Structure and contents

The modernization of the public sector, the relationships between public administration and the business system, and the demands for transparency and accountability towards citizens are becoming increasingly important in economic and social systems. This is alongside the significant growth of the non-profit sector and the spread of social enterprises.

The PMP Master's programme aims to develop the necessary skills to lead and interpret ongoing transformations such as digitalization, sustainability, inclusivity, and diversity. It provides concrete responses to global challenges and the need for innovation and reform in modern societies.

The Master's program aims to train new professional profiles with advanced analytical and managerial skills, ready to take on key roles in a constantly evolving professional environment such as public administrations, international and non-profit organizations, for-profit enterprises, and not least, social enterprises operating both nationally and internationally in contexts of public interest. The ability to assume responsibility and promote change in these areas requires a diverse set of skills, which the PMP Master activates through a unique educational experience based on three fundamental pillars:

Interdisciplinary: the integration of the skills of the Faculties of Economics, Communication, Culture, and Society at USI allows for an interdisciplinary approach based on a solid theoretical foundation that ranges from public management to governance, from administration to public policies, with particular attention to the adaptability of public systems to the constantly changing global dynamics. These aspects are further explored in the path of Public Policy and Sustainability specialisation.

Inter-university: the PMP university network promotes student mobility among the partner universities of Lausanne, Bern, and Lugano, allowing participants to benefit from a wide range of specialization paths in the third semester. Thanks to international mobility programs, USI students can also access specific courses at prestigious international institutions.

Intercultural: the PMP Master's program promotes multiculturalism and multilingualism, fostering an educational environment that values social, cultural, and linguistic diversity. Students and faculty interact in a multilingual context that includes the Swiss national languages and English, thus facilitating a rich and constructive educational exchange.

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  • Study programme 2024-2026

    The study plans from previous academic years up to 2024-2025 are available here.

    PMP is a two-year (four-semester) full-time Master programme: three semesters of courses and one devoted to preparing 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 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 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 Science ECTS, Semester Prof.
    Argumentation in Public Communication 3, Autumn Greco
    Comparative Public Administration 6, Autumn Villeneuve / Weissmüller
    Fundamentals in Public Communication 3, Autumn Bitonti / Villeneuve
    Public Policy Analysis 3, Spring Caron
    Public Management    
    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
    Sistemi contabili nel settore pubblico 3, Autumn Gianella
    Diritto pubblico 6, Autumn De Rossa / Hanni / Vatiero / Ferrario
    International Law 3, Autumn Espa
    Integrità nel Settore Pubblico e Diritto 3, Spring Astrologo
    Public Economics    
    Macroeconomia internazionale 3, Autumn Beretta
    Microeconomia 3, Autumn Mazzonna
    Economia pubblica 3, Spring Jametti
    Methods and Interdisciplinarity    
    Quantitative and Qualitative Research in PA 3, Spring Mugellini
    E-Government 6, Spring Cottier / Picco Schwendener
    Challenges and Opportunities in PA 3, Spring Bolgiani / Villeneuve
    Total ECTS 60  
  • Specialisations

    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):

    Year 2 (3rd semester): Public Policy and Sustainability
    (in English)

    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 / Frey / Barreca
    Current Issues in International Affairs 3, Autumn Villeneuve / Heide
    Social Marketing 6, Autumn Suggs
    Diversity and Inclusion 3, Autumn Drzewiecka
    Electives (12 ECTS)

    Suggested courses:

    Management / Economics
    Project Management 3, Autumn Gonçalves
    Social Innovation 3, Autumn Gonçalves
    Sustainable Management 3, Autumn Hoffmann
    Economia del settore non profit 3, Autumn Crivelli
    Corporate Social Responsibility 3, Autumn Seele
    Corsi speciali
    MEM courses    
    World Challenge Programme    
    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):

    Öffentliches Recht


    Management der öffentlichen Verwaltung


    Interdisziplinäre Veranstaltungen

    For further information: PMP UNIBE

    Fourth Semester ECTS
    Thesis 30
  • 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.

  • Teaching

  • Language

    Core courses (1st year) are taught in Italian and English, and courses of the Public Policy and Sustainability 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.



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