The central objective of this MA programme is to train you to engage in interdisciplinary exchange, in order to make appropriate recommendations for the conservation of cultural artefacts. You will also become practised in implementing these recommendations.

This degree programme:

  • is aimed at students who have a BA in conservation;
  • prepares you to manage your own conservation projects from the fields of art and culture;
  • provides you with hands-on experience in specialised studios, workshops and laboratories;
  • broadens and deepens your knowledge and skills in theme-oriented block courses;
  • gives you the opportunity to observe and critique your own practice in conservation.


  • Title/Degree Master of Arts (MA)
  • Specialisations Architecture, furnishings and furniture
    Paintings and sculptures
    Graphics, written material and photography
    Modern materials and media
  • Mode of study Full-time (4 semesters), part-time possible
  • Start date spring semester: 22.2.2021
    fall semester: 20.9.2021
  • Application deadline fall semester: 15.3.2021
  • ECTS credits 120 ECTS credits + Additionals
  • Study language German, English
  • Location Bern
  • Department Bern University of the Arts

Structure + Content

The MA programme comprises longer practical units in our studios and thematic week-long block modules for majors and minors. You will complete your degree with an independent, innovative master’s thesis.


Course content aligns with European Confederation of Conservator-Restorers’ Organisations (E.C.C.O.) 2011 guidelines for the skills required to enter a career in conservation and restoration. In our MA programme, you will select a major and specialise in this branch of conservation and restoration. Your major thus represents the largest portion of your studies. We currently offer the following majors:

  • Architecture, furnishings and furniture
  • Paintings and sculptures
  • Graphics, written material and photography
  • Modern materials and media

You may select various minors to round out your personal skill set.

Learning outcomes

The central objective of the MA in Conservation-Restoration is to train you to engage in interdisciplinary exchange – for instance, with art historians and cultural scientists, technicians and owners – in order to make appropriate recommendations for the conservation of cultural artefacts. You must also become practised in putting these recommendations into practice. All of which requires knowledge, dexterity, skills and lots of practice.

Specialisations + Module groups

We currently offer four different majors. Majors are module groups with a certain number of required and elective options:

The major in architecture, furnishings and furniture is right for you if you wish to dedicate yourself to the preservation of built heritage, through a combination of work in the studio and on construction sites. Buildings involve an especially wide range of materials and associated technologies, from interior decorations to the exterior shell and construction to the façade.

The major in paintings and sculptures is aimed at future specialists in the conservation of paintings or polychromatic sculptures from across the ages. This branch of conservation is particularly challenging, whether you work in a museum or as an independent restorer, given the wide variety of technologies and media used to display images, all of which require precisely customised conservation methods.

The major in graphics, written material and photography prepares you for a career as a conservator-restorer in libraries, archives, and graphic or photographic collections. You may also use your knowledge of paper, parchment, leather and countless other materials and technologies as an independent restorer.

The major in modern materials and media is designed with the preservation of contemporary art in mind. Our studios house audio- and video-based works alongside installations, unusual combinations of materials and digital cultural artefacts. In this rapidly developing field, international cooperation is already a critical aspect of your studies.

Our minor programmes allow you to round out or supplement your personal skill set. They represent a comparatively small portion of your professional training. For instance, the Cultural Values minor offers six block modules on contextualising the artistic and cultural historical import of works to be conserved. Alternatively, other minors provide the opportunity to focus on materials such as metal, stone or wood. You may also opt to gather more practical experience in your area of specialisation. The minor in research allows you to participate actively in an ongoing research project.

Mode of study + Duration

We have structured the programme to allow either full- or part-time studies. The MA programme can be completed with 120 ECTS credits in two years of full-time study. Part-time studies or switching specialisations will result in the longer duration of the programme.

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.

Diploma theses

You will conclude your MA programme with a master’s thesis and public presentation. The student thesis posters are published each year as a brochure:

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.

Eligibility + Entry

Our MA programme builds upon the BA in conservation, ideally furthering the area of specialisation you selected in the bachelor’s programme.

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.

Academic requirements

Admission is based on an assessment. We accept candidates who

  • hold a BA, a diploma from a university of applied sciences or an equivalent academic background in conservation and
  • demonstrate the technical qualifications for the chosen specialisation.

Language skills

The teaching and working language in our master’s programme is German. You may compose written assignments in French, English or, in some cases, Italian. Certain modules in the Swiss CRC are held in English and require a higher level of proficiency.

Applying from abroad

Identical requirements. Additionally, your residence permit (if available).

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. Further information can be found here.


In your application, you must provide evidence for your technical qualifications with a detailed list of the courses you have completed and your transcript of records (ToR). You must also submit documentation outlining all of your conservation work to date. We review each individual application to determine how well your previous performance corresponds to the content requirements in your desired area of specialisation. You may also be required to complete additional tasks equalling up to 60 ECTS credits in the MA programme. On the other hand, we may also recognise up to 60 ECTS credits that you earned as part of another curriculum and that exceeded 180 ECTS credits, and apply these towards your MA.

External applicants

Our entrance assessment helps us determine your technical qualifications for your desired area of specialisation and comprises two parts:

  1. In a brief documentation ‘in confrontation with an art object’, you must demonstrate your comprehensive understanding of objects from your area of specialisation.
  2. We also evaluate a final interview focused on your prior education, the documents you have submitted and your expectations for the programme.

Qualification + Career prospects

With an MA in Conservation-Restoration, countless career opportunities await in your chosen area of specialisation.

Title + Degree

A Master of Arts in «Conservation-Restoration» serves as proof of professional qualification in conservation and restoration, according to standards set by the European Confederation of Conservator-Restorers’ Organisations (E.C.C.O.). It further qualifies you for full membership in the Swiss professional association SKR/SCR and in other professional groups.

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.

With an MA in Conservation-Restoration, you may work in state, church, communal and private institutions or for private individuals. Depending on the minor you select, you may also be qualified to work in a range of other professional fields.

Practicalities + Application

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

Application (per application) and aptitude assessment*  

CHF 250


CHF 100

Tuition fees (per semester) 

CHF 750

Tuition fees for overseas 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.
*** ‘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. 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).

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 (incl. financial aid calculator)

The websites ausbildungsbeiträ, 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 Corinne Badertscher (Tel. +41 (0)31 848 33 01, There is no legal entitlement to a nursery place.

For more information on how to co-ordinate your studies and your compulsory service, please phone HKB Student Administration on +41 31 848 49 49.

Start date fall: 20.9.2021
Application deadline and dossier submission: 15.3.2021

Start date spring: 22.2.2021

Online 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
  • 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

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.

Restoration documentation

The restoration documentation has to be sent directly to the Division by post:

Bern University of the Arts
Division Conservation and Restoration
Fellerstrasse 11
CH-3027 Bern

The restoration documentation will be assessed as part of the aptitude test. Students who did their BA at the HKB can name an existing documentation in the HKB archive.


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.

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.

Location + Facilities

Our first-rate facilities at HKB are supplemented 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.

  • Conservation and restoration studios
  • Art technology laboratory
  • ArtLab
  • Photography studio
  • Wood workshop
  • Learning Center Conservation-Restoration
  • Material-Archiv S8
  • MediaLab
  • Multimedia library