Congratulations on your admission to the University of Southern California beginning spring semester!

Prior to the start of your USC career in January, you are invited to participate in the Fall Semester in Switzerland program. This opportunity offers you the chance to spend the fall semester abroad at Franklin University Switzerland (FUS), earning credits which will transfer directly to USC and gaining valuable international experience in the process.

Spending a semester abroad has many advantages: it will broaden your perspective and help you frame your interests; it will also expand your network of contacts; in summary, 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 FUS Fall Semester 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.

Living and Studying in Switzerland

Spending a semester 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 semester 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, and enjoy the many music and cultural festivities in Lugano. 

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 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).

Fall Semester Coursework that Transfers to USC

During the fall semester at FUS you will choose courses across a range of subjects.  Your FUS courses fulfill USC requirements when you continue at USC beginning in the spring.  For example, taking five 3-credit courses at FUS will earn 15 transferable semester credits which convey to USC. Below you will find examples of FUS courses you may choose.

Preparing for USC while in Switzerland

You will already begin cultivating your relationship with USC while studying in Switzerland in the fall.  During orientation in August you will meet other students on the same program.  You will be assigned a FUS academic advisor who is familiar with USC requirements and can assist with your planning.  Toward the end of the fall semester you will receive guidance directly from USC advisors as you attend USC's Winter Orientation for Spring Admits. 

Attending FUS

During your fall semester 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 FUS Fall Semester in Switzerland program, 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.

USC Fall Semester in Switzerland program 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.  Following orientation, you will meet with a FUS advisor familiar with USC requirements, who will advise you in the optimal choice of courses which match your interests.

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. Study 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 Fall Semester Curriculum

You will enroll in five 3-credit courses during the fall semester at Franklin University Switzerland, earning 15 semester credits.  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 (foreign language and general education).

FUS offers a large selection of courses which fulfill USC degree requirements.  As part of the Fall Semester in Switzerland program, you will have the opportunity 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 your fall semester in Switzerland might look like.

Fall Semester

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): 

Examples include:

MAT 102 Intermediate Algebra
MAT 103 College Algebra
Politics / International Relations
POL 100 Introduction to Political Science
POL 101 Introduction to International Relations
Art History
AHT 102 Introduction to Art History and Visual Culture I
AHT 213 Art and Ideas: Exploring Vision
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
Confirming Participation in the Fall Semester in Switzerland Program

If you are interested in spending the fall semester in Switzerland as an international bridge to USC in the spring, simply follow the link below to complete a brief online form:

You do not need to submit a separate application to FUS. FUS will validate your participation in the program based on your USC admission decision.  Once your participation has been validated, you will receive instructions for confirming your enrollment in the program, selecting your housing and payment plan, and so on.  You will also begin to receive helpful information about life in Switzerland and about studying at Franklin; everything you need to prepare for your fall semester in Switzerland.  Franklin University Switzerland is seasoned in working with the families of students who are coming to live and study in Switzerland from the US and from around the globe.

Deadlines: if you are interested in the Fall Semester 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. 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.