MSD - FAQ
The academic progress summary (German: Leistungsübersicht) is an overview over all registered courses at the University of Basel, sorted by modules and, where possible, listed with credit points and results. You can download it as a PDF via MOnA (online services).
In the credit points account (German: Leistungskonto), the courses are not sorted in order of modules but instead by semester (no PDF download possible).
The electronical data base system of the University of Basel is called ADAM: adam.unibas.ch. On ADAM, there are so called workspaces. Almost every course has its own workspace, into which you automatically get admitted, once you successfully registered to the courses on MOnA.
The student's committee (Fachgruppe = FG) has an own workspace on ADAM named 001 MSD FG. For adding students to this workspace we need their email address of Unibas.
In addition to the course registration via MOnA, numerous courses require a mandatory course application. For this purpose, we use the ADAM workspace called 003 Workspace MSD course applications. The link to this workspace, the deadlines, etc. are published in the detailed course directory of the respective courses, in the entry called "admission requirements"/"course application".
These additional applications are being used if courses have a limited number of participants, specific participation criterion are required, and or a particular study progress is needed.
Admission subject to an additional requirement of max. 30 credit points (pursuant to the study regulations of the University of Basel; only available in German) may follow if the criteria for the branch of studies is met, but
- the presented bachelor’s degree is not fully considered as equivalent (e.g. obtained from a university of applied sciences or from abroad),
- or the 100 CP in one (or the 150 CP in both) branches of study have not been achieved.
The admission letter informs about the additional requirements in detail.
Interested candidates are advised to contact the MSD coordination office if they are not sure whether they will be admitted with or without additional requirements. We can do a prior estimation.
For the study progress it's important to know that the students must provide proof of compliance with any additional assessment requirement otherwise the application for the master's thesis is not accepted.
In the degree transcript, the additional requirements are listed apart. The grades are not included in the calculation of the final degree mark.
The admission letter of the University of Basel informs about the conditions of being accepted to the degree. Only this letter attests the official admission. You have to keep it until the end of your studies!
Every course has a specific assessment format. The details on the assessment requirements are published for each course in the detailed course directory. Depending on the teaching format, the MSD differs between written and oral assessements. Details on the formats are also published in the study regulations, § 14 to § 17.
For each assessment there is a rating. The rating can either be a pass / fail or a grade according to the Swiss 6-point grading scale. Specifications about the rating scheme of the specific courses are published in advance for every course in the detailed course directory.
The lecturers submit the grades and ratings of the assessments into an electronical system called TeLL (for the fall semester from mid-December on, for the spring semester from mid-May on) and you’ll get an automated email with your results after the control-scanning is done. Then, the grades are listed in the academic progress summary and later will be listed in the transcript of records which is available as PDF on MOnA/each semester.
The coordination office is the central contact point for any questions concerning the MSD study program – e.g. admission and application to the MSD, general study counceling, recognition of credit points, credit point check , etc.
For short consultations students are invited to contact the office by phone and email, or to come by to clarify questions and problems without an appointment during our opening hours: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 9.30 - 11.30 am (subject to modifications).
If you have subjects which need more than 10 minutes to be discussed we may fix an appointment.
For email, phone number, address see here
Within a specific time period (during the first four weeks of the teaching period) it is possible to cancel course registration on MOnA. The cancelled course is not listed anymore on the academic progress summary.
If you like to unsubscribe after the official period, please send an email to the lecturer or follow the instructions in the course directory. Note: Usually, the course remains listed on the academic progress summary.
Detailed information (e.g. deadlines) about the course registration on MOnA is submitted with the matriculation, and is available on the website of the university. It is only possible to accredit credit points with a former registration. With the registration, you normally receive access to the synchronized ADAM Workspaces within 24 hours.
Currently, we offer three teaching programs:
1. MSD 2017: The curriculum (structure and content) has been implemented by fall semester 2017 and represents the currrent program for newly enrolled students. Details are explained here
2. MSD 2010: This curriculum is phasing out, students enrolled in this program have to finish their studies by spring semester 2020. Details are explained here
3. Students of the university of Basel interested in sustainability but not enrolled in the MSD may participate in the Transfaculty Cross Section Program Sustainable Development (TQNE). Details see here
The students receive a degree certificate, a transcript of records and a diploma supplement. The graduation ceremony is organized twice/per year. The students are informed in due time.
You can find all the courses offered at the University of Basel in the detailed course directory. Each course has its own record providing information about teaching content, teaching goal, timetable, location, examination details, application, etc.
All students of the University of Basel receive an email address as soon as the first tuition fee is paid and the matriculation is done. According to the study regulations of the university, students have to use this address for any kind of email communication, course registration etc. within the university; also with the coordination office MSD - addressing emails to: email@example.com
Written exams usually take place in the last week of the semester or in the weeks after (January or June). Details are published in the records of every course in the detailed course directory; and will be pronounced by the lecturers at the beginning of the teaching period.
Academic work (exams, essays etc.) is graded. The MSD usually uses numeric grades from 6 (= best mark) to 4 (= lowest mark to pass). Grades of 3.9 to 1.0 are fails. Sometimes pass/fail is used instead of numeric grades. The scale for every single course is fixed, see details in the entries of the course in the detailed course directory/assessment.
The Graduate Record Examination® General Test (GRE® General Test) may serve as an alternative admission requirement if your final grade is lower than a 5.0 (Swiss scale), or if you are unable to provide the required evidence in mathematics and statistics or in empirical social research methods of at least 10 CP.
Within the MSD 2017 some modules need a learning agreement (LA):
- For all students: Focal Areas in Sustainability Research (FASR) module. For details see study regulations and guidelines (documents and template available as downloads, see here);
- students who have to take the Preparation Master’s Thesis in Natural Sciences module fill in a LA as well (template available as download, see here).
