Master's in Philosophy of Science

The Master program in Philosophy of Science involves the in-depth study of relevant research questions and philosophical positions. Students can choose from among a broad range of courses in subjects such as scientific revolutions, scientific explanation, causality and the philosophy of space and time.

The program in Bern also focuses on historical case studies that highlight the approaches and results of specific research projects. The program's seminars are supplemented by a colloquium that introduces students to current research topics. Individually supervised work in projects enables students to gain more extensive knowledge in their areas of interest and effectively prepare for their master thesis.

Master Wissenschaftsphilosophie
Basic information
Degree: Master of Arts in Philosophy of Science, Universität Bern
Number of credits: 120 ECTS credits
Degree programs:
  • Major 90 ECTS credits
Offer for other degree programs:
  • Minor 30 ECTS credits
Combination possibilities: several
Duration: 4 semesters
Language: German
Beginning studies: Fall or spring semester

The Master program in Philosophy of Science examines science from a philosophical point of view. In order to ensure such an approach is successful, and also to enable a course of study that accommodates the student's interests and previous academic experience, the program focuses on two aspects:

  1. Seminars, colloquia and block seminars in which students examine special topics together.
  2. project work in which faculty support the students' exploration of topics of their choice.

The Master program in Philosophy of Science provides students with detailed knowledge on selected fields of the philosophy of science, whereby the students may choose their area of specialization themselves. Among other things, students learn how to apply philosophical methods to objects of philosophical research and also gain a philosophical understanding of scientific approaches and results in their specific historical contexts.

The Master's degree program in Philosophy of Science consists of a major with 90 ECTS credits and a minor with 30 ECTS credits.

The major can be combined with any minor subject taught in a sufficient scope at the University of Bern, with the exception of Philosophy of Science, Philosophy and Philosophy of the Mind.

Major ECTS Minor ECTS
90         30        

Individual academic requirements

The following academic qualifications are required for admission to the master’s degree program in Philosophy of Science (major):

a) Competences corresponding to 90 ECTS credits in philosophy, including an introductory course, and an proseminar, in philosophy or
b) Competences corresponding to 90 ECTS credits in philosophy of science or

A bachelor's degree in one of the following study programs:

  • Biology
  • Biomedicine
  • Chemistry
  • Geography
  • Computer science
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Political science
  • Psychology
  • Social and cultural anthropology
  •  Sociology
  •  Environmental science
  • Economics

If no courses in philosophy of science have been taken thus far, additional attainments from the Bachelor program in Philosophy with a focus in philosophy of science will be required. The ECTS credits will be listed separately in the diploma supplement as extracurricular attainments. – Please contact the Master Study Consultation.  

Study requirements for the MA Minor in Philosophy of science (30 ECTS):  

Competences corresponding to 30 ECTS points in philosophy.

Swiss bachelor's degrees/programs

from the University of Bern

that allow admission to the desired master's degree program without any assessment:

  • Bachelor Minor in Wissenschaftsphilosophie (60 ECTS)

Language requirements

If knowledge of Latin or Greek is necessary for research on specific topics, students must obtain this knowledge outside the master's degree program. The ECTS credits will be listed separately in the diploma supplement as extracurricular attainments.

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

Current UniBE students

Apply for a change to the M A in Philosophy of Science, 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.

Doctoral studies

Career perspectives

Every philosophy student has probably asked themselves at one time or another what the career prospects are like for a philosophy graduate. Finding an answer to this question is likely easier for students planning an academic career than it is for those who simply plan to leave the university when they complete their degree. No one will deny the fact that there are few jobs outside of the university environment that are designed explicitly and exclusively for philosophy graduates.

Nevertheless, studying philosophy is not only fun; it's also an extremely educating experience – students simply learn a lot. Moreover, most of what students learn can be used in their later professional life. For example, the methodological skills and expertise students acquire are more pronounced than the philosophical knowledge they obtain. Methodological knowledge must be learned and repeatedly trained if the student is to master certain methodologies, which is why the entire program of study in Bern also focuses strongly on qualified feedback and support from lecturers.

The philosophers who graduate from the University of Bern are experts in methodological techniques such as analytic thinking, argumentation, and writing and presentation. These methodological qualifications are in turn essential for success in many areas, especially journalism, politics, business and industry, publishing, public administration and cultural work. Philosophy students can also have successful careers in teaching and adult education and, of course, as researchers and lecturers at universities. Graduates from the Institute of Philosophy in Bern hold high positions today in the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems, for example, as well as in knowledge management organizations and associations and commissions that evaluate new technologies. Former students at the Institute of Philosophy also work for the UN, in non-governmental organizations in Switzerland and abroad, as newspaper and magazine editors, in think tanks and for the Swiss federal government. One famous example of a successful career for a philosophy graduate is offered by Norbert Blüm, the former Minister of Labor of the Federal Republic of Germany. What's more, nearly all former Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom were graduates of the "PPE" program in Oxford, which the PEP program in Bern was modelled on. 

The important thing when looking for a job is most certainly to highlight to the potential employer the skills one has attained, since, as the career question cited above makes clear, many companies and organizations are not equally familiar with the various aspects that make up the study of philosophy. One should also remain patient when searching for a job and remember to point out any other pertinent experience gained outside the course of study.

It is also possible to remain active in the field of philosophy outside the university environment after the completion of one's studies. Knowledge of ethics is clearly more in demand as of late, as legal debates regarding research involving human beings also contain a strong ethical component: For example, although cantonal ethics commissions only have a few ethics experts as members, the commissions do have to approve relevant studies, and this "has been the standard for a very long time," according to Jean-Daniel Strub. Outside the realm of humanitarian issues, ethical questions have only recently become more important, whereby the "demand" here continually fluctuates. For example, many companies have recently begun setting up separate departments for Social Responsibility. In addition, a market has been created for philosophical methods that support the desire of individuals to attain greater knowledge and a better moral standing. There are also consulting firms that are now offering an ever-greater range of services that help companies and government agencies evaluate their activities on the basis of ethical criteria, such as those related to good governance, for example.

Source: Ein offenes Ohr für Zweitmeinungen haben ("An open ear for a second opinion," NZZ am Sonntag newspaper, April 22, 2012.