Life Sciences – Regional Management in Mountain Areas (the Alpine Master’s)

You will acquire sound specialist knowledge and methodological expertise in relation to regional management in mountain areas as well as developing your leadership skills.

This degree programme:

  • makes you a specialist in mountain areas: all the subject matter is geared to mountainous regions and addressed using examples from the Alps.

  • makes you an expert in regional development: the focus is on the interactions between nature, land use, society and policy.

  • prepares you for future leadership roles: as well as acquiring comprehensive knowledge of specialist topics and a wide range of methods, you will also hone your social and leadership skills.

  • expands your network: in class, internships and your thesis work, you will interact with a host of players in the sector.

  • is practice-based: excursions, presentations and case studies will be based on real-life practical examples, and your master’s thesis will take a hands-on approach.

  • opens the door to the international job market: you may complete your master’s thesis abroad or in cooperation with an international organisation.

  • enables you to obtain a double master’s: you will be awarded a degree from HAFL and a degree from Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences (HSWT).

Master Regionalmanagement in Gebirgsräumen «Alpenmaster»


  • Title/Degree MSc BFH in Life Sciences +
    MSc HSWT Regional Management in Mountain Areas
    (double master’s)
  • Specialisations Agricultural Science or Forest Science
  • Mode of study Full-time (3 semesters). Part-time on request.
  • Start date Spring: calendar week 12 (in Weihenstephan)
    Autumn: calendar week 38
  • Application deadline Spring 2021 start: 30 September 2020
    Autumn 2021 start: 30 April 2021
  • ECTS credits 90 ECTS credits
  • Study language English and German
  • Location Zollikofen (Switzerland), one semester in Weihenstephan near Munich (Germany)
  • Department School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL
  • Next info event 14.10.2020, 6.30pm-7.30pm, online (video conference)
    09.12.2020, 6.30pm-7.30pm, online (video conference)



  • Programme Handbook

MSc in Life Sciences – International Management of Forest Industries or Regional Management in Mountain Areas

Structure + Content

Mountain areas have special potential and present special challenges. They provide unique landscapes, decentralised value creation and diverse social and cultural patterns. At the same time, though, nature conservation and protection of the landscape often seem incompatible with economic interests. Climate change, growing integration into world markets and the emigration of the mountain population are giving rise to new challenges.
The regional management of mountain areas requires specialists who are familiar with these features and trends and can adopt an interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral approach to their work, focusing on practicality and goals. The MSc in Life Sciences with the ‘Regional Management in Mountain Areas’ (Alpine master’s) major equips you for precisely this task.
It is offered jointly by the School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (HAFL) and Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences (HSWT).

Learning Outcomes

  • The Alpine master’s programme will equip you with sound professional knowledge of regional management in mountain areas – you will become an expert in your field.

  • You decide whether to focus on agricultural or on forestry aspects – the Alpine master’s builds on expertise from both sectors.

  • You will develop the ability to delve quickly and independently into unfamiliar areas, then implement your new knowledge in practice.

  • You will master a broad spectrum of methodological and leadership skills and learn to manage complex projects competently.

  • You will become adept at making scientific contributions in multidisciplinary teams.

Programme structure

You will spend one semester at HAFL in Zollikofen (Bern) and one at the HSWT in Weihenstephan near Munich. The third semester is spent working on your master’s thesis.

The modules will provide you with opportunities to make contact with researchers and practitioners through case studies, roundtable meetings and excursions.

Your master’s thesis enables you to specialise in a mountain issue of your choice.


You decide in the light of your previous education, interests and career plans whether you want to focus on agricultural science or in forest science in the Alpine master’s programme.

During this major, you will combine your knowledge of ecological and socio-economic issues with the management of regional development in mountain areas. You will therefore be studying how nature, land use, society and politics interact. In particular, you will examine:

  • the agricultural use of the Alpine region
  • specific natural hazards and risk management
  • current methods for geospatial analysis, such as GIS
  • changing living conditions in the Alpine region
  • project management
  • regional planning nature reserves
  • tourism
  • leadership and human resources management
  • public relations and conflict management

The content relates specifically to mountain areas and will be illustrated by examples from the Alps.

Mode of study + Duration

The course at BFH-HAFL is modular and coordinated with the semester at Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences (HSWT). There is a considerable amount of self-study, which enables you to structure your studies flexibly.

The full-time programme lasts three semesters. Part-time study is possible upon request but requires your employer and/or family to be flexible. Part-time and full-time students study together, with part-time students completing fewer modules in each semester.

Structure + Modules

Modules at HSWT

Module Title   ECTS   Code   SYou choose

Regionalplanung und Politik im Alpenraum




Schutzgut Gebirgsraum








Sozial- und Methodenkompetenz




Interdisziplinäres Projekt




Interkulturelle Kompetenz



Total   30       6

Student mobility

You will spend one semester at Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences (HSWT) in Freising near Munich.

Students’ projects + theses

Collaborations + Partners

The Alpine master’s is offered jointly with Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences (HSWT) in Freising near Munich.

