Study at BFH

Are you interested in studying at Bern University of Applied Sciences? Learn more today about our study opportunities and requirements.

Content + Structure

BFH gives you a modern, practice-oriented, research-based education and opens up a world of attractive career opportunities.

Course of studies

Degree programmes at BFH are entirely modular. You can study full-time or part-time alongside a job or childcare.

Full-time bachelor’s degree programmes generally last three years. The standard length of a master’s degree is one and a half to two years.

Most bachelor’s degree programmes can also be taken part-time. You spend eight to twelve semesters studying over at least four years. Some master’s degree programmes can also be taken part-time. Depending on the programme, the course length may be extended to a maximum of six or eight semesters.

You will study modules. These are self-contained units of study focusing on specific themes. A degree programme is made up of a variety of modules, some of which can be freely selected, that together form a coherent course of study.

There are compulsory, optional and elective modules: compulsory modules are obligatory; optional modules can be chosen from a predefined list, and elective modules can be selected to reflect your own personal interests. You complete your modules through contact hours (lectures, exercises) and self-study (independent and accompanied).

Each module is worth a certain number of ECTS credits.

We follow the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) and in selected programmes, your learning outcomes are measured in credit points (ECTS credits). ECTS is the European system for the recording, transfer and accumulation of learning achievements.

One ECTS credit is equivalent to 30 student working hours. The workload amounts to 1,800 hours per academic year (full-time studies).

Full-time academic year

60 ECTS credits

Semesters full-time

30 ECTS credits

30 hours of work

1 ECTS credit

Bachelor’s degree programmes

180 ECTS credits

Master’s degree programmes

90 or 120 ECTS credits

Specialisation

Most degree programmes offer one or more specialisations. The topic for your bachelor’s or master’s thesis gives you another opportunity to specialise and prepare for professional practice. If you wish, you can work on your bachelor’s or master’s thesis with a partner organisation.

International experience

Bern University of Applied Sciences BFH nurtures its distinctive global network. We help students and staff gain and develop skills for a globalised world of education and work

by providing opportunities to participate in various exchange programmes, e.g. SEMP (Swiss European Mobility Programme, formerly ERASMUS) and helping our students find internships in Switzerland and abroad. More international opportunities are constantly being added to our offer.

Research

Teaching and research at BFH are closely connected: we share research results and methodologies with students as appropriate to the level of their studies and conduct our own research. Our teaching is, of course, also informed by all the latest research methodologies and findings. Many bachelor’s and master’s theses are based on work undertaken in the context of industry partnerships in the field of research and development.

Lecturers

Your success is supported by the expertise and exceptional teaching skills of lecturers at BFH. Some of them already have many years’ experience in industry as subject specialists and managers; many are also involved in applied research and development.

Requirements + Admission

Here you can find the entry requirements for studying at BFH. The final admission decision is made by Student Administration or, in some programmes, the Head of Degree Programme.

Before studying at a university of applied sciences, you have to fulfil certain entry requirements based on your educational background and chosen degree discipline.

To be admitted onto a bachelor's degree programme, you have to fulfil the following requirements:

Academic requirements

Vocational baccalaureate

You have basic training in a profession related to your desired degree discipline and a federally recognised vocational baccalaureate. You can find a list of related professions on the ‘Admission and Application’ page for your chosen department or in the regulations.

Specialised baccalaureate

You have a specialised baccalaureate in a professional field relevant to the degree discipline. In Health Professions, Social Work, Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences and some of the arts, a specialised baccalaureate (supported, if necessary, by sufficient practical experience) is usually enough for direct entry. For all other programmes, please contact the programme head.

Baccalaureate

You have a federally recognised baccalaureate. You can be admitted onto a bachelor’s degree programme if you can demonstrate one year’s professional experience in a field related to your desired degree discipline (exception: for the Department of Health Professions, you need only complete a two-month work placement before the start of your course). Some programmes at Bern University of the Arts have no work experience requirement.

Equivalent educational background

You have a recognised qualification equivalent to a baccalaureate plus experience or have taken an entrance examination that fulfils the requirements of a vocational baccalaureate.

Higher vocational training

You have a tertiary level education from an institution other than a university. Provided that you demonstrate the required knowledge and fulfil the requirements for the programme, you may be admitted onto the bachelor’s degree programme.

Professional prerequisites

The work experience requirements are generally based on the academic requirements (see above). Depending on the programme, other specific conditions may also apply. You can find more information about these on the Admission and Application pages for each programme or department.

