Law Studies in Bern

 

Courses, Exams, Grades & ECTS

Courses

All of the courses can be found on the KSL online system, by clicking here, and then clicking “English” at the top of the page.  Please note that KSL can also be sorted to list the language of instruction of the various courses, so you can display courses available in English, for example, for the semester in which you are interested.  Students who want to take classes at the law faculty conducted in English should start their search by choosing “Advanced Search” and then dropping down under “Faculty” to “Faculty of Law”, then sorting the “Language” column and paging through until they see classes in “EN” for English.  Note that HS2017 denotes the fall semester (Herbstsemester 2017) and spring semester denoted as “FS” (Frühlingssemester).

For courses taught in German, students should have at least a B2 level of German under the Common European Framework of Languages in order to enroll.  Courses taught in German are taught in High German, so students have no need to be familiar with the Swiss German dialect in order to study here.

At the law school, there are generally three types of courses, lectures (Vorlesungen), tutorials (Uebungen), and seminars.  Lectures conclude with a written or oral exam, seminars and tutorials are graded based on a written paper.  Tutorials often involve a paper which solves a certain case study or legal hypothetical.

Both local and exchange students are entitled to take classes (Master level) and sit for exams at the nearby universities of Neuchâtel and Fribourg within the scope of the BeNeFri program.  Note that Fribourg is a bilingual French-German university and Neuchâtel is a French-speaking university. Both offer some English lectures al well. The BeNeFri program has a compensation fund for travel costs between Bern and the other BeNeFri universities.  If you are interested, you should download the registration form and contact the coordinator.  The form has to be addressed to the Admissions Office by September 30 for the autumn semester and by February 28 for the spring semester.  Please note that a central BeNeFri registration with the Admissions Office of the University of Bern is a prerequisite for a valid registration for examination and thus for the recognition of attended lectures.

Exams

Students do not have to register to attend most classes at the University of Bern Law Faculty (unless it is specifically noted in KSL, for certain seminars), but students do have to register to take the exams and must do so by the required deadlines.  Please note that students who have not completed their secondary schooling in the German language may ask for 30 minutes extra to complete their exams, but they must do so when registering for the exam.  Later requests cannot be accommodated.  Compulsory registration for exams must be done through the KSL system.  The deadlines for exam registration are listed on this webpage (see English PDFs).

Exams for the fall semester are usually held in January, and exams for the spring semester are usually held in June.  SEMP and other international exchange students can request to take the fall semester exams before Christmas or just take them on the standard University of Bern schedule, if they would prefer to have the standard amount of study time and are willing to stay in Bern through January.  Failed exams can only be retaken at the end of the next term.

ECTS/Credits

The University of Bern uses the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) to calculate credits.  The University of Bern does not require a minimum or maximum amount of credits per semester, but the student’s home university may have credit requirements, so students should double check the rules with their home universities.  For local University of Bern students, the university recommends a 30 ECTS course load per semester.  One ECTS credit generally corresponds to 25-30 hours of workload.  The total workload includes class attendance, readings, other assignments, and study for the exam or writing a paper.  Depending on their language proficiency, of course, non-native speakers may have to invest more time.  The University usually advises that exchange students take approximately 20-25 ECTS per semester.

Generally, for Bachelor’s classes, students who successfully pass the exam or paper are awarded 1.5 ECTS for 1 weekly hour of classroom time.  Master’s classes count as 2.5 ECTS for 1 weekly hour of classroom time, provided students pass the exam or paper.

Grading System

 Grade  Meaning  ECTS Grades
 6.0  Excellent  A
 5.5  Very Good  B
 5.0  Good  C
 4.5  Satisfactory  D
 4.0  Sufficient  E
 3.5 or lower  Failing  

 

Academic Calendar

Academic Year 2017 – 2018

  • Orientation for Exchange Students:   Date to be announced
  • Fall Semester 2017, Classes In Session:   September 18, 2017 - December 22, 2017
  • Spring Semester 2018, Classes in Session:   February 19, 2018 - June 1, 2018; Spring Break Vacation (No Classes): March 30, 2018 - April 8, 2018

Academic Year 2018 – 2019

  • Orientation for Exchange Students:   Date to be announced
  • Fall Semester 2018, Classes in Session:  September 17, 2018 - December 21, 2018
  • Spring Semester 2019, Classes in Session:  February 18, 2019 - May 31, 2019; Spring Break Vacation (No Classes): April 19, 2019 - April 28, 2019

Tuition Fees

As a SEMP (ERASMUS) incoming student, you will receive a mobility grant from the Swiss government. This ranges between CHF 360 - 420 a month depending on your country of origin. Your online application for a SEMP (ERASMUS) stay at the University of Bern is also an automatic application for the grant.

Language of Instruction

Classes at the University of Bern Law Faculty are taught either in High German or English (or occasionally, French), so students should not worry if they want to take classes in German but are not familiar with the Swiss German dialect. We do recommend at least a B2 level of German under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in order to attend law classes taught in German.

Exchange students can sort class offerings by language of instruction on the KSL website.  Choose “Advanced Search” and then choose “Faculty of Law” under “Faculty”.  Afterwards, you can sort the courses which appear by language, DE for German, EN for English, and FR for French.

Students who have some German knowledge but who do not feel confident enough to sit for German exams and earn credits for law courses taught in German could also sit in on/audit some courses in German, while officially taking and registering for exams only for other courses taught in English.

Students who want to further improve their German may also take separate classes in German as a Foreign Language, if space is available.

Library, IT & Sports

The University’s modern facilities include: