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Required language skills

Here you will find information about the language skills required for a studies at the University of Bern, the Bern University of Applied Sciences or PHBern. A good knowledge of German is mandatory for almost all degree programmes at the Universities of Bern.

General information

The «Common European Framework of Reference for Languages» (CEFR) is an international standard used worldwide to describe and compare language competences.

The CEFR contains an assessment scale for language competences, which comprises 6 levels: from A1 to C2 (basic to near-native proficiency). The 6 levels can in turn be divided into 3 basic levels:

  • A: Elementary language use
  • B: Independent language use
  • C: Competent language use

University of Bern

Courses at the University of Bern are generally held in German. A good knowledge of German is a prerequisite for admission to most degree programmes. You can find more information on the University of Bern website:

Bern University of Applied Sciences

Teaching at the Bern University of Applied Sciences is generally in German; additionally, some (Master's) degree programmes are taught in French and/or English. Knowledge of French and German is generally required at the Biel campus.

Bern University of Teacher Education

A good knowledge of German is required at PHBern. Persons with German as a second language must have a knowledge of German equivalent to at least level C1 of the «Common European Framework of Reference for Languages» (CEFR).

In cooperation with the University of Bern, enrolled students of PHBern can attend German courses at the university:

Depending on your professional background, you may be required to take a supplementary examination or a preparatory course. Certain achievements in French and English are required in these examinations or courses, depending on the level you are aiming for:

The teaching of the preparatory course requires level B1 in French and English. In other words, students who have not yet reached level B1 will not be able to follow the lessons, or will only be able to do so with difficulty.

The exception to this is the «Bilingual Course / Cursus Bilingue», a joint offer of PHBern and the HEP-BEJUNE. After graduating in this course, you will be teaching in both French and German:

For incoming students

Mobility students with sufficient knowledge of German may attend courses and complete coursework at all institutes of the basic education programme:

  • Application for studies + requirements

  • Mobility (overview) 

  • Planning your studies (overview) 

  • Choosing a course of study and a profession

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