Structure and contents

The Master of Science in Financial Technology and Computing is offered jointly by the Faculty of Informatics and by the Faculty of Economics of the Università della Svizzera italiana. This unique cross-discipline programme combines USI's world-leading expertise in Finance and Informatics and offers exciting career prospects that range from fintech startups to banks and insurers to hedge funds. 

This Master offers a highly challenging programme that delivers key skills in a novel interdisciplinary domain. It has been designed to provide students with the necessary tools and skills for understanding fundamental problems in finance while, at the same time, learn about the advanced information technology that is needed to drive the next-generation financial services. 

A two-track structure ensures that the level of Computer Science courses is commensurate with each student's background: students with a Bachelor degree in Computer Science and related disciplines take the “Advanced Informatics” track of the program, featuring advanced informatics classes such as Distributed Systems, High-Performance Computing, and Machine Learning; students with no formal Computer Science degree instead enrol in the “Core Informatics” track, which features a set of intensive foundational classes, such as “Fundamentals of Informatics”, “Databases" and “Introduction to Programming”. 

In the first year, all students jointly take advanced courses in Finance and Financial Technology, such as “Blockchains and Digital Currencies” or “Data Analytics for Finance”, before being able to individually diversify their programme along with a large set of electives from both Finance and Informatics in year two, according to personal interests and abilities. Finally, the programme features a Master’s thesis that can then be done either within the context of a university research group or in collaboration with industry embedded in our Fintech Laboratory.

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  • Study programme 2021-2023

    This full-time programme stretches over two years. It allows students to personalize their study curricula according to their interests. The core skills are acquired in the first two semesters. The third semester is dedicated to more specialized courses and electives that can be chosen according to the student's preference. For example, students interested in an area such as cryptocurrencies take as electives Software Performance and Distributed Algorithms. Those with an interest in personalized finance (aka "Robo Advising") may instead take Banking, Corporate Finance, and Project Management, while those interested in Algo trading take Advanced Derivatives, Advanced Asset Pricing II, Fixed Income Markets, and Financial Engineering. In the fourth semester, students have a choice of completing their master thesis in a university research group, or a more applied thesis project in a company - both carried out in collaboration with the Fintech Laboratory.

    Track Advanced Informatics: for students with Bachelor's degree in Computer Science or related disciplines (eg. Computer Engineering). 
    Track Core Informatics: for students with Bachelor's degree in any other subject (see admission requirements). 

     

    First Semester

    Core Courses (18 ECTS)

    Data Analytics for Finance I & II

    6

    Financial Econometrics*

    6

    Investments*

    6

    Advanced Informatics (12 ECTS)

    Distributed Systems

    6

    High-Performance Computing

    6

    Core Informatics (6 ECTS)

     

    Fundamentals of Informatics**

    6

    Introduction to Programming

    6

    Total ECTS

    30
       

    Second Semester

     

    Core Courses (18 ECTS)

     

    Blockchains and Digital Currencies

    3

    Risk Management*

    6

    Information Security

    6

    Trading and Market Microstructure

    3

    Advanced Informatics track (6 ECTS)

     

    Software Quality & Testing

    6

    Core Informatics (6 ECTS)

     

    Databases

    6

    Elective Courses (6 ECTS)

     

    Derivatives* (required for "Advanced Derivatives")

    6

    Financial Intermediation*

    6

    Total ECTS

    30
       

    Third Semester

     

    Core Courses (12 ECTS)

     

    Financial Modelling*

    6

    Distributed Algorithms

    6

    Advanced Informatics (6 ECTS)

     

    Machine Learning

    6

    Core Informatics (6 ECTS)

     

    Distributed Systems

    6

    Elective Courses (12 ECTS)

     

    Informatics

     

    Algorithms & Complexity

    6

    Mobile and Wearable Computing

    6

    Software Engineering

    6

    Software Performance

    6

    User Experience Design

    6

    Finance

     

    Advanced Derivatives*

    3

    Alternative Investments

    3

    Fixed Income Markets*

    6

    Financial Engineering

    6

    Launching Fintech Ventures

    3

    Project Management

    3

    Qualitative Marketing Research and Data Analysis

    3

    Total ECTS

    30
       

    Fourth Semester

     

    Capstone Work (18 ECTS)

     

    Master Thesis Preparation

    6

    Master Thesis*** (research or applied)

    24

    Elective Courses (6 ECTS)

     

    Informatics

     

    Graphical Models and Network Science

    6

    Software Architecture

    6

    Software Atelier: Simulation, Data Science & Supercomputing

    6

    Economics

     

    Critical Consumer Behaviour

    6

    Total ECTS

    30/36
       

    Total ECTS

    120

    * To obtain the SFI accreditation, students have to achieve 45 ECTS among these courses.
    ** The course is offered in the Spring Semester in the A.Y. 2021/22.
    *** The Master Thesis can be started in the 3rd semester.

    Please be aware that slight changes in the study programme may occur.

  • Teaching

    Top-level faculty of international renown teach innovative courses, with a strong multi-disciplinary orientation and in collaboration with prestigious institutions at local and international level. Professors are pursuing research on a variety of topics and are active participants in Swiss and international research projects and networks. Visiting professors from renowned universities complement the top-quality teaching.

    Teaching methods at both the Faculty of Informatics and the Faculty of Economics stress an interactive approach or dialogue with the students. Further, as most tasks in organisations become increasingly interdisciplinary it is also important to be able to work across traditional areas, which is a skill that is actively encouraged within the programme. This is reflected in the variety of different teaching methods used including lectures, case studies, group work, games and fieldwork.

    The Faculty and the students are an international group, with education and work experience from across the world. This increases learning and cultural exchanges, as students learn to work effectively with people from different cultures.

    Academic Directors: Marc Langheinrich and Eric Nowak

    Co-Directors: Fernando Pedone and Paul Schneider

  • Language

    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 B2 level on the CEFR corresponds to the following scores in internationally acknowledged exams:

    IELTS*

    5.5

    TOEFL*

    Computer-based: 183
    Internet-based*: 65
    Paper-based: 513

    Cambridge English

    B2 First

    TOEIC

    Listening & Reading: 785
    Speaking: 150
    Writing: 160

     

    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, 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:​

    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
    Speaking: 180
    Writing: 180

    We only accept the English qualifications mentioned above. The certificate must still be valid at the point of the application. In general, we are not able to accept language test results older than 3 years, as of September 1st.  

     

    Italian

    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.

    Academic Year 2021/22

    When do I have to submit my English language certification?

    • Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society / Economics / Informatics
      The language certification should be included in the application package. Exceptions will be made for those who can prove cancellation of international certificates exam sessions.

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