In demanding leadership situations, the people involved are a decisive factor for a successful outcome. Individual employees, senior level staff and external partners wield an influence over procedure that can very often prove conclusive. It is essential for today’s leaders to understand not only human limitations, but also the opportunities provided through the strengths and abilities of individuals. A modern leader must be in possession of the necessary tools required for selecting and promoting the most suitable people for the job.

As a way of approaching these human factors, the “Certificate of Advanced Study in Human Factors in Leadership” (CAS HF) will cover perceptual errors, self-awareness, similarities and differences, conflicts and agreement, as well as diversity and interculturality. Thus, the course targets human factors at various levels, ranging from individual to societal considerations.

The "CAS HF" can be completed as part of the "MAS in Effective Leadership” or independently, as an individual course. The "MAS in Effective Leadership" offers the ideal partnership with the Swiss Armed Forces College (SAFC), making it advantageous to participants without a military background, which can enrich their skills through exposure to the content of military leadership training.

Goals and Benefits

The aim of the “CAS HF” is to understand the influence of human factors in exceptionally demanding leadership situations. One approach is to investigate interpersonal and group dynamics, by looking specifically at topics such as diversity, interpersonal conflict and contemporary personnel processes.

Target Group

Like the "MAS in Effective Leadership”, the “CAS HF” is aimed at experienced decision-makers from business and administration as well as from the non-profit sector. These leaders are used to operating in an environment with unpredictable external influences and are therefore exposed to phases of high intensity (project management, incident management, highly complex problems, time constraints etc.). Focus on such content makes "CAS HF" particularly suitable for leaders who seek to optimise situations which could represent either challenges or opportunities within the workforce.

Structure and Content

The "CAS HF" consists of two modules and different course blocks, which share common topic. During the scientific module the block "Individual" deals predominantly with positive psychology and resilience as well as individual perceptual errors. A second block, "Team and Organization", approaches personnel selection, group dynamics and group performance, deviant behaviour and psychological contracts. These topics are completed with a “Societal” thematic block that addresses questions of inclusive leadership, gender roles, interculturality, young leaders as well as diversity in general.

To strengthen learning outcomes, a practical module allows students to gain understanding of and practice communication as an interpersonal leadership tool. This practical module will be conducted by the “Management, Information and Communication Training Centre” (MIKA), a subsidiary of the Swiss Armed Forces College. This practical module encompasses the two blocks "Interpersonal Communication" and "Leadership Communication".

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


"Psychological Contracts and Deviant Behaviour: Purpose as success factor"

Dr. Patrick Hofstetter

Head of the Academy of Advanced Studies of the University of Lucerne

Personal page of Dr. Patrick Hofstetter

"Cognitive Biases"

Dr. Eva-Maria Aulich

Managing Director of the Forschungscampus Mittelhessen

Personal page of Dr. Eva-Maria Aulich

Dr. Anja Feierabend

Senior Research Associate CEHRM and Managing Director HR ConScience

Personal page of Dr. Anja Feierabend

"Elements of Team Leadership"

Dr. Florian Demont

Research Assistant Military Academy (MILAC) at ETH Zurich

Personal page of Dr. Florian Demont

Dr. Michael Holenweger

Research Assistant Military Academy (MILAC) at ETH Zurich

Personal page of Dr. Michael Holenweger

"Positive Psychology, Resilience & Retention, and Selection & Assessment Centers"

Dr. Hubert Annen

Head of Military Psychology and Military Pedagogy Studies Military Academy (MILAC) at ETH Zurich

Personal page of Dr. Hubert Annen

"The Five Dimensions of Diversity" and "Inclusive Leadership"

Sue Johnson

Inclusion & Diversity Consultant at PwC

Personal page of Sue Johnson

"Interpersonal Communication" and "Leadership Communication"

Colonel (General Staff) Mark Eigenheer

Commandant of the Management, Information and Communication Training Command MIKA

Personal page of Colonel (GS) Mark Eigenheer

Dates and Deadlines

The next module will take place between June and October 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 HF 2021" course should be submitted by 15 April 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 Human Factors in Leadership of the University of Lucerne".

Fees, Admission and Rules

The fee for the "CAS HF" 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.

Courses 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 programme 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 military leadership training (with a minimum “good" grade average in the equivalent training service) are eligible for credits toward corresponding course blocks. Those participants without a military background, but who have completed relevant units from MIKA, are eligible for credits toward corresponding course blocks. Final decisions on whether previous courses can be converted into extra credits is made by the Board of Management for admission to the study. In the case that such a credit is permitted, the cost of the "CAS HF" is reduced as follows:

  • Subaltern officers and participants with no prior military background, who have completed studies commensurate to the course block "Interpersonal Communication”, can deduct three calendar days and CHF 1’500 from the overall study requirements.
  • Unit commanders and staff officers (battalion level and above) as well as participants with no prior military background, who have completed the corresponding course block "Leadership Communication” can deduct three calendar days and CHF 1’500 from the overall study requirements.