Kick-start your career with an FT top-ranked Master’s in Finance and specialize in banking, quantitative finance or digital finance.
The Master’s in Finance is designed to provide rigorous and relevant training for future financial professionals. We combine theory and practice to equip you with a solid foundation in financial principles, tools, and techniques that position you for a rewarding career in finance. You learn how to analyze financial markets, use and structure financial products and devise investment opportunities. USI takes great pride in adapting its course offering to the rapid changes in increasingly complex financial systems.
USI is situated at the heart of Lugano, Switzerland, strategically located on the main north-south axis that connects Zurich and Milan through the Alps. Strong links with financial institutions and practitioners through guest lecturers and faculty-led field projects provide a collaborative hands-on learning experience. This, together with our internationally renowned faculty, imparts a sophisticated mix of knowledge that is transferred to the industry through you. The recently introduced track in Digital Finance puts you in a privileged position to take advantage of the new professional opportunities in the area of Fintech. Our graduates occupy top positions in financial and academic institutions worldwide.
The Master’s in Finance is an 18-month / 24-month program taught entirely in English. You choose between three specializations, with an optional internship or thesis in case you want to go for the two-year program.
- Banking and Finance
- Quantitative Finance
- Digital Finance
- Top-ranked by the Financial Times (2018)
- Internationally renowned faculty
- Small class size and diverse student body
- Strong links with industry
- Outstanding career outcomes
- Situated in Switzerland, a global financial center
- Accredited by the Swiss Finance Institute (SFI)
The Master’s in Finance is coordinated with the Swiss Finance Institute (SFI), an initiative sponsored by the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) with the purpose of achieving international excellence in banking and finance education and research at Swiss universities.
Structure and contents
The Master in Finance at USI offers preparation for a successful career in the modern financial world. These careers are spread across diverse fields ranging from data analytics and banking regulations to cryptocurrencies. As a reflection of this diversity, the Master’s program is organized into three minors (streams): Banking and Finance, Quantitative Finance and Digital Finance. The minors are designed to bring together the demands from the industry, individual interests, and educational backgrounds.
In the first semester, courses are common across all minors. They are aimed at providing the students with the foundation of finance, statistics, programming, and accounting. They are the basis for all subsequent courses and allow students to identify their personal interests and strengths. At the beginning of the second semester, students choose the minor in which they want to specialize in. The second semester is then dedicated to core courses, establishing the foundations of Banking and Finance, Quantitative Finance and Digital Finance. In the third semester, half of the ECTS (15) are from core (compulsory) courses, which complete the foundations of the chosen fields. For the remaining 15 ECTS, students have access to a great number of elective courses that allow them to customize their curricula according to their individual interests, educational backgrounds, and professional goals. They can also choose to undertake a field project,s a real-life consultancy project, with a client in the financial industry. The projects are carried out by a team of four to six Master’s students over a period of three months under the supervision of a Faculty member.
The Master’s degree is obtained after fulfillment of the 90 ECTS. Students may also decide to prolong their stay in the program for one additional semester, during which they can make first experiences with scientific research for a potential academic career, for example within the prestigious and world-renowned SFI Ph.D. Program in Finance. The master’s thesis awards an additional 30 ECTS, bringing up the total to 120 ECTS. Alternatively, students may build a first-hand industry experience through an internship.
The program is accredited by the Swiss Finance Institute.
The Field Project is a real-life consultancy project with a client in the financial industry. The projects are carried out by a team of four to six second-year Master’s students over a period of three months. This is an excellent way of applying classroom knowledge to a real business case while being tutored by a professor.
A Master’s degree has become a major asset within the finance industry and can open many doors for graduates who are looking to kick-start their careers in finance. There are plenty of potential career paths out there, so a career in banking does not have to be the only option.
A considerable 71% of the Master’s in Finance students find work before having graduated. And only three months after graduation, 86% of the graduates are employed. The overall employment rate is at 94%. 57% accept a job in Switzerland while working in the rest of the world. 60% of the graduates work in banking and financial services and 12% in consulting.
- Corporate investment banker
Having a keen interest in finance with the ability to understand how money is made and invested are the main traits of a corporate investment banker. Corporate investment bankers carry out financial research to develop financial solutions, achieve financial goals and provide strategic advice by identifying and securing financial deals for their clients by implementing both short-term and long-term plans. Clients can be a company, institution or government.
As a corporate investment banker, you must be equipped with strong numerical and analytical skills with the ability to communicate technical information in a simple format to your clients. Like many other financial careers, as a corporate investment banker, you will need to be resilient, have the ability to work well under pressure and cope with stressful situations.
- Financial analyst
As a financial analyst, you will combine your knowledge, skills, and interests to evaluate investment opportunities for your employer and provide guidance and recommendations for the best course of action for your employer’s investment decision. You should be aware of current market trends as well as investment opportunities within your specialist area. Financial analysts’ employers can be non-profit organizations, government, other business or an individual. As a financial analyst, you can also work in banks, pension funds, and insurance firms.
- Financial advisor
Working as a financial advisor means you will provide specialist advice and guidance to your clients with how they manage their money. You can specialize in just one particular area of expertise which can include investments, savings, estate planning, mortgages, taxes or pensions. Financial advisors provide professional recommendations for their clients by researching the marketplace and ensuring that the client has all the information possible to make a fully informed decision to secure a sale.
