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Bern University of the Arts

Bern University of the Arts Department of Design and Fine Arts

Switzerland Full Member Institution

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Mission Statement

The BUA is firmly rooted in this world. It is geared to the global social processes while, at the same time, being anchored in its local and regional setting. As a university that unites all the different artistic disciplines under a single roof, it aspires – in the interests of its members – to assert itself in these processes in a responsible manner and to play a part in shaping them. The BUA is an international, multilingual university. Its students and lecturers come from more than 30 countries. It views cultural differential as creative potential, which is to be fostered and not overcome. The BUA particularly cherishes its French/German bilingualism As a University of the Arts, the BUA is committed to the individuality of its members. It provides the best possible conditions for ensuring that this individuality can evolve. The BUA expects a high artistic and/ or specialist, methodical and didactic competence from its lecturers, an active confrontation with research issues, the capacity of self-reflection, enjoyment of working with young people, a sense of responsibility and the readiness to stand up for the aims and values of the BUA both internally and externally. Teaching occupies a central role in everyday university life at the BUA. The teaching and learning process is viewed as a joint project between students and lecturers, with both sides assuming responsibility for its success. The BUA accords a high status to research. It plays an active role in the development of disciplinary research standards and looks for new forms of research in art. It works on the assumption that findings are formulated in works of art and that these, in their media-specific presentation forms, rank equally with systems of scientific findings. The BUA views itself as a venue for artistic production and experiment and thus creates publicity in this way. The University is one of the key cultural providers in Berne and contributes towards an open, innovative and lively cultural climate.

International Role

The Design and Fine Arts department is part of an international multilingual university with students and lecturers from different countries. Cultural diversity is perceived as a creative potential which is persistently to be fostered. The BUA plays an active role in the ERASMUS network, not only by sending their students and teachers abroad but also by participating in research projects under the framework of the LLP. Internationalisation at Bern University of the Arts is still young. Never the less the Department of Fine Arts and Design is linked to many partners in Europe through its research- and studyactivities.

National Role

As a research institute and an event center the department of Design and Fine Arts is an important stahkeholder in the cultural live of the city of Berne and its surroundings. Major events such as the "Biennale Bern" and a huge number of exhibitions are jointly organised with cultural professionals and partners from the world of Business.

Main Focus

The main focus is on independent, mentored project work which is accompanied by theoretical teaching

Faculties and Departments

Art Education, Visual Communication, Fine Arts

Bachelor Level Programs

BA Art Education, 3 years / BA Visual Communication, 3 years / BA Fine Arts, 3 years / BSc Multimedia Production, 3 years

Master Level Programs

MA Art Education, 2 years / MA Design, full time 1,5 years, part time 2,5 years / MA Multimedia Communication & Publishing, fulltime 1,5 years, part time 2,5 years / MA Contemporary Arts Practice/Fine Arts, 2 years

Research Activity and Main Areas

Research at the Bern University of Arts BUA ist close to practise and transdisciplinary. Together with partners from economics, science, administration and the cultural sector, we develop new knowledge and make it available to the public as well as persons or institutions commissioning research. Our research activity is defined by the connection of scientific and artistic approaches or procedures. The research conducted at the BUA is organised into four research areas (Forschungsschwerpunkte FSP): Intermediality, Interpretation, Communication Design, Materiality in Art and Culture

Doctorate Level Programs

Studies in the Arts (SINTA)

Art graduates come with precise questions and topics and want to further qualify themselves scientifically, graduates of universities are looking for the practical proximity to the arts. Most of them are very talented in both fields. Some bring more artistic-creative experience, others more methodical knowledge and writing routine.

The SINTA are a collaborative initiative between the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Bern (Universität Bern) and Bern University of Applied Sciences, Department Bern University of the Arts (HKB). We offer a interdisciplinary doctoral program aimed at both research-based artists and academics with an interest in artistic practice. The transdisciplinary doctoral program Studies in the Arts (SINTA) brings art and science together: art graduates can study for a doctorate in the joint program of the University of Bern (Universität Bern) and the Bern University of the Arts (HKB). The SINTA give both research and art new impulses as well as introducing new perspectives and research fields.

Duration: The doctoral program Studies in the Arts lasts three to four years.

Title: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) awarded by the Faculty of Humanities (Universität Bern). A diploma supplement shows the attainments made at SINTA under the joint auspices of both institutions.

Subject Areas for Exchange Students

Exchange students are welcome at all subject areas taught at Bern University of the Arts.


Application Deadlines

15. November/Spring; 15. April/Autumn

Teaching Languages

German Mentoring / Thesis also in English and French. A high percentage of teachers are familiar with English

Semester Dates

Spring: February-June, Autumn: Mid September-Mid January

Cost of Living Per Month (Studying and Living)

500 Euros – Tuition fee / term living costs: 1000 Euros


Bachelor: 489
Master: 338

Exchange Students

Incoming: 25
Outgoing: 15
Others: 78

Teaching Staff

Professors: 14
Lectures: 233
Part-time Teachers: 46

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