an area that opens up a wide array of career prospects. The structures you plan and create shape our future living environments.

As a graduate of the Civil Engineering profile, you:

  • Make a major contribution to providing innovative solutions to challenging problems (in terms of analysis, design, technical solutions and planning),
  • Identify complex causal relationships and can resolve multifaceted tasks independently,
  • Have in-depth knowledge of project management and understand business principles,
  • Can perform challenging management roles with engineering firms, construction companies, in government and in research.

Master of Science Engineering


  • Title/Degree Master of Science in Engineering | MSc
  • Specialisations Civil Engineering
  • Mode of study Full-time (at least 3 semesters), lectures two days a week
    Part-time (4 to 7 semesters), lectures one day a week
  • Start date Week 52 and Week 38
  • Application deadline 31 July | autumn semester
    31 December | spring semester
  • ECTS credits 90 ECTS credits: Total
    30 ECTS credits: Theory modules
    60 ECTS credits: Profile specialisation
  • Teaching language German and English (in each case at least language level B2)
  • Location Biel, Burgdorf
  • School School of Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering


Civil engineers perform a wide variety of tasks. You will become a highly sought-after professional by specialising in civil engineering. You will learn to produce specific solutions and tackle complex problems, taking advantage of close cooperation with research and industry professionals.

Professional skills

As a Master of Science in Engineering graduate with the Civil Engineering profile, you identify complex causal relationships and resolve the challenges they present independently. You also make a major contribution to innovative solutions in terms of analysis, design, technical solutions and planning. You have a firm grasp of business principles and possess extensive project management skills.

Entry qualifications

Bachelor’s degree in a technical discipline. Candidates are individually assessed by the university of applied sciences chosen. The assessment of the entry qualifications is part of the admissions procedure.


The focus of the master’s degree programme is on specialising in greater depth; two-thirds of the programme is devoted to this and is completed at a research unit of a university of applied sciences. As part of this in-depth specialisation you will write two project theses and the master’s thesis.

One-third of your degree programme focuses on theory, which is taught in modules. These theory modules are subdivided into three areas:

  • Technical Scientific Modules | TSM
  • Fundamental Theoretical Principles | FTP
  • Context Modules | CM

Your degree programme is planned with support from your advisor. This study advisor will also guide you on the choice of theory modules and specialisation. You can find the overview of modules for full-time and part-time study here. 

Sara Ruchti, student MSE, specialisation geotechnics (German)


You complete your degree programme with specialisations with a choice of six specialist fields.

Sustainable energy management is a major issue in civil engineering. Greater requirements are being placed on ensuring a high standard of comfortable living. As well as light and warmth, the need for quiet – and as a result sound insulation too – is also a key requirement. The ‘Built Environment and Structural Physics’ specialisation focuses on these aspects which have a direct impact on structural design, structural engineering and implementation.

Built Environment

A large proportion of future developments will be built on the site of existing structures. Both the increased demands of users and more exacting requirements in terms of indoor climate and energy efficiency must be taken into account. As a built environment specialist, you carry out project-specific analyses on the condition of buildings. You identify architectural, structural and historic preservation qualities and develop innovative solutions for applied use.

Structural Physics

To meet future challenges in the field of structural physics, specialists are required who can evaluate the changing needs of society and develop new solutions. As a structural physics specialist, you possess expertise in the physical properties of building materials, components and structures. Employment opportunities for structural physics specialists are typically found in heat insulation, damp protection, noise insulation, fire protection and buildings ecology. These areas are closely related to structural design.

Two major trends are currently being observed in both structural engineering and civil engineering and bridge construction: developers are increasingly relying on timber construction methods. In addition to traditional construction using steel, concrete and composites, other high-performance materials are also increasingly being intelligently combined.

Timber Construction

Increasing requirements must be met in terms of energy-efficient and sustainable construction. In this respect, timber has the benefit of being the only regenerating material, which means it is extremely sustainable. That’s why developers in the private but also the public sector are increasingly turning to timber. As a timber construction specialist, you design and assess increasingly demanding timber construction projects.

Composite Construction

As a composite construction specialist, you design buildings with short construction times and flexible floor plans. The role involves determining the cross-sections and systems required in accordance with the applicable provisions and designing all connecting elements, which is where a significant share of composite construction’s cost-efficiency lies.

The interdisciplinary nature of transport infrastructure projects means they cover a wide range of specialist areas, such as geology, geotechnics, hydraulic engineering, roadbuilding and bridge and tunnel construction. In the Transport Infrastructure specialisation, you focus on how to meet the need for cost-efficient and sustainable road infrastructure and develop innovative solutions. Certain topics in railway and airfield construction are also covered.

