Faculty of Medicine

Degree Programs

Master in Biomedical Sciences

Would you like to gain a better understanding of how the human body and its organs function? Are you fascinated by the challenges associated with medicine in the 21st century? Could you imagine having a career in medical research? The BEFRI program in Biomedical Sciences can help you here by teaching you the most modern methods of biological research in combination with a basic education in medicine that focuses on expanding your knowledge of how the most important systems in the human body function. The integration of these two areas of expertise will ideally prepare you for a career in academic or industrial research on both the basic and clinical level.

The BEFRI program in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Bern is the only full program of study in the field of bio-medicine offered in Switzerland. It is jointly organized by the University of Fribourg (Bachelor) and the University of Bern (consecutive Master). The aim of the program is to offer students who are interested in human diseases but who do not want to work directly with patients as doctors an education that will enable them to embark upon a career in academic or pharmaceutical biomedical research.

The program therefore focuses on the interface between the natural sciences and medicine. The first year of study focuses on the natural sciences, the second on medicine, particularly in the areas of anatomy, biochemistry and physiology. Third and fourth-year students learn about the basic mechanisms of illnesses and diseases, as well as the clinical pathophysiology of specific organs. This is supplemented by an introduction to state-of-the-art research methods and laboratory practices. The program concludes with a master thesis that is written during a six-month internship at a research lab of the student's choice.

Basic information
Degree: Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences, Universität Bern
Number of credits: 90 ECTS credits
Degree programs: Mono 90 ECTS credits
Duration: 3 semesters
Language: English
Beginning of studies: Fall semester

The Master program in Biomedical Sciences has a duration of one-and-a-half years. The mandatory core component supplements the initial knowledge of the pathophysiology of organ systems that is acquired in the third year of the Bachelor program in Fribourg. This core component also expands students' expertise in modern methods of research. Students also conduct a three-week laboratory internship that focuses on a research field of their choice. During the final six months of their studies, students write a master thesis on a research topic of their choice.


Master (University of Bern)

The Master program in Biomedical Sciences is a consecutive Master course of study that is based on the Bachelor program in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Fribourg.

During the first year of the Master program, students learn about the clinical-pathophysiological mechanisms of the heart, lungs, liver, gastrointestinal tract, blood and connective tissue organ systems.  Instruction in these specific fields is supplemented by general lectures on clinical immunology, tumor biology, pharmacology and the pathogenesis of infectious diseases. Instruction in research methodology focuses on scientific writing, a broad introduction to state-of-the-art imaging methods, statistics and a course in Pharmacokinetics-Pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) Modeling taught by a specialist in industrial pharmaceutical research. The second semester begins with a three-week laboratory internship that offers students an extensive insight into research activities in areas that interest them.

During the first six months of their second year of study, students write their master thesis while working in a research team at the University of Bern or the University of Fribourg.

Individual academic requirements

The following academic qualifications are required for admission to the specialized master’s degree program in Biomedical Sciences (mono):

a) Admission with no restrictions:
  • Bachelor's degree in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Fribourg
b) Admission after a detailed review:
  • A degree different from the one cited in point a)
The bachelor's degree may not be more than six years old at the time of the assessment.
Students must submit proof of sufficient proficiency with regard to all the topics listed below:
  a) Fundamental mathematics and science (mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology)
  b) Anatomic-morphologic knowledge and basic knowledge of the human body
  c) Pathophysiology of selected organ systems
  d) Laboratory skills in biochemistry and molecular biology
  e) Knowledge of methods of biomedical research
  Admission is not possible if more than 10 ECTS credits of additional attainments are required.

For questions regarding application and admission, please contact the Admissions Office.

Current UniBE students

Apply for a change to the M S in Biomedical Sciences, Universität Bern by self-service as part of the re-registration for the next semester.
Renewal of semester registration → Self-service
Procedure and timing of the renewal of semester registration

Application with a Swiss degree

Online application
Steps from application to registration

Application with an international degree

Online application
CHECKLIST - Documents for your application / Important information
Steps from application to registration

For questions regarding application and admission, please contact the Admissions Office.

A Master's degree in Biomedical Sciences enables you to pursue a career (and a PhD) in all fields of biomedical research (basic research, translational research, clinical research). Students who complete courses in other subject fields (e.g. economics or journalism) can also pursue careers in health economics, health care administration and scientific journalism.