Master's in Eastern European Studies

The Universities of Bern and Fribourg have the highest degree of expertise and the most diverse knowledge in all of Switzerland when it comes to Eastern Europe. With the Swiss Library of Eastern Europe – the largest specialized academic library in Switzerland for East European history and contemporary East European studies – the two universities also have at their disposal one of Europe's biggest research libraries for East European studies.

All of this expertise is linked together to create a unique knowledge base in the Master program in East European Studies.
Students in the program learn about the specific political and social problems in East European societies, which are still in the midst of a transformation. Students acquire knowledge and methodological skills in the following areas: Ethnic minority issues, the management of ethnic diversity, questions of political and social transformation, democratization processes and institutional transformation. Contemporary issues and topics are addressed in courses with a deep historical-cultural focus that places such issues in the corresponding context. Students learn at least one East European language."

Basic information
Degree: Master of Arts in Eastern European Studies, Universität Bern
Number of credits: 120 ECTS credits
Degree programs:
  • Major Eastern European Studies 90 ECTS credits

Offer for other degree programs:

  • Minor Eastern European Studies 30 ECTS credits
Combination possibilities: several
Duration: 4 semesters
Languages: German, French and English
Beginning studies: Fall or spring semester

The program of study focuses geographically on the region between Germany, Austria and Italy in the west and the Pacific Ocean in the east. It thus includes the new EU members states in the eastern part of Central Europe and in the Baltic region, the countries of southeastern Europe (Balkan peninsular), traditional Eastern Europe (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus) and Central Asia and the Caucuses. Students in the program focus on the following subjects:

  • History of Eastern Europe East European Politics
  • East European Cultures (Slavic languages and literature and cultural philosophy)
  • Social Anthropology of Eastern Europe

Topics from other fields are also addressed: Byzantine studies, Islamic studies, Eastern Orthodox Church studies, economics. The aim of the program is to provide students with basic knowledge of Eastern Europe. Students acquire the methodological skills and knowledge needed for an analysis of the history of the countries and societies of Eastern Europe and an examination of contemporary issues. Students also learn to present the results of their research in both written and verbal form and from different academic perspectives. Program participants study at least one Slavic or other East European language.

The Master in East European Studies is a four-semester course of study with courses in German and French. Programs are offered in the following combinations:

  • Major 90 ECTS (Fribourg and Bern)
  • Minor 30 ECTS (Fribourg and Bern)

The programs have a duration of four semesters (7th-10th semester), during which time the students' knowledge is expanded in the four program subject fields in an interdisciplinary manner with at least one lecture and one seminar in each subject field:

  • History of Eastern Europe module
  • East European Politics module
  • East European Cultures module
  • Social Anthropology of Eastern Europe module

The Master's degree program in East European Studies consists of a major with 90 ECTS credits and a minor with 30 ECTS credits.

Any subject taught in a sufficient scope at the University of Bern can be chosen as a minor. However, students are not permitted to have a major and minor in the same subject.

Major ECTS  Minor ECTS 
90  30 

Individual academic requirements

The following academic qualifications are required for admission to the master’s degree program in Eastern European Studies (major):


Bachelor's degree from a recognized university with a major in one of the following branches of studies: 

  •   Slavonic languages and literatures
  •   History*
  •   Political Science*
  •   Social and Cultural Anthropology *
b) Bachelor's degree from a recognized university with a major in a different branch of studies, provided that the master's degree can be successfully completed with an additional maximum 60 ECTS credits. Additional attainments can either be admission requirements which must be fulfilled in order to complete the master's degree program or admission requirements which must be fulfilled before admission to the master's degree program. The ECTS credits will be listed separately in the diploma supplement as extracurricular attainments. *

Please consult the admission requirements for the minor as presented in the plan of studies.

The bachelor's degree may not be more than ten years old. Exceptions are possible where justified. 

*Language requirements

Evidence of language proficiency in one East European language must be presented before you can begin the master's degree program. The following options for meeting this requirement are available:

a) Native proficiency
b) Language diploma or evidence of language courses that meet the language requirements in the bachelor's program East European Studies.

For questions regarding application and admission, please contact the Admissions Office.

Current UniBE students

Apply for a change to the M A in Eastern European Studies, Universität Bern by self-service as part of the re-registration for the next semester.
Renewal of semester registration → Self-service
Recognition of academic achievements
Procedure and timing of the renewal of semester registration

Application with a Swiss degree

Online application
Steps from application to registration

Application with an international degree

Online application
CHECKLIST - Documents for your application / Important information
Steps from application to registration

For questions regarding application and admission, please contact the Admissions Office.