The Joint Master of Architecture (JMA) was created in 2005 and is a Master’s degree programme in architecture organised jointly by the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH) and the University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland (HES-SO).

Teaching is provided by the architecture departments of three partner universities: the Department of Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering of the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH-AHB), the Fribourg School of Engineering and Architecture (HES-SO – HEIA-FR) and the Geneva School of Landscape, Engineering and Architecture in Geneva (HES-SO – HEPIA), which are designated as the JMA sites in Biel, Fribourg and Geneva respectively.

Accredited by the Swiss Confederation, the programme is recognised as equivalent to other Swiss and European university programmes. The title of Master of Arts in Architecture BFH/HES-SO (120 ECTS credits) awarded at the end of the four semesters of study gives direct access to the Swiss Architects Registry A.

A recognised stakeholder in higher education in architecture in Switzerland, JMA cultivates close links with national and international academic circles, applied research and the world of professional practice.


Structured as a network and characterised by a transdisciplinary, multilingual and intercultural approach, the instruction offered by the JMA builds on the training provided in the HES Bachelor programme in architecture. Its main aim is to further develop students’ personal skills in order to increase their capacity for reflection and extend their field of action.

As such, it aims to strengthen the student’s autonomy, critical sense and ethical personal position. It focuses on the student’s ability to analyse and articulate complex architectural issues and to provide specific responses to them through a well-justified and plausible architectural project. It also places the student in a position to broaden, deepen and connect the themes, issues, processes and methods of different architectural theories and practices.

Students admitted to the JMA are registered at the BFH or the HES-SO. They may enrol in any of the modules offered by the JMA sites within the framework of the course, regardless of their university of registration. They thus have a wide and complementary choice of courses that allows them to shape their curriculum according to their personal interests and the skills they wish to develop, in compliance with the study plan. Some common modules, organised by each of the partner sites in turn, bring together all the students of the first three semesters in the same teaching location.

JMA in brief

Master of Arts BFH/HES-SO in Architecture

Autumn semester : applications open until 31 May.
Spring semester : applications open until 31 October.

Studies can be taken on a full-time or part-time basis and can begin in either the autumn or spring semester.

Duration of studies
Two years full-time (including Master’s thesis)
Up to four years part-time (including Master’s thesis)

Start of studies
Fall semester (16 weeks): week 38
Spring semester (17 weeks): week 8

Admission requirements
On dossier

ECTS credits

Languages of instruction
French, German, English (depending on the module and teaching site)

Universities of Applied Sciences
Department of Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering of the Bern University of Applied Sciences, Biel site
Fribourg School of Engineering and Architecture
Geneva School of Landscaping, Engineering and Architecture

CHF 500 per semester (tuition fee)
CHF 250 per semester (tuition fee)
CHF 150 (registration fee)


HES-SO Master
Avenue de Provence 6
CH – 1007 Lausanne

+41 58 900 00 00

Aarbergstrasse 112
CH – 2502 Biel

+41 34 426 41 74