A new job, a new ambition or even a new country can open up a world of possibilities for personal and professional development. A key component in acquiring the necessary new knowledge and skills is continuing education. The range and quality of continuing education programmes on offer in Switzerland is outstanding, and nowhere more so than those offered by Advanced Studies at the University of Basel. Their programme attracts a discerning public of well-qualified graduates with professional experience, many of whom are also in demanding jobs. Advanced Studies lays particular emphasis on quality assurance in all its aspects. “We talk about customers, not students. They are older and already working and they want high quality,” says Moritz Strähl, a member of the Advanced Studies academic team. The courses are designed to meet the competing needs of these busy people and to create a direct connection between the curriculum and participants’ professional experience.
The Advanced Studies programme offers courses at different levels, from postgraduate certificate and diploma to Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) and MBA, with around 50 postgraduate programmes and over 100 short courses in nine different broad streams including society and culture, law and politics and medicine and health. The individual programmes are designed to cover specialist areas and to fulfil the requirements of vocational fields with specific career paths. For a multi-national student body, it is important that the courses have international recognition as well as meeting the requirements of the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS), which allows credit to be transferred between institutions in different European countries.
The University of Basel offers a number of programmes specifically aimed at an international clientele and taught in English to cater for participants based in Switzerland as well as ones coming from other countries to study. The MAS in Medicines Development is run in conjunction with the European Centre of Pharmaceutical Medicine (ECPM), the leading institute for medicines and drug development in Europe. Part of the medical faculty of the University of Basel, it has a well-established training department as well as a research department. Participants first follow the ECPM’s specialist course in drug development, then take compulsory and elective modules and complete a thesis for a Master of Advanced Studies. The programme is targeted at representatives from the pharmaceutical industry, clinical research organisations and government policymakers with prior experience of the field, while the modular design of the course makes it highly suitable for professionals working in a health care environment.
The university’s innovative partnerships with other enterprises offer participants the chance to combine cutting edge practice with high quality teaching. ”Working together with other institutions outside the university brings the two worlds together,” notes Moritz Strähl. The MBA in International Health Management is run in conjunction with the Swiss Tropical Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH). Its modular programme, with the addition of a final thesis, forms the basis of the MBA programme. The week-long intensive modules introduce participants to current experiences of best practice and expertise in global health, and use real-life case studies and examples to put knowledge into practice. The programme format is extremely flexible as each module combines distance learning in preparation for a week of on-campus tuition. Another advantage of the design of the course is that participants can, in the words of Moritz Strähl, “start small”, adding that participants feel that they can “take a certificate this year and then see”.
The same flexible modular framework is a feature of the MAS in Civilian Peacebuilding, run in conjunction with swisspeace, a practice-oriented peace research institute dedicated to innovative research into international peace policy. Following the introductory module on peace and conflict theories and the international legal framework, participants take part in other specialised courses such as gender equality and peacebuilding. These short, intensive courses aimed at professionals in the field can be combined as parts of a certificate so that, again, participants can ‘start small’.
One theme common to continuing education programmes is their relevance to the wider context. With current trends in mind, the MAS in European and Global Governance, offered by the University of Basel’s Institute for European Global Studies, is the result of a reorganization of its well-established MAS in European Integration. The new programme focuses on global research on Europe in the fields of law, economy and society. The course draws on the expertise of external lecturers from European and international organisations based in Switzerland, making it especially relevant for career progression within institutions of the EU or the UNO, in international and civil society organizations, in public administration, in the private sector, or in corporate or political consulting. The modular structure again allows participants to ‘start small’ by taking one of the five required modules and building up to master’s level with a final thesis.
For more information, visit: www.advancedstudies.ch
Article by Rosemary Wilson