Structure and contents
The content of this section is under revision. For updated information please refer to the Italian version of the website.
The public sector has radically changed in recent years, as a result of major reforms affecting the operational management of administrations and organizations as well as their political functioning. The most obvious example is the growing impact of the supranational sphere of influence. Recent economic events on the global scale have also placed the public sector back at the heart of socio-economic systems. At the same time, the activities of the non-profit sector have expanded to cover, for example, the provision of utility services. On the whole, public and non-profit private sectors are expected to become key players in this innovation, supporting families and individuals in their economic, cultural and social activities. In this context, while the public sector creates interesting and exciting professional opportunities at the local, regional, national and international levels, it also requires new appropriately qualified professionals.
The Master's programme in Public Management and Policy (PMP) teaches notions and know-how that are indispensable to future professionals in the public and non-profit private sectors, nationally and worldwide. The variety of abilities required by anyone wishing to occupy a position of responsibility and promote change in these sectors are exactly what PMP-USI offers. The PMP teaching curriculum is:
- interdisciplinary: by combining the competencies of the Faculties of Communication and Economics, the programme proposes a unique, all-round education in fields such as politics, communication, management, public economics, law, and sociology;
- inter-university: this Master programme is part of the "Swiss Public Administration Network" subsidised by the Swiss Confederation. Besides promoting the mobility of students, this university partnership (USI, Berne, Lausanne/IDHEAP) offers a wide range of specialisations, one of which takes place in Lugano. After completing the core courses (1st year) students may decide to undertake the subsequent specialisation stage at another University in the network;
- intercultural: the organization and teaching methods of this graduate course echo some of the unique aspects of Switzerland: multiculturalism, multilingualism, and federalism. An approach which is attentive to cultural differences, the choice of teaching languages, and the different origins of the students: all these factors together underpin the acquisition of intercultural skills and enrich the students' language proficiency - crucial prerequisites for future professionals in this field.
Study programme 2021-2023
PMP is a two-year (four-semester) full-time Master programme: three semesters of courses and one devoted to the preparation of the thesis. Teaching is divided into three blocks for a total of 120 ECTS: core courses (60 ECTS), specialisation (30 ECTS) and research thesis (30 ECTS) or a combination of internship (10 ECTS) and thesis (20 ECTS). The first year will be devoted to core courses - mainly taught in Italian but also in English - covering the following areas: politics, public management, law, public economics, and research methods. In the second year, students may personalise their syllabus depending on their interests, academic curriculum and professional aspirations; in fact, in the third semester, they will choose one of the specializations, while in the fourth they will work on their thesis.
After the first year of the Programme, students are expected to choose a specialisation. The SPAN partner universities (USI, UNIL, UNIBE) offer several specialisation programmes. Master PMP students are encouraged to take advantage of the inter-university PMP mobility facilitation, granting them guaranteed access to the respective specialisation programmes.
The 'Swiss Public Administration Network' (SPAN) Study Regulations, (1 July 2010), state that all students who successfully satisfy the requirements prescribed within any module administered in one of the partner universities shall obtain a joint degree of Università della Svizzera italiana and the SPAN Network.
1st year: Core courses (main tuition language: Italian)
Political Sciences ECTS, Semester Prof. Comparative Public Administration 6, Autumn Villeneuve / Heide Public Policy Analysis 3, Spring Savard Argumentation in Public Communication 3, Spring Greco Morasso / Serafis Fundamentals in Public Communication 3, Autumn Villeneuve Public Management Sistemi contabili nel settore pubblico 3, Autumn Gianella Management e innovazione nella pubblica amministrazione e nel non profit 6, Autumn Meneguzzo / Barreca Gestione e sviluppo del personale nella pubblica amministrazione e nel non profit 3, Spring Sancino / Crugnola Law Diritto pubblico 6, Autumn De Rossa / Vatiero International Law 3, Autumn Espa / Mensi Integrità nel Settore Pubblico e Diritto 3, Spring Astrologo / De Rossa Public Economics Macroeconomia internazionale 3, Autumn Beretta Economia pubblica 3, Spring Jametti Microeconomia 3, Autumn Antonioli Mantegazzini Methods and Interdisciplinarity Quantitative and Qualitative Research in PA 3, Spring Heide / Mugellini E-Government* 6, Spring Cantoni / Cottier / Picco Schwendener Challenges and Opportunities in PA 3, Spring Bolgiani / Heide Total ECTS 60
* Students with BSc COM USI can replace this course with Usability and Digital Analytics (Marchiori).
