Master of Science in Architecture

General

Program Description

The Master of Science in Architecture offers the opportunity to acquire the most advanced theoretical knowledge and operative skills for the practice of contemporary architectural design. Architectural design is taught through its disciplinary foundations and is closely related with technological innovation, environmental issues, models of territorial management and the themes of restoration and reestablishment of the historical, architectural and environmental heritage.

Structure and contents

The study program consists of a series of theoretical lectures and design studios dedicated to arguments and methods of architectural design in its different forms (housing, services industry, culture, etc.) and scales (from interior design to the architectural structure all the way up to the urban and territorial plan).

The program draws on two different but correlated teaching approaches.

The first consists of theoretical courses pertaining to the methodological, technological and historical knowledge that will enable future architects to explore central themes of contemporary architectural culture critically.

The second approach entails each semester, the choice of a design studio which focuses on a specific project typology, whether architectural or urban. In the years of the Master, students are asked to produce one theoretical paper on topics of their own choice with the approval of a teacher.

The last semester is entirely dedicated to the drafting of the final thesis, which consists of a project that is related to a topic chosen by the design studio professor. Although each professor chooses a different topic to be developed by his students, all concern a specific site selected by the school.

Goals and contents

The objective the Master pursues is to train professionals who, on the basis of the acquired awareness and in-depth knowledge of the complexity of current architectural practice, are competent both to carry out the functions of direct architectural design and to coordinate the different specialists involved in professional projects.

Diploma

The work for the Diploma consists of a project which the student develops in the course of the last semester of the MSc course. A pass gains 30 ECTS. Each Diploma design studio will generally contain a maximum of 12 students, supervised by a professor and an architect-assistant.

Each year the Commission nominated for the Diploma chooses a single territory as the common theme of all the Diploma design studios. The single territory facilitates the preparation and comprehension of the context in which the project is to be completed. The professors are assured of flexibility in the choice of the different projects regarding the territory chosen. The Diploma semester is to be considered a semester of university studies in every respect and entails attendance at the design studios and participation in the school’s cultural life.

The Diploma syllabus involves:

  • individual architectural design work in studio sessions (on a site and topic presented by the faculty member in charge of the design studio) and the related critiques;
  • participation in seminars dealing with the Diploma topic held by the faculty members in charge of the supplementary subjects, assisted by the architect-assistants from the design studios;
  • participation in the field trip to the place chosen for the Diploma;
  • participation in the collective critiques of the Diploma design studios.

The discussion of the Diploma project before the jury is public and constitutes the final examination before graduating as an architect.

Students from other universities who intend to enroll in the Diploma course must have successfully attended at least one year of studies of the program at the Academy.

The Diploma/MSc conferred by the Mendrisio Academy of Architecture is legally recognized by UE.

Admission

The Master education in Architecture lasts two years and must be supplemented with an additional period of 9 consecutive months of internship.

A total of 120 ECTS credit points must be obtained. Entry into the program is only possible in the fall semester.

Instruction occurs mainly in Italian, but courses in English are also offered. Proof of English language proficiency is not required to enter the MSc program.

Please note that candidates who already have a Master Degree diploma in Architecture will not be admitted.

The MSc degree is open to students who have trained under the new European Regulations, as well as students who have completed their university education on the basis of the previous regulations. The conditions of admission are as follows:

  • Students who have obtained the title of BSc at the Academy, at ETHZ or at EPFL: access is automatic, provided the conditions of the Regulation of Studies and the examinations of the Academy have been complied with.
  • Students who have graduated BSc from another university: access is not automatic and is subordinated to their possession of the necessary educational credits and to availability of places. The Mobility Commission evaluates each application in relation to the curriculum of studies of the Academy. The following Bachelor’s degrees are not considered valid for admission to the MSc courses: Interior Design, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Urban Planning, Landscape Architecture, Construction and Civil Engineering or BSc degrees conducted by telematics education (e-learning).
  • Students who have graduated under the previous regulations in another university: access is not automatic and is subordinated to their possession of the necessary educational credits and to availability of places. The Mobility Commission evaluates each application in relation to the curriculum of studies of the Academy.
  • Students possessing an Arch. diploma SUPSI or from other Swiss professional universities (FHS, HES) may enroll in the MSc course by accumulating at least 30 educational credits as defined by the Academy. The Academy reserves the right to examine the candidate’s specific curriculum.

Language

The official teaching language is Italian, but individual lectures, courses or design studios and their relevant examinations may be conducted in English. Working knowledge of English is desirable and may be prescribed by the Study and Examination Regulations. By specific request made in good time, and with the agreement of the faculty member responsible for each examination, the examinations may be taken in other languages.

For students who are not native Italian speakers, the Academy organizes intensive courses in Italian which take place before the academic year. Other courses are offered during the semesters. Various institutions organize courses in Italian for the purpose of attending university courses.

Application Procedure

To enroll in the Master of Science course applicants with UE/AELS nationality and applicants that do not need an entry visa for Switzerland must send the complete dossier of application to the administrative office of the Academy (Academy of Architecture, Master Programme, Largo Bernasconi 2, 6850 Mendrisio, Switzerland) from November by 15 April (postmark date applies as deadline).

Applicants that need an entry visa for Switzerland must send the completed application documents from November by 15 February (postmark date applies as a deadline).

Applicants with a Bachelor in Architecture obtained from a Swiss Polytechnic or from a Swiss SUP/HES must send the completed application documents from November by 1 June (postmark date applies as a deadline).

Applicants will be informed of the result of the application by email. If applicants are accepted, the acceptance will be formalized by a letter of admission from the Faculty.

To confirm their intention to enroll, applicants are required to pay the enrolment fee as indicated and in accordance with the procedure described in the letter of admission. To complete the enrolment, at the start of every academic semester, it is necessary to enroll in accordance with the procedures described in the letter of admission.

Fees

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.

Application fee

For the assessment of applications a payment by credit card of a registration fee is requested:

  • early bird applications, submitted from November till 15 December, CHF 100.-
  • applications submitted from 16 December till 15 April, CHF 200.-
  • applicants with a Bachelor in Architecture of a Swiss polytechnic institute or a Swiss SUP/HES/FH are exempted from the registration fee.
Last updated Jul 2019

About the School

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

USI is a young and agile university that offers to its students a quality education and an enhancing study experience. International faculty teach students with an interdisciplinary, engaging and interactive approach, leaving room to 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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