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 programme is organised into three minors (streams):
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 specialise 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 customise their curricula according to their individual interests, educational backgrounds, and professional goals. They can also choose to undertake a field project, 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 fulfilment of 90 ECTS. However, students may also decide to prolong their stay in the program for one additional semester to bring their curricular credits up to 120 ECTS. Several PhD programmes require applicants to possess a 120 ECTS Master degree. Moreover, a student who plans to take part to a public tender may want to consider this path, especially if Master programs in the country where the tender is held are 120 ECTS long (e.g., Italy). Besides the three minors (Quantitative Finance, Banking and Finance, and Digital Finance), we offer four ways to further customize your study plan
1. 90 ECTS
The 90 ECTS path allows students to complete the Master already after three semesters of studies, and immediately access the professional job market.
It comprises of coursework only: 75 ECTS from compulsory courses + 15 ECTS from elective courses. The electives in the 90 ECTS Coursework must be chosen among those listed in Semester III of the chosen minor; see
2. 99 ECTS – 90 ECTS Coursework (1.) + internship
The 99 ECTS path allows students to also gain a first-hand industry experience through a curricular Internship; see https://www.desk.usi.ch/en/internship for more.
3. 120 ECTS Thesis – 90 ECTS Coursework (1.) + 30 ECTS thesis writing and discussion
The 120 ECTS Thesis path allows students to gain scientific research experience under the supervision of a USI professor and develop expertise on a topic that may be spent in the professional job search; see https://www.usi.ch/en/education/master/finance/structure-and-contents/master-thesis for more.
4. 120 ECTS Coursework – 90 ECTS Coursework (1.) + 30 ECTS coursework.
The 120 ECTS Coursework path allows students to gain extra credits from coursework and expand their knowledge in finance topics. The coursework can be earned with courses selected across the three minors - i.e., either electives of the chosen minor or core and elective courses of the other minors - plus Pension Economics and Finance.
Students also have the possibility to go on mobility during their studies. The relevant contact on this matter is the International Relations and Study Abroad Service. See USI students mobility: programmes and types of mobility and Organising your studies for more.
For the Master in Finance, the study abroad can be chosen to either
- fulfil the 15 ECTS out of elective courses in the 90 ECTS Coursework; or
- fulfil the additional “+ 30 ECTS coursework” in the 120 ECTS Coursework education path. In case the student does not manage to earn the whole 30 ECTS abroad, the remaining ECTS can be earned at USI with courses selected across the three minors (as per point  above).
In any case, the mobility can only take place in the fourth semester, as core courses in the third semester must be taken at USI. For the mobility to be approved, the student must submit a list of courses she/he plan to take in the partner university. These courses must be in the Finance area, and be a good fit for the track. To apply for a semester abroad, a student must have ECTS gaps from coursework in her/his study plan. In other words, a student cannot leave USI for mobility if she/he has already completed all the coursework of the path, as the rationale for the mobility is to take courses abroad.