In an increasingly complex world, leaders at all levels are called upon to make promising decisions, even though time may be short and the information available is incomplete. Decisions, which are wrong, late, uninformed or ineffectual, may result in operational disadvantages and financial losses.

The "CAS in Decision Making and Leadership" (CAS DM) course deals with decision-making contexts and methodology. The course combines a scientific foundation with proven methodology. The Swiss Armed Forces College (SAFC) is our competent partner in providing a dual approach based on academic content and experienced-based learning.

The "CAS DM" course may be undertaken as an independent module or as part of the "MAS in Effective Leadership" programme. Our partnership with the Swiss Armed Forces College (SAFC) ensures that all modules taught within the "MAS in Effective Leadership" are ideal for reserve officers, but also for participants from a non-military background keen to gain experience of military leadership training.

Goals and Benefits

The "CAS DM" deals with decision making in exacting situations. Together with the SAFC, the course provides training in a practically proven, well established decision making methodology. It also transmits the scientific basis of leadership and decision making to enable participants to analyse and further develop their own decision making behaviour, and that of others. The course is supplemented with modules on multilateral decision making (negotiations and dialogue) and decision making in the context of change management.

Target Group

Like the "MAS in Effective Leadership", the "CAS DM" course is aimed at experienced leaders in business, public administration and the non-profit sector. The target group acts in an environment of changing external factors and is exposed to periods of high intensity (project management, incident management, complex problems under time pressure, etc.). The course content is particularly adapted to leaders confronted with individual or multi-lateral decision making in exacting contexts.

Participants with no military (leadership) experience will find the "CAS DM" course provides an excellent platform for studying the army’s decision making methodology, which has repeatedly proven itself in high-intensity leadership situations.

Structure and Content

The "CAS DM" course is made up of two modules which are connected by a single performance review and continuity of content. The practical module focuses on "Decision making Methodology", and is taught primarily by the Swiss Armed Forces College in special course blocks designed for non-military participants. The learning content of this module is then linked to, and complemented by, scientific modules taught by the University of Lucerne.

Practical Module

The SAFC’s "Management, Information and Communication Training Centre" trains and consolidates decision making methodology over three 4-day course blocks especially tailored to non-military participants.

The blocks build on each other and deal with, for example, leadership techniques, option-based thinking, presentation techniques, techniques for managing and controlling a staff, plus other aspects of decision making methodology. This phase trains a structured approach to the task of solving complex problems with the added constraint of a given timeframe.

Participants may elect to complete this phase in German, French or Italian.

Scientific Module

Lecturers with academic and practical leadership experience, and lecturers from cultural and social sciences, will take participants through a variety of topics in five 2-day blocks.

These blocks deal with leadership, change management and multilateral decision making. Participants will also study concepts drawn from economics, political philosophy and ethics, all of which provide alternative approaches to decision making. This encourages experiencing and deliberating decision making behaviour as an overall process not linked to any one specific method.

Selected decision makers with practical experience will give impromptu presentations to highlight additional perspectives and stimulate individual reflection.

This phase is taught mainly in English.

Course Management and Lecturers

Course Management

The course is led by a board made up of an equal number of representatives from the University of Lucerne and the SAFC. The members of the board are:

Foto Bruno Staffelbach

Prof. Dr. Bruno Staffelbach

Rector and Full Professor at the University of Lucerne

Personal page of Prof. Dr. Bruno Staffelbach

Major General Germaine J.F. Seewer

Commandant of the Swiss Armed Forces College

Personal page of Major General Germaine J.F. Seewer

Programme Management

Reto Wegmann

Programme Director

Personal page of Reto Wegmann


"Decision Making Methodology"

Colonel (General Staff) Mark Eigenheer

Commandant of the Management, Information and Communication Training Command MIKA

Personal page of Colonel (GS) Mark Eigenheer

"Who decides? Decision Making and the Rule of Law"

Dr. Katja Gentinetta

Political Philosopher

Personal page of Dr. Katja Gentinetta

"Change Management as a Decision Making Domain" and "Negotiations & Multilateral Decision Making"

Dr. Martin Gutmann

Managing Director of the ETH Swiss School of Public Governance

Personal page of Dr. Martin Gutmann

"Values, Principles and Norms in Decision Making - the Strive for Legitimacy"

Foto Peter Kirschlaeger

Prof. Dr. Peter Kirchschläger

Professor of Theological Ethics at the University of Lucerne

Personal page of Prof. Dr. Peter Kirchschläger

"Decision Making and Game Theory"

Foto Simon Lüchinger

Prof. Dr. Simon Lüchinger

Professor of Economics at the University of Lucerne

Personal page of Prof. Dr. Simon Lüchinger

"Leadership Theory and Practice"

Dr. Feena May

Managing Director of The Inspiring Company Sàrl

Personal page of Dr. Feena May

Dates and Deadlines

The next course will take place between September and December 2021.


The course is limited to 25 participants. The board will decide on admissions if more than 25 applications are received.

Applications for the "CAS DM 2021" course should be submitted by 1 July 2021. The board decides on the admission of subsequent applications only in the case of available study places.

Final Qualification

Candidates who successfully complete both modules and pass the performance reviews will be awarded a "Certificate of Advanced Studies in Decision-Making and Leadership of the University of Lucerne", worth 10 ECTS credits.


Testimonials are available in German.

Fees, Admission and Rules

The fee for the "CAS DM" course is CHF 11,500 (includes examination and certificate fees). The fee includes course documentation, access to our electronic learning platform (OLAT) and all administrative services. It does not include travel, food or accommodation. We recommend relying on our solutions for accommodation and food during the phase “Decision Making Methodology”. The food will be charged separately.

Modules offered by the Swiss Armed Forces College are free of charge for members of cantonal management bodies and federal employees. Food and accommodation will be charged according to actual costs on site.

Applicants for this course should be leaders with a higher education qualification (university, university of applied sciences, university of teacher training). The board of the programme will decide on eligibility for admission of candidates without a higher education qualification (on submission of dossier). All candidates must have the required language skills (one of the national languages plus English).

Participants with prior military training (minimum Unit Commander or Staff Officer at battalion level with at least "good" grade in the respective training course), and non-military participants who have completed the content provided by the SAFC’s “Management, Information and Communication Training Centre" independently of the University of Lucerne, will be eligible for exemption from the "Methodology" phase. Lieutenants and senior non-commissioned officers may be eligible for exemption from certain modules. Where candidates qualify for exemption, the fee for the "CAS DM" will be reduced by a maximum of CHF 5,500 (final decision on course admission).