Incoming Students

The Division of Social Work at Bern University of Applied Sciences promotes international and national student exchanges and offers guest students the opportunity to complete a guest semester in the form of a practical training course or internship.


Guest students may apply for a study or internship place on the Division of Social Work of Bern University of Applied Sciences.

The academic year is divided into two identically structured semesters:
Autumn semester Starts in Week 38
Spring semester: Starts in Week 08

Structure of semesters:
Regular degree programmes: 12 weeks
Block lessons: 4 weeks
Examination weeks: 2 weeks

Detailed information on lesson schedules and other important deadlines


Timely nomination of students by their home university is a requirement for registration for a guest semester. Following that, the International Office forwards confirmation of nomination to the nominated students, with a link to online registration for the planned guest semester. 

Once online registration has been completed in full, a definitive decision will be made on admission and students will be informed of the decision and the further course of action.

We would advise all of our guest students to discuss their curriculum with the Erasmus Programme coordinator at their home university and document this in the Learning Agreement. This should guarantee that their studies will be recognised by their home university after the external semester.

Application and registration deadlines: 

  • For an internship in the autumn semester (September-January): 1 November of the previous year
  • For attending courses in the autumn semester (September-January): 15 May
  • For an internship in the spring semester (February-June): 1 May of the previous year
  • For attending courses in the spring semester (February-June): 15 October

Special information for practical semesters

Traineeship semesters are rated at 23.5 or 27.5 ECTS credits; students will be required to work for the organisation providing the traineeship ('Practical training module', 20 or 24 ECTS credits) and complete the practice-orientated modules 'Theory and practice workshop and/or situation workshop' (TPW, 2 ECTS credits) and 'Training supervision' (ASV, 1.5 ECTS credits).

The student workload ranges from 50 to 100% and comprises 40 to 42.5 hours per week. Students are free to set their period of employment at between 5 and 12 months to suit their requirements, assuming they can find a matching traineeship. The workload will vary relative to the duration of employment. Guest student traineeship semesters typically last 5 or 6 months, with a 100% level of employment starting in February or August. The time required for attendance at the accompanying seminars is already included in the workload calculations.

On completion of the Practical training module, students are required to submit a traineeship report. Their performance will also be assessed by their trainer on the basis of their predefined learning objectives. Students will find details in the module description. The practice-orientated modules will be graded as 'passed/failed'. 

The trainer at the organisation in question will introduce them to their tasks and duties and will act as the contact person within the traineeship organisation. 

Lecturers of the Division of Social Work (traineeship supervisors) will provide two accompanying traineeship discussions during the module. They will approve the defined learning objectives, evaluate the traineeship report and award the final grade. Traineeship supervisors are the first port of call for questions or if problems arise during a practical training module. 

Traineeships in Switzerland are different from traineeships in many other places of study in that particular importance is attached to the fact that trainees must work and learn independently. After a brief induction period, students will be required take on fully fledged jobs within the organisation in question. This is also reflected in the fact that they will be paid for their work at a commensurate trainee rate.

We will contact students who submit an application to take a traineeship semester and provide them with the login details for the traineeship jobs gallery and deadlines, inform them of the enrolment window for the accompanying traineeship modules and, if so requested, we will give them advice on the application process in Switzerland. At this point, guest students can also obtain information from the International Office if they would like to take further modules offered by the Division of Social Work.

With this information, they can freely apply for any posts that we are advertising. Receipt of an application is not, however, a guarantee that a student will be provided with a traineeship post - guest students are in competition with the students of the Division of Social Work of BFH, who will be applying at the same time. It is therefore important that you make sure that you submit all documentation that is usually required in Switzerland by the given deadlines.

If an organisation agrees to take you on as a trainee, you will be sent several documents: A work contract that regulates organisational details (workload, wages, holidays, etc.) that will be signed by you and your traineeship organisation. BFH regulates all important details with the traineeship organisation in a traineeship agreement. A copy of this will be sent to you.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the International Office.

Support of guest students

The «European Student Network» (esn) is an international self-help organisation of students intended to promote student mobility. The local sections as well as the Bern Section support guest students during their stay by providing a "buddy system" and organising social events. Participation in the esn section provides international social contacts, the opportunity to practise foreign languages and a chance to collect and pass on experiences regarding student mobility and is considered to represent a form of payback for the support you have received or will receive during your own study visit.