Study guide University of Bern

Creating your timetable


Some branches of study have a fixed timetable that can be viewed on the institute's website. For others, creating a timetable involves an orientation, planning and decision-making process that can be complicated.

Read on for some advice. If you have further questions about planning your studies, please contact the academic student advice service in your field of study. You can find the point of contact on your institute's website.

Finding courses

First, you must find out which courses you are required to attend and which you can choose freely. In general, you can find the official plan of studies for your subject and the annotated course catalog on your institute's website. The plan of studies describes how your course is structured, while the annotated course catalog provides information on the content of all courses at the University of Bern, the exact times, and the credits you can obtain. There are also instructions or study guides for some subjects, and sometimes even special pages for students in their first semester.

Many institutes have noticeboards where you can find details on classes and practical exercises for the upcoming or current semester. If you have any questions, we recommend that you also take a look at the FAQs on your institute's website.

Make your choice from the selection of courses available. Students in their first semester often ask how much they should take on. In general, you should sign up for a maximum of 30 ECTS credits worth of courses per semester. Don't forget to plan time for preparation, follow-up work, studying and writing and editing papers!

Look at whether your chosen major and minor courses fit together in your timetable, and how your time is divided.


Unfortunately, it is highly likely that some of the courses you want/have to attend will clash. In such cases, it's advisable to give preference to your major and to take the minor course in one of the following semesters instead. You don't have to attend everything right at the start. This applies to lectures in particular, as they are generally repeated and are offered without any restriction on admission. You can also take two courses at the same time if at least one of them does not have compulsory attendance, which is usually the case for lectures. Make sure that there are good learning materials (lecture notes or literature) for the courses you won't be attending, or will only be attending occasionally, and that you can copy notes from a fellow student. Remember to reserve time for preparation and follow-up work for this course too.

For some study programs, you may also find that you can't attend all of the courses you'd like due to space limitations. We recommend that you come up with a few alternative timetables.
For many study programs, it's a good idea to plan the content of your studies across several semesters.

If you get stuck on planning, wait until the orientation day for first-year students or your institute's induction session, where you can ask questions, talk to fellow students or student representatives, and make contact with your institute's academic student advice service if you have any further issues.