Language skills

The study languages at BFH are German and French. Some individual (master’s) degree programmes are taught in English.

Applying from abroad

Do you have an overseas degree? If so, you have to submit different documents and provide proof of language proficiency. Please contact the appropriate programme head in plenty of time to find out more about the process and required documentation.

Exceptions

If you don't fulfil the required conditions, in exceptional cases, you may be able to apply ‘sur dossier’. This decision is made by the programme head.

Bern University of Applied Sciences offers consecutive master’s degree programmes that follow on directly from its bachelor’s degree programmes.

These programmes are aimed at graduates who have completed their bachelor’s with an above-average grade. We generally require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent university degree.

Every programme has different admission procedures, aptitude tests and requirements.

If you don't have the required practical or professional experience, Bern University of Applied Sciences offers a variety of preparatory courses and Passerelle options.

Passerelle for technical degree disciplines

Our Passerelle scheme provides a pathway between baccalaureate programmes and university studies in engineering, information technology or architecture.

School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences preparatory work placement

Students without relevant practical experience can take a mentored 12-month preparatory work placement. Candidates with training in a semi-related profession can complete a condensed form of the preparatory work placement.

Applications + Dates

If you want to study at BFH, you can apply easily online. Learn more about the application process and dates now.

Application

Would you like to take a course at Bern University of Applied Sciences? Then apply now. By applying online, you’ll be kept up-to-date at every stage of the process.

If you have missed the registration deadline, the head of the relevant study programme will be happy to inform you whether subsequent registration is possible.

Required documents

Please submit the following documents in electronic format and as appropriate for your educational background (passport documentation: PDF/images: JPG):

  • ID or passport*
  • Passport photo according to international passport requirements* (Photo guidelines)
  • Diplomas and leaving certificates (e.g. vocational baccalaureate/specialised baccalaureate with grades, university entrance qualification, Abitur or upper secondary level qualification)
  • Swiss Federal Certificate of Proficiency with grades
  • Employer reference and/or internship certificate
  • Curriculum vitae

* compulsory

Other documents may be required depending on your chosen programme and educational background, for example:

  • a portfolio of work samples
  • residence permit (if you’re applying from abroad)
  • etc.

If you’re applying for a master’s degree programme, you must submit the certificate for your first degree (bachelor’s or equivalent qualification), as well as a transcript of records.

Online Registration Form

Dates

A–Z of degree programmes Spring semester 2021 Autumn semester 2021 Spring semester 2022
Agriculture   30.04.2021  
Architecture   31.07.2021  
Art Education   15.03.2021  
Automotive Engineering   31.07.2021  
Business Administration   31.03.2021  
Business Information Technology   31.03.2021  
Civil Engineering   31.07.2021  
Computer Science   31.07.2021  
Conservation   15.03.2021  
Electrical and Communication Technology   31.07.2021  
Fine Arts   15.03.2021  
Food Science   30.04.2021  
Forest Science   31.03.2021  
Industrial Engineering and Management Science   31.07.2021  
International Business Administration   31.03.2021  
Literary Writing   15.03.2021  
Mechanical Engineering   31.03.2021  
Medical informatics   31.07.2021  
Microtechnology and Medical Technology   31.07.2021  
Midwifery   15.01.2021  
Midwifery for qualified nurses 15.07.2020    
Multimedia Production   30.04.2021  
Music (Classic and Jazz)   15.03.2021  
Music (Sound Arts)   15.03.2021  

Music and Movement/ Rhythmics

  15.03.2021  
Nursing   15.05.2021  
Nursing for FaGe/FaBe   15.05.2021  
Nursing for qualified nurses 15.07.2020 15.05.2021  
Nutrition and Dietetics   15.01.2021  
Physiotherapy   15.01.2021  
Social Work 31.07.2020 01.03.2021  
Sport      
Theatre 15.11.2020    
Visual Communication   15.03.2021  
Wood Engineering   31.07.2021  

If you have missed the application deadline, you are welcome to contact the programme head to ask if they will accept a late application.

