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Master studies in Life Sciences

Prepare for a challenging specialist or managerial role in the life science industry. Choose your specialisation from Food and Beverage Innovation, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Chemistry for the Life Sciences, or Applied Computational Life Sciences.

Why pursue a Master's degree in Life Sciences?

Practice-oriented research  represents the core of your studies. You will work independently on research projects, deepen your knowledge of scientific methods and expand your skill set. With your Master's thesis, you will contribute towards addressing the challenges of our time, if possible in close cooperation with a company.

By joining a  research group, you will become part of a creative research environment. You will learn the work methods most in demand in your industry, but you will also acquire project management, communication and presentation skills. The focus on practice-oriented research in the Master's thesis will allow you to  combine scientific and entrepreneurial thinking and motivate you to innovate.

The work in the research group will also train your creativity, initiative and critical ability.

Being in close contact with the professional world during your studies will qualify you for management positions in international companies, agile start-ups and research institutions in the life science industry (e.g. chemical, pharmaceutical, medtech and food industry).


The job market is calling for specialists with a skill set in data management, modeling and simulation.

Applied Computational Life Sciences: Structure and content, Master's thesis

Working in the life sciences requires knowledge of chemistry, biochemistry, (bio) analytics, green chemistry, materials science and nanotechnology.

Chemistry for the Life Sciences: Structure and content, Master's thesis

Creating innovative solutions for the food and beverage industry. Developing new products and processes that are sustainable from feedstock to final product.

Food and Beverage Innovation: Structure and content, Master's thesis

Therapeutic proteins and antibodies are biotechnologically manufactured active substances, so-called biopharmaceuticals, which make it possible to treat diseases in a completely new way.

Pharmaceutical Biotechnology: Structure and content, Master's thesis

Good reasons for a Master’s study in Wädenswil

Study content ECTS Description
Masters Thesis 40 credits Based on your own original research, you will answer a specific
in this field and design solutions that are relevant for
research, industry and society, often in cooperation with national
and international partners. Through your work on the thesis, you will
not only demonstrate your knowledge and skills, but also help advance
the state of research in your specific scientific field.
Specialisation Skills 20 credits Your scientific studies take place at the ZHAW in Wädenswil:
Teaching is scheduled on three weekdays (Monday to Wednesday);
other learning activities may take place throughout the week.
Core Competences minimum
15 credits
In these modules, you will acquire business-oriented skills. With
these core competences in mind, you will strengthen your skills in the
following areas: "Management, Business and Society" and "Handling
and Understanding Data". Each module lasts half a semester. 2/3 of the
lessons take place off-campus in Olten; 1/3 consists of more individual
activities (accompanied exercises, case studies etc.) on-campus in
Wädenswil. You will choose at least five out of seven modules.
Cluster-specific Modules minimum
You will prepare for your subsequent specialisation and deepen your
knowledge of the life sciences in these cluster-specific modules. You will
choose at least three of the modules offered in the cluster of your choice.

Detailed module descriptions can be found in the sections of the corresponding specialisations.

Practice and science

At the ZHAW in Wädenswil, you will study and perform research in fields where science meets practice. As a member of various international networks, you will work with modern equipment and methods. Cooperation projects between the four Swiss universities of applied sciences, ZHAW, BFH, FHNW and HES-SO, allow you to benefit from an ongoing exchange of interdisciplinary and intercultural knowledge during the Master's programme.

Admissions, registration

Special admissions (sur dossier)

At the programme director and specialisation coordinator's discretion, other qualifications can be deemed suitable for admission. Special admission (sur dossier) is possible with adequate professional experience and previous education in the natural sciences. Admission with a lower grade can also be considered on an individual basis.

Classroom language

Classes for the cooperation modules are held in English (language competence level C1).


The Master of Science in Life Sciences is a cooperative venture offered by the ZHAW together with three other Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences. One third of the lessons take place across universities. In joint lessons at the partner universities in Olten or Berne, as well as during designated weeks, you will benefit from the expertise of all four universities, build a large network, and participate in inspiring interdisciplinary exchanges.

Do you have any questions?

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