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Master of Arts in History and Theory of Art and Architecture

Università della Svizzera italiana
Program overview
2 years
Full time
Master's degree
Scholarships available

Start dates
Autumn 2023

Autumn 2023

About this program

Master of Arts in History and Theory of Art and Architecture

The MA in History and Theory of Art and Architecture (MSTAA) includes the study of the history of both architecture and art. It is a complete Master which aims at counteracting the growing marginalisation of architecture in art history studies. At the same time, the study of the history of art and architecture in different eras (medieval, modern and contemporary) is complemented by in-depth studies on the theory and criticism of architecture, artistic literature, the history and practice of restoration (with moments of practice in the field), museology and digital humanities with an eye towards other artistic and cultural expressions like photography, cinema, theatre, and literature. Practical workshops and internships in affiliated institutions complete the Master's training offer.

The Master includes courses in Italian and English; a good understanding of both languages is assumed.

Admission requirements

The Master is offered to students who have been formed according to the new European order, but also to students with higher education diplomas according to the pre-existing regulations.

The Master's Dean's office reserves the right to integrate the study plan with some core courses if they are not present in the candidate's university resume.

On the other hand, the holder of a Master's degree is eligible without reserve:

  • a BA in History of Art (or similar);
  • a BA in Cultural Heritage Studies;
  • a BA in Italian language, literature and civilisation (with a minor's degree and a thesis on the history of art or architecture).

In addition, candidates with the following diplomas are able to enrol (with fewer credits):

  • MSc in Architettura

Interested candidates holding a Bachelor's degree in any other relevant academic field may also submit their application: the Master's Director will evaluate on a case by case basis. 

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Program content

The Master aims to bring architecture at the heart of the critical debate in universities and society as a whole. The context offered by the Faculty of Architecture is congenial for the study of art history and especially for the history of architecture.

Students of the MA in History and Theory of Art and Architecture will study together with future architects, attend projects critiques and most of all, they can take advantage of a direct exchange with world-renowned architects during dedicated conferences. Last but not least, it is important to know that the USI Academy of Architecture has a strong vocation and an important tradition in the field of humanities. The study plan of the Master also contemplates practical work such as internships or workshops in archives or other institutions, as well as study trips during individual courses to observe buildings and gain experience on the field.

For the MA in History and Theory of Art and Architecture, students can choose between a course entirely focused on historical-artistic subjects (MSTAA 120 ECTS) and a course divided into subjects dealing with historical-artistic subjects and subjects related to the history of literature and related subjects (Maior MSTAA 90 ECTS, Minor MLLCI 30 ECTS).

Scholarships & funding

Check on our website for more information: Home / Education / Master / Tuition and scholarships - Master programmes


The semester fees are CHF 4,000. For candidates resident in Switzerland and Lichtenstein at the time of the final high school exam (maturità), the semester fee is CHF 2,000.


Master of Arts in History and Theory of Art and Architecture

Career paths

By obtaining a MA in History and Theory of Art and Architecture, you will have access, after passing the relevant calls for applications (if any), to the following academic and/or work areas:

  • Doctoral studies
  • Superintendence, cultural heritage offices or equivalent institutions
  • Museums
  • Art and architecture criticism
  • Art market
  • Secondary and university education
  • Information industry (journalist)
  • Tourism sector (tourist guide)

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About this institute

Università della Svizzera italiana (USI)

USI Università della Svizzera italiana is a member of the Swiss universities system and the only Italian-speaking University in Switzerland. It is a multi-lingual university with courses taught in Italian and English and it has a strong international orientation. USI’s...

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Why study at Università della Svizzera italiana

USI is a young and lively university, a hub of opportunity open to the world where students are offered a quality interdisciplinary education in which they can be fully engaged and take center stage.

Seven reasons for choosing USI:

  • Quality of the Swiss university system
  • International faculty
  • Leading interdisciplinary education
  • Teacher/student ratio 1 to 9
  • Strong ties with the business world
  • Flexible structure, open to the exchange of ideas
  • International, dynamic and welcoming environment

Contact info

Università della Svizzera italiana

Via Giuseppe Buffi 13,
6900 Lugano

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Want to know more about Master of Arts in History and Theory of Art and Architecture? Fill out the following form and we'll pass your details on to a representative from the school, who will respond to your enquiry.


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