Eligibility + Entry

To take our Alpine master’s course, you must hold a bachelor’s degree in agriculture or forest science or a related field and have a good knowledge of English and German.

You will be accepted to the programme if you hold a bachelor’s degree from a Swiss university of applied sciences in one of the following fields of study and graduated with a grade of at least 5:

  • Agriculture
  • Forest science
  • Geography
  • Biology
  • Tourism
  • Landscape architecture
  • Environmental engineering
  • Nature management

Do you have a degree in a different discipline? Was your final grade lower than a 5? Did you earn your degree in a different country? If so, you must pass an aptitude assessment.

Do you have a bachelor’s degree from a university? If so, you must provide evidence of at least half a year of work experience in an area we have approved.

Language skills

The ‘Regional Management in Mountain Areas’ major is taught partly in English and partly in German (level B2 in both languages recommended). You may write your master’s thesis in English, German or French (or in Italian or Spanish, by request).

Applying from abroad

We review each international application individually. Please send questions to before submitting your official application.


If you do not meet all of our requirements, you may work with the programme administrators to create an individual action plan for filling these gaps.

At the heart of the aptitude test is a structured interview, graded according to the following criteria: conceptual skills, analytical thought, ability to make connections, specialised knowledge and motivation.

Qualification + Career prospects

Upon completing this programme, you will have acquired the skills that employers demand for management positions: practical specialists who can work scientifically and manage complex, multidisciplinary projects competently.

Title + Degree

Upon successful completion of the programme you will be awarded the title ‘Master of Science in Life Sciences with Specialisation in Forest Science’ or ‘Master of Science in Life Sciences with Specialisation in Agricultural Science’ from Bern University of Applied Sciences and the title ‘Master in Regional Management in Mountain Areas’ from the Department of Forestry at HSWT.

Career prospects

With the Alpmaster’s you will be well prepared to take on challenging leadership roles in companies, associations, NGOs or local government or to pursue applied research – in the public or private sector. You will be qualified for posts in the fields of regional development, nature parks and protected areas or in related sectors including agriculture and forestry.

Practicalities + Application

Planning ahead will help you organise and coordinate your studies so that they fit with work or family obligations.

Spring 2021 start date

Application deadline: 30.09.2020
Start date: 22.03.2021 (in Weihenstephan)

Autumn 2021 start date

Application deadline: 30.04.2021
Start date: 20.09.2021

Here, you will find helpful information about financing your studies at BFH. Details regarding individual living costs are not covered, however.

The cost of study includes tuition and examination fees, as well as costs for teaching materials and excursions.


At BFH, different fees apply for programmes and examinations.

Application (per application)*

CHF 100


CHF 100

Tuition fees (per semester)

CHF 750

Tuition fees for international students*** (per semester)

CHF 950

Examination fee (per semester)

CHF 80

Fee for social, cultural and sport offerings (per semester)

CHF 24

Membership fee for the Bern University of Applied Sciences Student Association (VSBFH) (per semester)

CHF 15

* plus CHF 10 processing fee if paying by paying-in slip/paper invoice.
** If the application leads to matriculation, the matriculation fee is covered by the application fee.
*** International students are defined as persons of foreign citizenship who at the time of obtaining their university entrance qualification were domiciled under civil law neither in Switzerland nor the Principality of Liechtenstein. This rule applies as of the 2018/19 autumn semester.

There is also a fixed fee for material, which can vary from programme to programme, and additional costs for teaching materials, specialist literature, supplies, etc.

An invoice for the application fee is generated upon applying online and must be paid within 10 days. If payment is made by paying-in slip/paper invoice, a processing fee of CHF 10 is applied. There are no waivers or refunds for withdrawn or abandoned applications.

The application is processed after payment has been received.

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 ausbildungsbeiträ, 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:

The full-time programme lasts three semesters. Part-time study is possible upon request but requires your employer and/or family to be flexible. Part-time and full-time students study together, with part-time students completing fewer modules in each semester.

Unsure whether this option is right for you? Please get in touch.


Please upload the following documents when registering online:

  • statement of personal motivation
  • curriculum vitae
  • identity card or passport
  • academic degree certificate(s)
  • transcript(s) of records
  • references/certifications of practical experience
  • upper secondary education (university entrance) certificate
  • confirmation of exmatriculation (if previously enrolled at another university)

Important: We require a certified translation of all documents issued in a language other than German, French, English, Italian or Spanish.


Still have questions about the degree programme? Attend one of our information events or arrange a personal consultation.

Student advisory service

The programme coordinator is happy to talk to you personally and answer any questions you may have.


Location + Facilities

The BFH-HAFL campus is located in Zollikofen, near Bern. Nestled among fields and forests, the location offers both the modern facilities you need for your studies and countless recreational options.

The campus of BFH-HAFL in Zollikofen provides modern lecture halls, labs and trial fields.

But our campus is more than just a place for studying: the pool, barbecue area, sauna and many other recreational offerings make it a fun place to spend your free time. There is also a student residence on site with some 140 furnished rooms and a cafeteria.