In special cases, a LA is to be fixed for one or both Complementary Knowledge modules:
- if students have chosen a MSD focus area different from the subject area of the bachelor's degree. A LA for the Complementary Knowledge module corresponding to the bachelor's degree is to be fixed; for explanations see study guidelines Section 4.3.1 (document and template available as downloads, see here);
- if students have an interdisciplinary background. A LA is to be fixed for one or both Complementary Knowledge module(s) corresponding to their bachelor's degree; explanation see also study guidelines Section 4.3.2 (document and template available as downloads, see here).
With the learning contract (LC) students agree on a specific form of assessment for a particular module.
Within the MSD 2017 the following modules need a LC (for details see study guidelines and regulation):
- For all students: Master's thesis module. The details of the master's thesis (e.g. topic, reviewer, etc.) are fixed in the learning contract (fact sheet on master's graduation and template of the LC are available as downloads, see here);
- students who have to take the Preparation Master’s Thesis in Natural Sciences module fill in a LC in order to fix the details of the "practical work" or the "seminar paper" (fact sheet on master's graduation and template of the LC are available as downloads, see here);
- students who have to take the Preparation Master’s Thesis in Social Sciences module fill in a LC in order to fix the details of a free "seminar paper" (fact sheet on master's graduation and template of the LC are available as downloads, see here);
Within the MSD 2010 the difference of LA and LC is not existent, the term "learning contract" is used as pars pro toto. Within the MSD 2010 the following modules need a LC:
- For all students: Vertiefungsbereiche (template available as download, see here);
- for students with focus area in natural sciences and in economics: The details of the master's thesis (e.g. topic, reviewer, etc.) are fixed in the learning contract (fact sheet on master's graduation and template of the LC are available as downloads, see here);
- for students with focus area in social sciences, the template of the LC is published on the faculty's website;
- for the students who have chosen a MSD focus area different from the subject area of the bachelor's degree: Prior to fix a LC, they have to make sure, the classes are eligible for the module, sometimes they even have to submit an application of recognition (see fact sheet here).
The FG-room 02.18 (Vesalgasse 1/2n floor) can be used as a learning space or meeting room. Furthermore, the seminar room 02.02 and the meeting room 02.03a can be booked for group works. Check the availability of the rooms on: http://rauminfo.unibas.ch/ and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find more learning spaces offers under: https://www.unibas.ch/en/Studies/My-Studies/Learning-Spaces.html.
Students have to submit an application for the master's thesis project. During a former semester they attend the course "Research Design Master's Thesis" and are trained in how to do so. All information on the master's thesis and the final graduation are to be found in the fact sheet "Master's graduation" (see MSD 2017).
Current topics of prospective theses and the link to the list of the realized master's theses are published on the website.
With the admission letter students will receive detailed information about the matriculation (incl. Swiss student number if new in Switzerland), the fees etc.
This document contains information about the courses within the different modules: Title, lecturer, course format, credit points, semester frequency, sometimes also about the participation requirements, the possibility of recognition and if they are mandatory or not. The medium-term syllabus is updated and uploaded every semester on the MSD website and available as download (MSD 2017 / MSD 2010).
My Online Account MOnA is the application which allows students to register for courses. MOnA is also the tool where you can get insight to your credit points account, to the academic progress summary and to the module allocation. Finally, you can export your timetable and adjust your personal data.
The recognition of academic achievements is possible for both curricula, MSD 2010 & MSD 2017. Fact sheets informing about the details (requirements of recognition, when and how to submit an application, etc.) and the templates for the application are available as downloads (MSD 2017 / MSD 2010).
Before applying, please discuss questions concerning the recognition of credit points with the representatives of MSD: with Patricia Holm (natural scienes; Paul Burger (social sciences); Frank Krysiak (economics); Camelia Chebbi (for general questions).
Please store ALL confirmations, official letters (incl. admission letter), emails, learning agreements and contracts, as well as transcript of records until the end of your studies.
The MSD has a student committee (in German: Fachgruppe = FG). Every MSD student is automatically member of the committee. Why do we need a student committee? What are their activities and who is member of the board? More information about the committee on their facebook page or here.
New board members are always welcome.
A study progress plan is an overview (only MSD) of the successfully completed and sometines planned courses. It is required for some applications, e.g. application for the recognition of academic achievements, etc. It can also be helpful for your own study plan; templates are available as downloads MSD 2017 / MSD 2010.
The MSD executive committee is called teaching committee (TC). The TC issues the guidelines approved by the faculties, determines the medium-term syllabus and requests the assessment formats and credit points for the classes offered specifically for the MSD. In addition, it decides on any differences in the grading of assessments and informs the deans of studies accordingly. The rules for recognition of study and examination results are issued by the TC.
According to the study regulations the TC is composed as follows:
- Arrangement 1: Professorship of each participating faculty
- Arrangement 2: Academic assistant
- Arrangement 3: Assistants
- Arrangement 4: Student representativ
More information about the composition of the current teaching committee can be found here.
The language of instruction is English; therefore, a good command of English is required (level B2 or higher).
According to the rules of Unibas, students are responsible for having attained the language skills required to successfully pursue their chosen degree program. Examination failures cannot be excused by insufficient language skills.
Make sure that you use the latest version of the timetable. After the first publication, there can be several changes which have to be considered when arranging the personal timetable for the next semester. You can also export your timetable via MOnA once your course registration is done.
You will receive the transcript of records (German = Datenabschrift) shortly after or before the start of the new semester as download on MOnA. The document provides an overview of the accreditation of academic achievements within the past semester.
Not on the transcript of records are ratings of other universities as well as free academic achievements. These will be listet once the final master's degree transcript is prepared.