Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence (AI)


Program Description

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most popular areas in computer science and engineering. AI deals with intelligent behavior, learning, and adaptation in machines, robots, and body-less computer programs. AI is everywhere: search engines use it to improve answers to queries, to recognize speech, to translate languages, email programs use it to filter spam, banks use it to predict exchange rates and stock markets, doctors use it to recognize tumors, robots use it to localize themselves and obstacles, autonomous cars use it to drive, video games use it to enhance the player's experience, adaptive telescopes use it to improve image quality, smartphones use it to recognize objects/faces/gestures/voices/ music, etc.

People are discussing the possibility of superintelligence and AI risks. Big players such as Google, Amazon, Baidu, Microsoft, etc are investing billions in AI, and the AI-related job market is growing extremely rapidly.

In this exciting context, the first AI master in Switzerland is offered in Lugano, profiting from the competences of the Faculty of Informatics and the Swiss AI Lab, IDSIA, Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence, a common institute with SUPSI and one of the world's leading research institutes in this field. For example, in 2016, IDSIA got the Swiss Special ICT award for its bio-inspired research activities and one of the ten NVIDIA "Pioneers in AI research" awards.

Awarded Degree

After the successful completion of the program, students will be awarded a Master of Science in Informatics, Major in Artificial Intelligence.

Structure and contents

Artificial Intelligence may not only be the most exciting field in computer science but of science in general. In fact, the best scientists in the future might even be AIs themselves. Hardware soon will have more raw computational power (CP) than human brains, since CP percent is still growing by a factor of 100-1000 per decade. And there is no reason to believe that general problem-solving software similar to that of humans will be lacking: there already exist mathematically optimal (though not yet practical) universal problem solvers developed at IDSIA. And existing highly practical (but not quite as universal) AI already learn from experience, outperforming humans in more and more fields. For example, biologically plausible deep/recurrent artificial neural networks are learning to solve pattern recognition tasks that seemed infeasible only 10 years ago. Examples: images, handwriting, traffic signs, since 2011 even with superhuman performance - no end in sight. Even creativity has been formalized such that it can now be implemented on machines. The current developments in AI may soon lead to the end of history as we know it (more), and as an IS master student you can become part of this revolution.

Artificial Intelligence systems have knowledge, beliefs, preferences, and goals, and they have informational as well as motivational attitudes. They observe, learn, communicate, plan, anticipate and commit. They are able to reason about other systems and their own internal states, to simulate and optimize their performance. AI systems react to dynamic situations adapting their capabilities through learning mechanisms, with a high degree of autonomy.

Career Prospects

Students graduating from this program will develop a taste for working on complex problems. In their future careers, they will be able to apply their knowledge in many interdisciplinary areas including robotics, business forecasting, intelligent search, video games, music and entertainment, chatbots, medical diagnostics, self-driving cars, to name a few.


The formal requirement for admission is a Bachelor's degree granted by a recognized university in the field of Computer sciences or related disciplines.

Candidates with a Bachelor's degree of a recognized University of Applied Sciences may be admitted with 30-60 additional ECTS to be earned during or before the beginning of the program, with Bachelor courses according to a study program defined by the scientific director. Admissions will be treated on a case by case basis.


Admission to English-language graduate-level (Master) programs at USI requires a good command of the English idiom. Non-English native speakers applying for such programs, 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:

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

Students admitted under the above-mentioned condition (with the exception of the Master in Cognitive Psychology in Health Communication) 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:

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


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.

Application Procedure

To submit your application, please refer to the indications for filling out the online form available here:

Paper Application

Please note that we prefer online applications.

Applications can also be submitted with the application form and required paper documents (email or fax submissions will be rejected) to the following address:

Università della Svizzera Italiana
Faculty of Informatics
Admission Office
Via G. Buffi 13
CH-6900 Lugano

Required documentation

The following pieces of documentation have to be sent in paper form:

  • The completed application form (you may download it in pdf format);
  • Photocopy of past diplomas (Bachelor, licentiate, four-year degree, maturity);
  • Official transcript of results of university examinations;
  • Certified translation of any diplomas written in a language other than Italian, German, French, English, or Spanish;
  • Curriculum vitae (Resume)
  • Personal letter of motivation drafted by the candidate;
  • Official certification of proficiency in English;
  • Photocopy of an identity card or other documents;
  • Photocopy of residence permit for foreign nationals already domiciled in Switzerland.

Photocopy of past degree certificates

Where a candidate has not fulfilled all the requirements for the Bachelor's degree, licentiate or other, copy of the diploma may be sent at a later stage, but in any case no later than the beginning of the matriculation period. If so, please indicate the expected date of the award and enclose an official document issued by the awarding institution confirming these terms.

Letter of motivation

Candidates are required to draft a letter (not more than one page) introducing themselves and explaining their particular interest and reasons for seeking admission to a given Master's degree.

Registration fee

The Lisbon convention regulates the recognition of university degrees between signatory countries and considerably simplifies the administration of admission procedures. For this reason, candidates whose previous degree studies were completed in countries outside this Convention (see list below) are invited to pay an application fee of SFr. 100 accounting for the higher administrative costs of processing more complex files. If the candidate is admitted, the fee will be deducted from the amount of the tuition fee for the first semester. The administrative fee is not refundable in other cases: if admission is not granted, or if the candidate decides to withdraw or fails to matriculate.

Application deadline

  • Applications will be accepted starting from mid-November.
  • The application deadline is August 31.
  • The application deadline for candidates who need a visa is May 31.
  • Late applications will be considered only in case of available places.


Tuition fees for the Master's degrees amount to CHF 4,000 per semester. Applicants whose official residence was in Switzerland or Liechtenstein at the time of the final high school exam (Maturità) pay a reduced semester fee of CHF 2,000.

Tuition fees are payable at the beginning of each term, by the deadline indicated on the invoice; fee payment is an essential condition for matriculating or renewing one's enrolment.

Last updated Mar 2020

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About the School

USI is a young and agile university that offers its students a quality education and an enhancing study experience. International faculty teach students with an interdisciplinary, engaging, and intera ... Read More

USI is a young and agile university that offers its students a quality education and an enhancing study experience. International faculty teach students with an interdisciplinary, engaging, and interactive approach, leaving room for practical application. The quality of the study curricula is complemented by USI small size, by its cosmopolitan environment and its informal and dynamic culture. These elements make USI a hub of opportunity open to the world, where students can engage in direct dialogue with their professors and define their educational path, discover unexpected horizons, and embrace international careers. Read less
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