Pursuing your studies

How about late arrival of the BSc certificate and KSL/CTS?

In the case that your BSc certificate arrives late (too late) you may start your studies and take courses (given you have 150 ECTS). Send your BSc certificate directly to the registration desk (Immatrikulationsdienste) and they will change your status. This 'overlap' (intermediate status) is restricted to one semester only. All the courses will appear in KSL/CTSin the "Freiwillige Zusatzleistungen" or "Zwischenablage" section. Make sure that your KSL/CTS entries are converted correctly when the Bachelor's certificate is available.

What has to be arranged before the semester starts?

Select the courses you wish to attend from the course list, with the schedules and with the course cycle list. Check with Core Teaching System (University's course catalogue) possible changes in the time tables and verify the date of the beginning of each course (this is not always in the first week).

Check arrangements for your travels to Zürich if you intend to take courses at ETH Zurich. Refer to the website of the MSc in Atmospheric and Climate Science program at ETH Zurich for information about the courses (see also the list of elective courses) to make your choice. See also the FAQs about taking courses at ETH Zurich and reimbursement of travel expenses.

How about taking courses at ETH Zurich?

Make sure that you are registered at ETH Zurich as a "Special Student": Fill in the registration form (pdf, 68 kB) and send it to the address given in the form in the first week of the semester. You will then get a personal login to subscribe for courses at ETH Zurich (typically in the second week of the semester). Courses at ETH Zurich must be subscribed for within the fourth week of the semester. There is no registration fee and no charges for courses. More information and explanations about studying at ETH Zurich can be found on their rectorate's homepagePlease note that this registration must be made for every semester.

All courses (with credits and grades) that are on the list of Elective courses ETH (PDF, 2KB) (pdf, 4 kB) are fully accepted as a part of the MSc in Climate Sciences, University of Bern and can form part of the 52 ECTS elective courses. For all other courses you wish to take (within the 10 ECTS extra-curricular courses), written permission from the studies coordinator is required. Refer to the website of the MSc in Atmospheric and Climate Science programme at ETH Zurich for information about the courses to make your choice. See also FAQ onextra-curricular courses.

How can I apply for the reimbursement of travel expenses?

The Graduate School of Climate Sciences is reimbursing travel expenses for courses taken at ETH Zurich during two semesters of your choice. Note that some courses are only held every second year, it is therefore recommended to bundle your courses at ETH Zurich into two semesters. You have two options for the reimbursement of travel expenses:

  1. a grant of 400.00 CHF/semester for the Generalabonnement (free use of public transport), or
  2. the reimbursement of single tickets (base half fare) plus a grant (40.00 CHF/semester) for the Halbtaxabonnement (Half-Fare Card). The total amount for this option is limited to 600 CHF/semester.

Subject to reimbursement are expenses for return tickets from Bern (or effective costs for public transport from your place of residence, if lower) to Zürich. You can apply for the reimbursement of travel expenses by filling in the Reimbursement of travel expenses form (PDF, 298KB) and providing original paper tickets. If you use the Halbtax-Abonnement, collect all your original paper tickets, stick them on a sheet of paper and number them consecutively (see the Travel expenses example (PDF, 2.4 MB)). Alternatively, we need the proof of purchase for the Generalabonnement, e.g., available from your customer account at swisspass.ch.
Don't forget to write down all travel dates, even if you have a General-Abonnement! Let us know if you use special tickets (e.g. Gleis 7, Libero). The option of the General-Abonnement is recommended for students who are planning to attend more than one course at the ETH Zurich. Consider buying a Gleis-7-Abonnement if you have a Halbtax-Abonnement.
Return the form by post until 28 February (autumn semester) or 30 September (spring semester) to: Graduate School of Climate Sciences, Oeschger Centre, University of Bern, Falkenplatz 16, CH-3012 Bern. Please note that the payment process can take up to two months.

Special regulations apply for the Climate Sciences Workshop I: Please add these travel expenses to the reimbursement form of the following semester. If you do not plan to take courses outside the University of Bern hand in a reimbursement form for the Climate Sciences Workshop I only.

Please note that the grants for Generalabonnement and/or Halbtaxabonnement are disbursed twice per student at the utmost.

How about the 10 ECTS of extra-curricular courses? ("Wild card", "freie Leistungen"; SP Art. 9 Abs. 7)

10 ECTS can be taken outside the module of elective courses (52 ECTS, Annex 1 of the Programme/Studienplan).

Eligible are courses given at a Swiss University, ETH Zurich or any other University that typically are

  1. on the Master level and have a close relation to climate sciences,
  2. on the Master level and are essential for your Master thesis project or
  3. on a high Bachelor level, not in the field of your Bachelor studies, and essential for the understanding of an elective course.

