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Future students

| Presentation of the Master | Admission | Registering in the Master in Biogeosciences

Presentation of the Master

In the fall of 2009, Neuchâtel and Lausanne universities jointly offered a Master in Biogeosciences.

This Master program, which is completely unique, proposes an all-encompassing understanding of nature, both pluridisciplinary and multiscalar. It offers a strong scientific potential and high quality teaching in numerous practical work, laboratory work, and field work. It is completed by a personal research thesis.


The objective of this Master program is to train high level scientists in the area of integrated natural sciences or biogeosciences. Using the most modern techniques, it aims to give fundamental knowledge and the tools necessary for the discovery, the comprehension and the management of natural environments in perpetual evolution at variable scales of time and space.

The courseload is split into five blocks, four of them teaching, and one personal research. The teaching is divided into three thirds : one-third ex-cathedra, one-third in the form of practical work, and the last in the form of fieldwork. The four teaching blocks are composed as follows :

  • Block A deals with the acquisition of basics that are specific to each disciplinary origin of the student. If the student’s University Bachelor degree was obtained in biology, the courses will be complementary in geology, and vice versa for students with a Bachelor’s in geology.

  • Block B deals with learning the basics of analytical and technical methods necessary for laboratory and fieldwork, as well as spatial modelisation tools and multivariable statistics.

  • Block C contains the main part of the teaching in biogeosciences. After an introduction in the concepts in biogeosciences, the course moves on to understanding the geobiosphere and the ecosystems. It then follows the themes concerning the biogeochemistry of the earth’s surface and the major elementary cycles, e.g. carbon, phosphorous, and iron. The evolution of organic material is treated both from a biological angle (the role of fauna, flora, and microflora) and the geochemical angle (following the path of organic material to its final destination using isotopes, for example). A module in biomineralisation underlines the importance in the interfaces between life and the mineral world. Virtual campus sessions and optional courses are also offered in this block.

  • Block D obligates the students to choose one of three specialized training modules : « soil and vegetation », « geobiosphere and paleobiosphere » or « geomicrobiology and microbial communities ».

All courses are taught in French. The length of the Master is 4 semesters for the 120 ECTS credits. At the end of these studies, the successful student graduates with the title of « University Master in Science in Biogeosciences ».





Students wishing to register for the Master in Biogeosciences must have one of the following the following prerequisites :

  • a University Bachelor Degree in Science in geosciences and environment orientation geology awarded by the Faculty of geosciences and environment at the University of Lausanne ;

  • a University Bachelor Degree in Science from a Swiss university, in a branch related to biology or earth sciences ;

  • another University Bachelor Degree or a degree judged equivalent by competent services of each university, with preauthorization of the Scientific Committee.

If the University Bachelor Degree has not been obtained in one of the aforementioned branches, the Scientific Committee can propose admission with a precondition or supplementary coursework. These complementary studies should not exceed 60 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits. The execution of these studies are stated in writing between the student and the Faculty responsible for the management of his/her degree course.

Admission is made official by the competent department of the University registration, with the preauthorization of the Scientific Committee. 


Registering in the Master in Biogeosciences

At the University of Neuchâtel (registration at Neuchâtel)

To register in the Master in Biogeosciences at the University of Neuchâtel, fill in the regristration form available on-line at this link : Click here or fill in the paper form that can be found on this link : Click here to send your form to the Register’s office : Click here within before the admission deadline :

  • The deadline to register for the academic year 2016/2017 is closed.
  • The deadline to register for the academic year 2017/2018 is April 30, 2017.

At the University of Lausanne (registration at Lausanne)

To register in the Master in Biogeosciences at the University of Lausanne, send your completed file/record before the deadline for admission to the Registrar’s Service :

  • The deadline to register for the academic year 2016/2017 is closed.
  • The deadline to register for the academic year 2017/2018 is April 30, 2017.

It is obligatory both for the Universities of Lausanne and Neuchâtel to provide a letter of motivation with your application. This letter should contain at least the following information :  

  • why have you chosen this master?
  • what do you hope to get out of it?
  • what do you plan to do after this training? 



Find the description of the Master on the site :


Presentation movie
(in French)


Complete description of the Master




How to get a fellowship for the MSc in Biogeosciences at the UNIL ?

For information : 


To foreign students with a scholarship

Foreign students who have obtained a scholarship should keep in mind that this scholarshp is for one year only (in general). If no solution can be found during the second year of the Master, foreign students who return home will have the possibility to obtain a certificate attesting a full year's training in Biogeosciences. 

Master BGS - Géopolis - CH-1015 Lausanne  - Suisse  -  Tél. +41 21 692 35 13