Thank you for considering the Freshman Year in Switzerland program.

The Freshman Year in Switzerland program offers you to enroll in a competitive course plan of robust offerings of USC transferable coursework. 

Spending your First Year abroad has many advantages: it will broaden your perspective and help you frame your interests; it will also expand your network of contacts; in other words, it will have a lasting positive impact on the remainder of your university career and beyond.

This web page provides you with extensive information on the USC Freshman Year in Switzerland program, including instructions on how to accept our offer to attend.

About the Program
Discover Franklin University Switzerland

Established in 1969, Franklin University Switzerland is a US- and Swiss-accredited international university located in Lugano, Switzerland, one hour north of the Italian city of Milan in the Mediterranean region south of the alps.

We teach in English and all our courses are based on a US credit system. We offer courses in 19 different disciplines – ranging from politics and international relations to environmental studies, art, psychology, literature, history, communications, economics, management and finance.

Franklin is home to approximately 400 international students from over 50 countries. There are another 7,500 students in other Italian-language universities located in Lugano, creating a congenial atmosphere in a beautiful European alpine setting near the metropolitan region of Milan.

Franklin faculty members come from a variety of backgrounds, many with teaching experience in the United States or Europe. The university has a 1:10 faculty to student ratio, with larger classes rarely exceeding 20 students. Franklin’s diverse student body contributes to the overall learning experience for its students.

One very important part of the Franklin experience is Academic Travel: all Franklin students take an Academic travel course each semester, which includes a two-week study visit to a different city or region with a professor with expertise in the travel destination. Academic Travel courses involve preparation for the travel component, followed by exams or writing assignments towards the end of the semester.

Transferring Credits to USC

During your year at FUS you will choose courses across a wide range of subjects. Your FUS courses fulfill USC requirements expected of competitive transfer applicants. For example, taking five 3-credit courses each semester at FUS will earn a total 30 transferable semester credits which convey to USC. Below you will find more specific details on USC transfer requirements and examples of FUS courses you may choose.

Living and Studying in Switzerland

Spending a year at Franklin means that you will be living in a European country, culturally influenced by neighbors such as France, Germany and Italy, yet very proud to be sovereign and neutral – since the year 1291.

Switzerland is one of the oldest living democracies in the world, where many laws are formed by national referenda and where local communities have significant autonomy with regard to cantonal (state) regulations. This does in fact shape the ways in which students live in the community, where for instance, recycling has been required for all residents for decades in a country that is very keen on preserving its beautiful environment.

In general, Switzerland is in many ways a microcosm of Europe, with residents often speaking at least one of four official languages (German, French, Italian and Rumantsch) in addition to English (these days the preferred second language amongst the younger generations).

As a Franklin student you will have the opportunity to learn or improve your Italian, German or French language skills. By spending a year in Switzerland, you will also have the opportunity to experience the local fall festivals in the wine-growing region around Lake Lugano and Lake Como, visit famous Christmas markets in Germanic Swiss cities such as Basel and Bern, try winter sports in nearby ski resorts, discover the February Carnevale in the ‘Castle’ city of Bellinzona, and enjoy the many music and cultural festivities in Lugano as the summer approaches towards the end of your spring semester.


The FUS campus is located in a suburban part of Lugano, 10-15 minutes by foot from the city center. Lugano has traditionally been popular amongst tourists from the north, who enjoy the warmer Mediterranean weather south of the Alps. It is not unusual to see palm trees on the lake promenade with snow-peaked Alps in the distance. Besides the natural beauty of the region, Lugano is also known as a major finance and service center for Switzerland, while the region hosts a number of international companies such as VF (NorthFace, Timberland, Vans), Armani, or Acer.

Public transportation in Switzerland is convenient, safe and generally very punctual in Switzerland. Many students will make use of the rail networks that connect the country (even in remote Alpine regions). From the main station of Lugano, students can reach the nearest Italian border towns of Ponte Tresa (with an excellent Saturday open air market) or Como in 20 minutes; the vibrant German-speaking cities of Zürich or Luzern in 2-3 hours, or the French-speaking cities of Fribourg, Geneva and Lausanne in 4-5 hours. While there is a small airport in Lugano, there are also 3 airports around nearby Milan, including Malpensa International Airport (with a direct shuttle bus to Lugano).

Preparing for USC While in Switzerland

You will be assigned a FUS academic advisor who is familiar with USC requirements and can assist with your planning. Admitted USC students will work with their admission representatives over the summer to plan a seamless transfer to USC. 

Transferring to USC

Admission to USC requires a high level of success, in courses likely to be more rigorous than you have experienced in high school. Successfully completing this plan demands hard work and focus. You'll want to attend transfer information session hosted by USC to best understand the expectations for competitive transfer applicants. 

Attending FUS

During your year in Switzerland you will register as a full-time student at Franklin University Switzerland, taking FUS courses approved by USC, earning FUS transferrable credits, and paying FUS tuition and fees.

Once you confirm your participation in the Freshman Year in Switzerland, our Admissions Office will begin to send you important pre-arrival information to help prepare for your arrival to Switzerland in August: how to confirm your enrollment, obtain your study visa, reserve your housing preferences, select your FUS tuition payment plan, and more. FUS is accustomed to working with students from around the world, and will be responsive and supportive to your needs as you plan your arrival to Switzerland.

