Why study geography?

Environmental and climate change, globalisation or regionalisation of economy, social tensions and migration are just a few of the important challenges of our time. There is a lot of knowledge available, which is already incorporated in our course work. Simultaneously, we still need to better understand the underlying processes of change, i.e. we need more cutting edge research. Are you interested to explore these processes with their causes and consequences? Or would you rather like to solve problems, implement knowledge and change things?

The Institute for Geography at the University of Bern offers a comprehensive program relevant for the contemporary labour market: basic research, applied research, practice, and teaching. First, you get a broad education comprising natural and social science themes, approaches and methods. Whatever route you will choose later on, we invite you to take advantage of the diverse range of courses and possibilities of collaboration in various research units and get to know a wide range of geographical thinking. Over the course of your studies, your preferences will come up and you will be able to decide whether you will focus on a specialisation, or you can keep a broader geographic look. After all, a great challenge of the present time remains the integrative investigation of complex human-environment relationships that requires a combination of physical and human geographical procedures.

You will decide which sub-discipline you would like to specialize in or whether you want to work across the sub-disciplines.

Why study geography in Bern?

Brochure "Studying Geography in Bern"

Students present the geography program

What do former and current students and lecturers say (video in German)

Excellence Award

Bern Geography Excellence Award

The Institute of Geography awards a prize for best bachelor students since FS21. The “Bern Geography Excellence Award” rewards students that have an average grade of at least 5.5 at completion of their bachelor level. These students receive an award certificate by the Director during the Institute Assembly which takes place once a year in November or December. They also get a monetary price of up to 500 CHF to cover expenses linked to the attendance of an academic event taking place in Europe (conference, summer school, academic visit, workshop etc…). The money has to be claimed within one year after the award ceremony maximum and the eligibility of the event has to be determined prior making any expenses with the help of a mentor (any unit leader).

Basic points

Duration and language of instruction

Duration: The BSc program takes usually 6 semesters, the MSc program 4 semesters. Language of instruction: BSc courses will be held in German. MSc courses will be held mostly in English, sometimes in German. Basic knowledge in English and German is essential to be able to read and understand scientific publications.

Job opportunities

Careers for Geographers

Impressions of excursions

Impressions of excursions

United States excursion (12.6.-10.7.16): from New York City to San Francisco: Water and the great American experiment.
Iceland excursion (1-13 august 2018): Iceland – 21 Bernese geographers set off on their journey.
Madagascar excursion (12-22 august 2019): Could Agroforestry leftovers provide an additional income for rural communities? (short version)