To conserve means to comprehend and protect. In our BA in conservation, you will learn how to conserve art and cultural artefacts, from paintings and sculptures to graphics, video art and even architecture.

This degree programme:

  • is multidisciplinary in structure;

  • synthesises theory and practice;

  • combines aspects of science and the humanities;

  • requires artisanal dexterity;

  • prepares you for a sustainable, secure career.


  • Title/Degree Bachelor of Arts (BA)
  • Specialisations Architecture, furnishings and furniture
    Paintings and sculptures
    Graphics, written material and photography
    Modern materials and media
    Textiles (Abegg-Stiftung)
  • Mode of study Full-time (6 semesters), part-time possible
  • Start date Thu, 1.8.2024
  • Application deadline Fri, 15.3.2024
  • ECTS credits 180 ECTS credits + Additionals
  • Teaching language German
  • Location Bern, Riggisberg (Textiles, Abegg-Stiftung)
  • School Bern Academy of the Arts

Structure + Content

The BA in conservation is unique in that you will have the first two years to learn about the various areas of specialisation in the field. Your exploration will not be limited to your home institution, but includes two further locations of the Swiss Conservation-Restoration Campus in Riggisberg, Mendrisio and Neuchâtel. In this way, all of Switzerland becomes your classroom.


Our programme is structured to provide two years of foundational training, followed by a third and final year to focus on your major. Our goal is to introduce you to practice-based conservation sciences and facilitate your entry into an area of specialisation. You then have the option to hone your specialist expertise in a two-year master’s degree programme.

Learning outcomes

Your foundational studies are split into seven thematic and methodological module groups. Lectures and exercises introduce basic theoretical knowledge and skills in the processes and methods of preventive conservation and documentation. You will also learn about the study of materials, art technology, cultural and art historical topics and ethical questions of the discipline. You can then employ your connected skills to develop appropriate preventive conservation measures.


All Swiss university programmes in conservation and restoration have pooled their resources at the Swiss CRC. Beyond HKB, three other locations offer further specialisations starting in your third year of study:

Module plans

Theoretical and practical content is grouped into various modules in your foundational studies:

  • Materials, techniques and alteration
  • Students’ activities
  • Cultural values
  • Conservation workshops
  • Preventive conservation
  • Additional courses
  • Bachelor Thesis

Starting in your third year, module groups by major allow you to specialise in a branch of conservation-restoration. You will select your major in the final year of your bachelor’s programme and follow this path through your master’s. We currently offer four different majors at HKB. It is also possible to transfer to a different location in the Swiss CRC.

Mode of study + Duration

You can complete your BA over six semesters of full-time study, earning 180 ECTS credits (30 per semester). One ECTS credit equates to approximately 25–30 student working hours. You will have very limited opportunity to earn money on the side while studying full-time. Part-time studies are possible and can be customised to your needs every semester. You must earn at least 5 ECTS credits per semester.

Student mobility

Are you a Swiss student interested in living, working or studying in another country? Or do you want to spend a semester at another Swiss university? Or maybe you’re an overseas student who’d like to spend a semester at Bern University of Applied Sciences? Mobility opportunities offer unique and valuable experience. During your studies, you will have the opportunity to spend exchange semesters and experience work placements elsewhere in Switzerland or abroad.

Collaborations + Partners

HKB maintains close ties to a number of partner universities, both in Switzerland and abroad, and collaborates with international partners on numerous projects. HKB is also a member of several international networks.

Qualification + Career prospects

This BA opens the door to a career in conservation and restoration. The three-year BA programme leads seamlessly to a two-year MA programme. Studying conservation at university level is now widely recognised and considered a safe and stable choice for the future.

Title + Degree

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in «Conservation»

At the end of the programme, you will graduate with the title ‘Bachelor of Arts in Conservation’. This degree qualifies you to work in various areas of conservation. It is also designed with the follow-on master’s programme in mind. It fulfils requirements for the Master of Arts in Conservation-Restoration. Only the MA degree qualifies for independent practice of the profession.

Career prospects

Work in conservation and restoration ranges from technological documentation of pieces and caring for collections, archives and storage facilities to exhibitions consulting and project planning. You may also perform practical interventions to help preserve objects. Conservators and restorers work in state, church, communal and private institutions and for private individuals.
Depending on the minor you select, you may also be qualified to work in a range of other professional fields.

Eligibility + Entry

For this BA programme, you must welcome the rigours of studying and exhibit an analytical and critical mind, manual and practical skills and a solid academic background. You must, of course, also demonstrate a special interest in art and cultural artefacts.

-> Special requirements and regulations apply to the textile specialisation. You can find them on the Abegg-Stiftung’s website.

Entry requirements

The number of places available on our programme is limited (‘numerus clausus’). We administer an entrance examination to review your aptitude for our programme. We look for motivation, stamina, resilience and independence in our students as well as a readiness to participate actively in university-level projects.

To be admitted to the entrance exam, we generally require that you hold a baccalaureate or equivalent qualification (vocational baccalaureate, specialised baccalaureate, Abitur). If you can demonstrate special qualifications or pertinent long-term work experience, we may make an exception and waive the requirement of qualifying academic credentials. In such cases, you may submit a written request to apply ‘sur dossier’.

