Life Sciences – Food, Nutrition and Health

As a student of this degree programme, you will engage with cutting-edge issues at the intersection of food and nutritional sciences and develop specific expertise along the entire value chain.

This degree programme

  • trains you in established methodologies and equips you for the challenges of food production and human nutrition.
  • provides you with insider access to the food and nutrition industries, by means of guest lectures, excursions and case studies.
  • is taught within an international context, with instruction in English.
  • is highly flexible: you can study full- or part-time.
  • offers a unique opportunity to benefit from the expertise and skills drawn from four Swiss universities of applied sciences.
  • enables you to take on demanding roles in product development or Public Health Nutrition.
  • introduces you to important figures in the food and nutrition industry.


  • Title/Degree MSc in Life Sciences – Food, Nutrition and Health
  • Mode of study Full-time (3 semesters), part-time (4–6 semesters)
  • Start date Spring: calendar week 7
    Autumn: calendar week 38
  • Application deadline Programme start autumn: 30 April
    Programme start spring: 30 September
    Later registrations will be considered up to 30 June or 30 November at the latest, subject to availability of places.
    Deadline for people who need a visa: 30 April or 30 September.
  • ECTS credits 90 ECTS-Credits
  • Teaching language English
  • Location Zollikofen, Bern, Fribourg
  • School School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL
  • Next info event 13.06.2024, 6.30pm–7.30pm (CET), ONLINE via Microsoft Teams
    20.08.2024, 6.30pm–7.30pm (CET), ONLINE via Microsoft Teams
    22.10.2024, 6.30pm–7.30pm (CET), ONLINE via Microsoft Teams

Registration has closed for studies starting in autumn 2024, but some late applications may be accepted. If this has sparked your interest, please contact

Structure + Content

The market for speciality foods is booming, opening new opportunities for development in the food industry. Meanwhile, more people are struggling with food intolerance now than ever before. Topics such as food waste and natural resource consumption are also entering the public debate. Acquire the expert skills you will need to bridge the gap between what consumers and society want and what is technically feasible.

“I chose this master because it incorporated different aspects of food, such as nutrition and the science side of it which I enjoy.” Amy Marshall

Learning outcomes

In addition to teaching you specialist skills and methods related to the field, our programme will also equip you with essential professional and social skills.

Specialist skills and methods

  • Identifying and describing the influence of food and nutrition on human health.
  • Developing foods that serve the physiological needs of specific target groups.
  • Analysing consumer expectations in the food industry.
  • Assessing raw materials for their nutritional value.
  • Evaluating processes in food production, with regard to their impact on quality, safety and sustainability.
  • Appraising Public Health Nutrition initiatives.
Testimonial Roxanne Guillod-Magnin Enlarge image

Professional and social skills

  • Communicating effectively with experts and laypeople.
  • Working both independently and in interdisciplinary teams.
  • Interacting appropriately with important industry figures.
  • Gathering market information.
  • Project management

“Currently I’m working as an intern here in the 3D printing lab at the HAFL. And we basically 3D print food! We maintain a lot of the 3D printers and we are also in product development in terms of finding materials that can be printed.” Akshay Shah

Programme structure

Our Food, Nutrition and Health programme is a specialisation of the Master of Science in Life Sciences, a programme offered in cooperation by four Swiss universities of applied sciences. You will attend modules in Data Handling and Business alongside master's students pursuing other specialisations. This provides you with insights into other fields of study while you pursue your own core skills. You will develop your foundation further in the Food Cluster modules, where you will benefit from the collective expertise and skills drawn from Switzerland’s most important university programmes in the food industry. Your studies revolve around the specialisation modules. These modules introduce you to the most important aspects of developing nutritional foods. You will learn about how public health can be shaped by nutrition policies. You may select from a range of modules, which allows you to customise your studies based on your strengths, interests and area of focus.

You will conclude your studies with a master’s thesis. This is generally embedded within a project at one of the three participating universities of applied sciences or is conducted together with one of their research partners. You may do it with an outside research or industry partner, such as your employer.

