Physiotherapy

Our Master of Science in Physiotherapy enables you to specialise in a chosen professional field and acquire valuable academic skills. It opens up a range of career options in therapy, management, education and research.

A Master of Science in Physiotherapy puts you in demand. Apply your clinical expertise in complex clinical situations, teach at undergraduate level or work in research.

«My master’s degree has opened up a wide range of career options»: Vreni Studer, MSc in Physiotherapy (in German).

Begin your studies in autumn 2024.

Factsheet

  • Title/Degree Master of Science (MSc)
  • Specialisations Musculoskeletal
    Neurology
    Physiotherapy for pain management
    Professional development
    Sport
  • Mode of study Part-time (ca. 6 semesters)
  • Start date Academic year 2024 | 16 September 2024
  • Application deadline Academic year 2024 | 30 April 2024 (extended until 15 June 2024)
  • ECTS credits 90 ECTS credits
  • Teaching language German/English
  • Location Bern
  • School School of Health Professions
  • Next info event 16 September 2024

Focus areas

The master’s degree programme consists of five module groups: Profession-specific, Research, Interprofessional, Transfer and Master’s thesis. In the Profession-specific module group, we offer you the following focus areas: Musculoskeletal, Neurology, Physiotherapy for pain management, Sport and Professional development.

Theory-practice transfer is important to us, so academic and clinical modules are closely interlinked throughout the degree programme.

What you stand to gain from this degree programme

With a Master of Science in Physiotherapy, you will be ready to take on challenging roles. Your thorough theoretical knowledge will enable you to make a differentiated evaluation of physiotherapeutic issues and to treat them effectively. You will acquire an in-depth and joined-up understanding of the healthcare sector – through research and practice. Your findings will contribute to the professionalisation of physiotherapy and the advancement of healthcare, for example through the development and implementation of innovative concepts.

The specialisations

Set the focus for your professional future. The Master of Science in Physiotherapy programme offers you five focus areas.

All focus areas are offered every two years. We do not require related professional experience in the focus area you select. However, for the Musculoskeletal, Sport and Neurology focus areas you must have access to patients in the relevant field during the course of your master’s studies.

Even-numbered years

  • Musculoskeletal (optional with OMT title)
  • Physiotherapy for pain management

Odd-numbered years

  • Neurology
  • Professional development
  • Sport

In the Musculoskeletal focus area, you will examine the most common symptoms appearing in the spine and peripheral joints. You will be able to diagnose neuromusculoskeletal conditions, accurately recognise risk situations and provide your patients with prevention-focused therapy. Your specialisation makes you an expert and a contact person for other health professionals.

Content in five module groups

  • Research: Research methods 1, 2 + 4; Research planning; Biostatistics;
  • Interprofessional: Applied ethics
  • Profession-specific: Spine Basic + Advanced, Communication & clinical reasoning, Peripheral joints Basic + Advanced, Diagnostics & differential diagnostics, OMT expertise, Pharmacology (optional module), Aspects of sports rehabilitation (optional module)
  • Transfer 1 + 2
  • Master’s thesis

OMT title

You have the option of acquiring the OMT title (Orthopedic Musculoskeletal Therapy) at the Musculoskeletal specialization for a fee of CHF 1'350–.

Master of Science in Physiotherapy – Musculoskeletal focus area

Graduating with a focus in neurology enables you to work as a clinical specialist or as a researcher in the field of neurological rehabilitation. The module content is based on neuroscientific findings and evidence-based practice. You will be acquainted with multiprofessional and transprofessional models of rehabilitation and will be in a position to use the latest technological developments to provide high-quality rehabilitation for your neurological patients.

Content in five module groups

  • Research: Research methods 1, 2 + 4; Research planning; Biostatistics;
  • Interprofessional: Applied ethics
  • Profession-specific: Foundations of neuroscience, Diagnostics & prognostics, Stroke, Extrapyramidal system, Multiple sclerosis & peripheral nervous system, Paraplegia & traumatic brain injury
  • Transfer 1 + 2
  • Master’s thesis

Master of Science in Physiotherapy – Neurology focus area

In the Physiotherapy for pain management focus area, you will become a specialist in non-medical pain therapy. You will learn how to differentiate between the various types of pain and to analyse and interpret pain transmission and processing. You will be able to put these skills directly into practice and apply them as part of everyday therapy.

On completing your studies, you will not only be an incontrovertible expert in physiotherapy for pain management but also an accomplished academic.

Content in five module groups

  • Research: Research methods 1, 2 + 4; Research planning; Biostatistics;
  • Interprofessional: Applied ethics, Nutrition in pain patients
  • Profession-specific: Scientific basis of pain, Pain diagnosis, Pain management physiotherapy skills, Pain education/movement group, Pain in newborn babies and children
  • Transfer 1
  • Master’s thesis

In the Sport focus area you will acquire professional expertise in the specialised rehabilitation of sportspeople. You will also gain extensive knowledge of preventive measures and the effectiveness of physiotherapeutic intervention in the treatment of sports injuries. On completing your studies, you will be an incontrovertible expert in sports physiotherapy, both the practice and the theory.

