The Università della Svizzera italiana (USI, literally University of Italian Switzerland), sometimes referred to as the University of Lugano, in English-speaking contexts, is a public Swiss university established in 1995, with campuses in Lugano, Mendrisio and Bellinzona (Canton Ticino, Switzerland). USI is the only university in Switzerland where the official language is Italian. It counts four “Faculties” on the Lugano campus (Communication Sciences, Economics, Informatics, and Biomedical Sciences), and the Academy of Architecture on the Mendrisio campus. Affiliated to USI are, since 2010, the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB), located in Bellinzona, and from January 1, 2017, the Institute of Oncology Research (IOR), also on the Bellinzona campus.




With forty lecturers and twenty-five design studios, the Accademia di architettura trains an overall of 764 students for 3-year Bachelor and 2-year Master’s degrees (2013).


1076 students (2013). Main research and teaching topics include: Banking, Finance, Management, Economics and International Policies, Financial Communication, Marketing.

Communication sciences

871 students (2013). Topics of research and teaching include Media, new media and journalism, Marketing, Corporate Communication, Public communication, Healthcare communication, Information and communication technologies, Education and Tourism.


The Faculty of Informatics at Università della Svizzera italiana performs world-class research in many areas of informatics. With its award-winning, innovative curriculum, the Faculty aims to train informatics experts who are interdisciplinary in approach, with abstract thinking and generalization skills, a sound knowledge in the application fields of information technologies, as well as project-management and teamwork abilities.

The Institute of Computational Science (ICS), a research unit of the Faculty, was founded in 2008 and is directed by Professor Rolf Krause. The Institute is the result of the vision of USI to become a new scientific and educational centre for Computational Science in Switzerland. The Institute offers research and teaching in Mathematical Modeling, Numerical Simulation, and High Performance Computing. The ICS hosts seven research groups which focus on advanced computing in computational science, high-performance methods for numerical simulation in science, medicine and engineering, computational time series analysis, computational shape analysis, multiscale and multiphysics models in computational biology, computational modeling of cardiac electrophysiology, and the simulation of biological and physical systems. The Computational Science Master of Science graduate program at the ICS emphasizes a mathematical and methodological framework as well as an application-oriented education in Informatics and Software Engineering.

Biomedical Sciences

The Faculty of Biomedical Sciences at USI was established in 2014, with the purpose to make a contribution towards the solution of an important problem in Switzerland: the dearth of physicians trained in Switzerland. The new Faculty offers a Master’s degree in Medicine (3-year curriculum), starting in 2020, in close collaboration with ETH Zurich, University of Basel and University of Zurich on the academic side, and with the Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale (EOC) and private clinics in Ticino for bedside teaching.

Campus and student life

The Lugano campus developed around the existing city hospital circa 1996. Several state-of-the-art buildings have been added, most notably Informatics (2007), Aula Magna, Aule, Library, and LAB. The main building consists of four floors containing: Communications and Economics offices (1-3), the Executive Centre, four computer labs (1), classrooms (1-3), the cafeteria (2)(Q1-2007), and third-floor auditorium (3)(Q3-2007). The library is four floors tall. The LAB has 5 floors, in great part occupied by the Institute of Computational Sciences, and the rest by other Communication Sciences and Informatics departments.

Università della Svizzera italiana has 2862 students in 2016-2017; of these 979 (34,2%) are Swiss, and 1883 (65,8%) are foreign – from Italy (45,1%) or from over one hundred other nationalities (20,6%). Exchange students for 2015-2016 are 83.

Off-campus, students participate in city-sponsored tourism events, school-sponsored sporting activities, and student associations, despite the town’s small population. Around twenty student associations have been established, with student clubs oriented around economics (AIESEC), informatics (EESTEC, IEEE student branch), and communications (L’universo student newspaper).

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