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Master studies in Facility Management

With a Master of Science in Facility Management: Understanding real estate, leading employees, initiating innovations.

Why pursue a Master’s degree in Facility Management?

The Institute for Facility Management (IFM) at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) is the only university in Switzerland to offer a Master of Science in Facility Management. The Master of Science in Facility Management was developed in response to the increasingly complex nature of the core roles fulfilled by facility managers. The rising complexity of tasks and contexts, the increasing pressure to cut costs, the speed of change and overlapping areas of competence are all factors which mean that facility managers need to understand and help shape other business functions as well as their own.

"The business is constantly changing and has become extremely flexible. Competence providers such as facility managers must be very adaptable to meet the demands of the working world, whether in large companies, the public sector or large service providers. What is needed are competent facility managers who tackle all their challenges with enthusiasm and commitment."

Paul Schmitter, Master graduate, video-portrait (youtube)

Your background

You are fascinated by topics such as: Corporate and Public Real Estate Management, sustainability in construction and operation, Digital FM, Building Information Modeling (BIM), Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM), FM-compatible construction planning, life cycle costs, energy management, New Work, Workplace Experience, strategy development, change management, leadership, process optimization, benchmarking, project management, service design, innovation, service value, robotics

You have a Bachelor's degree in: Architecture, civil engineering, business administration, building services engineering, hotel industry (the course director decides on admission with further degrees)

Career: holding a Master in Facility Management

"The studies were very practically oriented and the many case studies enabled me to build a network and directly apply the knowledge gained at the companies I work for."

Anna Heijkoop, BIM and FM Consultant, BIM Facility AG, video portrait (youtube)

Basis for a career with excellent career prospects: In view of the growing cost pressure and the necessary increase in productivity, competent specialists and managers in facility management are just as much in demand in the private sector as in public sector companies. The Master's program prepares you for this.

Good reasons for studying Facility Management at the ZHAW

Study programme and course content

The Master's programme combines independent learning (supervised or individual) with contact teaching (lectures, seminars). Students work individually and in online networks. The contact lessons deepen and discuss the methods applied by the students in the development of an independent study .

This dual teaching approach takes into account dynamic education as well as the requirements of the FM profession and the preferences of individual students. «Explorative learning» enables students to learn independently. They generate new knowledge during the work on the Master's thesis.

 "Students in the MSc in FM programme will benefit from our close collaboration with research and business partners as well as professional associations. In their studies they will learn how to create innovative FM strategies or how to lead a team. By engaging with our international students, they will harness their intercultural skills."

Dr. Isabelle Wrase, Studiengangleiterin MSc am Institut für Facility Management

Your new skills: You will …

Programme structure

Module group: Managerial Skills

Facility Managers of tomorrow will contribute at a strategic level by helping corporate goals to be met. In addition to managing FM staff, they will be able to make and contribute to key business decisions. In the Managerial Skills module block, students develop extensive conceptual, analytical and people skills. They learn how to generate and understand many relevant business indicators as well as how to formulate and represent them to the corporation in order to influence decision making. They have developed a profound problem solution competence and are well informed about new models and processes.

Module group: Strategic Management

In the Strategic Management module block, Facility Management is focused on business environment and its dimensions as well as on FM and its potential to strategically contribute to a company's decision making. As an important management partner a Facility Manager needs to understand business dimensions from an internal and an external perspective in order to contribute to policy development and add value. The students become familiar with different models and concepts and learn about best practices in Switzerland and other countries. They develop a broad understanding of factors that influence a business in order to advise organizations at tactical and strategic levels

Module group: Strategic Planning of Facilities and Services

The focus of the Strategic Planning of Facilities and Services module block is on an organisation's support processes and optimization potentials. Students are introduced to different FM realities where optimization is a continuous key issue and a responsibility of Facility Managers. Particular attention is given to property and facilities as resources (asset and portfolio management), service design and strategic services marketing and relationship management challenges in a B2B4C field, and workspace design with its impact on productivity and wellbeing.

Module group: FM Integrated

The FM Integrated module block is transdisciplinary in terms of the procedures and theories introduced. In Advanced FM there is the focus on general strategic aspects of Facility Management and sustainability, as well as on trends and perspectives in fields relevant to FM. Students learn about recent and future potential challenges and changes for FM. In the case studies students apply their FM knowledge, integrate different expertise, theories and ideas and interact with partners from real life situations. The aim is to develop an integrated understanding of FM, to learn to deal with complexities within projects holistically and to develop academic skills.

Module group: Applied Research Project

Facility Management helps to solve real life problems by providing scientific solutions. For its own disciplinary development upcoming issues need to be anticipated and reflected on. It is necessary to continuously learn about new insights, models and concepts which then can be applied. They help to better understand overall developments and their consequences for a company. Students are integrated in an Applied Research Project from a very early stage on, so they stay reflective and develop professional research skills. These projects are initiated by the Institute of Facility Management or by partners of the Institute. The students’ participation is supervised; this helps them to develop their research and academic skills. They are provided with an insight into areas they might want to specialize in.

Module group: Research Skills

This Research Skills module block focuses on research strategies (quantitative and qualitative) and selected methods, their application and logic. Reflections on real live problems where FM is in focus is mandatory. Directly linked with the module block Applied Research Project and the module Master Thesis Research Plan, students will be empowered to carry out a research project. They are trained to do so in ways that are scientifically sound and reasoned, critical, problem solving- oriented and autonomous. They learn how to analyze, interpret and synthesize data and information.

Master's Thesis

The Master's thesis is an individual scientific work. Students prove their academic, research and analytical skills. A Master's thesis usually mirrors one of the research strategies of the Institute of Facility Management and/or is written in cooperation with an external partner. Students focus on relevant, up-to-date problems and issues from within Facility Management in real-life situations. The findings are of practical relevance and value to different stakeholders.

You choose whether you write the paper in German or English.

Admission requirements

Step Your task
Bachelor’s degree You hold a Bachelor’s degree in Facility Management with an above-average grade point average and/or other records of achievement. Graduates holding other degrees, e.g. in the fields of economics, hotel management, civil engineering, architecture or other FM-related disciplines can be admitted if they have otherwise acquired the required skills. Inquiries to that end are conducted by the programme directors during the admissions process.
Online resources to help bridge potential gaps are available.
Academic Regulations
Annex to the Master's programme, starting from 2015
Full-time/part-time You decide on a study model. The advantage of a dual Master programme is that your part-time studies are continuously enhanced by your own practical experiences, and you can immediately transfer your newly acquired theoretical knowledge into your everyday working life. Special courses and events are also offered during lecture-free time in summer and winter.
Registration You apply online: Registration
Suitability assessement After the registration, your documents will be examined and you will be invited to an interview, which will focus ...
  • on the admission to studies (specific professional competencies for the selected MRU, study ability and motivation)
  • possible special requirements if previous education is outside subject area and
  • language competence in English and German (for at least one of the two languages level C1, for the second level sufficient knowledge).
  • This assessment decides on your definitive admission to the Master's programme. About your final admission you will be informed as soon as possible after the assessment.
    After the admission After you have been admitted tot he study programme you will then have time for individual preparation. The course begins in September in calendar week 38.


    All three degree programmes in facility management (Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Master of Advanced Studies) at the ZHAW are officially accredited by the IFMA Foundation.

    The IFMA Association (International Facility Management Association, headquartered in Houston, Texas) has 25'000 members in 78 countries, which makes it the largest association of professionals in the FM sector. The IFMA Foundation is the certifying organisation for tertiary education and training programme. Worldwide, 30 study programmes are accredited by the IFMA Foundation.

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