United States citizens and permanent residents who qualify may apply for a private Sallie Mae Smart Option Loan for educational expenses.  Sallie Mae is not a preferred lender of FUS; however, there are no other private loan options for US students at “foreign schools” located outside the United States.

Freshman Year in Switzerland students will register for courses during FUS orientation week in August, together with all enrolling first-year FUS students, immediately prior to the start of fall semester. You will meet with an FUS advisor familiar with your transfer path to USC who will advise you in the optimal choice of courses which match your interests and USC transfer recommendations. You will be asked to complete a preference form for the Academic Travel Course along with other pre-arrival forms (distributed in May and due in July).

You are encouraged to explore the FUS website to learn more about how we combine an American approach to higher education with the stimuli offered by an international context - providing you with an ideal opportunity to embark on a very distinctive international bridge to your studies at USC.

Housing and Campus Services

Franklin has eight residence halls in a suburban environment around the campus. First year abroad students usually live in triples, doubles or split double apartments. While all residence halls have kitchens, and students often cook some of their own meals, Franklin has two dining halls on campus with two to three meals served daily, depending on the day of the week or the break schedule. Laundry facilities are included in each residence hall. Each residence hall has a trained Resident Assistant, who will support new students as they transition to university life. Students who enroll by May 1st will receive housing information and preference forms in the mail (along with student visa information) by mid-May. During Orientation in August, the Office of Student Life organizes a shopping trip to large stores like IKEA should students wish to decorate their room or purchase other items for the room such as European-sized bedsheets or duvets.

Your First Year Curriculum

You will enroll in five 3-credit courses in each of both semesters during your freshman year at Franklin University Switzerland, earning 30 credits in total.

USC endorses the FUS courses you will be offered, so you are assured that your FUS credits will transfer and fulfill equivalent coursework in the USC Core Curriculum (writing seminar, math, diversity and foreign language); General Education Curriculum (Western Cultures and Traditions, Global Cultures and Traditions, Arts and Letters, Social Issues, etc.); and possibly even some lower-division introductory coursework, depending on your intended major at USC.

Apart from this, FUS offers a selection of courses that will enable you to explore many different topics under a global lens, including history, political science, business, art history and social sciences for example - in addition to choosing to learn one of three Swiss languages (French, Italian or German).

Here are typical course options reflecting what a year might look like in the Freshman Year in Switzerland program:


One foreign language course from the following:

ITA 100 Introduction to Italian, Part I
FRE 100 Introduction to French, Part I
GER 100 Introduction to German, Part I

One Academic Travel course(see examples below from Fall 2022):

BIO 210T Alpine Ecosystems (European Alps)
CLCS 100T The Stories We Live By (Switzerland, Italy, Germany)
COM 230T Comm, Fashion, and Formation of Taste (Italy)
MAT 115T Measuring the Alps
VCA 120T Documentary Photography on Location (Berlin and Munich)

100 or 200 level courses that transfer as USC's General Education requirements (see examples below from Fall 2022 Course Offerings):

MAT 102 Intermediate Algebra
MAT 103 College Algebra
CPT 150 Introduction to Computer Programming
Politics / International Relations
POL 100 Introduction to Political Science
POL 101 Introduction to International Relations
PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology
PSY 201 Social Psychology
Visual Communication Arts
STA 105 Introduction to Sculpture
STA 111 Introduction to Drawing
Art History
AHT 102 Introduction to Art History and Visual Culture I
AHT 213 Art and Ideas: Exploring Vision
Environmental Studies
BIO 102 Introduction to Biology: Cell and Animal
ENV 101 Chemistry and the Environment
Communications and Media Studies
COM 105 Introduction to Communication and Media
COM 201 Fundamentals of Media Studies and Critic
Business, Economics and Management
BUS 115 Financial Accounting
ECN 100 Principles of Macroeconomics
ECN 101 Principles of Microeconomics
HIS 100 Western Civilization I: Ancient and Medieval
HIS 104 Global History I
Literature and Cultural Studies
CRW 100W Introduction to Creative Writing
LC 110 Reading Cultures: Approaches to Cultural Studies


One foreign language course from the following:

ITA 101 Introduction to Italian, Part II
FRE 101 Introduction to French, Part II
GER 101 Introduction to German, Part II

One Academic Travel course - locations TBA

Two courses at 100 or 200 level from our Spring 2023 Course Offerings (schedule to be announced - see our Spring 2022 Course Offerings schedule for an example).

Confirming Admission to the Freshman Year in Switzerland Program

If you are interested in the Freshman Year in Switzerland as an international bridge to transfer to USC, simply follow the link below to complete a brief online form:

You do not need to submit a separate application to FUS. Once your participation is approved, you will receive instructions to confirm your enrollment in the program, select your housing and payment plan, and more. You will also begin receiving helpful information about life in Switzerland and about studying at Franklin, enabling you to prepare for what will be an engaging study abroad experience in a quite distinctive international setting. Franklin University Switzerland is seasoned in working with students coming to live and study in Switzerland from the US and from around the globe.

Deadlines: if you are interested in our Freshman Year In Switzerland program and you complete our online registration form after our priority May 1 deadline, we recommend that you confirm your enrollment as soon as possible, through your portal. Priority will be assigned by the order in which confirmations are received.

Learn More

There are several ways to learn more about the Fall Semester in Switzerland program.