Bachelor in Architecture

Tour del Campus di Mendrisio

The three-year undergraduate curriculum (Bachelor in Architecture) is spread over six academic semesters. During the first two – characterised by introductory lessons in the various disciplinary areas and the initial practical work in design – students measure their inclination to the subject of architecture through theory in lectures and practice in the design studios. In the following four semesters, students develop their theoretical knowledge and practical skills by attending lectures on historical-humanist and technical-scientific subjects as well as the design studios.
To acquire the necessary skills for the use of project tools, a compulsory period of practical training course is provided by internship in a professional office during the Bachelor’s programme.

Bachelor Ministage

Admission to the Bachelor

Swiss school-leaving certificates, obtained in Switzerland

For admission students must possess one of the following qualifications.

  • Federal or cantonal matriculation recognized by the Swiss Federal Matriculation Committee.
  • Cantonal maturità commerciale.
  • Professional School-Leaving Certificate complete with attestation of supplementary examinations by the Federal Commission of Maturity.
  • Artistic maturity under Cantonal Law issued by the Liceo Artistico CSIA (in this case admission is contingent upon an interview and an examination in Mathematics).
  • Final diploma of a professional university institute (in this case the Faculty may recommend the admission of candidates to an advanced level of the programme, and may exempt them from some exams or from the internship, if the chosen field of study is the same as that previously completed).
  • School-leaving certificates issued by Swiss schools abroad or by Italian schools in Switzerland are also accepted, provided these schools are listed in the Italo-Swiss agreement signed in 1996 and supplemented in 1999.

Overseas certificates

Applicants with a foreign secondary school (pre-university) diploma (and/or a foreign university diploma considered equivalent to it) are also admitted. As a rule, reference is made to the guidelines of Swissuniversities, the new Rector's Conference of Swiss Universities.

As a result of the Italian education Reform of 2010 (“Gelmini Reform “) the following Italian Secondary School leaving certificates are recognized:

  • secondary school specializing in classical studies (liceo classico)
  • secondary school specializing in scientific studies (liceo scientifico)
  • secondary school specializing in foreign languages (liceo linguistico)
  • secondary school specializing in art subjects – all majors- five year courses (liceo artistico quinquennale)
  • secondary school specializing in humanities (liceo delle scienze umane).

The following Italian secondary school leaving certificates are not recognized:

  • secondary school diploma with specialization in teacher training (diploma magistrale)
  • secondary school specializing in art subjects – four year courses (diploma di liceo artistico quadriennale)
  • diploma awarded in a school of art (diploma artistico di un Istituto professionale d’arte)
  • diploma in surveying (titolo di geometra)
  • all diplomas delivered by technical Institutions /school of further and vocational education (titoli rilasciati da istituti tecinici).

The “European Baccalaureat” is considered equivalent to the Swiss “maturità”, while the “International Baccalaureat” is considered equivalent only at certain conditions (see swissuniversities)

A US High School final diploma is not recognised as equivalent to the required certificate of secondary education. US applicants seeking admission to USI must submit evidence of  passing 6 (six) APT (Advanced placement tests) with a minimum mark of 3. Please refer to the appropriate guidelines issued by swissuniversities.


Admission “by portfolio”

Candidates over 25 years old lacking the above qualifications may be admitted if the Academy judges they have special training and experience revealing an aptitude for design work certified with the application for admission.


How to apply for the Bachelor

Pre-enrolment must be submitted via the online application form by the deadline indicated below:

  • students with Swiss and EU / EFTA Secondary School leaving Certificate, by 1st June
  • students with Secondary School leaving Certificate not obtained in UE/AELS countries and students who need visa, by 30 April.

Late applications may be accepted only if compatible with the capacity of the facilities and the availability of the teaching equipment. Enrolment takes place via the internet. Within the terms above, the candidate must submit the application form and attach the following documents, all in electronic format (pdf):

  • Qualification submitted as valid for admission (if not yet available, the certificate of attendance of the institute currently attended)
  • An authenticated translation into Italian (for all qualifications and documents not in Italian, German, French, English or Spanish)
  • List of subjects taken during the last three years of high school (year / subject / teaching hours) (see attachment)
  • Secondary education grades report
  • Exclusion from previus studies, Self declaration
  • Copy of the student’s passport or ID papers (front and back)
  • Picture (JPG format)

The 2023 ranking test is scheduled on Monday 24th July 2023: it will take place online on Zoom platform* (The access credentials will be sent to the applicants by email).

Selective test content


The Università della Svizzera italiana-Academy of Architecture warns against false intermediaries, agents and “preparatory workshops” that promise an easy access to the study program.
USI-Academy of architecture has no intermediaries whatsoever in these roles.
In case of doubt please contact [email protected]


Applicants, of 25 years of age or older, without a valid qualification who are applying for admission “by portfolio”, by 30 April must complete the enrolment form online, and uploading the following documents:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Picture (JPEG format)
  • Copy of work certificates
  • Letter of motivation
  • Copy of passport or ID papers (front and back)
  • A portfolio (50Mb max, no format restrictions) presenting several projects made by the candidate in the course of his/her studies and practice

An applicant whose application “by portfolio” has been accepted for admission to the BSc course must take and pass written tests in Mathematics, History of Art and Architecture, and English, and a personal interview.


Selective test

The Academy is legally permitted to limit the number of new students to ensure that the capacity of its facilities is not exceeded and teaching standards not impaired, and to maintain a reasonable proportion between students of different origins.
The Academy reserves the right to institute a selective test if the number of applications for admission exceeds the capacity of its facilities. Applicants will be informed of the result of the application by email.

First enrolment

In order to attend courses and take examinations students must enrol by the end of the first semester and subsequently confirm their enrolment each semester without fail.

To confirm their intention to enrol, applicants are required to pay the enrolment fee in accordance with the procedure described in the email of admission.
To enrol for the first time, students should apply personally to the university office in the period indicated with the following documents:

  • A photocopy of the student’s passport or ID papers (front and back)
  • The originals of their educational qualifications for enrolment
  • One passport photograph
  • Receipt of payment of the first semester’s fees (the relevant policy is provided with confirmation of acceptance)
  • For UE and overseas students who want to reside in Switzerland: extract of criminal record to be delivered to Servizio regionale degli stranieri in order to obtain the residence permit for students
  • Form E111 or the European Health Insurance Card (EU students who will reside in Switzerland)

Foreign students who are not EU-citizens and who will reside in Switzerland should submit a copy of an health and accident insurance policy issued by a Swiss insurance company (more information at the enrollment office).
Renewal of enrolment is automatic when the student pays the semester’s fees.

Semestral Fee

Tuition fees amount to CHF 4,000 per semester.
For students whose official residence was in Switzerland, or in Liechtenstein at the time of the final high school exam (Maturità) the fees are 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.