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 through 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 12 ECTS, that 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.
ECTS 6 3 3 6 6
Electives (6 ECTS)
ECTS 6 6 6 6
Electives (6 ECTS)
6 6 6 6
6 6 6 6 6
Please be aware that slight changes in the study programme may occur.
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.
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:
Listening & Reading: 785
*Due to the current health emergency, USI temporarily accepts TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition and IETLS Indicator as alternatives to the standard tests.
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:
C1 Advanced, grade C or above
BEC (Business English), grade C or above
Listening & Reading: 945
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.
Exceptional Measure for the A.Y. 2020/21: when do I have to submit my English language certification?
Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society / Economics / Informatics: by 30 December 2020.
If a student/student fails to obtain the required level of English by the deadline, enrolment in the 2021 winter session will be cancelled, the exams taken in the intermediate session will be invalidated and admission to the Master's degree will not be confirmed.
Candidates will also be required to reach level C1 by the deadline for obtaining the degree.
- Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society / Economics / Informatics: by 30 December 2020.