Frequently Asked Questions
If you have additional questions we are always happy to help in whatever way possible. Please thoroughly read these resources before contacting us, as many questions are addressed below.
Current Students: General Questions
Can I take a course outside of the Philosophy, Political Science, Law or Economics department for credit?
You are permitted to take one course outside of these areas as part of your 30 ECTS in Political Science, Law, and Economics credits as long as it is generally within the scope of political studies. Examples include courses from Gender Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, or Sociology.
Please pay attention that the course is a MA level course. BA courses cannot be counted for credit towards your PLEP studies.
When should I plan to write my MA thesis? What are the steps for writing a MA thesis?
Please refer to the PLEP Community Page for a detailed description of the steps to completing a MA thesis. The most important initial first step is to turn in your registration to the dean’s office at the end of the semester prior to when you plan to write your thesis. (i.e. end of Fall semester, if you plan to write in the Spring). More information about these deadlines and processes is available on the PLEP Community Official Info Page.
How do I graduate?
Information about how to graduate and the necessary steps to do so, is available at the PLEP community Official Info page.
Do I fulfill the admission requirements?
Students with a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Law are ideal candidates for the PLEP program. Students without 60 credits or more in Philosophy will be required to take 4 introductory courses in Philosophy at the Bachelor's level. These credits cannot count towards the 120 credits of your PLEP degree. Students without at least 60 credits in Political Science, Economics, or Law will also be required to take 15 ECTS at the Bachelor's level in these subjects. Students that are required to take additional credits may complete the program in 5 or 6 semesters in accordance with the recommended 30 credit per semester. You will find information about our admission requirements on the PLEP Factsheet.
Please note: If you have a BA in PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) and you have 90 ECTS in either philosophy, politics or economics you also fulfil the above requirements. PPE Students who are unsure whether or not the qualify are advised to contact Prof. Dr. Markus Stepanians with their transcripts, prior to application.
For general admission requirements of the university with details about required documents and more, please download this PDF from the Admissions Office.
Students holding a Swiss Bachelor's degree or a degree from the University of Bern should refer to the Admissions Office website.
What are the language requirements for the PLEP?
Please refer to the requirements section on our PLEP Factsheet.
What fees apply to studying in Bern?
The application fee to apply to the program is 100 CHF. An additional 100 CHF will be charged for late applications. The registration fee for the program is 100 CHF in addition to the semester fees. For a full breakdown of fees at the University of Bern, download this PDF.
The PLEP program fee is 805 CHF per semester for Swiss students, 1005 CHF for non-Swiss students. Please be aware that if you need to extend your study time beyond 6 semesters you will need to apply for an extension. Students taking more than 12 semesters to finish will pay additional fees. For more information please refer to the main page of the university: Tuition and Semester Fees.
Are there scholarships available to study in the PLEP?
The PLEP program and the Institute of Philosophy cannot offer any financial support, grants, or scholarships. However, There are a limited number of grants for international MA students to study at the University of Bern. Deadline for grant applications to study in the Fall semester is 31 December. For more information please refer to the scholarships page of the University of Bern.
How do I apply for the PLEP?
You will find more information about admissions requirements for the PLEP MA Program on the PLEP Factsheet.
Please refer to the admissions office website for more information about applying to the University of Bern. This information can be found here:
Please see the following for important documents for international students:
How many credits should I take per semester? How will I choose my schedule? When should I register for courses?
We recommend students take 30 credits per semester, not more. This is especially true for students without a background in Philosophy who will need to apply themselves to learn new methods of thinking, learning, and writing. All PLEP students will take the course "Methods of Practical Philosophy" in their first semester regardless of their background. This gives students an opportunity to refresh or hone their skills as well as develop relationships with their colleagues. Students that need additional courses are advised to take these courses in their first two semesters.
All students will meet with the study advisor at the beginning of the semester to choose a schedule custom fit to their background and interests. It is NOT necessary to register for courses prior to the start of the semester. Student will visit courses they are interested in, and participate in a voluntary tutorial to register for courses in their first week.
I’m an international student, where can I find further information about living and studying in Bern?
International Applicants should check this list of required documents for students holding an international degree. Please be aware that the processing time for an international application is 4-6 weeks. Please leave plenty of time (appx. 3 months) to apply for a visa once your application is processed.
Also, please see the Conditions Relevant to Residing and Entering Switzerland. Be aware of relevant residence fees for foreign students. Fees may differ depending on country of origin.
The International Office of the University of Bern provides excellent information about health insurance requirements, visa requirements, etc. Please refer to their website.
I don’t speak German, can I still join the PLEP?
Yes, if you do not need to take additional courses in Philosophy at the Bachelor's level, German is not required. We do however, strongly encourage students to enroll in German courses here at the university so they will be able to engage more fully in the university life. The university offers German courses at the level A1 and above.
If you don't have at least a minor in philosophy, you'll need to take extracurricular introductory courses in philosophy. Some introductory courses in philosophy are conducted in German. If you need to take courses in German you will need to prove a level of C1.
For more information about German courses at the university of Bern, please refer to their website.
I’m not a native English speaker, who grew up in an English speaking country. What are the requirements for proving my English skills?
You have to prove your English language skills when applying. A minimum result in either of the following language tests is required.
Language test minimum result:
TOEFL Internet 92
- TOEFL Paper 580
- IELTS 6.5
- Cambridge First Certificate in English
TOEFL and IELTS must have been taken within the preceding 36 months. Test results older than that will not be accepted. For further information see the University of Bern’s Academic English Services. Test results must be given before the beginning of the student’s first semester.
If your prior studies were conducted in English and you studied in an environment where English is the main language you are dispensed from proving English language skills.
Can I study abroad while in the PLEP?
Yes! Students interested in studying abroad can find more information on the Mobility page of the university.
It is possible to study for one or two semesters with the SEMP (Erasmus) Program at one of the many partner universities in Europe. All around the world, you will find further possibilities of completing a stay abroad as part of the ISEP Program or the bilateral exchange agreements. In all programs, you remain registered at the University of Bern even though you are studying abroad. Please be aware! The deadline for SEMP (Erasmus) is once a year, March 1st, regardless of which semester you plan to study abroad. More information at the Mobility website.
If you are planning to study at a university with which we have no exchange agreement, you are of course free to organize this yourself even though this will involve considerable effort on your part.
It is mandatory that all abroad plans be discussed with our Mobility Coordinator, Matthias Rolffs .
Can I study at another university in Switzerland while in the PLEP?
Once you have successfully completed your first year at the University of Bern, you have the option of studying at another Swiss university for one or two semesters. You remain registered and continue to pay tuition fees at the University of Bern. There are no registration fees at the host university.
A limited period of study at a different Swiss university provides you with an opportunity for improving your foreign language skills, taking advantage of an extended range of subjects, making new contacts and discovering a new environment.
In theory, a mobility stay is possible in all subjects. To ensure that your academic achievements will be recognized, please discuss your plans with the academic student advice office for your subject. We recommend you conclude a learning agreement. You will find the corresponding form further down.
Registration dates for studying at other universities in Switzerland:
- April 15 for the fall semester
- November 15 for the spring semester
(Exception: Students of Medicine wanting to attend the University of Lausanne - April 15 for both semesters)
For more information and necessary documents, please refer to the mobility page of the main website.