Aufbau des Master-Studiums Food, Nutrition and Health

Curriculum + Modules

Effective from 1 August 2023

1 These additional modules can only be chosen after consultation with our specialisation coordinators.
2 Depending on the admission requirements, the minimum number of ECTS credits to be obtained can be higher.

Code   Module title   ECTS
    Specialisation modules – compulsory-elective    
FNH-1   Food Quality and Safety from Farm to Fork   5
FNH-2   Food Regulation and Consumer Perception   5
FNH-3   Technology meets Nutrition   5
FNH-4   Food for Specific Target Groups   5
FNH-5   Bioactive Food Ingredients   5
FNH-6   Public Health Nutrition   5
FNH-7   Current Issues in Food, Nutrition and Health   5
    Minimum required   30
    Further specialisation modules – after consultation 1    
AF-01   Applied Research in Natural and Social Sciences   5
AF-02   Knowledge Management and Sharing in Agriculture and Forestry   5
AF-03   Integrated Natural Resources Management   5
AF-12   Consumer Behaviour, Markets and Trade   5
AF-13   Corporate Responsibility, Quality Management and Traceability   5
AF-21   Expansion of Personal Scientific Knowledge   5
AF-22   Holistic Assessment of Production Systems   5
AF-23   Optimisation of Production Systems in Agriculture and Forestry   5
AF-32   Policies and Institutions as Drivers for Development and Innovation   5
AF-33   Rural and Regional Development in Practice   5
    Core competence modules – compulsory-elective    

Business Administration for Life Sciences


Management and Leadership for Life Sciences


Innovation and Project Management


Politics and Society


Handling and Visualising Data


Design and Analysis of Experiments


Modelling and Exploration of Multivariate Data

D4   Data and Ethics   3
    Minimum required
One of the modules D1, D2 or D3 must be successfully passed
    Cluster-specific modules – compulsory-elective    

Progresses in Food Processing


Nutrition and Nutrition Related Chronic Diseases




Sustainable Food Supply Chains


Advanced Sensory Techniques


Journal Club Food and Nutrition Sciences


Life Cycle Assessment


Sustainable Natural Resource Management

E5   Biodiversity   3
    Minimum required   9
All areas   Minimum required (has to be completed by taking additional modules from the four areas) 2   60
Thesis   Required from master’s thesis   30
Total   Minimum required 2   90

Mode of study + Duration

Our Food, Nutrition and Health programme is entirely modular. This allows you to select the modules that appeal to your interests and accommodate your work or family obligations. Independent study accounts for much of the programme.

We offer several cooperation modules as one-week compact courses. The others are held on Thursdays and Fridays, over seven weeks. We generally hold specialisation modules Mondays through Wednesdays, over five weeks.

The programme takes three semesters of full-time study. If you choose to attend part-time, you should aim to complete the programme within six to seven semesters.
Part-time and full-time students attend the programme simultaneously. As a part-time student, you will simply enrol in fewer modules per semester. 

Student mobility

Outgoing Mobility

You can spend an exchange semester at one of our partner universities during your Master's programme. Inform us at an early stage if you are planning a study exchange. We are happy to advise and support you.

Incoming Mobility

Would you like to spend an exchange semester or year at BFH-HAFL in Switzerland? If your home university is on our list of partner universities, please contact your International Office. If not, they should contact us.

  • Application deadline
    For the autumn semester: 15 April
    For the spring semester: 15 October
  • Language
    The Master’s programme is taught in English.
  • Accommodation
    There is a hostel for students on the BFH-HAFL campus. However, the demand for rooms is much higher than the availability.

Selected MSc theses + published student works

Collaborations + Partners

This programme is the result of a close cooperation between departments specialising in food and nutrition studies at Swiss universities of applied sciences. This guarantees a sound, hands-on approach. The partners are the Institute of Life Technologies at HES-SO Valais-Wallis in Sion and two departments at the Bern University of Applied Sciences: Health Professions and the School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL. 