  • solid observation skills
  • patience and a sense of responsibility
  • interest in interdisciplinary cooperation
  • openness to new things
  • interest in connections between science and the humanities
  • manual and practical dexterity
  • individual resilience and ability to work in teams
  • basic knowledge of art and art history, chemistry and physics

The teaching and working language in this programme is German. You may compose written assignments in French, English and, in some cases, Italian.

Foreign nationals require valid travel documents recognised by the Swiss government. A visa is often required. Exchange students must also apply for a residency permit and purchase health insurance before their studies begin. Please research your specific entry requirements carefully.

Admission procedure

We assess your suitability for the programme as part of an aptitude assessment. This consists of three parts:

In addition to prior education and relevant professional experience, it is also an applicant’s written communication and the presentation of personal motivation that are assessed. (Additional criteria may be defined.)

In the interview, we will discuss with you questions about your motivation, your previous professional experience and your expectations of the programme. This is explicitly not about testing your specialised knowledge, but about your commitment and your communication skills. (Additional criteria may be defined.)

The written exercise assesses, among other things, problem solving, the application of specialised knowledge, accuracy and diligence, as well as written communication, research and the citation of sources. (Additional criteria may be defined.)


We do not require a specific preparatory work placement for this BA programme. When choosing any career, however, it makes sense to look into the professional field first. You could do a ‘trial’ or longer term internship to gain practical experience.
Need help finding an appropriate internship? Check these resources:

Practicalities + Application

Please note the dates and deadlines below, plus the documentation and information required.

-> Special requirements and regulations apply to the textile specialisation. You can find them on the Abegg-Stiftung’s website.

Application (per application) and aptitude assessment*  

CHF 250


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

Leave of absence fee (per semester) 

CHF 100

* The application fee can be paid by credit card or by deposit slip / paper invoice (+ CHF 10.– processing fee). There are no waivers or refunds for withdrawn or abandoned applications. The application is processed after payment has been received.
** 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.

There is also a fixed fee for materials whose amount depends on the degree programme as well as additional costs for teaching materials, specialist literature, supplies, etc.

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. 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.).

HKB scholarship fund

Many HKB students live in precarious financial circumstances. The opportunities to earn money while undertaking demanding and time-consuming studies are limited. And the cost of living in Switzerland is one of the highest in all of Europe. A doctor’s bill, a healthy diet, and paying the rent or semester and examination fees can become pressing problems. To help in such cases, the HKB scholarship fund provides targeted support by covering the tuition fees from CHF 750 up to CHF 950. To apply for support, you need to take the following steps:

  1. Fill out the online application form in full and print it out
  2. Send the application online
  3. Submit the printed form to the secretariat for your degree programme

The deadline for applications for a semester fee waiver is 15 May to 15 June (for the following autumn semester), or 15 November to 15 December (for the following spring semester).

Applications for a waiver of the semester fees will only be considered and included in the selection process once the course offer has been.

Application form (link valid as of May 15 2024)

Other grants

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.

Other grants

Further information

The websites EDK – Stipendien, and European Funding Guide cover all the key information about grants in Switzerland and overseas.

Your contact persons for questions about scholarships and loans


If you have any questions regarding scholarships and loans please contact Felix Seyer.

At Bern University of Applied Sciences BFH, we promote balance between study, work and family.

A limited number of nursery places are available to BFH staff and students. If you’d like to take advantage of this offer, the relevant documents can be found on the BFH Intranet. The fees are income-based and in line with the cantonal rates described in the Verordnung über die Angebote der sozialen Integration (Decree on Social Integration Offer ASIV) issued by the Canton of Bern. You can apply for a nursery place using the online form on the BFH Intranet. If you’re a new student or member of staff and don’t have access to the Intranet, please contact Sarah Gross. There is no legal entitlement to a nursery place.

Students must fulfil their military service obligations during their studies. Plan and coordinate studies and service obligations well in advance.

We strongly recommend that you complete the military training programme and your first period of civil service before starting your studies. Completing them during your Master will result in absences and may prolong the duration of your studies.

General information about military and civil service

Advisory service

If you wish to get advice on how to co-ordinate your studies and your compulsory service, please contact HKB Student Administration (+41 31 848 49 49).

Start date: Thu, 1.8.2024
Application deadline and dossier submission: Fri, 15.3.2024
Aptitude test: Mon–Wed, 6.5.–8.5.2024

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

Online Application

According to your previous education, you should have the following documents available in electronic form (passport photo: JPG / remaining documents: PDF). No document should exceed 1 MB.

  • ID card or passport
  • Passport photo
  • A diploma qualifying you for university studies (such as Matura from a Gymnasium, "Berufsmaturität", "Fachmaturität", Abitur)
  • A CV in tabular form
  • A personal statement about your motivation for these studies and for your professional aspirations
  • Copies of all relevant report cards
  • Confirmation of your previous work experience (internships)

For foreigners, in addition:

  • Residence permit (if available)

If you were already matriculated at another university:

  • A confirmation of your exmatriculation
  • Your diploma and/or a transcript of records

If you do not yet have one or more of the required documents, please state why in the Comments section.

Information + Location

Do you have any administrative queries or questions about the course content? Would you like an individual, in-person advisory session? We are happy to help.

Student Advisory Service

We strongly advise you seek out our advisory service before beginning your studies, to allow us to assess your individual qualifications in good time. You may book an appointment with the secretariat of the division of Conservation and restoration.


Our first-rate facilities at HKB are complemented by centres of excellence in the division of conservation and restoration. We view these as service centres, in which you may pursue project-based activities, such as research, alongside your studies.