Study programme of the Master of Medicine

The Master of Medicine programme runs over 6 semesters and counts for a total of 180 ECTS. It is organized as follows:

  • 4 semesters of clinical training (1st-4th semester) – 120 ECTS;
  • 1 semester for the Elective Term – 30 ECTS;
  • 1 semester for the Master's thesis, final exams, and final training for the Federal exam – 30 ECTS.



Clinical training semesters

The 1st to the 4th semesters feature clinical training modules. The students rotate in 3 groups of just 20-25 participants. For small-group activities, such as practical work and discussion of individual cases, participants are further sub-divided into groups of 7 or 8. Each semester concludes with final exams. Further information on the clinical training semesters is available in the "Semesters Chart". 



Optional courses

Monday afternoons will be dedicated to optional courses on specific topics. Each optional course is held in small groups of 5-10 students and it will last 6 weeks (6 x 2h), with a few exceptions that will be 3 weeks (3 x 4h). Each student will be required to attend at least 2 optional courses per semester (total 4 per year).

*Wanted" peer tutors for POCUS Emergency Ultrasound!
Dear future USI students, 
We are planning to offer you an optional point of Care Ultrasound course in Emergency which is focused on Ultrasound diagnosis of frequent and clinically important pathologies in the emergency situations. The course will take place in our skills Lab at the new USI Campus. The Course will be directed by SGUM certified, experienced Ultra-sonographers (clinicians and radiologists). Considering the positive experience from other Swiss Universities we intend to organize the Course with “peer tutoring”, which means that practical sonography skills will be taught by specifically trained students, acting as teachers. We will provide a structured course to become peer tutor prior to start of the courses in September 2020.
Therefore, we encourage future USI students with interest and experience in basic abdominal Ultrasound to send an e-mail to with a short CV including prior experience in US and your motivation for the job.
See you in Lugano!




The programme includes examinations at the conclusion of each of the clinical training semesters. These will concentrate on the main topics studied during the semester and will simulate the structure of the Federal exam in medicine. During the sixth semester, students will also sit their final examinations and a full simulation of the Federal exam in medicine.

Further information.



Practical work with a family doctor

During the 4th semester of the Master programme, students will spend 2 full weeks training with a general practitioner.



Elective Term

The 5th semester is dedicated to practice (Elective Term). Students choose the clinical activities that most interest them and apply for clinical internships with hospitals or clinics, where they will be employed full time as medical candidates (CandMed) for at least 6 months.

Further information.



Master Thesis

In the first four weeks of the 6th and last semesters, students complete their Master's thesis. The thesis completes the Master's programme and is therefore a prerequisite for admission to the federal examination.

Further information.



Federal exam

The Federal exam in medicine takes place upon completion of the 3-year Master in Medicine program, and only once the student has obtained the Master’s degree. It includes two separate exams:

  • Multiple choice exam (MC), an interdisciplinary theory exam split in two parts;
  • Clinical skills exam (CS), following the principles of an OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination).

Further information.

The Master in Medicine programme will begin in September 2020. The general organization of the Master programme, in terms of semesters and weeks’ training, is set forth in the following schedule. A more detailed study plan will be available in due course.


General study programme:


Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14  
First semester
Group A General introduction Circulation Homeostasis Immune disorders Exams
Group B Immune disorders Circulation Homeostasis
Group C Homeostasis Immune disorders Circulation
Second semester
Group A Children and adolescents Women Bench to bedside Circulating cells and signaling Exams
Group B Circulating cells and signaling Children and adolescents Women
Group C Women Circulating cells and signaling Children and adolescents
Third semester
Group A Pediatric practice Critical care Pediatrics Skeleton Abdominal organs Exams
Group B Abdominal organs Pediatric practice Critical care Pediatrics Skeleton
Group C Pediatrics Skeleton Abdominal organs Pediatric practice Critical care
Fourth semester
Group A Familiy doctor practice Nervous system Head and neck organs Personality and cognition Exams
Group B Personality and cognition Familiy doctor practice Nervous system Head and neck organs
Group C Head and neck organs Personality and cognition Familiy doctor practice Nervous system
Fifth semester
  Elective term (6 months)
Sixth semester
  Master thesis Exams and training for federal exam


Clinical training semesters

Clinical training will be delivered during the first 4 semesters of the Master programme, structured as shown above. Each semester breaks down into 3 blocks (clinical training) and 2 special weeks. During the clinical training blocks, students are sub-divided into 3 groups of 20 to 25 participants. The groups rotate every 4 weeks. For such activities as practical work and discussion of individual cases, participants are further sub-divided into groups of 7 or 8. Each semester concludes with final exams, structured so as to simulate the Federal exam.


Typical week structure

A typical week consists of:

  • Theoretical lessons

General lessons (frontal)

- 2 hours on transversal topics (not focused on semester themes), all the students;
- 2 hours on semester themes, all the students.

Group lessons

- 4 hours theory on the module theme, in 3 groups.

  • Clinical activity

- 1.5 days of clinical activity at the hospital (2 students with a senior physician).

  • Clinical / patient oriented teaching activity (groups of 7-8 students)

- ​4 hours of clinical case discussions or practical exercises on the topic of the module: cases covering major diseases;

  • Individual preparation and optional subjects

- 1 half-day individual preparation of own case portfolio;
- 2 half-day individual study (preparation for work in groups);
- 2 hours for optional courses / research seminars.