After the first year dedicated to the core courses, students have the opportunity to choose the specialisation they are interested in:
Specialisation in Lugano (USI) - from the A.Y. 2021/23:
Year 2 (3rd semester): Public Policy Sustainability
Compulsory (18 ECTS) ECTS, Semester Prof. Accountability in the Public Sector: tools and experience 3, Autumn Villeneuve / Barreca Public Policy and Sustainability 3, Autumn Meneguzzo / Villeneuve Current Issues in International Affairs 3, Autumn Villeneuve / Heide Social Marketing 6, Autumn Suggs Diversity and Inclusion (Intercultural Communication until A.Y. 2020/21) 3, Autumn Drzewiecka Electives (12 ECTS)
Management / Economics Project Management 3, Autumn Gonçalves Social Innovation 3, Autumn Gonçalves Sustainable Management 3, Autumn Hoffmann Corporate Social Responsibility 3, Autumn Seele Economia del settore non profit 3, Autumn Crivelli Communication Journalism, Innovation & Datafication 3, Autumn Porlezza Social Media Management 6, Autumn Benecchi Commesse pubblice, concessioni e PPP 3, Autumn De Rossa Special courses MEM courses World Challenge Programme SSPH+ Total ECTS 30
Specialisations in Lausanne (UNIL):
Public Finance and Economics
Transformation et innovation dans le secteur public
Gouvernance internationale et administration publique
For further information: PMP UNIL
Specialisations in Bern (UNIBE):
Management der öffentlichen Verwaltung
For further information: PMP UNIBE
Fourth Semester ECTS Thesis 30 or Internship
Thesis and internship
Research thesis: 30 ECTS
The Master's thesis consists in a research work in the area of one of the different sectors of the Public Administration. The work, supervised by one or more master's professors, may focus in particular on theoretical or empirical aspects: in any case, students have to demonstrate to be able to apply appropriate concepts, methods, and tools acquired during the programme.
Internship thesis: 20 ECTS (thesis) + 10 ECTS (internship)
Students have the opportunity to combine an internship with the thesis, which has to be developed on the same subject.
- Etienne Antille
- Barbara Antonioli Mantegazzini
- Giuseppe Arbia
- Mauro Baranzini
- Edoardo Beretta
- Iva Bolgiani
- Maria Caiata
- Stefano Calciolari
- Lorenzo Cantoni
- Marco Clementi
- Bertil Cottier
- Federica De Rossa Gisimundo
- Jolanta Drzewiecka
- Tobiolo Gianella
- Sara Greco
- Mario Jametti
- Marco Meneguzzo
- Anna Picco Schwendener
- Alessandro Sancino
- Jean-François Savard
- Suzanne Suggs
- Massimiliano Vatiero
- Jean-Patrick Villeneuve
- Maurizio Viroli
Core courses (1st year) are taught in Italian, courses of the Public Communication and Management specialization (2nd year) are taught in English.
Language certificates are not required.
Swiss Public Administration Network
The Master in Public Management and Policy (Master PMP) is promoted by the Swiss Public Administration Network (SPAN). SPAN is a cooperation project between IDHEAP Institut de hautes études en administration publique and the universities of Bern, Lausanne and Lugano, which has the financial backing of the Swiss University Conference (swissuniversities) and the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).
SPAN also runs:
- doctoral courses organized within the framework of the ProDoc in public administration
- research programs on public governance
The reasons why these academic institutions decided to develop a collaboration project are grounded above all in the acknowledged need for instruction in public administration at a master's level. It was considered essential in order to grant representation of all the language areas of Switzerland in all sectors but above all in leading positions in the Public Administration.