Master's in Theology

Since 2001, the Faculty of Theology has been made up of the Department of Old Catholic Theology and the Department of Protestant Theology. Some 300 students here pursue a course of study covering a wide range of topics with a focus on the Christian religion. The study of theology offers students opportunities to learn an incredible amount, whereby most of what they study leads to new questions. Anyone not afraid to question their own religion and culture will feel right at home in this program.

Basic information
Degrees:

Master of Theology, Universität Bern, with special qualification in:

  • Protestant Theology
  • Old Catholic Theology
Number of credits: 120 ECTS credits
Degree programs:
  • Mono 120 ECTS credits with special qualification:
    • Old Catholic Theology
    • Protestant Theology

 

Offer for other degree programs:

  • History and Theology of Old Catholicism 30 ECTS
  • Jewish Studies 30 ECTS
  • Theology 30 ECTS
Duration: 4 semesters
Language: German
Beginning of studies: Fall or spring semester

The Master program in Theology offers a contemporary course of study. Whether conducted as a full-time course of study of Catholic and Protestant Theology or as a minor — students receive a broad-based education that covers everything from creation theory to medical ethics, Tibetan Buddhism and prison ministry. The Faculty of Theology thus offers students the opportunity to address fundamental and vital questions of life in a complex and rapidly changing reality. The Master in Theology is a precondition for a career as a minister. The single-subject (mono) Master consists of 120 ECTS credits and usually takes four years to complete.

You will find a model study plan under "Program Structure," as well as a more detailed PDF version (Model Study Plan for Theology – PDF, 121 KB, see below). The schedule for the mandatory courses throughout the year can be found in the annual schedule of mandatory courses (PDF, 103 KB). The current courses for the 2015/16 academic year can be found under "Studies" or in the Academic Program FS2015 (PDF, 78 KB) and the Academic Program SS2016 (PDF, 91 KB), as well as in the CTS.

The Master of Theology takes four semesters to complete and is also a precondition for a career as a minister. The Master program (120 ECTS credits) has the following components:

Individual academic requirements

The following academic qualifications are required for admission to the master’s degree program in Theology (mono): 

a) Bachelor's degree from a Swiss university with a major in Theology:
Additional knowledge and skills not acquired during the bachelor's degree program may be required to complete the master's degree program. The ECTS credits will be listed separately in the diploma supplement as extracurricular attainments.
b) Bachelor's degree from a recognized university with a major in the branch of studies Theology:
Additional attainments of up to 60 ECTS credits may be required, which must be fulfilled in order to complete the master's degree program. The ECTS credits will be listed separately in the diploma supplement as extracurricular attainments.
c) Bachelor's degree from a university with a major in a different branch of studies,
provided that the master's degree can be successfully completed with an additional maximum 60 ECTS credits. Additional attainments can either be admission requirements which must be fulfilled in order to complete the master's degree program or admission requirements which must be fulfilled before admission to the master's degree program. The ECTS credits will be listed separately in the diploma supplement as extracurricular attainments. 

Please consult the admission requirements for the minors as presented in the plan of studies.

The bachelor's degree may not be more than 15 years old. Exceptions are possible where justified.

 
For questions regarding application and admission, please contact the Admissions Office.

Current UniBE students

Apply for a change to the M of Theology, with special qualification in Protestant Theology or Old Catholic Theology, Universität Bern, by self-service as part of the re-registration for the next semester.
Renewal of semester registration → Self-service
Recognition of academic achievements
Procedure and timing of the renewal of semester registration
   

Application with a Swiss degree

Online application
Assessment
Steps from application to registration
 

Application with an international degree

Online application
CHECKLIST - Documents for your application / Important information
Steps from application to registration

 
For questions regarding application and admission, please contact the Admissions Office.

Barbara Rieder Howald, hospital minister

Teaser

Barbara Rieder Howald, hospital minister

I spend as much as 60% of my working time at the Inselspital university hospital in Bern. I and a Roman Catholic colleague are responsible for the women's and children's clinic. I help and support patients and their families during a hospital stay. I consult closely with the nursing teams when planning my work. All the teams know about my work and when I'm present at the hospital; they also know what I do (talk to individuals or with several people, perform certain rituals, baptisms, blessings, mourning ceremonies, continuing education services; support for teams). It's actually the team members who often ask me to visit children or families. I frequently encounter people who are going through a difficult time – for example, they've received bad news, are about to undergo a long operation, have had an accident, something has gone wrong with a birth or a premature birth, or someone or they themselves are in danger of dying. I'm often confronted with theological questions here – for example, questions related to the subject of guilt or what type of God would allow such bad things to happen. After much reflection both during and after my studies, I am now able to help people with such questions. I would hope that I'm modest enough not to offer them quick answers but instead give them examples of when similar questions have been asked throughout the long history of Christianity. It's very important for people to know that they are not alone with their questions and their search for answers.