Content in five module groups

  • Research: Research methods 1, 2 + 4; Research planning; Biostatistics;
  • Interprofessional: Applied ethics
  • Profession-specific: Prevention, Acute interventions, Rehabilitation, Performance, Integration, Pelvic floor & sport, Anatomy of a specimen (compulsory-elective module), Nutrition and sport (compulsory-elective module)
  • Transfer 1 + 2
  • Master’s thesis

The Swiss healthcare system is one of the best in the world, but also one of the most expensive. It currently employs around 500,000 people and is a key growth sector. Annual costs are now over CHF 80 billion and are largely financed through national insurance contributions and taxes. With the rising pressure of costs, the Swiss healthcare system and its job profiles are changing. This is set to have a significant impact on physiotherapy as a key player.

In the Professional development focus area, you will learn to pinpoint the role of physiotherapy within the healthcare system and acquire the skills to advance professionalisation in research and teaching and in extended clinical roles.

Content in five module groups

  • Research: Research methods 1, 2 + 4; Research planning; Biostatistics;
  • Interprofessional: Applied ethics; Foundations of health economics; Advanced practice; Interprofessional communication; Leadership, project and change management (compulsory-elective module); Digitalisation and transformation in the healthcare system (compulsory-elective module)
  • Profession-specific: Health policy and economics; Pharmacology and diagnostics
  • Transfer 1 + 2
  • Master’s thesis

Master of Science in Physiotherapy – Professional development focus area

Combining theory and practice in research projects

Teaching, practice and research are closely interlinked. Your lectures will be benefit from examples from physiotherapy research and the Bern Movement Lab. Through innovative projects and fascinating findings, our research department is advancing the development of physiotherapy – at national and international level.

View research in physiotherapy

Career prospects

Our Master of Science in Physiotherapy prepares you for the demands of modern, future-oriented physiotherapy. Our focus areas equip you to take on responsible roles in specific fields of practice.

Ready for leadership and expert roles?

A Master of Science in Physiotherapy qualifies you to work as a professional specialist in hospitals, practices, long-term facilities, in health authorities or as a lecturer or teaching/research associate.

Our graduates work in a range of roles, including:

  • Advanced practice physiotherapist (APP)
  • Teaching associate/research associate
  • Doctoral student
  • Clinical expert
  • Head of Physiotherapy division
  • Project manager
  • Lecturer for bachelor’s degree programmes or continuing education courses

A doctorate – your career in teaching, research and practice

The Master of Science in Physiotherapy opens the path to a doctorate. As you progress towards a PhD, you will consolidate your skills through your academic work, expand your knowledge in a field of your choice and run your first independent research project. A doctorate opens up further career options, especially in teaching and research at universities, but also in practice. BFH enables you to study for your doctorate in cooperation with another university in Switzerland or abroad.

Duration + content

We offer programme structures that suit your lifestyle. You can study part-time for a Master of Science in Physiotherapy and complete the Physiotherapy for pain management focus area on a full-time basis. The languages of instruction are German and English.

Full-time or part-time

Studying full-time with the Physiotherapy for pain management focus area takes three semesters and takes up 80–100% of your time. Part-time work while studying full-time must take up no more than 20% of your time.

Studying part-time gives you more flexibility. You will study at 40–50% capacity for six semesters. You should have no difficulties combining your professional activities with part-time studies.

Need advice to help you plan your studies? We’re happy to provide it.

Study plan

Whether full-time or part-time, our master’s programme consists of five module groups. We pay particular attention to the close relationship between theory and practice.

Modules

The programme is divided into five module groups.

In this module group, you will deepen your knowledge on the following topics:

Musculoskeletal (optional with OMT title)

  • Spine Basic & Advanced
  • Peripheral joints Basic & Advanced
  • Communication & clinical reasoning
  • Diagnostics and differential diagnostics
  • OMT expertise
  • Pharmacology (optional module)
  • Aspects of sports rehabilitation (optional module)

Neurology

  • Foundations of neuroscience
  • Diagnostics & prognostics
  • Stroke
  • Extrapyramidal system
  • Multiple sclerosis, peripheral nervous system
  • Paraplegia & traumatic brain injury

Physiotherapy for pain management

  • Scientific basis of pain
  • Pain diagnosis
  • Pain management physiotherapy skills
  • Pain education/movement group
  • Pain in newborn babies and children
  • Nutrition in pain patients
  • Compulsory-elective module

Sport, IFSPT-recognised

  • Preventive care
  • Acute interventions
  • Rehabilitation
  • Performance
  • Integration
  • Pelvic floor & sport
  • Anatomy of a specimen (compulsory-elective module)
  • Nutrition & sport (compulsory-elective module)

Professional development

  • Foundations of health economics
  • Health policy and economics
  • Pharmacology & diagnostics
  • Leadership, project and change management (compulsory-elective module)
  • Digitalisation and transformation in healthcare (compulsory-elective module)
  • Advanced practice
  • Interprofessional communication

In this module group, you will deepen your knowledge on the following topics:

  • Research methods 1, 2 and 4
  • Biostatistics
  • Research planning

You will complete the modules together with other master’s students in the School of Health Professions, developing your interprofessional skills and expanding your knowledge of the following topics:

  • Applied ethics
  • Advanced practice (AP)
  • Interprofessional communication
  • Leadership, project and change management
  • Foundations of health economics
  • Nutrition in pain patients
  • Digitalisation and transformation in healthcare

In the Transfer module group, you will gain practical experience in research, university teaching or practice in a variety of institutions. You will encounter and reflect upon the challenges related to connecting theory and practice.

