Master degree in Midwifery

«Midwives with a Master of Science can assume new roles and tasks in interprofessional teams where they can further develop their clinical practice and theoretical knowledge in an evidence-based and needs-oriented way to guarantee high quality obstetrical care.»

Beatrice Friedli, Head of the Institute of Midwifery

The first Master of Science in Midwifery degree course in German-speaking Switzerland organised together with Bern University of Applied Sciences and in cooperation with the Master of Science in Nursing is scheduled to start in September 2017.

Three good reasons for studying at ZHAW

  • The part-time master degree programme is designed to prepare midwives for new roles and competencies in specialised practice, research and teaching.
  • Midwives with a Master of Science in Midwifery are in high demand as professional experts, researchers and lecturers to develop solutions to current and future challenges in interdisciplinary obstetrical healthcare with user involvement.
  • The Master of Science in Midwifery meets today’s professional requirements as well as the needs of women and their families. The degree is internationally recognised and opens up diverse career paths and paves the way to a PhD at universities at home and abroad.

Two universities of applied sciences – one master degree programme

The Master of Science in Midwifery is a cooperative course between Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH) and Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW). Students on the MSc in Midwifery course complete overarching modules together with students doing the MSc in Nursing. Classes take place in Bern, Winterthur and St. Gallen.

This allows you to take advantage of the synergies of three universities and supports interprofessional orientation at an early stage in your training.

The course is open to midwives who want to expand their professional expertise and help shape the development of their profession in new roles. In the course of your studies, you will acquire research-competencies in

  • specialised practice,
  • profession-specific and interprofessional research and teaching,
  • leadership tasks.

It is planned that students will be taught by national and international experts, and individual courses will be taught in English. During transfer modules, work-shadowing assignments can also be completed abroad.

The MSc in Midwifery is a postgraduate course for students with a Bachelor degree in Midwifery. It is offered as a part-time course to enable you to continue working, link your studies to your practice on an ongoing basis or take care of your family while studying.

Entry requirements

  • Bachelor in Midwifery from a home or foreign university
  • College degree in midwifery with additional qualifications (i.e. holders of qualifications awarded in the 1990s by professional colleges that later became universities of applied sciences may contact the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) to obtain a UAS title on the basis of their previously awarded qualifications).
  • Good knowledge of scientific work and clinical assessment
  • Good knowledge of English

Additional information on entry requirements

Structure of part-time MSc in Midwifery

The Master of Science in Midwifery is a modular course which can be completed part-time over six semesters.

Course content

Midwife-specific modules

  • Childbirth in complex situations
    On the basis of bio-psycho-social problems, you will develop scenarios for good professional conduct and communication in the care of women and newborns with risk factors and in emergency situations. You will discuss the principles of “informed consent” and “shared decision-making” in the challenging environment between physiology, pathology and risk management. Furthermore, you will also analyse care models and concepts to derive measures for woman and family-centred interdisciplinary care in complex situations.
  • Diversity-oriented midwifery
    The care of all women, families and newborns is a priority with a particular focus on the effects of poverty, social deprivation and migration. You will analyse the impact on bio-psycho-social health at national, international, individual and social level. You will discuss and develop interdisciplinary approaches to care concepts in obstetrics. The aim is to identify, investigate and design ways of solving social inequities in healthcare and research.
  • Perinatal mental health
    You will increase your knowledge of mental health, prevention of perinatal mental disorders as well as preconception care and health promotion. You will develop strategies for recognising mental disorders at an early stage and initiating measures to stabilise families with the help of other professionals.
  • Research plan and evaluation
    You will plan a research or evaluation project based on your own research topic. In preparation for your master thesis, you will get to know and apply evaluation as a systematic and comprehensive process.
  • Transfer modules 1 and 2
    The transfer modules are completed in form of clinical placements in a clinical or research setting or another area of healthcare.  This allows you to apply your theoretical knowledge in a self-chosen practice or research field.
  • Master thesis
    As part of a research project, you will investigate a question, using appropriate methods to write an independently produced research paper at academic level with well-founded, reflective and evaluated conclusions.

Overarching modules

Overarching modules are completed in the jointly organised MSc in Nursing study programme.

  • Clinical ethics
    You will apply models and strategies to analyse specific ethical research questions in a social and health policy context and to describe possible approaches to solutions. In doing so, you consider your own and others' values and integrate your findings into practice.
  • Theories and concepts
    You will learn about different methods of concept and theory development in nursing and midwifery. A critical discussion of theories and concepts demonstrates their relevance for practice.
  • Research methods I
    You will receive an in-depth insight into the processes of different research directions and designs as well as applied research methods.
  • Research methods II
    You plan and work on your own research projects with science-based strategies and professional software to interpret and prepare these results for scientific publications.
  • Statistics
    You will learn to apply different statistical test methods. You will evaluate simple and complex statistical data and describe your findings in a targeted manner using examples.
  • Communication
    You will learn advanced conversation techniques such as motivational interviewing or solution-oriented counselling and practise them with communication trainers and actors to apply them. You will become professional in scientific writing.
  • Advanced Practice Nursing
    You will learn how to develop and implement new care models for obstetrics using context factors.
  • Practice concepts
    You will analyse supply models in the context of health economics and health policy in order to initiate, implement and evaluate change management processes.

Professional perspectives

Advanced roles and tasks for MSc midwives

In your capacity as an expert, you ensure that women and families are optimally cared for according to their needs and current knowledge.

  • You ensure evidence-driven transfer of knowledge into practice.
  • You provide care and assistance to women with special needs and support their mental, social and physical health.
  • You support your colleagues in complex obstetrical situations and with questions of ethics.
  • You promote the physiological course of pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period.
  • You guide quality circles and case discussions.
  • You develop, implement and evaluate projects, concepts, new care models and care pathways.

You provide evidence-based content in research and development and teaching, you initiate and evaluate the further development of the profession on a practical and scientific level.

  • You organise interdisciplinary and interprofessional continuing education.
  • You strengthen collaboration with clinical placement providers.
  • You collaborate in research projects and spread subject-specific knowledge.
  • You develop scientific fundamentals for the development and evaluation of new care models.
  • You help to promote the quality of obstetrics and midwifery to provide the best possible care for women, children and families.

Midwives in a leadership position may shape the quality of care for women and their families as well as working conditions of employees.

  • You initiate projects to improve perinatal care on the basis of scientific findings.
  • You integrate suggestions from your team as well as economic and interprofessional aspects in your development efforts.
  • You are involved in a professional or social organisation at social and political level for women and family-oriented development in health policy.

At a glance

Degree: Master of Science ZFH in Midwifery

Workload: 90 ECTS

Duration of study: part-time over six semesters

Course structure: part-time

Start of the course: September (calendar week 38)

Registration deadline: extended

Teaching location: Winterthur, Bern, St. Gallen

Language of instruction: German, English

Tuition fees: CHF 720 per semester