Structure and contents
The Master of Science in Economics (ME) prepares professional economists with a policy orientation, with an eye to the skills required to be employed in national and international policy and research institutions, including central banks, development banks, economics and statistics research offices but also in high ranks of the public administration. Due to the skills acquired during the master, the ME is also a pathway to higher studies in Economics and Economic Policy.
The Master offers knowledge in various fields of applied economics combined with a sound background in microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics. To understand, evaluate and propose economic policy instruments in the current world with all its global challenges, the teaching methodology is to combine economic theory with relevant real world applications of today.
Study programme 2023-2025
The programme is taught entirely in English and has a strong international orientation.
The first year offers all the core courses together with some specialized courses. The second-year offers a variety of elective courses, and the possibility of doing an internship (either at a private, or a research institution). Together with the final master thesis (which is written in the last semester), the students will have received the necessary training to undertake an independent analysis of many economics problems.
The standard duration of the Master in Economics is 3 semesters (leading to 90 credits). However, students who wish to amplify their training, have the option of earning additional 30 credits in the form of electives, to be taken either at USI, or our international and national partner universities (leading to a master degree with 120 credits).
The students have the choice between two minors: a minor in Public Policy, which provides in-depth knowledge in industrial organization, health economics and development, and a minor in Data Science, which teaches students informatics skills, and familiarizes them with coding in different programming languages.
Master programme 90 ECTS
Minor in Public Policy
Minor in Data Science
Minor in Public Policy
3 3 3 3 3
Minor in Data Science
Internship or Electives*
(**12 for Minor in Public Policy)
- Academic Writing
- Analytical Thinking
- Corporate Finance
- Programming in Finance and Economics I (Minor in Public Policy)
- Databases (Minor in Public Policy)
- Industrial Organization I (Minor in Data Science)
- Industrial Organization II (Minor in Data Science)
- Energy and Climate Policy for Sustainable Development
Slight changes in the programme may occur.
Master Programme 120 ECTS
Students who wish to amplify their training, have the option of earning an additional 30 credits in the form of electives.
Population Aging and Sustainability of the Welfare State (Minor Data Science)
Pension Economics and Finance (Minor Data Science)
International Trade Law and Sustainable Development (Minor in Data Science)
Managerial Economics II (Minor Data Science)
Programming in Finance and Economics II (Minor Public Policy)
Text Analysis and Spatial Data for Economists (Minor Public Policy)
The ME courses are taught by professors from USI and abroad. In line with the international spirit of this Master, excellent researchers from abroad build part of the teaching team and contribute to the diversity of thoughts. Regular guest lecturers from the private and public sector complement the academic knowledge with relevant policy applications.
Luigi Benfratello, Poitecnico di Torino e Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano
Vincenzo Galasso, Bocconi University and Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano
Patricia Funk, Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano
Giovanni Immordino, Università Federico II Napoli
Mario Jametti, Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano
Stephan Litschig, Institut d'Anàlisi Economica Barcelona
Giuliano Masiero, Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano and University of Bergamo
Fabrizio Mazzona, Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano
Paolo Pinotti, Bocconi University
Raphaël Parchet, Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano
Giovanni Pica, Università degli studi di Milano
Past guest lectures from leading business professionals:
Thomas Braendle, Economic Advisor, Swiss Federal Department of Finance, Bern
Elena Crivellaro, OECD
Enkeleida Havari, European Commission (Joint Research Center) - Center for Research on Impact Evaluation (CRIE)
Carlos Lenz, Director Economics Department, Swiss National Bank
The admission to English-language Master programmes 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 language certificate must be included in the application package.
We only accept the English qualifications mentioned below. The certificate must still be valid at the point of the application. We generally cannot accept language test results older than three years as of September 1st.
The B2 level on the CEFR corresponds to the following scores in internationally acknowledged exams:
IELTS* 5.5 TOEFL* Computer-based: 183
Cambridge English B2 First TOEIC 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, 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:
IELTS* 7.0 TOEFL* Internet-based*: 100 Cambridge English C1 Advanced, grade C or above
BEC (Business English), grade C or above
TOEIC Listening & Reading: 945
*Update 30.01.2023 - Academic Year 2023/24
Certificates obtained by passing the IELTS Academic Online or TOEFL iBT Home Edition tests may also be submitted for admission to the programme.
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: further information can be found here.