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Admission to English-language graduate-level (Master) programmes at USI require a good command, or advanced knowledge, of the English idiom. Non-English native speakers applying for such programmes, or whose previous degree was obtained in another language, are required to provide an internationally acknowledged language certificate equal to the C1 level, as defined by the Common European Framework of Reference for language learning (CEFR), or equivalent (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS, etc.).

The C1 level on the CEFR corresponds to the following scores in internationally acknowledge exams:

IELTS TOEFL Cambridge English TOEIC
7.0 Internet based: 100
  • CAE (Advanced certificate), grade C or above
  • BEC (Business English), grade C or above
  • Listening & Reading: 945
  • Speaking: 180
  • Writing: 180

For detailed information on admission requirements please refer to: www.master.usi.ch/admission.


Students who are able to provide a B2* certificate with their application but who have not yet received a C1 certificate by July 31st, may be admitted on condition that they obtain the C1 level by the end of the calendar year.

Students who fall short of these requirements are invited to take prompt action to improve or perfect their command of the English language. For instance, by visiting an English-speaking country, or by taking advanced level classes, such as the 3-week intensive English course organised at USI before the beginning of the semester, followed by a C1 preparation course during the semester.


*B2 level:

IELTS TOEFL Cambridge English TOEIC
  • Computer based: 183
  • Internet Based: 65
  • Paper based: 513
FCE (First Certificate English)
  • Listening & Reading: 785
  • Speaking: 150
  • Writing: 160


As Lugano is located in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, students might be interested in acquiring the basics in Italian, in order to be able to get around in everyday life.
The Università della Svizzera italiana offers an Italian language study programme organized in various modules. All its non Italian-speaking students, researchers and professors are invited to participate free of charge.

  1. Preparative intensive course for beginners
    In the three weeks preceding the beginning of the fall term, an intensive Italian class is organised.
  2. Courses offered during the semesters
    Several Italian classes with different levels of difficulties are organised during the academic year.

Read all details about the Italian classes offered at USI, here.