Profile + Organisation


Our focus in the Department of Social Work is on professional social work. We take an interdisciplinary approach to dealing with contemporary social issues. We have specialist expertise and see ourselves as providing a platform for discussions and encounters. We act as both a stakeholder and partner with regard to education and social issues and are committed to ensuring equal opportunities and social welfare. As innovative pioneers when it comes to tackling social challenges, we have our finger on the pulse of society. 

Teaching, research and practice are closely combined here in the Department of Social Work. Our portfolio includes a generalised, two-stage Bachelor and a Master of Social Work degree programmes, together with various practice-orientated further education courses (specialist courses, CAS, DAS and MAS). Considerable emphasis is placed on cooperation and we conduct inter-professional, transdisciplinary and cross-institutional research in the following fields: childhood, adolescence and family, ageing, social and cultural diversity, social security and social policy, organisation and social management, counselling, mediation, supervision, professional development, teaching methodology and digitalisation. 

The Advisory Board of the Department of Social Work supports the department leadership team with regard to strategic aspects and contributes to the enhancement of the profile of the department. It provides input designed to improve teaching and research and establishes contacts with partners with whom the department can collaborate and those who work in the field. Members of the Advisory Board:

  • Prof. em. Dr. Lucien Criblez - Professor of Historical Educational Research and Educational Policy, University of Zurich 
  • Dr. iur. h.c. Annette Keller - Director of the Hindelbank Correctional Facility
  • Andrea Lüthi - Head of the Welfare Division in Herzogenbuchsee

  • Christa Quick - member of the Family Support Management Team, Bern West

  • Dr. iur. Felix Wolffers - former Head of the Social Welfare Office of the City of Bern
  • Liliane Zurflüh - President of the Seeland Child and Adult Protection Authority
  • Ursula Zybach - member of the cantonal parliament, President of Public Health Switzerland, President of the Spitex Kanton Bern


The Department of Social Work is reorganised and six institutes are established. The new institutes specialise in the following topics: Childhood, Adolescence and Family, Counselling, Mediation, Supervision, Organisation and Social Management, Social Security and Social Policy, Social and Cultural Diversity, Teaching Methodology, Professional Development and Digitalisation.
The Institute on Ageing is now run to equal proportions by the Departments of Social Work and the Department of Health.


The Division of Social Work becomes an independent department at BFH.


Accreditation of the consecutive Master of Social Work degree programme by the Federal Department of Economic Affairs (EVD). Relocation from Falkenplatz to the premises at Hallerstrasse 8 and 10.


Launch of the consecutive Master of Social Work degree programme.


Consolidation of the sites in Falkenplatz and Hallerstrasse Bern.


Accreditation of the Division of Social Work by the cantonal government.


Launch of the Bachelor of Social Work degree programme (Bologna Declaration).


Incorporation of the Hochschule für Sozialarbeit (HSA) in the Division of Social Work.


Reorganisation of Bern University of Applied Sciences and formation of six department from the various subject schools. The Hochschule für Sozialarbeit (HSA), the Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Verwaltung (HSW), the Private Hochschule für Wirtschaft (PHW), are amalgamated to form the Department for Business, Administration and Social Work.


Accreditation in Switzerland as a university of applied sciences degree course by the Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education (EDK).


Affiliation with Bern University of Applied Sciences under the name Hochschule für Sozialarbeit (HSA) Bern.


Reopening of the renovated building at Falkenplatz 22/24.


The academic title "dipl. Sozialarbeiter/in HFS" receives copyright protection. Introduction of the “New Educational Model (NAM I)” (modular system).


Granting of the status of “Höhere Fachschule für Sozialarbeit” (HFS).


Merger of the Berner Abendschule and Schule Gwatt to form the Vereinigte Schulen für Sozialarbeit Bern und Gwatt (VSSA). Move to the school building at Falkenplatz 24.


Launch of the Gwatt/Thun church school.


Launch of the Berner Abendschule


Establishment of the Bildungsstätte für Soziale Arbeit Bern as a sponsoring association.



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