__Hinweis: Diese Seite verwendet Javascript für dynamische Darstellungen und interaktive Objekte wie Podcast.

Contextual Studies Master’s Level

Contextual Studies constitute one of the three pillars of the educational concept. They provide an opportunity to develop yourself intellectually and culturally beyond the scope of your core studies.

Eine Studentin lernt in der Bibliothek.

Practical requirements
Practical demands on your intellectual capabilities, your comprehension and interpretation skills and intercultural skills increase over time. Global developments add to this complexity and pace of change in our everyday lives and working environments. For this reason, a purely specialised education is no longer sufficient. Not only must you serve as a highly-qualified professional and specialist in economics and administration; you must demonstrate your cultural competence and well-rounded personality as well.

Independent thinking and flexibility
Companies are no longer interested in people who are only able to succeed within their specific career field, but rather want individuals who can think independently, make responsible decisions and demonstrate versatility in their actions. And they are seeking people who respect others and the environment. To this end, our Contextual Studies provides you with a broad range of services for your general education which open up opportunities for intellectual and cultural development. This corresponds with our guiding principle of “well-considered responsibility” – supporting and fostering personal development.

The Contextual Studies programme rests upon three “sub-pillars”: at the Master’s Level, you must complete a total of 18 credits averaged between the sub-pillars. Because courses at the Master’s Level are more demanding than those at the Bachelor’s Level, they are weighted with more credits per SWH (factor of 1.5). A two-hour seminar thus corresponds to 3 credits.

Cultural Awareness and Critical Thinking are combined as a single topic at the Master’s Level, which means you complete 9-15 credits in this area and 3-9 credits in Leadership Skills (total of 18 credits). 

  • Leadership Skills are composed of knowledge and application of interdisciplinary methods of scientific and practically oriented work and learning. Here we teach problem-solving skills for tackling issues, giving you the social, strategic and planning skills you will need in your studies and career. 
  • Critical Thinking is the capacity to develop sound systematic analyses of intellectual problems and cultural issues. 
  • Cultural Awareness is the ability to understand other cultures, their customs and values, lifestyles and concepts of order, institutions and history, language and art.

Conceptual models and instruments of other disciplines
The courses in Critical Thinking and Cultural Awareness at the Master’s Level promote these skills by addressing a wide range of issues. In some cases, the issues are closely related to the core subjects, while some of them relate to the conceptual models and instruments of other disciplines. This requires you to take an interdisciplinary approach.

Foreign language skills are imperative for respectfully interacting with other cultures and for successful intercultural communication. HSG students must demonstrate proficiency in two foreign languages at the Bachelor’s Level. External Master’s students must demonstrate proficiency in two foreign languages as a part of their supplementary work. Information on recognised external language certificates can be found in the download area. The language courses at the Master’s Level are no longer for credit.

You are free to select your courses for Contextual Studies, irrespective of your particular Master's programme.

Further information

Numerous students meet during their break on the sunny campus in front of the Main Building.


Dr. Yves Partschefeld
Executive Director
Gatterstr. 1
CH-9010 St.Gallen
Phone: +41 71 224 27 66

  • Logo AACSB
  • Logo EQUIS
Member of
  • Logo CEMS
  • Logo PIM
  • Logo APSIA
  • Logo gbsn
Share it

University of St.Gallen – School of Management, Economics, Law, Social Sciences and International Affairs (HSG)
Dufourstrasse 50, CH-9000 St.Gallen, Tel +41 71 224 21 11, Fax +41 71 224 28 16
© 2016 University of St.Gallen, Switzerland
· General legal information · Data privacy statement · Google Tag Manager

From insight to impact