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 2023-2025

    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 (12 ECTS)

    Data Analytics for Finance I & II

    6

    Investments*

    6

    Advanced Informatics (18 ECTS)

    Distributed Systems

    6

    Introduction to Fintech

    6

    Machine Learning

    6

    Core Informatics (18 ECTS)

     

    Fundamentals of Informatics

    6

    Introduction to Programming (Python)

    6

    Introduction to Fintech

    6

    Total ECTS

    30
       

    Second Semester

     

    Core Courses (24 ECTS)

     

    Blockchains and Digital Currencies

    3

    Derivatives*

    6

    Risk Management*

    6

    Information Security

    6

    Trading and Market Microstructure

    3

    Advanced Informatics track (6 ECTS)

     

    Software Quality & Testing

    6

    Core Informatics (6 ECTS)

     

    Data Management

    6

    Total ECTS

    30
       

    Third Semester

     

    Core Courses (12 ECTS)

     

    Financial Econometrics*

    6

    Financial Modelling*

    6

    Advanced Informatics (6 ECTS)

     

    Distributed Algorithms

    6

    Core Informatics (6 ECTS)

     

    Distributed Systems

    6

    Elective Courses (12 ECTS)

     

    Informatics

     

    Algorithms & Complexity

    6

    Mobile and Wearable Computing

    6

    Software Performance

    6

    User Experience Design

    6

    Finance

     

    Advanced Topics in Finance

    3

    Alternative Investments

    3

    Finance and Sustainability*

    3

    Financial Stability*

    6

    Fixed Income Securities and Credit Markets*

    6

    Innovation

    3

    Launching Fintech Ventures

    3

    Project Management

    3

    Qualitative Marketing Research and Data Analysis

    3

    Total ECTS

    30
       

    Fourth Semester

     

    Capstone Work (30 ECTS)

     

    Master Thesis** (research or applied)

    30

    Elective Courses (6 ECTS)

     

    Informatics

     

    Graphical Models and Network Science

    6

    Image and Video Processing

    6

    Robotics

    6

    Software Quality &Testing

    6

    Economics

     

    Human Resources Management

    3

    Text Analysis and Spatial Data for Economists

    6

    Communication

     

    Critical Consumer Behaviour

    6

    Total ECTS

    30
       

    Total ECTS

    120

    * To obtain the SFI accreditation, students have to achieve 45 ECTS among these courses.
    ** The Master Thesis can be started in the 3rd semester.

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

  • Research summer internships for students - UROP Internships

    The Faculty of Informatics encourages and promotes the talent of its Bachelor and Master students by offering them summer internships in academic research within the programme Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program - UROP.

    Internships are extracurricular, and access is on a competitive basis. Students work one-on-one with an advisor to develop a deeper understanding of both the concepts taught during the semester and the research topic. Students considering continuing in academia should seriously consider applying for a UROP position.

    All research opportunities for this year are listed here.

    See all the job and internship opportunities in the USI Job Bank.

  • 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: Prof. Fernando Pedone

    Co-Directors: Prof. Marc Langheinrich and Dr. Peter Gruber

  • Language

    Admission to the A.Y. 2024/25

    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:

      Score
    IELTS 6.5
    TOEFL Internet-based: 85
    Cambridge English First grade B
    TOEIC Listening & Reading: 860
    Speaking: 170
    Writing: 170
       

    Important:

    • The language certificate must be included in the application package: candidates whose Bachelor's was entirely taught in English must upload an official document mentioning the tuition language (e.g., official transcript, diploma supplement, or any other official certificate issued by the university) in the application form.
    • We only accept the above English qualifications (IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge English, TOEIC).
    • 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.
    • Certificates obtained by passing the IELTS Academic Online or TOEFL iBT Home Edition tests may also be submitted for admission to the programme.

    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.

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