Program Overview

  • 2 years

    Duration

  • 750 CHF/Semester

    Tuition Fees

  • Dec/Apr

    Application Deadline

  • Full Time

    Pace

  • On-Campus

    Delivery Mode

  • English/German

    Language

The Master's program in Central Asian Studies at the University of Bern focuses on Central Asia's Buddhist regions, languages, and cultures. The language skills are intensified in the Master's program and supplemented with studying a second language from the area (Tibetan, Mongolian, Chinese, Persian, Uighur, Uzbek, etc.). Students of this major are introduced to current scholarly debates during the program and encouraged to develop and critically evaluate their own points of view.

Key Facts

Autumn Semester

  • Application Deadline

    April 30, 2021

Spring Semester

  • Application Deadline

    December 15, 2021

  • Credit 120 ECTS/4 Semester

Admission Requirements

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

a) Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university with a major in Science of Religion and an empirical focus on Buddhist Central Asia​
b)  Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university with a major in:

  • Tibetology
  • Mongolian Studies
  • Central Asian Studies
c) Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university with a major in another branch of studies provided that the master’s degree can be successfully completed with an additional maximum of 60 ECTS credits and that you can demonstrate proficiency in a Central Asian language.
Additional attainments can either be admission requirements that must be fulfilled in order to complete the master’s degree program or admission requirements that 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

At the time of application, you must provide evidence of language proficiency (degree from a university or equivalent institution) in one of the languages below. Or, if you are a native Mongolian or Tibetan speaker, you must successfully complete a four-hour examination:

Languages:
a) Tibetan
b) Mongolian
c) Chinese
d) Uighur
e) Uzbek and other Central Asian Turkic languages
f) as an academic language for research: Reading ability in Russian

For more information regarding admission requirements for this program, check the program’s official page and the  University of Bern general admission page.

Fees and Funding

Tuition Fees

  • National Students

    750 CHF/Semester

  • International Students

    950 CHF/Semester

Living costs for Bern

  • Living Costs

Funding

Getting a Student Visa

Since Switzerland is a part of the Schengen zone, a Schengen visa will win you the right to go to the country, but if you want to stay there as a student, you must take a few more steps. The procedures are different for EU/EFTA and non-EU/EFTA students.

After getting the acceptance letter, follows the process of setting an appointment with the Swiss embassy or consulate in your country. The procedure takes time, so make sure to set the appointment six months prior to your studying. The processing time for the short stay visas is around 10-15 days, and for long stay visas, eight to ten weeks.

For each document required, you have to provide the original along with three copies. The papers should be in English or in one of Switzerland’s national languages (German, French, Italian, or Romansh). If they are not in one of these languages, you will need a certified translation of those documents. 

Switzerland Student Visa Requirements

  • The completed and signed application forms for a long stay visa (D type) in one of the languages mentioned above. 
  • Passport – valid three months beyond the planned stay.
  • Four passport-size biometric photographs.
  • Letter of acceptance (certificate of enrollment) issued by a Swiss university.
  • Paid visa application fee. 
  • Proof of payment of the registration and tuition fees (for the first year of your studies).
  • Proof of sufficient financial coverage: copies of bank statements or a letter from the bank provided by you or your supervisor. Funds are supposed to cover living costs in Switzerland for the duration of schooling (21,000 CHF or 19,200 EUR at the beginning of each year of your studies).
  • Scholarship/Loan proof (if available) from an institution that proves that the scholarship or loan will cover all expenses for the study.
  • CV.
  • Letter of motivation, which should also include your professional plans for the future.

Submitting the Switzerland student visa application

After filling the application and completing all required documents, you should submit them in person at the Swiss embassy/consulate at the designated time of your appointment. Along with submitting your documents, you are required to pay the Swiss student visa application fee. 

After receiving your Swiss Student Visa

You may enter Switzerland after you receive a student visa. Within the first two weeks of arrival, you have to register at the local Residents Registration Office of your canton as well as visit the cantonal migration office in order to obtain a residence permit form.

B permit (a biometric card) is the type of residence permit for student stay. Prior to that, you will receive an attestation that allows you to open a Swiss bank account. It will take up to 8 weeks for your B permit to be processed. 

Student Visa Validity

The student visa or the B permit obtained in Switzerland initially is valid for one year. After one year, you have the option to extend it. However, updated proof of income is required in order for your student visa to be extended.

Protip

If you’re a student who wants to study in Switzerland but are not quite sure what are the steps of the student visa application process,  you are advised to read the following resources on Everything You Need To Know about getting a visa for Switzerland.

Work Permit

Find out all you need to know about work permit regulations for working part-time (during studies) and full-time (after graduation) in Switzerland.

Work while studying in Switzerland

For many international students in Switzerland, working while studying is an ideal option. Still, that is not recommended by some universities since it can distract and affect your academic work. With job boards and other advisory services, other schools facilitate job searches to help students. During the school year, students’ working hours are limited, and there are a few requirements they need to fulfill.

How many hours are international students allowed to work per week?

International students can work up to 15 hours a week in part-time jobs. But during semester holidays students can work full-time.

 

When are students allowed to start working?

Students from outside the EU/EFTA countries may start working only 6 months after starting their degree program.

Is there a work permit required for students working part-time?

Citizens from EU-27/EFTA states do not require authorization for short-term employment up to three months or 90 days per the calendar year. For an extended time, they will have to earn a residence permit. Third-country nationals are obliged to submit numerous documents to prove their eligibility for a work permit in Switzerland.

What job can I get as a student in Switzerland?

During your years as a student, there are many part-time jobs that you can do. For most students, employment in retail, restaurants, and others are sought-after options. However, a lack of language skills (in German, French, or Italian) can limit your employment chances. 

Work after graduation in Switzerland

Upon your graduation, you have the right to look for a permanent job in Switzerland. Prior to that, a residency permit that allows you to search for a job should be obtained. The permit is only valid for 6 months, and it cannot be extended.

What requirements do students need to fulfill in order to receive a residency work permit?

In order to receive the residency work permit, you have to provide proof that you:

  • Have graduated. 
  • Are financially able to support your say.
  • Have secured housing.

Are students allowed to work during this 6 months period?

During this six month period, graduates can work up to 15 hours a week. These rules do not apply for EU/EFTA nationals as they benefit from the freedom of movement under bilateral agreements.

How difficult is for international students to find a permanent job after graduation in Switzerland?

A non-EU/EFTA can get a job in Switzerland only if there are no qualified individuals from within the Swiss labour market or from an EU/EFTA state that apply for the position. Employers are required to show that they made “big efforts” to find qualified applicants from EU/EFTA countries or nationals who already have a permit to work. Furthermore, employers must show why those with priority to get the job were not suitable candidates for the position.

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