A–Z of degree programmes

Spring semester 2021

Autumn semester
2021

Spring semester
2022

Architecture

31.10.2020

31.05.2021  
Art Education   15.03.2021  
Business Administration   30.04.2021  
Business Information Technology   15.05.2021  
Design   15.03.2021  
Digital Business Administration   31.07.2021  
Conservation-Restauration 01.10.2020 15.03.2021  
Contemporary Arts Practice   15.03.2021  
Engineering (Civil Engineering) 31.12.2020 31.07.2021  
Engineering (Engineering and Information Technology) 31.01.2021 31.07.2021  
Life Sciences 20.11.2020 30.04.2021  
Midwifery   30.04.2021  
Multimedia Communication & Publishing   15.03.2021  
Music Composition (Contemporary Jazz)                       15.03.2021  

Music Composition (Creative Practice)

  15.03.2021  
Music Pedagogy (Rhytmics)   15.03.2021  

Music Pedagogy (Classical Music)

  15.03.2021  

Music Pedagogy (Jazz)

  15.03.2021  

Music Pedagogy (Music SII)

  15.03.2021  
Music Performance (Jazz)   15.03.2021  
Music Performance (Classical)   15.03.2021  
Nursing   30.04.2021  
Nutrition and Dietetics   30.04.2021  
Physiotherapy   30.04.2021  
Social Work 22.01.2021 15.08.2021  
Specialised Music Performance (Classical)   15.03.2021  
Specialised Music Performance (Opera)   15.03.2021  
Sport (Sport Sciences)      
Theatre 01.12.2020 15.03.2021  
Wood Technology   15.06.2021  

If you have missed the application deadline, you are welcome to contact the programme head to ask if they will accept a late application.

Withdrawals

Should you decide to withdraw your registration, you can notify us of your decision by e-mail. A verbal withdrawal of the registration will not be accepted.

Withdrawals deadlines

Beginning of studies in the autumn: 31 July
Beginning of studies in the spring: 31 January

The following deadlines apply to Bern University of the Arts students: autumn semester 15 June / spring semester 15 December.

If the notification is duly received, any semester fees already invoiced shall be cancelled and refunded as necessary.

Fees + Funding

Fees and contributions vary depending on the degree programme and field of study. Departmental offices will be happy to provide you with more information on average costs.

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.

Costs

At BFH, different fees apply for programmes and examinations.

Application (per application)*

CHF 100

Matriculation**

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.

The additional fees for admission or aptitude tests vary from programme to programme but are currently between CHF 150 and CHF 200.

Living expenses

Average living costs (in CHF) per month:

Average living costs per month

from to
Course costs
(Tuition fees, learning materials excluding study trips / study weeks)
CHF 140.– CHF 180.–
Fixed costs
(Sickness / accident insurance at non-reduced rate, taxes / social insurance, travel costs)
CHF 420.– CHF 500.–
Personal Expenditure
(Clothes / shoes, spending money / mobile phone, hairdressing / grooming)
CHF 250.– CHF 350.–
Medical expenses
(Healthcare costs: excess rate, deductible rate, dentist)
CHF 60.– CHF 60.–

Rent / shared accommodation costs

CHF 300.– CHF 600.–
Other accommodation costs
(Electricity, telephone / radio / TV / Internet, home contents and personal liability insurance)
CHF 70.– CHF 100.–

Food / drink, including refectory

CHF 400.– CHF 500.–
Other houskeeping costs
(Washing powder and cleaning products, general toiletries, waste removal costs)
CHF 20.– CHF 40.–
Total CHF 1700.– CHF 2550.–

Meals outside the home CHF 8 to CHF 10 per meal

   

Source: Budgetberatung.ch

Annual average living costs for students living alone or in shared accommodation. The effective yearly amount may vary between approximately CHF 18,000 and CHF 27,000.

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 ausbildungsbeiträge.ch, stipendium.ch 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:

Degree + Career prospects

While studying at BFH, you will engage with the latest practical expertise and pioneering methods and research findings. This will equip you with the tools you need for a successful professional career.

Graduations

The bachelor’s degree programme culminates in a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc). The majority of bachelor’s degrees at Bern University of Applied Sciences are vocational.

The bachelor is a university degree and generally qualifies you for follow-on studies in an appropriate subject at universities of applied sciences, universities, Swiss federal institutes and teaching colleges. It also enables admission onto suitable overseas programmes. Each institution will have its own admission requirements.

The consecutive master’s degree programme culminates in a Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MSc). It shouldn’t be confused with continuing education master’s degree programmes:

Consecutive master’s programmes

consecutive master’s studies build on a bachelor’s degree programme and are part of a student’s foundational training (Bologna level 2). Students develop detailed, specialised knowledge and gain a higher qualification that qualifies them for research and senior management positions. The consecutive master’s degree also serves as a stepping stone to a PhD (Bologna level 3). The programme culminates in a federally recognised Master of Arts or Master of Science.