You can work as an independent advisor where you research and consider all areas of retail investment products or providers that can meet your clients’ needs, or you can work as a restricted advisor where you offer limited advice which focuses on only one, or a very limited number of products or providers. You must, however, always inform your client as to whether you will be providing them advice as an independent or a restricted advisor beforehand.
As a stockbroker, you’re expected to use your exceptional analytical, negotiation and communication skills to advise your clients to make informed decisions on investing in the right stocks and right markets at the best time.
In a fast-moving and challenging environment, you will also carry out market research to maintain your expertise and knowledge of up-to-date financial and tax legislation to ensure that the guidance you give your clients is as accurate as possible. As a stockbroker, communication is key as you deal with and update your clients directly with new investment opportunities.
Actuaries mainly work in investment banking, corporate finance, pension funds, and insurance companies. They use financial and statistical theories to assess the likelihood of certain events occurring to then help their employer or client take steps to minimize the possible risks and financial costs involved. It is important that, as an actuary, you’re able to present and explain technical and complex information in a way those non-specialist clients can understand.
The formal requirement for admission to the Master's degree in Finance is the completion of a Bachelor's degree granted by a recognized university in Economics or related disciplines. Candidates are required to be adequately prepared in the fields of economics and basic quantitative subjects.
Applicants are encouraged (compulsory for applicants with a Bachelor obtained in non-EU/non-EFTA) to provide GRE/GMAT scores in support of their application.
Candidates with a Bachelor's degree of a recognized University of Applied Sciences may be admitted with 30-60 additional ECTS to be earned during or before the beginning of the program, with Bachelor or Master courses according to a study program defined by the scientific director. Admissions will be treated on a case-by-case basis. Please be sure to check the language requirements below.
The number of places is limited.
The admission to English-language Master programs at USI requires a good command of English. Non-native English speakers applying to the Master’s or whose previous degree was obtained in another language, are required to provide an internationally acknowledged language certificate equal to the B2 level as defined by the Common European Framework of Reference for language learning (CEFR) or equivalent (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS, etc.).
The B2 level on the CEFR corresponds to the following scores in internationally acknowledged exams:
||FCE (First Certificate English)
||Listening & Reading: 785
Students admitted under the above-mentioned condition must achieve a C1 competence in English within the maximum time required to obtain the Master's degree.
The level can be certified either by attending a language course offered at USI during the Fall and Spring semester, and by taking the final exam, or by providing an internationally acknowledged language certificate*.
* The C1 level on the CEFR corresponds to the following scores in internationally acknowledged exams:
||CAE (Advanced certificate), grade C or above
BEC (Business English), grade C or above
||Listening & Reading: 945
As Lugano is located in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, students might be interested in acquiring the basics in Italian.
The Università della Svizzera italiana offers a free of charge Italian language course.
To submit your application, please refer to the indications for filling out the online form available here: http://application.lu.usi.ch.
How to apply for a Master's program in Economics
Applications to the Master program can also be submitted with the application form and required paper documents (email or fax submissions will be rejected) to the following address:
Università della Svizzera italiana
Faculty of Economics
Via G. Buffi 13
Applications by email or by fax are not accepted.
The following pieces of documentation have to be sent in paper form:
- The completed application form (you may download it in pdf format)
- Photocopy of past diplomas (Bachelor, licentiate, four-year degree, maturity);
- Official transcript of results of university examinations;
- Certified translation of any diplomas written in a language other than Italian, German, French, English, or Spanish;
- Curriculum vitae (Resume)
- Personal letter of motivation drafted by the candidate;
- Official certification of proficiency in English;
- Photocopy of an identity card or other documents;
- Photocopy of residence permit for foreign nationals already domiciled in Switzerland.
Photocopy of past degree certificates
Where a candidate has not fulfilled all the requirements for the Bachelor's degree, licentiate or other, copy of the diploma may be sent at a later stage, but in any case no later than the beginning of the matriculation period. If so, please indicate the expected date of the award and enclose an official document issued by the awarding institution confirming these terms.
Letter of motivation
Candidates are required to draft a letter (not more than one page) introducing themselves and explaining their particular interest and reasons for seeking admission to a given Master's degree.
The Lisbon convention regulates the recognition of university degrees between signatory countries and considerably simplifies the administration of admission procedures. For this reason, candidates whose previous degree studies were completed in countries outside this Convention (see list below) are invited to pay an application fee of SFr. 100 accounting for the higher administrative costs of processing more complex files. If the candidate is admitted, the fee will be deducted from the amount of the tuition fee for the first semester. The administrative fee is not refundable in other cases: if admission is not granted, or if the candidate decides to withdraw or fails to matriculate.
Applications will be accepted starting from mid-November.
The application deadline is June 30.
The application deadline for candidates who need a visa is April 30.
Late applications will be considered only in case of available places.
Tuition fees for the Master's degrees amount to CHF 4,000 per semester. Applicants whose official residence was in Switzerland or Liechtenstein at the time of the final high school exam (Maturità) pay a reduced semester fee of CHF 2,000.
Tuition fees are payable at the beginning of each term, by the deadline indicated on the invoice; fee payment is an essential condition for matriculating or renewing one's enrolment.