The three partners each contribute their specific expertise:

  • BFH-HAFL: food technology, business administration and consumer sciences, food law
  • BFH Health Professions: nutrition and dietetics, Public Health Nutrition
  • HES-SO Sion: food technology, food chemistry and analysis

The Food, Nutrition and Health programme is part of the Master of Science in Life Sciences, which is offered in cooperation by four Swiss universities of applied sciences:

  • Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH)
  • University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland HES-SO
  • University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW)
  • ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences

Eligibility + Entry

To be eligible to apply for the Master in Food, Nutrition and Health programme, you must have a bachelor’s degree in a related field and be proficient in English.

Entry requirements

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 or an ECTS grade of A or B:

  • Food Science
  • Food Technology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Oenology

Candidates who have an equivalent previous education and professional experience will also be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis. The Head of Degree Programme reviews and determines the equivalence of your previous education and professional experience.
Do you have a bachelor’s degree from an academic university? If so, you must provide evidence of at least half a year of full-time professional experience in a relevant field.

Language skills

The language of instruction is English. You must demonstrate competence in English, with a minimum requirement of level B2 of the European Language Portfolio. You may write your master’s thesis in German or French (or in Italian or Spanish, by request).

Applying from abroad

We review each international application individually. Please contact us with any questions at, before submitting your official application.

Qualification + Career prospects

This degree programme equips you with the skills employers are looking for: you are a specialist with practical experience who takes a scientific approach and manages complex projects with ease.

Title + Degree

Upon graduating, you will obtain the title ‘Master of Science in Life Sciences with Specialisation in Food, Nutrition and Health’ from Bern University of Applied Sciences.

Testimonial Steffi Schluechter Enlarge image

Career prospects

This interdisciplinary master’s programme will prepare you for research and management positions in the Swiss food and nutrition industry. You will also be qualified for challenging positions in multinational food companies or international organisations dealing with nutrition.

Possible employers or management positions after graduating from this programme include

  • product development and research in the food industry 
  • public and private research institutions
  • speciality food producers
  • nutritional advisory services of supermarket chains or food manufacturers
  • NGOs, charities and projects concerned with nutritional issues
  • nutritional consultant in international organisations
  • food and nutrition areas of public administration
  • independent consultancy practices

Practicalities + Application

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

Programme start autumn

  • Deadline for registration: 30 April
  • Start of programme: calendar week 38 (AF-03 calendar week 36)

Programme start spring

  • Deadline for registration: 30 September
  • Start of programme: calendar week 7

A place on the programme is guaranteed if the registration is submitted by the applicable date and all conditions are met. Registrations after this date will be considered up to 30 June (autumn start) or 30 November (spring start) if places are available. 

Deadline for people who need a visa: 30 April or 30 September.


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.

Grants, loans and other funding options

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, 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 of funding include the foundation directories for individual cantons and private foundations.

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

You can study part-time while fulfilling your work and family obligations. We do, however, recommend that you allocate at least 50 percent of your schedule to the programme. 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, Italian, English or Spanish.

Application from abroad: please check the link for visa applications, accommodation, etc.


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

The programme coordinator is happy to advise you in a personal consultation and answer any questions you have.

Information Events

At our information events, you will find out everything you need to know about the degree programme, admission requirements and your career prospects.

Location + Facilities

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

Most of the courses take place on the campus of BFH-HAFL in Zollikofen – in lecture halls, modern labs and our own technology hall. 

While working on your master’s thesis, you will also have access to the laboratories and technical centre at HES-SO Valais-Wallis in Sion.

Benefit from the expertise, skills and infrastructure provided by three research institutes as you pursue your master’s degree.

Specialisation modules


Food Cluster Modules

  • Sion, Olten, Changins, Bern

Business and Data Modules

  • Fribourg, local coaching at HAFL Zollikofen