FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

General & Format

  • Which programmes are available?

    From 2023 onwards, CAS 1, CAS 2 and CAS 3 will be run in parallel from September year X to June year X+1, providing that there are enough participants for each programme every year.

  • What is the estimated time commitment per week?

    You should be able to dedicate approximately 10 hours of study time per week. Do not underestimate this time commitment! Apart from the scheduled breaks (4 weeks in December / January and 10 day in April), it is important that you keep pace with the course throughout the study duration from September to June to ensure that the deadlines are not missed.

  • Can I do the programme next to my job?

    Yes, if you can dedicate 10 hours of study time per week.

  • How can I best organise my working hours during the week?

    You are more likely to succeed when you set aside a particular time and place each week to do the course work. This might include a time slot during the weekend. It is helpful to organise working time through discussion with your family and also with your employer. Employers are is usually interested in your continuing education and might offer some flexibility in your working time schedule. This can be particularly important for attending the live sessions, which take place during working hours (Central European Time) between Monday and Friday.

  • What happens if I have to drop out for some weeks, e.g. because of illness?

    This depends on the duration of your absence.

    In any case, please inform the programmes’ board (contact.icm@unine.ch and m.grossrieder@cabi.org) and the tutor responsible for the concerned topic(s) as early as possible.

    In case of a short absence (less than 3 weeks), you should be able to catch up with the rest of the class (investing more than the usual 10 hours or work per week). We invite you to contact the tutor to get some extra advice to help you catch up.

    In case of a longer absence (more than 3 weeks), it might become difficult for you to catch up during the normal time that the programme is running. With a proven justification for your absence, you can request to the programmes’ board an exceptional extension (as defined in Article 7 al. 3 of the Course and Exam Rules). Depending on the case, either we will be able to offer you a short extension of time after the end of the programme, or, you might have to wait for one year for the concerned topic(s) to be taught again. No degree will be delivered until you have successfully passed all topics of the programme.

  • Are there any other languages than English?

    No. To attend these programmes, you must have at least a B2 level of English or equivalent.

    More about European language levels here.

  • How many students will be enrolled per CAS programme at one time?

    There will be at least 20 participants enrolled per CAS programme at one time.

  • Are the programmes self-paced?

    Yes and no.

    Course materials are made available to the participants through the CABI Academy Moodle platform and can be accessed at any time by the participants through their browser or through the Moodle Mobile app.

    A participant can freely decide when to work the 10 weekly hours required (distributed over the week or in blocks, etc.).

    However, each CAS programme is organized around thematic topics in accordance with a predefined calendar. Participants must complete the topics in the order, and according to the overall time schedule presented on the CABI Academy Moodle platform at the start of the programme.

    Moreover, many topics include live sessions organised by tutors, where all participants are expected to join.

    In summary, following the calendar, participants will advance at a similar pace over the 9 months of the programme, but can organize their own week as they prefer.

  • What happens if I am unable to attend a live session?

    Participants are expected to join the live sessions organized by the tutors. The tutor needs to be informed as early as possible if participants are or were not able to attend.

    Live sessions will be scheduled to assure as much as possible that participation is feasible for all participants, considering different time zones. The live session schedule will be announced well in advance to allow participants to arrange for attendance.

    Live sessions will also be recorded and made available online so that participants who were not able to attend can watch the recoring at a later date.

Technical aspects

  • What type of software and technical equipment will I need to take part in these programmes?

    Software: You will need the usual office software applications (e.g. for word processing, for spreadsheets, and for preparing presentations). We recommend using Open Office, LibreOffice, Google Docs or Microsoft Office. Please be informed that once you are accepted to the programme and registered to the University of Neuchâtel, you will be able to download the full Microsoft Office Suite for free (ie. Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint).

    Technical equipment: We recommend you use a desktop or laptop computer, or a tablet with a separate keyboard. You will need a stable internet connection, particularly for the live sessions. You should also have a webcam and microphone to interact with your peers and the tutors during live sessions.

  • What kind of technical support is available for the CABI Academy Moodle platform?

    Technical support will be available to participants at academy@cabi.org - or using the Help button on the CABI Academy Moodle platform.

  • How fast must my internet connection be to follow these programmes?

