It is a comprehensive university offering a broad choice of courses and programmes in eight faculties and some 160 institutes. The university is an international leader in certain fields of research, such as space research. Teaching and research activities are conducted on an interdisciplinary basis. For instance, the University of Bern is home to three of the National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South (sustainable development), Trade Regulation (international trade) and TransCure (membrane biology).
The university played a key role in the evolution of women's studies. Even in 1870, the the institution had a female student -Catharina Gontscharoff - registered. In 1899, the institution’s Female Students' Society was established, representing women's interests. Its motto was: "Same Rights, Same Duties".
The university has some prestigious former faculty members. Albert Einstein taught theoretical physics at Bern in 1908, and the following year the Russian philiospher Anna Tumarkin became a professor (and the first European lecturer to accept PhD students).
Aside from the programmes and courses on offer, the attractions of the university include Bern's central location and quality of life, which is rated as one of the highest in the world.