Our bachelor’s degree programme in Classical Music is made up of theoretical and practical modules, designed to help you to acquire basic musical and artistic skills. The programme centres on training in your core subject (instrument, voice or composition).
During the programme, you will refine your instrumental, vocal or composing skills and work on your personal expression. You will study alongside approximately 140 other BA students from Switzerland and around the world. You will participate in various orchestral and chamber music projects, broadening your stylistic horizons. Our wide range of lectures and seminars is designed to provide you with a solid grounding in music theory and music history. The individualised curriculum caters to your qualities, needs and ambitions. Over the course of the BA programme, you will play and perform a great deal. You will learn to reflect on your artistic practice and will have the opportunity to experiment.
The aim of the bachelor’s degree programme is to develop your basic musical and artistic skills. Completing a BA qualifies you to take our MA.
Skills at the end of the degree programme
Advanced artistic abilities
Advanced instrumental/vocal, technical and creative skills
The ability to reflect on your own artistic/interpretative standpoint, to justify it in theoretical terms and to communicate it
The ability to participate in a transdisciplinary artistic environment and work on interdisciplinary projects
We offer all classical orchestral instruments, organ, voice, accordion and composition as core subjects (no harp).
Mode of study + Duration
The BA in Music – Classical is a full-time degree programme and comprises 180 ECTS credits. It is generally completed in six semesters.
Degree structure + Modules
The degree programme is made up of theoretical and practical modules, designed to help you to acquire basic musical and artistic skills, and is organised into seven theme-based and method-based module groups:
You will receive one-to-one tuition in your core subject (instrument, voice or composition) and individual mentoring. The programme centres on your core subject. We envisage that you will spend at least four hours a day practising.
The Theory module group makes up around a quarter of all modules. Optional modules provide you with the opportunity to tailor your studies to your needs and interests. See our current list of courses and lectures to discover the extensive choice available. The theory modules help you to develop your reflective and analytical skills, allowing you to adopt your own artistic stance and to understand your musical activities in a broader historical and social context. We also provide an introduction to music research.
Optional modules provide you with the opportunity to tailor your studies to your needs and interests. See our current list of courses and lectures to discover the extensive choice available. The selection includes research opportunities, lectures at the University of Bern, mentality training courses and laboratories with live electronics.
The transdisciplinary Y-modules give you the opportunity to broaden your horizons in other arts disciplines (e.g. literature, theatre, design and fine arts), collaborating with other departments and exchanging ideas. Guests lecturers and students from all fields of study at HKB come together here to focus on a particular theme each academic year.
In the final year, there are two further module groups:
The master’s orientation modules provide students with an insight into our different master’s degree programmes, showing you the areas you might want to specialise in on completion of your bachelor’s degree. You will have the opportunity to meet students from the follow-on study programmes and to make contact with your future teaching staff and Heads of Degree Programmes.
The degree programme concludes with a bachelor’s thesis, comprising a recital and a written paper. You will work with your mentors to put together the recital programme and the written paper, the subject of which you can choose yourself. The bachelor’s thesis combines the skills you have acquired in artistic practice, theory and independent creativity.
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.
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.
We work with a host of partners in the music industry, such as:
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). Candidates with exceptional artistic talent may be eligible for ‘special admission’.
Knowledge + Abilities
You must be able to demonstrate an appreciation and understanding of music. You will also have knowledge of practice techniques and experience of ensemble playing. Further requirements include a basic knowledge of music theory and its application, plus general cultural knowledge.
To be admitted to the BA programme in Classical Music, you must speak good German or French (preferably level B2). Your language skills will also be tested.
Applying from abroad
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.
The PreCollege Bern HKB prepares you professionally for the entrance exam the following year. This is not a prerequisite to applying to the BA Music Classical.
Qualification + Career prospects
The bachelor’s degree is designed to lead on to a master’s degree. It is not a professional qualification. However, the broad training it provides enables graduates to work in related fields.
Title + Degree
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in «Music Classical»
You will graduate with the title Bachelor of Arts in Music Classical. Over the course of your studies, you will have developed your personal profile and may wish to follow up your studies by specialising in a master’s degree.
Graduates who are not planning to take a master’s degree will be able to put what they have learned to good use in a music-related professional field – for example, music journalism, music management or music retail. They may take on temporary work in the music business (substitutes and assistants, project work, work in a semi-professional field).
Practicalities + Application
Please note the dates and deadlines below, plus the documentation and information required.
Application (per application) and aptitude assessment*
Tuition fees (per semester)
Tuition fees for overseas students*** (per semester)
Examination fee (per semester)
Fee for social, cultural and sport offerings (per semester)
Membership fee for the Bern University of Applied Sciences Student Association (VSBFH) (per semester)
Leave of absence fee (per semester)
* 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.
*** ‘Overseas students’ refers to all citizens of foreign countries who were not official residents of Switzerland or Liechtenstein at the time they were admitted to the university programme.
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. The HKB scholarship fund provides targeted support in such cases. To apply for support, you need to take the following steps:
Fill out the online application form in full and print it out
Send the application online
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).
The restrictions in connection with the new Coronavirus were extented until at least june 8th, 2020. For many students with part-time jobs on hourly wages it is very difficult to generate income until this time. Therefore, the HKB scholarship fund offers HKB students the possibility to apply for a financial support of CHF 600. This payment is to be understood as an additional payment to the – if applicable – CHF 300 already paid out. To do this, please fill in the following form and send it by email to the head of your degree programme.
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.
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 based on your income and are 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 Corinne Badertscher (Tel. +41 (0)31 848 33 01, email@example.com). There is no legal entitlement to a nursery place.
You’ve decided to study at the Bern University of the Arts? Then don’t hesitate and apply now! By applying online, you always have an overview of the status of your application.
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
Bachelor`s diploma or equivalent university degree
Transcript of records of current and/or terminated studies
A diploma qualifying you for university studies (such as A-Levels, 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
A confirmation of your exmatriculation (If you were already matriculated at another university)
Scores for accompanying musicians should be submitted together with your application.
For foreigners, in addition:
Residence permit (if available)
If you do not yet have one or more of the required documents, please state why in the Comments section.
Application deadline: 16.3.2020
Bern University of the Arts
CH-3000 Bern 22
Core Subject Composition
Applicants for the Core Subject Composition should also submit documentation of original pieces, demonstrating their talent. Labelling the portfolio: Top right corner: Name, First Name, "Aufnahmeverfahren 20xx" and "Studiengang BA Musik (Core Subject Composition)".
The Music Division at HKB has cutting-edge facilities at its disposal at various locations, including 60 practice rooms, 80 teaching rooms, auditoria of various sizes, an outstanding music library, a recording studio, research facilities and instrument hire. Students can reserve many of the rooms online. We operate an open door policy.