CAS in Digital Life Sciences

ZHAW Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften - Departement Life Sciences und Facility Management
City, country:
Wädenswil, Zurich area, Switzerland
CAS (Certificate of Advanced Studies)


Digitalisation is changing all areas of life and work at an increasing pace. The disciplines of the life sciences are particularly affected. Especially at the interfaces of biology and medicine, ever larger amounts of data are generated that have to be processed. The new digital possibilities bring great potential, but also challenges for the economy and society.

While the importance of topics related to keywords such as "big data" or "data science" has risen sharply in recent years in many companies and among the general public, this importance is countered by a proven shortage of skilled workers. At the moment, the demand is largely fed by the pool of experts with an IT background in the fields of electrical engineering and computer science. However, the new occupational fields in the field of "data science" go beyond the formal presentation, storage, processing and transmission of information.

In the life sciences sector in particular, a sound background knowledge of the data context and methodological meta-knowledge are often of central importance, as the interpretation of the data for the acquisition of information and knowledge is particularly important. Thus, the ability of technical programming is pushed into the background and a basic understanding of the technical possibilities as well as programming knowledge with script languages becomes more important. This speaks for the possibility of a new access to "data science" from the professional context of life sciences experts.

Target audience

The CAS DLS is aimed at professionals in all areas of the life sciences who have a university degree and wish to further their development in digital data processing. Practitioners with comparable professional competence can also be admitted (Sur-Dossier admission).


In order to exploit the potential of the ever-increasing digitisation of the life sciences, specialised professionals must understand the basic concepts and processes. This includes both a technical understanding of modern data structures and the use of scripting languages. The CAS DLS enables the participants to recognize the advantages of digitization, to use them and to be able to use the already existing specialized knowledge in their field successfully also in a digital working environment. The CAS DLS is thus also intended to close the existing gap in Switzerland's continuing education landscape.


The CAS is not made by a fixed set of modules, and everyone can design his/her own CAS by choosing any module they are interested. By achieving 12 ECTS Credits a request for the CAS certificate can be done at the IAS institute. Each 2 ECTS credits costs 990.-. CHF. The credits obtained with each course are valid 3 years starting from course completion. So a CAS certificate can be obtained after 3 years after the first course has been successfully completed.


The certificate course in Digital Life Sciences is open to those who meet the following requirements:
  • Diploma from a state-recognised university of applied sciences or a predecessor school such as ZHW, HWV, HTL or certificate from a state-recognised university or technical college (diploma, licentiate, bachelor's or master's degree) and at least 3 years of professional experience - preferably in the field of life science and / or computer science or in a field related to life science.
  • Good written and oral communication skills
  • Passive knowledge of English ( study of literature)

Language of instruction

  • German, English
  • Typically the courses are held in English. If all the class speak German exceptions can be made.


The CAS DLS is modularly structured from the broad range of courses offered by the IAS in the field of Data Sciences for Life Sciences. Participants can either choose a predefined course combination that focuses on a specialized topic. Or they can put together their own individual focus with their own combination of topics. 

The courses are divided into two categories: Methods and technologies. While the method courses teach basic concepts and principles (e.g. machine learning, data engineering), the technology courses cover the practical application of methods through the use of current and popular technologies (e.g. programming languages, frameworks, etc.).


Participants have the opportunity to complete the CAS DLS with 4 credits of project work. The project work will be carried out within the framework of an industrial partnership with the company of the participating person or with a partner company in cooperation with the IAS. The first 8 credits must be earned through the successful completion of courses.

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The ZHAW is one of the leading Swiss universities of applied sciences. Around 1,500 students are currently enrolled at the School of Life sciences and facility Management, which has more than 600 employees. We offer five Bachelor’s and three Master’s degree programmes, together with a wide range of continuing education courses. Our expertise in life sciences and facility management in the areas of the environment, food and health enables us to make a vital contribution ot solving social challenges and improving quality of life. Our success is based on five dynamic institutes with extensive competence in research, development and services in the disciplines of chemistry and biotechnology, food and beverage innovation, natural resource sciences, applied simulation and facility management.

Further Information

ZHAW Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften - Departement Life Sciences und Facility Management

Grüentalstrasse 14
8820 Wädenswil