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: https://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 folder on ADAM named 001 MSD FG. For adding students to this workspace we need their email address of Unibas.
The ADAM folder of the coordination office is called 000 Master's Degree in Sustainable Development and is used as a communication tool. All documents - such as study regulations, course programs, syllabi, fact sheets, forms, etc. - are available via website of the MSD/downloads MSD 2017 / MSD 2010.
In addition to the course registration via MOnA, numerous courses require a mandatory course application. For this purpose, we use the ADAM folder called 003 MSD course applications. The link to this folder, the deadlines, etc. are published in the detailed online 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!
Appointments for a longer consultation are possible on agreement:
- Inquiries from non-MSD students: Please send an email to get a doodle link in order to fix a date to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- MSD students: link available on ADAM folder 000 Master's Degree in Sustainable Development MSD
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 counseling, recognition of credit points, credit point check , etc.
Drop-in office hours: in the morning: Tues & Thur: 09 to 12 a.m.; in the afternoon: Mon - Thur: 03 to 05 p.m. Subject to modifications.
For more details regarding availability see here.
Within a specific time period (during the first four weeks of the teaching period) it is possible to cancel course registrations on MOnA. The cancelled course is not listed anymore on the academic progress summary.
If you resign after the official registration period, please send an email to the lecturer or follow the instructions in the course directory. Note: The course remains listed on the academic progress summary but will not be listed on the final degree transcript.
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.
Course registration on MOnA has to be done as soon as possible, at latest at the beginning of the semester.
Details on the credit point check are explained in the fact sheet regarding the master’s graduation (see downloads MSD 2017). The credit point check makes sure that you fulfil the requirements for the application of the master's thesis.
Currently, we offer two teaching programs:
1. MSD 2017: The curriculum (structure and content) has been implemented by fall semester 2017. For details see here.
2. TQNE: 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). For details see here.
When graduating, the candidates receive a degree certificate, a degree transcript and a diploma supplement. The procedure of graduation is organized twice a year and usually connected to a graduation ceremony (in June/December).
All courses offered at the University of Basel are listed in the detailed course directory. Each course has its own record providing information on teaching content, teaching goals, timetable, location, assessement details, course application, etc.
The course directory for the MSD can be downloaded from our website, for details see here.
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 - and always 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.
Any modification is announced in due time.
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, section "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 in statistics or in empirical social research methods of at least 10 CP as stated in the study regulations.
1) Within the MSD 2017 some modules need a learning agreement (LA):
- all students: For the Focal Areas in Sustainability Research (FASR) module the LA is to be submitted as soon as all the classes for this module are passed successfully. For more details see template LA available here).
- students with focus area in natural sciences have to create a LA for the Preparation Master’s Thesis in Natural Sciences module (template available here).
2) In the following cases, some students have to fill in the form of a LA 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 they have to create a LA for the Complementary Knowledge module corresponding to the bachelor's degree. For details see study guidelines Section 4.3.1 (document and template LA available here);
- if students have an interdisciplinary background they have to create a LA for the Complementary Knowledge module corresponding to the bachelor's degree. For details see study guidelines Section 4.3.2 (document and template LA available here).
3) In the following case, students have to to fill in the form of a LA for the alternative method class for the "Interdisciplinary Research in Sustainability" module (IRS):
- an alternative method course of a higher level than the one offered in the online course directory is only eligible for students with preliminary knowledgeand first degrees in the corresponding field (by default, students have to take three courses on disciplinary methods (3 x 3 CP) published in the online course directory and in the medium-term syllabus). NOTE: This rule applies from spring semester 2023 on. The alternative courses are listed in the medium-term syllabus; the procedure of replacement is explained in the same document (download document and template LA available 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):
- All students: Master's Thesis module. The details of the master's thesis (topic, reviewer(s), duration) are fixed in the learning contract (fact sheet on master's graduation and template of this LC are available as downloads, see here);
- Students with focus area in natural sciences: Within the Preparation Master’s Thesis in Natural Sciences module students have to create a LC for the "practical work" (and the "seminar paper"). This LC is to be created on MOnA;
- Students with focus area in social sciences: Within the Preparation Master’s Thesis in Social Sciences module students have to create a LC for the free "seminar paper". This LC is to be created on MOnA.
Learning spaces and meeting rooms for group work for MSD students at the Vesalianum/2nd floor (usually from Monday to Thursday: 9-18h):
- seminar room 02.02: For teaching, group meetings and working groups. To be booked beforehand. Check the availability: https://rauminfo.unibas.ch (Link guides to the corresponding website, you still have to do the login: top row on the right. Only works when you are connected to the Unibas VPN). Booking also possible by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: +41 61/207 04 20 or at the coordination office MSD (when open). Ad-hoc use of the room possible, if available.
- meeting room 02.03A and connected room 02.03: For individual use or working groups available. Ad-hoc use of the room possible, if available. If you like to book the room beforehand, you send an email to email@example.com;
- student's room 02.18: For individual use, no booking.
More learning spaces offered at Unibas
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 downloads MSD 2017).
With the admission letter students will receive detailed information about the matriculation (incl. Swiss student number if new in Switzerland), the fees, etc.
Students remain matriculated, as long as the semester registration and the payment of the semester fee is done in due time. For details see here
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).
Single mobility courses within the regional EUCOR network or other Swiss Universities are possible. For information about the modalities within the MSD see fact sheet regarding "recognition of credit points" (MSD 2017); for general information about mobility offers see Mobility at the University of Basel
My Online Account MOnA is the application which allows students to register for the upcoming semester and the courses. MOnA is also the tool where you can get insight to your credit points account, to the academic progress summary, create a learning contract, export your timetable, adjust your personal data; etc.
The teaching committee (TC) of the MSD has fixed some rules regarding the recognition of academic achievements. A fact sheet informs about the details (requirements of recognition, when and how to submit an application, etc.). This document and a template for the application are available here.
Before applying, please clarify 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).
Support service: The University of Basel provides a wide range of support services for its members, students and employees.
Please use the online guide to find the right contact person. Details see here
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 of the successfully completed and sometines planned courses. It is required for some applications, or for the CP check, etc. Template is available as download MSD 2017 (box "forms and templates")
The MSD executive committee is called teaching committee (TC) and determines the strategic direction and the content of this master’s degree.
According to the study regulations the TC is composed of different group representatives: three professors (one representative of each participating faculty), one research associate, one PhD student, one student.
For details regarding the current members of the teaching committee see here.
The language of instruction is English. Students are responsible for having attained the required language skills (level B2 or higher) to successfully pursue the MSD. A language certificate is not requiered. Examination failures cannot be justified by insufficient language skills.
There is a new timetable for each semester; see downloads: MSD 2017.
It's important to use the latest version of the timetable. Changes may occur even after the first publication of the semester program. Therefore, when arranging the individual timetable the best is to cross-check the information in the detailed course directory shortly before the start of the teaching period.
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.