The Bologna process

Process initiated in 1999 by the Bologna Declaration, with the purpose of establishing a European Higher Education Area (EHEA, declared open in 2010). The process introduced a system of academic grades that are easily recognisable and comparable. The process also aims to promote mobility of students, teachers and researchers, to ensure a high quality of teaching and to integrate the European dimension into higher education.

More information on the European Union site

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System)

The ECTS credit system improves transparency by providing a means of comparison for study programmes and diplomas; it also facilitates the process of mutually recognising diplomas and qualifications.
1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 25 to 30 hours.


The 1st cycle of studies in which students receive a general scientific education. To gain a bachelor’s degree students have to acquire 180 ECTS credits in 3 years of full-time studies.


The 2nd cycle of studies in which students deepen the knowledge acquired in the 1st cycle (bachelor). To gain a master’s degree students have to acquire 90 to 120 ECTS credits in 1.5 to 2 years of full-time studies.


Personal research followed by a thesis under supervision of a University professor is required. The first condition for a PhD is to have a recognised master’s degree. In some cases, a minimum final mark in master’s examinations is required. The duration of research is variable. It takes between 2 and 6 years to obtain a PhD depending in particular on the research domain.

More information about PhD in Switzerland


A collaboration network established by a framework convention between the universities of Bern, Neuchâtel and Fribourg. The purpose of the network is mainly to co-ordinate teaching between the three universities and to allow students to easily access a wider range of studies. A number of conventions have been drawn up which govern the range of courses. For some study programmes, the co-operation set up between the three universities makes mobility between sites compulsory. Students receive a common BENEFRI diploma.

More information about BENEFRI