Circular Innovation and Sustainability

As an expert in the circular economy and sustainability, you will develop and manage innovative transformations – thanks to BFH’s unique and interdisciplinary master’s programme. Your studies will be characterised by a strong practical orientation. You will combine your newly acquired knowledge of circular systems, resource efficiency and sustainable development with business management skills. Study full- or part-time and gain the qualification you need for a responsible specialist or management position.

«We’re closing the loop. Are you in?»

Have questions? Join us for the next online information event.


  • Title/Degree MSc in Circular Innovation and Sustainability
  • Specialisations none
  • Mode of study Full-time (4 semesters),
    part-time (6–8 semesters)
  • Start date For autumn start: calendar week 38
  • Application deadline 30 April
  • ECTS credits 120 ECTS credits
  • Teaching language English
  • Location Bern, Biel and Zollikofen
  • School School of Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering
    School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL
    School of Engineering and Computer Science
    Business School
  • Next info event 22.10.2024, 6.30pm–7.30pm (CET), ONLINE via Microsoft Teams
    16.12.2024, 6.30pm–7.30pm (CET), ONLINE via Microsoft Teams


  • Programme Handbook

MSc in Circular Innovation and Sustainability

Areas covered by the programme

The interdisciplinary master's programme in Circular Innovation and Sustainability combines business skills with a technical and ecological understanding of production cycles and the sustainable use of our natural resources.

What you will gain from this degree programme

Take responsibility today for the changes of tomorrow and play an active role in shaping the future. BFH’s first interdisciplinary master’s programme (business, life sciences and technology) provides a uniquely broad insight into the fields of circular economy and sustainable development.  On this programme, you will gain an in-depth understanding of biological and technical cycles and come to know the potential they offer for developing sustainable product and process innovations. You will also acquire the skills to rethink conventional business models and make them circular.

Core features of your programme


The master’s is underpinned by an interdisciplinary foundation programme, equipping you with broad knowledge from research and practice about circular economy, resource efficiency and sustainable development. You will gain insight into the fundamental principles of a sustainable transformation in sectors ranging from food to energy management. Both the modules and the teaching staff on the programme are put together to be interdisciplinary. 


After the foundation programme, focused specialisation is possible. Thanks to a generous range of focus modules, you can pursue your personal interests in depth, not only in theory but also in practice with individual projects. Internships are an additional means of acquiring skills in specific areas. 

Subject competence

The new master’s programme brings together subject knowledge on circular economy and sustainability from all departments at BFH. Benefit from the scholarly expertise of leading researchers and pursue your studies at the cutting edge of applied research. 


Innovative teaching approaches guarantee you a highly flexible timetable. For full-time students, in-person classes take up around 40 per cent of the programme. The remaining time you spend working individually or in groups on specific learning objectives.

Relevance to practice 

During the programme you benefit from a large network of companies and organisations working in the field. A key component of the master’s is that these are directly integrated into modules – for example, in the form of excursions, guest speakers, internships, or working on problems identified in real cases.

For organisations and companies

Secure sustainability expertise now

Make the most of this opportunity to work with our students on current issues relating to the circular economy and sustainability in your organisation or company. Through your practical project, you secure the know-how of future experts in the field. And you gain direct access to the latest BFH research results.

Career prospects

This master’s programme addresses the most important topics for a successful transformation. It combines technical-ecological and organisational-business expertise and teaches you to link a wide variety of perspectives when solving problems. With the degree ‘Master of Science in Circular Innovation and Sustainability’ you therefore have the best prospects on the job market.

Equipped for demanding specialist and management functions

The study programme promotes entrepreneurial thinking and offers you the possibility to individually steer your specialisation. It therefore qualifies you for sustainability-related profiles in different industries. Possible employers are medium-sized and larger companies, the public sector, non-profit organisations or international companies.

Fields of activity

Students are equipped with diverse skills that open up a wide range of job opportunities:

  • in the private or public sector,
  • in companies, start-ups, NGOs, or government agencies at federal, cantonal or communal level,
  • as change agents/managers, sustainability officers, consultants, project managers or researchers.

Duration of studies + Curriculum

The programme lasts four semesters full-time. If you choose to study part-time, the programme should be completed in five to eight semesters.

The study modules

120 ECTS credits must be earned to complete the degree. The programme structure is based on four module categories.


* 12 ECTS credits (no more, no less) must be earned from bridging modules, as follows:

  • MCCf026 Bridging Technology: this module is compulsory for all students with a disciplinary background in life sciences or economics;
  • MCCf036 Bridging Life Sciences: this module is compulsory for all students with a disciplinary background in technology or economics;
  • MCCf046 Bridging Economics and Management: this module is compulsory for all students with a disciplinary background in technology or life sciences.  