Master of/Executive Master of Advanced Studies (MAS/EMBA)

The Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) and Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) are designed explicitly as continuing education courses. Unlike consecutive master’s programmes, they are tailored to the needs of individuals who already have considerable professional experience. Students gain specialised or general skills, reflect on their professional practice and bring their specialist knowledge up to date.

The difference between a Fachhochschule (university of applied sciences) and Universität (university)

Programmes at a Fachhochschule (university of applied sciences) and Universität (university) are equivalent, however have different strengths: universities of applied sciences mainly offer a practice-oriented, research-based, vocational bachelor’s education. In the arts, only universities of applied sciences offer bachelor’s and master’s qualifications; most of these culminate in a master’s degree. Universities focus on academic education that prepares students for numerous professions.

Future prospects

A practice-oriented degree from BFH gives you the best possible preparation for starting and advancing your career.

Career Services BFH

The Career Services of the Bern University of Applied Sciences are a service for our students and recent graduates. We offer support in your preparations for your career entry and personal career development.

Locations + Facilities

BFH has several locations throughout the Canton of Bern, with hubs in Biel and Bern.

Facilities

BFH offers its students modern facilities designed to the latest standards in teaching and learning. Our departments have specialist libraries, cutting-edge laboratories and research facilities, refectories and much more.

Hardware + Software offers

At BFH, students and staff work with a broad range of cutting-edge platforms, applications and systems.

As a student at BFH, you can also take advantage of numerous offers and discounts on software and hardware.

Free Microsoft offer (Office 365)

Students can easily access a variety of Microsoft Office applications for free from the Microsoft Office Portal.

Projekt Neptun

  • As part of Projekt Neptun, students and university staff can purchase selected devices from Apple, HP and Lenovo for discounted prices.
  • The hardware recommended by Projekt Neptun can be ordered online from selected sales partners during two sales windows at the beginning of each semester.
  • Neptun customers can also take advantage of a suite of support packages.

DataQuest

Students and staff at BFH can register in the DataQuest online shop and take advantage of discounts and promotions for Apple products.

Student discount

Students and staff at BFH can take advantage of special discounts for various hardware and software products of this platform.

HP Store

Hewlett Packard sells devices with discounts for students directly from the HP Student Store and www.students.ch.

Apple Education Store

In the Apple Education Store, students and university staff can take advantage of EDU prices for Mac computers, Apple software and selected accessories.

Campusdiscount

This German platform offers customers in teaching and research (teachers, professors, lecturers, research associates and students) special offers on most of its hardware range.

Fruitstore

  • This exclusive online shop for notebooks, tablets and computers offers students, school pupils, teachers and learners in Switzerland a wide range of branded devices at affordable prices all year round.
  • Customers also benefit from a range of special offers (e.g. at semester start) and promotions (for larger orders).

More information on the BFH Intranet:

At BFH, students and staff work with a broad range of cutting-edge platforms, applications and systems. BFH adapts constantly to the latest technologies.

SharePoint workspaces

The workspaces on the BFH Intranet help students and staff collaborate in projects, working groups and teams. They make collaboration easier and facilitate University-wide collaboration in closed user groups.

MS Teams

MS Teams is the latest tool from Microsoft – the hub for team collaboration in Office 365. Benefits of MS Teams:

  • easy communication by chat, conference call or phone
  • Directly integrated: Office 365 applications for real teamwork (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint and Power BI)
  • Personalised, productive working
  • Use of the mobile Teams app on desktop or smartphone

Moodle

Moodle is BFH’s central online learning platform. It supports face-to-face teaching with virtual classrooms, helps lecturers efficiently organise their lectures and allows them to supplement their courses with online materials. On Moodle, you can find teaching materials and tests, work through lessons, collaborate with other students or submit work. With the Moodle mobile app, you can also access the platform from your smartphone or tablet.

Office 365

You can access different Microsoft Office 365 applications easily and for free from the relevant portal. You can register with your BFH email address (e.g. abde1@bfh.ch) and your BFH password.

OneDrive

As a student at BFH, you have free access to the OneDrive cloud storage service. You can store your files, sync them with other devices, share them with other people or co-edit them. You can register with your email address (e.g. abde1@bfh.ch) and your BFH password.

Azure

We offer cloud-computing platforms for research projects and lectures.

Specialist applications

For lectures, BFH makes available a diverse range of specialist applications for students.

  • IBM SPSS
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Enterprise
  • Matlab
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Mathcad 15
  • Mountains Map
  • ARcGIS
  • Camptasia
  • EndNote
  • Mathematica
  • Mindjet
  • VirtualBox