Master in Philosophy


Program Description

The Master in Philosophy at USI:

  • Stands out for the international stature of its professors.
  • Is research-oriented, aimed at preparing to the most demanding Ph.D. programs around the world.
  • Has a clear focus in Metaphysics, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Mind, Ancient Philosophy and Medieval Philosophy.
  • Requires students to submit regular written work, to produce research papers and to develop their presentation and discussion skills.

The MAP is a two-year graduate degree (120 ECTS; usual duration: 2 years).

The language of the program is English.

Structure and contents

The Master in Philosophy at USI aims to provide an absorbing grounding in a number of interrelated fields, combining contemporary research in Philosophy with Ancient and Medieval thought. Some courses are particularly concerned with the topic of time and existence, aiming at providing a full grasp of two central linked philosophical topics, which are both hot in the contemporary discussion and much debated by the ancient and medieval thinkers.

In order to realize the goals of the program, teaching comprises lectures, master classes with eminent specialists, discussion of presentations by students, general discussions, group work, and individual discussions of papers produced by students. Students will be required to submit regular written works and produce research papers.

Supervised work on the Master thesis begins during the first year of the degree.

Career Prospects

MAP’s first aim is to equip students for the most demanding Ph.D. programs around the world. This orientation is clearly evident both in the structure of the master and in its well-designed didactic. MAP students not only receive feedback on the essays they write but are also provided with suggestions on how to professionalize their written works for future publications.

Moreover, since students are trained within the Swiss academic network, they will be eligible to apply to the significant amount of fundings that Switzerland invests in research every year. Switzerland is unusual in making available generous research grants both in universities and at the national level.

Apart from research at the Ph.D. level, graduates of the master program are obviously qualified for teaching philosophy at high school, both in Switzerland and elsewhere.

The soft skills that students develop are of great value also for a variety of non-academic careers. In particular, the ability of problem-solving, emotional intelligence and most of all the critical thinking skills is something that is highly wanted from the most serious companies. Philosophy students constantly perform better than other students coming from a different academic background in these areas, because of their ability to make connections across complex ideas. Such skills are highly valued in several professions, for example in government, HR, business, cultural mediation, public relation, marketing, and healthcare. At USI there is also a Career Service, which is always available and pleased to help students to succeed in their professional choices.


The formal requirement for admission to the Master's degrees in Philosophy is a Bachelor's degree granted by a recognized university in the field of Philosophy or related disciplines.

Admissions will be treated on a case by case basis.


Admission to English-language graduate-level (Master) programs at USI requires a good command of the English idiom. Non-English native speakers applying for such programs, 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:

TOEFL Computer-based: 183
Internet-based: 65
Paper-based: 513
Cambridge English FCE (First Certificate English)
TOEIC Listening & Reading: 785
Speaking: 150
Writing: 160

Students admitted under the above-mentioned condition (with the exception of the Master in Cognitive Psychology in Health Communication) 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:

TOEFL Internet-based: 100
Cambridge English CAE (Advanced certificate), grade C or above
BEC (Business English), grade C or above
TOEIC Listening & Reading: 945
Speaking: 180
Writing: 180


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.

Application Procedure

To submit your application, please refer to the indications for filling out the online form available here:

Paper Application

Applications 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 Communication Sciences
Admission Office
Via G. Buffi 13
CH-6900 Lugano

Required documentation

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.

Registration fee

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.

Application deadline

  • Applications will be accepted starting from mid-November.
  • The application deadline is August 31. 
  • The application deadline for candidates who need a visa is May 31.
  • 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.

Last updated Mar 2020

About the School

USI is a young and agile university that offers its students a quality education and an enhancing study experience. International faculty teach students with an interdisciplinary, engaging, and intera ... Read More

USI is a young and agile university that offers its students a quality education and an enhancing study experience. International faculty teach students with an interdisciplinary, engaging, and interactive approach, leaving room for practical application. The quality of the study curricula is complemented by USI small size, by its cosmopolitan environment and its informal and dynamic culture. These elements make USI a hub of opportunity open to the world, where students can engage in direct dialogue with their professors and define their educational path, discover unexpected horizons, and embrace international careers. Read less
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