Structure and contents

The study programme is compounded of four modules: Software Engineering, Data Engineering, Electives, and Master thesis.

The Software Engineering module embraces 36 ECTS and provides students with a deep knowledge of state-of-the-art techniques. Topics related to this module are software design, software quality and testing, software architecture, software performance, and software analytics.

The Data Engineering module includes three courses (18 ECTS) teaching students techniques and tools to design and model data (1st semester), to convert data into information (2nd semester), and to transform information into knowledge useful to support decision-making activities (3rd semester). The topics studied in the Software and the Data Engineering modules are continuously integrated throughout the whole course of study. This is done by devoting 18 ECTS to deal with both Software and Data Engineering with project-based learning.

The Electives module includes 18 ECTS, which the student can freely select from a given list of courses offered at the USI Faculty of Informatics based on his/her personal preference. Finally, the remaining 36 ECTS are dedicated to the MSc thesis.

Students will use the 6 ECTS of the 3rd semester to visit the research groups of the Software Institute of the Faculty of Informatics and to prepare a thesis proposal. Then, they will work full-time on the thesis in the 4th semester in the research group of their choice.

Expand All

  • Study programme 2022-2024

  • Teaching

    The Master in Software and Data Engineering features courses taught by internationally renowned professors, being leading researchers at the USI Software Institute.

    The teaching philosophy implemented throughout the Master aims at preparing and facilitating the student’s process of self-learning and self-acquisition of valuable knowledge and skills. Students master core design thinking processes, learning  how to analyze a problem, define different solution strategies, analyze trade-offs and take a suitable design decision taking into account relevant constraints. Students learn valuable lessons while facing real world datasets to be explored and prove themselves by building the software to do so.

    All courses promote a mix of theory with practice, featuring a hands-on, learning-by-doing approach, with short-/long-term projects in which students apply what they study to concrete problems and datasets taken from the real world. Students are also expected to substantially improve their collaboration, presentation and communication skills, thanks to the public project presentations planned for most of the courses.

    Academic Director: Cesare Pautasso
    Co-Director: Gabriele Bavota

  • 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:




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

    Cambridge English

    B2 First


    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:​




    Internet-based: 100

    Cambridge English

    C1 Advanced, grade C or above
    BEC (Business English), grade C or above


    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.  



    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 2022/23

    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 the cancellation of international certificates exam sessions.