** A maximum of 6 ECTS credits may be earned from BFH Diagonal Modules in the overall 120 credits of the MSc CIS degree.

Code   Module Title   ECTS
MCCf013   Introduction to Circular Economy and Scientific Literature   3
MCCf026   Bridging Technology   6
MCCf036   Bridging Life Sciences    6
MCCf046   Bridging Economics and Management    6
MCCf113   Technological Cycles: Materials and Processes    3
MCCf123   Biological Cycles: Natural Resources and Ecosystem Services   3
MCCf213   Circular Business Models    3
MCCf223   Circular Supply Chain   3
MCCf323   Society and Environment   3
MCCf413   Research Methods 1: Qualitative Approaches   3
MCCf423   Research Methods 2: Quantitative Approaches   3
MCCf433   Research Methods 3: Transdisciplinary Approaches   3
MCCf443   Impact Assessment   3
    Minimum required*   42
MCCf133   Pathways to Net Zero GHG Emissions in the Energy and Chemical Sectors    3
MCCf143   Pathways to Net Zero GHG Emissions in the Mobility Sector    3
MCCf153   Pathways to Net Zero GHG Emissions in the Food Sector    3
MCCf163   Circular Cities   3
MCCf173   Circular Use of Materials   3
MCCf233   Social Entrepreneurship   3
MCCf243   Digitalization and Sustainability   3
MCCf313   Society and Technology   3
MCCf333   The Circular Economy in a Spatial Context   3
MCCf343   Corporate Social Responsibility   3
MCCf363   Reporting   3
MCCf453   Circular Design   3
    Minimum required   24
    Further modules     
    Further modules can be selected from the BFH diagonal programme**     
MCCf186   Expansion of Personal Competences: Products and Processes   6
MCCf256   Expansion of Personal Competences: Business models   6
MCCf356   Expansion of Personal Competences: Inter- and Transdisciplinary Project   6
    Minimum required   18
All areas   Minimum required   90
Thesis   Required from master’s thesis   30
Total   Minimum required   120

Full-time or part-time studies?

Part-time and full-time students take the programme together. Part-time students take fewer modules per semester and thus have the opportunity to combine their studies with employment or family. Part-time study enables students to bring problems from their everyday working life into the classroom and vice versa.

Entry requirements

The MSc in Circular Innovation and Sustainability is aimed at graduates from a wide range of disciplines. The basic requirements are a bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline and a feasible project idea. Admissions decisions are taken by the programme board after a personal interview (aptitude assessment).

Your previous education and professional experience

You will be admitted to the study programme,

  • if you hold a bachelor’s degree from a Swiss university of applied sciences in the disciplines of economics, life sciences or technology.
  • if you hold a bachelor’s degree from a Swiss university of applied sciences in another discipline, provided that at least 30 ECTS credits of the programme were completed in subjects with an economic, scientific or technical orientation or are made up in the first year of study of the master's programme.
  • if you are studying at a Swiss or a foreign university, provided that you have at least three months of work experience related to sustainable development. 
MSc Circular Innovation and Sustainability: Aptitude assessment Enlarge image

Additional information about the entry requirements

The aptitude assessment consists of a 45-minute interview. We assess both your motivation and your conceptual skills in the field of sustainable development.

The aptitude assessment builds on your personal motivation letter and on the project outline you submitted with your application.

The study language is English. You must demonstrate English language skills that are at least equivalent to level B2.


Secure your place on the programme in good time.

Online application overview

You can only apply online. Our instructions for online application explain everything you need to know step by step.

Prepare the following documents in PDF or JPG format:

  • ID or passport
  • passport photo according to international passport standards
  • CV in tabular form
  • copies of the required certificates and confirmations
  • upper-secondary education (university entrance) certificate
  • copy of the confirmation of withdrawal from studies if the applicant was already enrolled at another higher education institution 
  • a personal letter of motivation
  • a project outline with a subject-related reference to sustainable development

Your application (CV, letter of motivation, project outline) should ideally be written in English, but will also be accepted in German or French. Important: we require a certified translation of all documents issued in a language other than English, German, French or Italian.

Outline your personal motivations and development prospects in relation to the Circular Innovation and Sustainability master’s programme (max. 500 words).

Submit the outline of a practical project that you could imagine developing during your studies. You are free to choose any subject that interests you, as long as it relates to sustainable development and/or the circular economy.

It could be a purely hypothetical personal idea, a project you've already worked on or an existing case you’d like to pursue/develop further.

Suggested structure of the project outline

Expected elements:

  • Background/Introduction/Relevance
  • Methodology/Planning/Scale
  • Potential partner(s)/Stakeholder(s) (if applicable) 
  • Expected results

Length: 500–1500 words

Language: preferably English (but also possible in German or French)

Using the individual project during studies 

  1. Application: your project outline will be the basis for discussion during your “Aptitude Assessment” interview. This allows us to assess your interests, your structural thinking and overall understanding of sustainability concepts.
  2. General modules: during your studies, where appropriate, you will be able to apply course concepts to your individual project rather than to case studies.
  3. “Expansion of personal competences” modules: in the third semester (for full-time studies), you will have the opportunity to implement your project in collaboration with your partner.


Your project can evolve over the course of your studies. If necessary, you can even switch to an alternative project from our project pool involving various partners: companies, research institutes, public service providers, etc.

If appropriate, you can also continue your project and develop it into a research topic for your master’s thesis.

The study costs include application, tuition and examination fees, and costs for teaching materials and excursions.

Advisory service + Information

If you have any questions about the study programme, please contact us.

Information events

At our information events, you will learn everything about the programme, admission requirements and your career prospects. Lecturers will answer all your questions about your studies and everyday student life.


The MSc in Circular Innovation and Sustainability programme takes place in Bern, Biel and Zollikofen. All three locations are easily accessible by public transport or car and offer a varied environment.