The Transfer module group comprises two 150-hour placements. Within the given period, you can select the placement days to suit your schedule in consultation with the institution in question.

In the Master’s thesis module, you will work on a question within a research project with relevance to physiotherapy. You will write an academic research paper on your findings: you will reflect on connections, provide reasons for your decisions and recommendations, and employ scientific methods to evaluate your own work.

Admission requirements

Do you hold a degree issued under the former diploma-based system? To be considered for our programme, you must first apply for the required title (Swiss NTE procedure) from your former university. Our Student Administration team will be happy to advise you.

Academic prerequisites

You will be admitted directly to the programme:

  • With a Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy from a Swiss university with a minimum grade point average of 5.0

  • With an equivalent degree from a university abroad with a minimum grade point average of 5.0

You will be admitted to the programme on the basis of an aptitude assessment:

  • With a Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy from a Swiss university with a minimum grade point average of less than 5.0

  • With an equivalent degree from a university abroad with a minimum grade point average of less than 5.0

  • With a degree in physiotherapy from the former diploma-based system along with a subsequently acquired title (i.e. Swiss NTE procedure). This requires a continuing education programme leading to a qualification recognised by SERI.

You will receive the date for the aptitude assessment after we have reviewed your documents.

Professional prerequisites

You must have access to patients in your chosen focus area throughout your part-time master’s studies. We recommend that your clinical work should take up 30–60% of your time.

Supplementary information on admission

The languages of instruction are German and English. You must demonstrate very good oral and written skills in both languages (German level C1 and English level B2).

We will review non-Swiss qualifications on a case-by-case basis. If need be, the requirement for recognition by the Swiss Red Cross will be dropped.

Information for students from abroad

The Swiss educational system is designed to be open and facilitate all students’ learning. Depending on your educational background, you may also be admitted to the programme with a comparable bachelor’s degree. Please contact the Head of Degree Programme to arrange an individual consultation.

The ‘Reasonable accommodations’ form allows applicants with a mental or physical illness or disability to apply for reasonable accommodations to be made with regard to the aptitude assessment.

Application

Make sure you don’t miss the application deadline. Not sure you meet all the requirements? We’re happy to help.

Application deadlines

Application deadline: 30 April 2024 (extended until 15 June 2024)
Start date: 16 September 2024

You will receive the date for the aptitude assessment after we have reviewed your documents.

Start your studies in autumn 2024

Register by 15 June 2024.

Brief explanation of the online application

You can only apply online.
Our Online Application Guide explains how it works, step by step.

Application documents

You will need to make PDF or JPG copies of the following documents:

Mandatory requirements:

  • ID or passport
  • Passport photo that meets international passport requirements

Other documents (certificates, etc.)

  • Diplomas and leaving certificates (e.g. vocational baccalaureate/specialised baccalaureate with grades, baccalaureate, Abitur or equivalent)
  • Swiss Federal VET diploma with grades
  • Employer references and/or internship certificates
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Additional documents may be required, depending on educational background

The costs for the study program consist of registration, tuition and examination fees as well as contributions 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.

Aptitude assessment fee

There is a CHF 200 aptitude assessment fee.

Fee OMT title (optional)

The fee for the optional OMT title in the Musculoskeletal focus is CHF 1'350.–.

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 educaswiss.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:

Advice + information

Still have questions about the programme? We are happy to provide information about the programme: admissions, organisation, administration, structure and support.

Advice

Still have questions about the programme and your career? The Administrative Office of the master’s degree programmes is here to help. For information about admission, the aptitude assessment or your application, please contact the Student Administration team.

Information event

Visit one of our information events and find out all about the degree programme, the admission requirements and your career prospects. You will have the opportunity here to put your questions to the Head of Degree Programme in person.

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Location + facilities

The Master of Science in Physiotherapy degree programme is based in Bern. Bern is an attractive and centrally located educational hub, offering a high quality of life. Our faculty provide you with a range of perspectives on learning and research.

Bern – School of Health Professions

Our School of Health Professions is just a ten-minute walk or five-minute bus ride from Bern central station.

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The Learning Centre

The Learning Centre in the School of Health Professions provides a modern learning and teaching environment with digital teaching, communication skills training and a Skills Centre with modern facilities. Training in the Learning Centre is conducted using equipment and models in a realistic, simulated professional setting.

More info on the Learning Centre