Master's in Climate Sciences

Climate and climate change are associated with great challenges. Climate impacts on the natural and managed environment, on our life-support systems, economy, and society are of pressing concern ; they demand for scientists, experts and professionals with a holistic view on the climate system. The Master of Climate Sciences program at the University of Bern offers an adequate and innovative educational scheme and a curriculum outside the traditional disciplines to provide you with the scientific basis and the necessary skills.

The Master in Climate Sciences program provides a broad range of courses and training opportunities for the future climate scientist and climate professional. It facilitates both a general qualification in the field of climate sciences and a sound expertise in an elective climate-related topic.

The Master in Climate Sciences program promotes interdisciplinary cooperation and teamwork and combines education and research in an excellent network of units and faculty members. Studying Climate Sciences at the University of Bern has an international flavor; more than thirty percent of the students have an international background and the courses are held in English. The master's degree in Climate Sciences opens the door for a scientific or a professional career.

As a student of Climate Sciences, you become part of the Graduate School of Climate Sciences, which is operated by the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research. You assemble your curriculum from a broad range of elective courses in the fields of climate and atmospheric sciences, economics and social sciences. In addition, you can take selected courses at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich). You carry out your master thesis project at one oft he research units affiliated to the Graduate School of Climate Sciences. Your taylor-made curriculum and the master thesis will lead to one of five specializations.

The Master of Climate Sciences brings together dedicated individuals with different expertise and scientific background. You are invited to join us for this challenge and to learn with us.

Basic information
Degrees:

Master of Science in Climate Sciences, Universität Bern, with special qualification in:

  • Climate and Earth System Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Economics
  • Economic, Social and Environmental History
  • Statistics
Number of credits: 120 ECTS credits
Degree programs:

Mono 120 ECTS credits with special qualification in:

  • Climate and Earth System Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Economics
  • Economic, Social and Environmental History
  • Statistics
Duration: 4 semesters
Languages: Courses and performance assessments are generally conducted in English. German or French can also be chosen as language of instruction, if all students of a class agree.
Beginning studies: Preferably in the fall semester, spring semester possible
 

Prof. Dr. Thomas Stocker
about the Graduate School of Climate Sciences

Alena Giesche, Master in Climate Sciences
about the Master of Science program

The curriculum of the Master in Climate Sciences program comprises 120 ECTS and equals the workload of 4 semesters full time study. A Bachelor of Science, a Bachelor of Arts or a higher academic degree are the precondition for admission to the program.

Your choice of electives and the master thesis lead to one of the five specializations:

  •     Climate and Earth System Science
  •     Atmospheric Science
  •     Economics
  •     Economic, Social and Environmental History
  •     Statistics

For further information about the detailed curriculum with courses, please consult the Master in Climate Sciences program of the Graduate School of Climate Sciences for information about

The  Master of Climate Sciences curriculum consists of 120 ECTS. Of these, a number of 8 ECTS are compulsory courses, 52 ECTS are elective courses to be taken at the University of Bern or at the ETH Zurich, and 60 ECTS are reserved for the master thesis. The program equals the workload of 4 semesters (2 years) full-time study.

Alternatively, you may wish to write a master thesis of 30 ECTS at the University of Bern and  complete an external internship of 30 ECTS (see Guidelines).

Individual academic requirements

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

a) Bachelor’s degree from a university or an equivalent or higher degree in any area of Natural Sciences or Technology
b) For the special qualifications in Economics and in Economic, Social and Environmental History, a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university in the relevant branches of studies (e.g. B A in History, B Sc in Economics) is required

Admission to the master’s degree program may depend upon evidence of additional knowledge and expertise that was not acquired as part of the student's bachelor's degree program. This coursework may only be completed on an extra-curricular basis. The maximum scope of this additional coursework is 60 ECTS credits. The ECTS credits will be listed separately in the diploma supplement as extracurricular attainments.

As a rule, an average grade (average weighted according to ECTS credits) of at least “good” serves as an additional indicator of suitability. The grades that shall be taken into consideration are those that are available at the time of the interview and submitted with the record of individual achievement. In general, these are grades for at least 150 ECTS credits.

Definitive admission is dependent on an admission interview with the directorate of studies.

The degree used for assessment purposes may not be more than ten years old.

   

Language requirements

Courses at the Graduate School of Climate Sciences are given in English or, depending on the audience, in German. Advanced skills in English (oral, written and reading) corresponding to CEF level C1 are required. Students with CEF level B2 are admitted to the program with the obligation to reach CEF level C1 within the first year. This can be achieved by taking classes offered by the Academic English Services, for instance. The master thesis is usually written in English. Training in scientific writing and scientific presentations in English are part of the compulsory courses, and you will do a placement test at the beginning of the training.

If existing, you may provide an English language certificate with the admission documents or at the admission interview, but no English language certificate is required at this stage. Non-native German speakers do not have to pass any German exam for admission to the M Sc program.

For the everyday life in Bern, basic knowledge of German is helpful and taking German classes during your stay here in Bern is strongly recommended.

Application and admission

You may apply for the MSc program as soon as you have completed 150 ECTS credits (5 semesters). Your bachelor training must be completed before the first semester of the MSc program starts. Successful admission is conditional on a positive evaluation of your application dossier and a personal (or video) interview. Depending on your scientific background additional course requirements (up to a maximum of 60 ECTS credits) can be imposed. More information about all general steps for acceptance can be found on the Graduate School of Climate Sciences website.

To be admitted to the MSc Climate Science program, you need to register with the University of Bern, and you need to submit an application dossier. The specific procedures are described below for students with a  bachelor degree from the University of Bern, from a Swiss or from an international University, respectively.

For all questions and advice regarding admission, please contact the studies coordinator of the Graduate School of Climate Sciences:
Peter Stucki, phone +41 31 631 31 46, peter.stucki@oeschger.unibe.ch

Applications by current UniBE students

You are currently a BSc / BA student of the University of Bern, wishing to change from bachelor studies to the MSc in Climate Sciences program. Your application encompasses the following steps:

Applications with a Swiss degree

You hold or will soon hold a BSc / BA degree from a Swiss University, and wish to apply for the MSc in Climate Sciences program. Your application encompasses the following steps:

Applications with an international degree

You hold or will soon hold a diploma / bachelor degree from an international University, and wish to apply for the MSc in Climate Sciences program. Your application encompasses the following steps:

Application schedule

  Fall intake;
preferred start of the MSc training
Spring intake
Application deadlines for new students April 30 December 15 of the preceding year
Personal interview May December / January
Deadlines for late applications * August 31 January 31
Beginning of semester Mid-September Mid-February
* An application received late costs an additional CHF 100
  Application with international degree certificate:
You can only apply after the regular closing date for applications if you do not require a visa for entering and residing in Switzerland. If you are applying late and require a visa for Switzerland, we will transfer your application to a later semester.

The Master in the Climate Sciences program is designed to train specialists for economic, research and administrative tasks related to climate and climate change. The tayor-made curriculum gives you the required scientific knowledge and personal skill to take leadership in these areas.

Career opportunities and potential employers can be found in the finance, insurance and energy sectors. You are qualified for positions in consulting firms, planning offices or public administration.

The Master of Science in Climate Sciences degree also creates opportunities in research and academia. For instance, it may be conducive to a PhD project in Climate Sciences in one of the research units associated with the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research.