Life Sciences – Forest Science

In this MSc programme, you will bring your specialist scientific knowledge up to date and develop your analytical, methodological and leadership skills.

This degree programme:

  • qualifies you for work as a well-rounded specialist: you will delve into your chosen area of special expertise while studying a broad variety of methodological approaches and topics;
  • expands your network: whether in class, internships or your thesis work, you will interact with a host of players in the forest industries;
  • is practice-based: your presentations and case studies will be based on real-life practical examples, and your master’s thesis will take a hands-on approach;
  • prepares you for future leadership roles in the forest industries: in addition to comprehensive knowledge of specialist topics and methods, you will also hone your social and leadership skills;
  • opens the door to the international job market: you may complete your master’s thesis abroad or in cooperation with an international organisation;
  • allows you full flexibility: you can study full- or part-time and combine your master’s thesis with your regular job.


Master Forest Science


  • Title/Degree MSc in Life Sciences – Forest Science
  • Specialisations Majors: International Management of Forest Industries; Regional Management in Mountain Areas
  • Mode of study Full-time (3 semesters) or part-time (4 - 6 semesters)
  • Start date Spring: calendar week 7
    Autumn: calendar week 38
  • Application deadline Autumn 2020 start: 30 June 2020
    Spring 2021 start: 30 September 2020
  • ECTS credits 90 ECTS credits
  • Study language English, the «Regional Management in Mountain Areas» specialisation is partly in German
  • Location Zollikofen (in Switzerland), one semester in Weihenstephan near Munich (in 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 – Internationale Wald- und Holzwirtschaft oder Regionalmanagement in Gebirgsräumen

Structure + Content

The forest industries face major challenges today, both at home and abroad. Managing forests and rural landscapes sustainably in times marked by climate change and social and economic challenges vitally determines life in mountain and urban areas alike, and in the developing world too.
There is great demand for well-educated experts and innovative solutions in this exciting field. Our MSc in Forest Science equips you with the knowledge and skills you will need.

Learning outcomes

  • During the MSc programme in Forest Science, you will gain comprehensive knowledge and become a top specialist in your selected area of special expertise.
  • 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 attend modules offered in all Forest Science majors; such modules include Management and Leadership or GIS. Furthermore, you may select from a range of modules specific to the individual majors, which allows you to customise your studies based on your strengths, interests and area of specialisation.

At the heart of your studies will be your master's thesis, though which you will become an expert in the chosen topic.


You will choose one of the following majors, depending on your previous education, interests and personal career plans.

In this major you will concentrate on international forest policy and forest-related business management skills. You will gain a firm understanding of the stakeholders and mechanisms in international forest industries.

You will also explore the impacts of climate change and many further aspects such as infrastructure, social and political organisation, knowledge exchange, innovation promotion and the recreational and environmental services of forests.  In all of this you will consider the linkages between natural systems and human economies and societies.

Core topics are:

  • forests and global change processes
  • natural resource management and climate change
  • international agreements and law
  • logistics and supply chain management
  • sustainable production
  • Industry 4.0 in forest management
  • markets for timber, wood products and non-wood products, certification
  • assessment of forest products and services

Your area of special expertise

Typical topics for individual specialisation within this major include global forest policy, forest management in the tropics and boreal regions, the role of forests in climate strategies, REDD+, biodiversity conservation and the role of forests and trees at landscape level (e.g. agroforestry systems). In geographic terms, there is a focus on West Africa, the Andean region, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe.

This major is cuurently under development. Further information will follow at the beginning of 2020.

By taking this major, you have the opportunity to gain a double Master’s degree: the MSc in Life Sciences from Bern University of Applied Sciences and the MSc in Regional Management in Mountain Areas from Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences (HSWT) in Germany.

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 programme is entirely modular, which 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 and promotes this flexibility.

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. As the timetable changes every quarter, this requires flexibility on the part of your employer or family.

Structure + Modules

Modules at HSWT

Module Title   ECTS   Code   You choose
Wirtschaftsplanung und Management


  5   IMFI-11   1

Kostenmanagement und Controlling

  5   IMFI-12   1

Forstliche Unternehmensbewertung

  5   IMFI-13   1

Recht für Führungspersonen

  5   IMFI-14   1
Wirtschaftsinformatik   5   IMFI-15   1
Interkulturelle Kompetenz   5   IMFI-16   1
Total   30       6

This major is cuurently under development. Further information will follow at the beginning of 2020.

Modules at HSWT

Module Title   ECTS   Code   You choose

Regionalplanung und Politik im Alpenraum




Schutzgut Gebirgsraum








Sozial- und Methodenkompetenz




Interdisziplinäres Projekt




Interkulturelle Kompetenz



Total   30       6

Student mobility

You may also do an exchange semester at one of our partner universities during your master's degree programme. Please let us know in good time if you are planning a student exchange. We are happy to provide advice and support.

If you select the ‘International Management of Forest Industries’ major or the ‘Regional Management in Mountain Areas’ major, you will spend one semester at Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences (HSWT) in Freising, near Munich, Germany.

Selected MSc theses

Cooperations + Partners

The ‘International Management of Forest Industries’ major and the ‘Regional Management in Mountain Areas’ major is offered together with Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences (HSWT) in Freising, near Munich, Germany.

Eligibility + Entry

To be eligible to apply for the MSc in Forest Science programme, you must have a bachelor’s degree in a related field and be proficient in English.

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:

  • Forest Science
  • Forestry
  • Wood Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Natural Resource Management
  • Landscape Architecture 
  • Agriculture
  • Geography

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 ‘International Management of Forest Industries’ major is conducted in English. We recommend competence in English (at least level B2 of the European Language Portfolio).
The ‘Regional Management in Mountain Areas’ major is partially conducted in German (we also recommend level B2).
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 in forest industries: practical specialists who can work scientifically and manage complex, multidisciplinary projects competently.

Title + Degree

Upon graduating, you will obtain the title ‘Master of Science in Life Sciences with Specialisation in Forest Science’ from Bern University of Applied Sciences, and the Master title from the Department of Forestry of Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences.

Career prospects

An MSc in Forest Science prepares you excellently for challenging leadership roles domestically and abroad, in companies, associations, NGOs, administrative seats or in applied research, whether in the public or private sector.

‘International Management of Forest Industries’ major

After your studies, you will command over the skills needed to assume management positions in large forestry operations or internationally active companies in the forest industries. You will also be qualified to take on exciting positions in an international environmental, development or industry organisation or to undertake scientific research and development.

‘Regional Management in Mountain Areas’ major

Upon completing your studies, you will be well qualified for leadership positions in regional development, managing nature reserves and conservation areas or in related fields of agriculture and forestry.

Practicalities + Application

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

Autumn 2020 start date

Application deadline: 30 June 2020
Start date: 14 September 2020

Spring 2021 starte date

Application deadline: 30 September 2020
Start date: 15 February 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 overseas 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.
*** ‘Overseas students’ refers to all citizens of foreign countries who were not official residents of Switzerland or Liechtenstein at the time they were admitted to the university programme. This regulation applies from the autumn semester 2018/19.

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:

Pursue your degree part-time while fulfilling your work and family obligations. We do recommend you allot at least 50 percent of your schedule for 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, 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 advise you in a personal consultation and answer any questions you 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.