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Master of Science in Life Sciences - Chemistry for the Life Sciences

In the life sciences, competences from the fields of chemistry, biochemistry, (bio)analysis, green chemistry, materials science, and nanotechnology are required. This is where you, as a specialist, can bring your expertise to bear.

Best prospects for a successful future!

Career - symbiosis of chemistry, biochemistry and nanotechnology

After completing your Master's degree, you have the best career opportunities in the market thanks to both your broad and specialised knowledge.

Areas of application include not only the traditional sectors represented by the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, but also the food industry and biotechnology companies.

As a Master's graduate, you will ...

  • make a valuable contribution to meeting socially-relevant challenges in medicine, nutrition, ecology and environmental technology, applied energy research, and green chemistry
  • actively contribute to the future of chemistry by expanding your scientific competences and in this way making relevant contributions to our society
  • combine creative and sustainable approaches to skilfully solving upcoming social problems with your entrepreneurial and scientific way of thinking
  • plan, implement, evaluate and present research and development projects
  • contribute to the success of challenging research projects with your specialist, social and personal competences
  • continue your studies to achieve your doctorate In cooperation with foreign research institutes
  • be ideally equipped for interesting and varied management tasks in typical chemical branches and possible interfaces such as energy research, product development, production and quality assurance; in the fields of regenerative medicine, speciality chemicals, green chemistry, ecology, vaccine production, active substances or functional materials, as well as in diagnostics, sensor and nanotechnology in industry, authorities and the academic environment.

The programme offers you ...

  • an individually designed Master's degree, which you can complete in 3 (full-time) or 4 or more (part-time) semesters
  • an attractive selection of modules covering research, science, practice and business
  • the opportunity to grow both professionally and personally, and as a result develop into a sought-after professional and leadership personality
  • exciting research projects for your Master's thesis in a research group at the Institute
  • integration into a research group in which you can gain experience in teamwork, taking the initiative and learning to give constructive criticism
  • state-of-the-art infrastructure and equipment
  • small classes in the specialisation modules and interactive teaching units which you can co-design.

New from autumn semester 2018

The cooperation modules will be revised and redesigned.

In the Master of Science in Life Sciences you benefit from the knowledge and network of the four universities of applied sciences ZHAW, BFH, FHNW and HES-SO. One third of the study takes place across universities - in Wädenswil, Olten and / or Bern.

  • Individuality: You can tailor the Master's program to your needs. Modules from different clusters Bio / Pharma, Food, Environment, Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering and Computational Science (BECS) can be combined individually.
  • Future-oriented: You adopt competences in "Management, Business and Society" but also in topics that are becoming more and more important in the future, such as "Handling and Understanding Data" (so-called Core Competences).
  • Practical: You are part of a research group at the corresponding institute of the ZHAW in Wädenswil right from the beginning. You are in exchange with students from the other three universities.

«Fact sheet on the ReDesign Master in Life Sciences» (PDF 277,9 KB)

At a glance

Degree / Title: Master of  Science (MSc) ZFH in Life Sciences with specialisation in Chemistry for the Life Sciences
Workload: 90 credits (ECTS), one credit point corresponds to 25 – 30 hours of work
Duration: Full-time 3 semesters, part-time possible (recommendation 4-7 semesters)
Start of studies: twice a year in February (spring semester) and September (autumn semester)
Teaching locations: Wädenswil, Olten or Berne. Block weeks can also be held directly at partner universities.
Language: Englisch or German depending on the module
Study fees: CHF 720.00 per semester + additional study-related expenses ...»
Cooperation: Some modules take place jointly with the universities of applied sciences BFH, FHNW and HES-SO.
Admission requirements / acceptance: University of Applied Sciences Bachelor's degree ...»

Registration deadlines: 30th April and 30th October ...»

Studies – Structure and Content

Your studies include three areas of competence plus a Master's thesis, with a total of 90 credits (ETCS). A part-time study is possible.

Before starting your studies, you meet the head of your specialisation and your supervisor to work out your personal training goals, define the topic for your  Master Thesis and create your individual curriculum from the modules on offer. The selected modules are recorded in your Individual Study Agreement (ISA).

Structure of the study programme

Master's thesis - 40 credits

The core of your studies. On the basis of research you have carried out, you answer a specific question in this field and work out solutions that are relevant for research, industry and society, often in co-operation with national and international partners. Through the thesis you not only demonstrate your knowledge and skills, but also expand the state of research in your specific field of scientific expertise.

Specialisation Skills- 20 credits

Your scientific studies take place at the Institute of Chemistry and Biotechnology at the ZHAW in Wädenswil. teaching is scheduled on three weekdays (Monday to Wednesday) and other learning activities may occur throughout the week. They deepen and specialize your knowledge in chemistry for the life sciences.

Core Competences – minimum 15 credits

Visualisation Core competences «Management, Business and Society»
Visualisation Core competences «Handling and Understanding Data»

These modules provide you with work-oriented skills. With these core competences you acquire knowledge in the following areas: «Management, Business and Society» as well as «Handling and Understanding Data». Each module lasts half a semester – 2/3 of the lessons are held centrally in Olten and 1/3 consists of decentralised teaching (accompanied exercises, case studies etc.) directly in Wädenswil. You choose at least five from seven modules.

Cluster-specific modules – minimum 9 credits

Cluster-specific modules complement the specialisation modules. The specialisation Chemistry for the Life Sciences is part of the cluster Chemistry. You choose at least three from the offered modules out of the cluster Chemistry. In addition you also can choose elective modules out of other clusters (see list by the module descriptions).


Do you want to make your studies international? The modular structure of the study programme allows you to study abroad for a year or to focus your Master's thesis on a foreign topic.

Study models

The Master's programme in Life Sciences takes 3 full-time semesters and comprises 90 credits (ECTS). This corresponds to a workload of approximately 2,700 hours. This intensive workload requires good planning and organisation.

Part-time study opens up numerous ways to achieve the objectives of the programme - adapted to your personal circumstances and needs. We recommend that students do not engage in any additional professional activities that exceed a maximum workload of 50% of a full-time position. You should consult your specialisation team individually about this matter. For administrative questions, please contact the registrar's office.

How you structure your part-time studies should be discussed and determined before commencement thereof when creating your Individual Study Agreement (ISA).

Researching for practice

In the course of your studies, you expand your personal competency profile holistically, working on your personal competence as well as your professional and methodological skills. The focus on the Master's thesis, involving application-oriented research, fosters your ability to solve problems, to change perspectives, and to combine entrepreneurial and scientific thinking.

You take part in a research group from the very beginning of your study programme. This provides you with valuable and intense scientific interaction with colleagues, and enhances your ability to work in a team. Modern teaching methods promote self-discipline, language proficiency, and intercultural exchange.

Film Master's programme Chemistry for the Life Sciences

Brochure Master's programme Chemistry for the Life Sciences

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