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Military and civilian service

Here you will find helpful information and links on how your university deals with compulsory national service. Find out in good time to avoid unpleasant surprises.

General Information

In Switzerland, all Swiss men are subject to compulsory military service (also known as «conscription»). This service is performed in the army or in the civil defence. In justified cases and under certain conditions, civilian service can also be performed as an alternative

Those who do not perform any service pay an annual levy, the compulsory military service levy (Wehrpflichtersatzabgabe). Swiss women can be recruited voluntarily and serve in the armed forces, civil defence or civilian service.

You can find more information about this on the Swiss authorities' web portal «ch.ch». There you will also find answers to questions such as «How do I postpone my military service?» or «Where do I fulfil my compulsory military service?».

In the event of a change of address, you are obliged to notify your competent office within 14 days:

The BIZ (Berufsberatungs- und Informationszentren) also offers useful information on the subject of military service and studies (in German and French):

Information on the military

If you are judged by the competent authority to be «fit for service», you are liable for military service and must complete boot camp (RS). Normally, this happens after you have obtained your school-leaving certificate and before you start university (often at the age of 20). This is also the recommendation of the military and the universities.

For more information on the possibilities of taking a leave of absence, postponing the start of the RS or a dispensation (exemption from compulsory studies), please consult the study guide of the University of Bern:

University of Bern

Bern University of Applied Sciences

Students are required to perform their compulsory military service even during their studies. The Bern University of Applied Sciences therefore strongly recommends that its students complete boot camp before beginning their studies. Service assignments can lead to absences during the study period and possibly to an extension of the study duration.

On the BFH webpage you will find general information as well as information on postponing your service.

Bern University of Teacher Education

There is no information on compulsory service on the webpage of the Bern University of Teacher Education (as of October 2021). However, for further information or questions concerning your studies at PHBern and the military, it is best to contact the student advisory service at your institute.

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