History of the Faculty

The Faculty of Theology originated in 2001 when the Faculty of Old Catholic Theology and the Faculty of Protestant (Reformed) Theology merged. Two separate departments coexisted until 2017, one for Old Catholic, and the other for Protestant (Reformed) Theology. Since 1 August 2017, the Theological Faculty has eight institutes: Empirical Research of Religion, Historical Theology, Jewish Studies, New Testament, Old Catholic Theology, Old Testament, Practical Theology, and Systematic Theology. The Faculty is committed to global ecumenical issues.

Teaching and research work in a mutually beneficial exchange toward a critical contemporary profile of Old Catholic and Protestant (Reformed) Theology and interreligious dialogue in both theory and praxis.

During the academic year 2005-2006, the Faculty of Theology transitioned to the Bologna-System and now offers Theology as a general course of study in addition to degrees in Interreligious Studies and Ancient Judaism.

The Studium Integrale in theology is the most frequented degree program. Religious Studies and Interreligious Studies are also popular majors as is the specialized master’s degree in Ancient Judaism. An increasing number of students from other academic disciplines profit from a broad range of minor programs offered by the Faculty of Theology in Ancient Near Eastern Cultures (BA and MA), Jewish Studies (BA and MA) or Gender and Religion (MA).

Significant recent developments in the Faculty since 2010 include establishing an Institute of Jewish Studies, founding an Institute of Empirical Religious Studies, launching a Competence Center for Liturgy, attractive ecumenical lectureships and guest professorships in Anglican and Orthodox Theology for the specialization in Ecumenical Studies or the Interreligious Studies program.

About half the students at the Faculty of Theology are women, and there are currently six female professors teaching at the Faculty. We regularly offer classes on feminist and gender-specific topics.

The former Tobler Chocolate Factory is home to the Theological and Philosophical-Historical Faculties of the University of Bern since the mid-1990s. The prize-winning complex, now named UniTobler, stunningly unifies old building structures with contemporary architecture; UniTobler also houses a substantial library and a cafeteria.