    As the majority of the lectures are provided as recorded videos, we recommend that you have a fast enough connection for watching videos. Simply put, if your internet is good enough to watch YouTube videos, then it will be good enough for these programmes.

Registration & Payment

  • Do I have to commit to all three CAS programmes?

    No, each CAS programme is independent. You are then able to take whichever ones are of interest to you.

    Of course, you can also do all three CAS if you wish to. 

    However, at the moment we do not allow for registrations to all three CAS at the same time. Please register to one CAS first. After you have successfully completed a first CAS, you can apply to register for a second CAS.

    If you are interested in the DAS, please see the time limits as detailed in the question below.

  • Can I register directly to the DAS?

    No, you cannot register directly to the DAS.

    DAS registration is allowed only at the time of registration to the third CAS or after having successfully finished the third CAS. The programmes' board will confirm the registration only after the candidate has successfully finished the three CAS programmes.

    Please note that:

    • the DAS must be completed within maximum 5 years after the first CAS
    • the DAS must be completed within maximum 6 months after the end of the third CAS

    As presented in the Programmes page, the DAS consists of all three CAS plus the completion of an additional technical report.

    For the technical report, students will, in principal, prepare written ICM guidelines for a specific crop in a particular country. These guidelines should be preceded by an introduction in the form of a detailed literature review on the topic. The precise report topic and possible alternative content will be decided during the course period, in consultation with the supervisors.

  • Can I pay by multiple instalments?

    Only if you request it and depending on the programmes’ board acceptance.

  • May I get reimbursed if I wish to withdraw or if I fail?

    There is no reimbursement in the case of failure.

    In the case of early withdrawal from the course, here are the rules defined in Art. 14 of the Course and Exam Rules:

    1. If a participant withdraws more than 30 days before the start of the class, an amount of CHF 300 will be retained or demanded as an administrative fee.
    2. In the event of withdrawal between 30 days and 15 days before the start of the class, half of the registration fee will be retained or demanded. Exceptions are possible if the participant can demonstrate valid reasons.
    3. If the participant withdraws within 14 days before the start of the class or after the first day of class, the full amount of the registration fee will be retained or demanded. Exceptions are possible if the participant can demonstrate valid reasons.

Completion Criteria & Degree

  • Who will issue my degree?

    The University of Neuchâtel will issue your degree.

  • How does the grading system work?

    The grading system follows the rules of Swiss universities.

    Assignments are graded on a scale of 1 to 6, with a minimum pass grade of 4.0 and a maximum grade of 6.0. Only the fraction 0.5 is permitted, as follows:

    6 : excellent;

    5.5 : very good;

    5 : good;

    4.5 : satisfactory;

    4 : pass;

    3.5 and below : fail.


    Within each topic, there will be a set of activities and associated resources to help you complete the activities.

    Some activities are designed to help you practice and engage with the materials (formative activities), whilst some are designed to help you demonstrate your capabilities (graded assignments).

    You will have to do all the activities (formative and graded assignments) in order to receive a final grade for each topic.

  • Do I have to pass all topics of one CAS to get the degree?

    It depends on the CAS programme.

    According to the Article 9 of the Course and Exam Rules:

    • for CAS 1: topic 5 must be passed, but among the remaining topics, a maximum of two topics are accepted with a grade of 3.0 or 3.5 if the other topics compensate in order to have a final overall average of at least 4.0.
    • for CAS 2: a maximum of two topics are accepted with a grade of 3.0 or 3.5 if the other topics compensate in order to have a final overall average of at least 4.0.
    • for CAS 3: all three topics must be passed (grade of at least 4.0). No compensating system allowed.
  • Are these Certificates of Advanced Studies (CAS) and Diploma of Advanced Studies (DAS) officially recognised? Do I get ECTS credit points?

    Yes, our CAS/DAS-ICM programmes are official programmes from the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, and follow the rules for any advanced education programmes.

    Each CAS counts for 10 to 12 ECTS. The DAS counts for 36 ECTS.

    For information about the advanced education system in Switzerland, please see the swissuni.ch website (only in French and German) and this summarizing schema.

  • Will the degree be stored in a database, so that employers can check?

    No, your degree will be printed as an original paper certificate by the University of Neuchâtel and sent to you at home by Fedex. The diploma service of the university will always stay available to you to provide official certified copies (“apostilled”) if you need.

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