These courses are subject to antecedent approval by the studies coordinator. Please send requests by email, and include course number, title, lecturer, university, credits, level and program (e.g., BSc Biology), and semester (or a web-link to the course in KSL/CTS), as well as a short motivation highlighting one or more of the above relations (a., b., c.) to climate sciences and your curriculum.

Requests must reach the studies coordinator within the first 4 weeks of a regular course and antecedent to a course by topic (Blockkurs).

In KSL/CTS, you put these courses under "Freiwillige Zusatzleistungen" or "Zwischenablage". As soon as you have completed all of your courses, send an email to the studies coordinator, who certifies the approval of these courses.

How can I import ECTS credits and grades from ETH Zurich (or other institutions) in KSL/CTS?

As you have finished the hunt for ECTS points [e.g. at ETH Zurich, after 2 – 3 semesters] you ask the external institution [ETH Zurich] for a collective certificate with all of your courses, ECTS and grades (see Information sheet). This is called transcript and is issued by the external institution. You send this transcript to the graduate school studies coordinator, and we import this list into your UniBE KSL/CTS account.

Can exams be repeated?

If the grade of an exam is less then 4 (i.e. fail or unsatisfactory), the exam can be repeated once. The grades of the 2nd round count towards the grade average (even if they are lower than the grades of the first exam). In the elective courses module, a maximum of 6 ECTS credits of unsatisfactory grades can be compensated. More important compensations require an approval by the studies director.

How is the specialization determined?

The Master program leads to the degree of MSc in Climate Sciences with special qualification in five potential areas of specialization (see Art. 3 of the studies program). Unless you have a BSc degree which is subject to restrictions (see Art. 6.2 of the studies program and the FAQ section for prospective students), your final specialization is determined by the curriculum, i.e. the selection of courses and the topic of the master thesis. The specialization is selected by you and your supervising committee on the occasion of submitting the Master thesis tracking form (PDF, 284KB), which the studies directorate will then consider after a final check. Contact the deputy studies director in case of doubt.

How about the master thesis?

At the beginning of the master thesis (i.e. as soon as the topic and formalities have been clarified) the Master thesis tracking form (PDF, 284KB) and a short master thesis proposal (about 4-6 pages, including a timeline) has to be sent to the studies coordinator. The master thesis is typically written in English.  As an option, the master thesis may be written in the form of a research article (ready for publication; see Art. 15, Para. 9 of the studies program 2011). In this case, the thesis must contain framework chapters analogously to a PhD thesis , i.e., an additional introduction chapter summarizing the context of the thesis and an annex with supplementary material explaining what is not documented in the research article. In all cases, the thesis must contain the master thesis declaration signed by the author, and the title page must at least contain the elements given in the template.

Who can supervise my thesis?

As a general rule, two or more persons are needed to supervise a master thesis (single supervisors are also possible, typically for PhD theses). They form the supervising committee:

  • The first person is the supervisor. She/he needs to be a member of the supervising faculty (see list, persons without asterisk, see also RSL 05, Art. 16).
  • The second person is the co-supervisor or an advisor. Co-supervisors must also be members of the supervising faculty, advisors can be any other person (e.g. a PhD student or a PostDoc from the supervisor's group).
  • The third and even more persons are optional. They can only be advisors.

It is possible to propose persons from outside the supervising faculty as co-supervisor. They need a special appointment from the Dean of the Faculty of Science (the studies director will organise that). Eligible are only persons with qualifications equal to those of the supervising faculty (i.e. they must have teaching experience, conduct research, head a research group). Please send the Application (PDF, 326KB) form provided by the Faculty of Sciences to the studies directorate of the Graduate School).

The master thesis evaluation must be signed by the supervisor and the co-supervisor (if applicable), but not by the advisors (cf. FAQ on the master thesis evaluation). Also note that the thesis supervisors can be examiners at the examination, but cannot be the chair of the exam.

How about the internship?

The internship (30 ECTS, see guidelines) is part of the studies program and replaces half of the MSc thesis work (30 ECTS of 60 ECTS). The internship does therefore not extend the duration of the studies. No salaries are paid for the MSc thesis. The same holds for the internship (from the side of the Graduate School) unless the 'employer', i.e. the 3rd party partner has other regulations or funding opportunities.

Duration of the program, extension

The standard duration of the M.Sc. Climate Siences program is 4 semesters full time. The program must be completed latest within 6 semesters (RSL 05). Further extension of the duration of studies (max. 2 semesters) requires a request to and written permission from the studies director by the end of the 6th semester. Cogent grounds for an extension are pregnancy, maternity leave, family work, work (more than 25% employment, certified), health problems, external language courses, military/civil service (more than 4 weeks). Failure of exams is not accepted (UniSt Art 84). Requests for an extension of the duration of studies are to be submitted in the semester prior to the end of the standard duration (10 December, 10 May respectively, to the studies director) using this form form (pdf, 970 kB). In addition, the request must contain a written statement of grounds and include a detailed work plan covering the remaining period of studies.