Hans Zoss, prison warden

Teaser

Hans Zoss, prison warden

My name is Hans Zoss and I studied theology in Bern and at the Union Theological Seminary in the U.S. After I completed my studies, I served as a minister for 14 years. I also spent a year serving as a military observer for the United Nations in the former Yugoslavia as a field minister and a captain. These two experiences and my interest in management and leadership topics then led me to apply for the position of warden at Thorberg Prison – a position I have held since November 1994. The multifaceted nature of my studies in theology and, above all, the opportunity I had to address everyday ethical problems while I was still at the university, have turned out to be a big help in my job today. I'm still extremely interested in ethical and philosophical questions. Ministers are communicators. The ability to communicate without any problems makes it much easier to deal with personnel, inmates and outside authorities. My studies prepared me very well for all of this.

Anne-Marie Kaufmann, pastor of the Christian Catholic Church of Switzerland for the Neuenburg Canton Parish

Teaser

Anne-Marie Kaufmann, pastor of the Christian Catholic Church of Switzerland for the Neuenburg Canton Parish

I began studying theology as a 35-year-old farmer and mother, and it turned out to be an exciting and fascinating experience that expanded my horizons, particularly with regard to languages. Today I'm the pastor in the Neuenburg Canton Parish. The Christian Catholic Church of Switzerland is one of three churches recognized by the canton. It's a minority church, however, so everything is all very modest. My work is quite multifaceted. For example, maintaining political and ecumenical relations with the government and other churches and helping to manage cooperation between the three canton churches in areas related to pastoral counseling are just as much a part of my job as my normal and also quite varied parish work. You have to be an all-rounder. When a lot of unpredictable things happen, you need to be able to quickly apply what you've learned and experienced. That's why it's good that the program in theology also addressed topics such as time and conflict management, didactics and various aspects of practical theology. And even though I don't get to read as many theology books as I'd like to, my theology is very much alive and present in all the conversations I have with parishioners, in bible study and religious classes, during services and on many other occasions. The best thing is that my studies have never really stopped; they continue every day.

Maja Zimmermann-Güpfert, Swiss Reformed Church minster at the Bern Minster

Teaser

Maja Zimmermann-Güpfert, Swiss Reformed Church minster at the Bern Minster

When I began studying, I wasn't sure if I wanted to become a minister. I was mainly interested in philosophical and religious questions. Many of these questions were addressed and clarified during my years at the university. However, during the ministry programs and my church internship I got to know a lot of people dealing with all kinds of different situations. The question of how God could let a child die, the devastating fate of severely ill people and the search for meaning during different phases in life led me to reexamine myself, and to many discussions and encounters that made a deep impression on me. I've been a minister for 20 years now. At first I worked half-time in a parish just outside of Bern and also spent three years doing the "Sermon for Sunday" program for the DRS television network in Switzerland, another six years doing the "Sermon for the Day" on the radio, and three years doing my own radio show. Now I'm the minister at the Bern Minster. If anything, my interest in theological questions and issues has only grown over the years, and being so close to people of all ages is something I wouldn't want to miss. I also continually rediscover the huge diversity and expressiveness of church music and search for interesting ways, both old and new, to conduct church services.

Robert Furrer, Director of the Department of Education in Bern

Teaser

Robert Furrer, Director of the Department of Education in Bern

I stopped being a minister after ten years and a lot of people then asked me why I decided to change careers. There are several reasons for this. One has to do with the fact that I was simply curious to see what it would be like to apply my theological and anthropological knowledge and my roots in the tradition of Jesus in an area of society unrelated to ministry. So, my first job afterwards was as a religious teacher at a school. The 12 years I spent as Director of the Evangelical Seminary in Muristalden can be viewed as a logical continuation of this path. The challenge of managing a school with a lively Christian tradition in a secular environment was extremely exciting for me and I'm grateful to have had the experience. The environment I work in today as Director of the Department of Education in Bern is completely different. Nevertheless, I'm still faced with the question of how to design and manage a large organization with several hundred employees in a manner that ensures each individual can fulfill their potential. Along with all the financial and organizational aspects, the important thing here as well is to establish and nurture a culture that supports people. Here, I am also guided by biblical examples such as Paul's vision of a well functioning community (1 Corinthians 12: 12-31).