Study at HKB

This page outlines the most important general information on studies at HKB. Specific information on the various degree programmes can be found on the respective pages.

Application information

Here you will find links for applying online:

Switching from another university

Students who are already matriculated at another university and would like to switch to HKB have to discuss this possibility with the Head of Studies of the degree programme they are interested in. The Head of Studies will decide on their admission. In this case, please state in the “Comments” section at the end of the online application that you are switching universities and may enter a higher semester.

Withdrawals

Should you decide to withdraw your registration, you can notify us of your decision by e-mail. A verbal withdrawal of the registration will not be accepted.

Withdrawals deadlines

For the autumn semester: 15 June
For the spring semester: 15 December

The form for taking a leave of absence or exmatriculation as well as an information sheet on deadlines and procedures for withdrawals / exmatriculation / leave of absence can be found under Downloads.

Study structure

Academic year

The academic year is divided into two semesters of 16 weeks each. The Autumn Semester starts in mid-September (calendar week 38), the Spring Semester in mid-February (calendar week 8). A week before and after the official start of each semester, exams and presentations take place. The interim times between semesters are used for project work, preparation for exams and internships.

Academic Year 2019/2020

Autumn Semester: 16 September 2019 – 19 January 2020
Spring Semester: 17 February – 7 June 2020

Academic Year 2020/21

Autumn Semester: 14 September 2020 – 24 January 2021
Spring Semester: 22 February – 13 June 2021

European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)

HKB uses the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). ECTS is a system that is used to credit, transfer and accumulate course elements a student has completed. It states the amount of time that students ideally have to spend, or have already spent, on a degree programme and on its individual modules. ECTS is an information system designed to support mobility and lifelong learning. In the event of a student switching universities, the ECTS system makes it easier to assess the course work the student has completed at their university of origin and to classify this in terms of the degree programme at the guest university.

A module is a teaching, learning and assessment unit, defined in terms of content and time. It can comprise several courses. There are compulsory, elective compulsory and elective modules. Compulsory modules must be taken by all students of a given degree programme. Elective compulsory modules can be chosen from a range of available courses, and elective modules cover individual further interests the students may have. There is a description for every module, outlining the prerequisites, the content, the number of credits and the form in which it is completed. Every module has to be completed with a proof of competency. The credits are awarded to students who have successfully completed the module.

One ECTS credit corresponds to 30 student work hours within a semester, including both classroom study and independent study. An academic year is generally estimated at 60 ECTS credits, corresponding to 1,800 hours of work. Students pursuing artistic studies, however, generally devote considerably more time to their studies, particularly to their independent work. HKB programmes are usually pursued on a full-time basis. Part-time study is possible in most programmes, in agreement with the respective Heads of Studies. Part-time studies take longer – how much longer depends on the course of the individual student’s studies. A Bachelor’s degree requires 180 ECTS credit points, and a Master’s degree 90 to 120 ECTS credit points.

The ECTS system comprises

  • The Learning Agreement: a list of the courses to be completed, which is agreed on between the student and their home and guest universities
  • The Transcript of Records: documentation on the work the student has completed, i.e. the modules, together with the ECTS credit points acquired and their grades
  • The Diploma Supplement to a university degree certificate: a standardised description of the course of study that has been successfully completed, which serves to provide transparency and facilitates the recognition of diplomas or academic degrees.

Grading

HKB uses the numerical grading system. Many modules are evaluated on a pass/fail basis only, but students receive detailed oral or written feedback.

Grade 6 – excellent
Grade 5.5 – very good
Grade 5 – good
Grade 4.5 – satisfactory
Grade 4 – sufficient

Grades 1 to 3.5 count as insufficient. Grade 3.5 can be followed with the comment “subsequent improvement possible”.

Fees

Various tuition and exam fees are charged at HKB. (Special conditions apply for the Bachelor of Arts in Theater.)

Application (per application) and aptitude assessment*  

CHF 250

Matriculation**  

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.


Auditing a course

CHF 150 per course and semester, covering one weekly lecture hour. Only passive participation in classroom instruction is possible (selected lectures and seminars, no individual instruction).

Funding

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 Fund for the Payment of Tuition Fees

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:

  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).


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 ausbildungsbeiträge.ch, stipendium.ch and European Funding Guide cover all the key information about grants in Switzerland and overseas.

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