Major projects – such as the new road and rail links through the Alps, new traffic systems in cities and urban areas, large shopping centres, high-rise buildings but also structures to protect against avalanches or rockfall – cannot be implemented without the expertise of geotechnics engineers. The characteristics of subsoil, water and groundwater and their interpretation in relation to structural engineering present major uncertainty for planning. This means geotechnics specialists play key roles in the planning and building of structural projects.


As a geotechnics engineer you work in the area where earth sciences and structural engineering intersect. The ‘building material’ is provided by nature as the subsoil. This can only be influenced to a limited extent which means your tools are limited to the specific situation at hand and must be deployed accordingly.

Natural Phenomena

As a specialist in natural phenomena you focus on structures that protect against hazards, such as slope instability, avalanches and rockfall etc. Your task is to identify and mitigate hazards. You achieve this not just by developing protective structures capable of withstanding the forces involved, but also by producing solutions and models to reduce impacts and consequences. They simplify the structural engineering measures required and improve performance.

Hydraulic engineering is a challenging, multi-faceted specialist field. Climate change is increasing demand for sustainable solutions here and is making it difficult to predict and forecast events. River engineering presents various, sometimes contradictory challenges. Heavily developed urban areas and predominantly agricultural areas have differing interests in relation to land use. The revitalisation of rivers is also provided for by law to ensure high quality of habitats and more space and interconnectivity for communities of aquatic life. Bed load should be retained for flood prevention purposes, on one hand, but further transported as part of revitalisation on the other. In addition, efforts are being made to generate more hydropower. Lakes are another contentious issue in hydraulic engineering. They are increasingly attracting public attention as drinking water reservoirs and heat exchangers with their ports and bank protection.

Supporting structure planning is a creative discipline. You produce creative ideas using statically and technically consistent designs. Modern buildings are ever higher, their spans ever wider and their forms increasingly free. New requirements in the fields of energy, building technology and building management must be incorporated at supporting structure planning stage. The impressive structures created also mean greater demands are placed on the engineers responsible for planning and implementation. In addition to the key professional skills of structural engineering, the understanding of interdisciplinary cooperation with planning partners is also increasingly important.

Seminars are also held every two years on topics such as special civil engineering, integral bridges, probabilistic safety concepts, evidence of risks and laboratory methods etc. This presents opportunities to supplement your specialisation.

We cooperate with the following institutes:

Institute for Timber Construction, Structures and Architecture IHTA

Buildings – from design and planning to the actual construction of new builds and other structures.

Institute for Digital Economy in the Construction and Wood Industries IdBH

Analyse des marchés, des méthodes et des technologies, élaboration de nouvelles solutions économiques pour les industries de la construction et du bois de demain.

The Civil Engineering Division at Bern University of Applied Sciences has one of the richest traditions in Switzerland. Notable features of the study location include the supporting structure and geotechnics laboratory, the road construction laboratory and the convenient size of the campus in Burgdorf.

  • An open access library with a reading room is available to students. The library’s documents are incorporated into the Switzerland-wide NEBIS network (network of libraries and information centres in Switzerland).
  • The facilities can also be used outside of lectures with the BFHcard.
  • You are given access to the intranet and have a personal e-mail address and direct access to WiFi.
  • Fees are charged for parking spaces. Parking permits are available from the student office if required. However, we recommend using public transport.
  • In Biel we operate the largest research centre in the Swiss timber industry, and in Burgdorf a fully equipped geotechnics laboratory in collaboration with the Institute of Geology at the University of Bern. Most of the tests performed are accredited in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025 by the Swiss Accreditation Service (SAS). The tests are internationally recognised.

As a master’s degree graduate, you have the opportunity to obtain a doctorate from a university. A dissertation can also be written at BFH in cooperation with a university. The university decides whether to award the doctorate.

With a dissertation project at BFH, you benefit from application-oriented infrastructure and laboratories as well as extensive specialist knowledge. BFH will advise you on finding the right partner university and selecting the research topic.

 Prof. Dr. Dirk Proske, Head of the Civil Engineering profile of this master’s degree programme, will be happy to advise you personally.

Information + Advice

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. You also have the opportunity to visit us on site in Burgdorf.

Master of Science in Engineering

The Master of Science (MSc) in Engineering covers a wide range of specialist skills. They are currently divided into 14 profiles throughout Switzerland. The Master of Science in Engineering can be obtained from Bern University of Applied Sciences in ten profiles.