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University of Basel

Academic Structures

Degree Program Model

Bachelor's (180 credit points = 3 years full-time study); master's (90-120 credit points = 1.5 to 2 years full-time study); PhD (min. 12 credit point, 3-4 years full-time study). The bachelor's degree provides undergraduate academic training and is considered a person's first academic degree. This is followed consecutively by master studies in the same subject or a specialized master's degree program. The master's degree provides more in-depth content and methodology and expands expertise in the field. In Switzerland, a master's degree is considered the standard university degree. Situated between teaching and research, the PhD prepares candidates for academic work both within and beyond the university.


Modules are learning units that are defined in terms of credit points, consist of one or more classes and are focused on specific learning objectives. They structure and sequence degree programs by aligning various course formats and learning tasks with one another.


The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) is based on the workload required of students to achieve the previously defined objectives of a course unit (e.g. module, class). At the University of Basel, 1 credit point is equivalent to 30 hours of student learning in the context of attending classes, independent study, preparation and examinations, etc. Credit points can only be earned for courses that have been passed and are not based on grades given for academic performance.

Mobility Window

Students at the University of Basel should be able to complete up to one third of their degree program (60 bachelor's CPs, 30 master's CPs) at another university. Each degree program should offer a mobility window.

Elective (Complementary Component)

Students should have the freedom to earn credit points both within and outside their discipline. For consecutive bachelor's and master's degree programs, an elective component of approximately 30 credit points is recommended, 12 credit points of which have to be earned outside of one's subject.

Learning Outcomes

Developing a skills-oriented organization of degree programs requires taking the potential fields in which graduates will work (including research) and the research focuses of particular fields into consideration. This knowledge is the basis for the profile and objectives of a particular degree program, which is then built around a modular degree course structure. The national framework of qualifications for Swiss higher education institutes defines proficiencies that are to be attained for each level of study. A qualifications profile exists for each degree program at the University of Basel.

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