Swiss school-leaving certificates, obtained in Switzerland and abroad
For admission students must possess one of the following qualifications.
- Federal or cantonal matriculation recognized by the Swiss Federal Matriculation Committee.
- Cantonal maturità commerciale (Scuola cantonale di commercio, Bellinzona).
- Professional School-Leaving Certificate complete with attestation of supplementary examinations by the Federal Commission of Maturity.
- Arts diploma under Cantonal Law issued by the Liceo Artistico CSIA (in this case, admission is subject to an interview and an examination in Mathematics).
- Final diploma of a professional university institute (in this case the Faculty may recommend the admission of candidates to an advanced level of the programme, and may exempt them from some exams or from the internship, if the chosen field of study is the same as that previously completed).
- School-leaving certificates issued by Swiss schools abroad or by Italian schools in Switzerland are also accepted, provided these schools are listed in the Italo-Swiss agreement signed in 1996 and supplemented in 1999.
Applicants with a foreign secondary school (pre-university) diploma (and/or a foreign university diploma considered equivalent to it) are also admitted. As a rule, reference is made to the guidelines of swissuniversities, the new Rector's Conference of Swiss Universities.
As a result of the Italian education Reform of 2010 ("Gelmini Reform") the following Italian Secondary School leaving certificates are recognized:
- secondary school specializing in classical studies (liceo classico);
- secondary school specializing in scientific studies (liceo scientifico);
- secondary school specializing in scientific studies, applied sciences section (liceo scientifico, opzione scienze applicate);
- secondary school specializing in foreign languages (liceo linguistico);
- secondary school specializing in art subjects - all majors- five year courses (liceo artistico quinquennale);
- secondary school specializing in humanities (liceo delle scienze umane);
- secondary school specializing in humanities, socio-economic section (liceo delle scienze umane, opzione economico-sociale).
The following Italian secondary school leaving certificates are not recognized:
- secondary school diploma with specialization in teacher training (diploma magistrale);
- secondary school specializing in art subjects - four year courses (diploma di liceo artistico quadriennale);
- diploma awarded in a school of art (diploma artistico di un Istituto professionale d'arte);
- diploma in surveying (titolo di geometra);
- all diplomas delivered by technical Institutions /school of further and vocational education (titoli rilasciati da istituti tecnici).
As to qualifications awarded in other countries:
- The "European Baccalaureat" is considered equivalent to the Swiss "maturità", while the "International Baccalaureat" is considered equivalent only at certain conditions (see swissuniversities).
- A US High School final diploma is not recognized as equivalent to the required certificate of secondary education. US applicants seeking admission to USI must submit evidence of studying 2 years in a recognized university, or have passed 5 (five) APT (Advanced placement tests) with a minimum mark of 3, in two languages, mathematics, a natural science, and a history. Please refer to the appropriate guidelines issued by the Rectors' Conference of Swiss Universities (swissuniversities).
Admission "by portfolio"
Candidates over 25 years old lacking the above qualifications may be admitted if the Academy judges they have special training and experience revealing an aptitude for design work certified with the application for admission.