Future Student

Introduction | Objectives | Applying for the Master in Tourism studies | Admission criteria


The Master of Arts in Tourism Studies of the University of Lausanne - formerly " Interdisciplinary Master in Tourism Studies " is a programme of 120 ECTS credits given over 4 semesters. It aims to train students to a scientific approach of tourist phenomena that is interdisciplinary, critical and original.
The Master is thus based on the idea that the understanding of contemporary and future challenges of such a complex and multidimensional phenomenon as tourism – a complexity whether social, spatial, political, economic or environmental - involves the coordinated mobilization in a inter- and transdisciplinary perspective, different social science disciplines, including anthropology, economics, geography, history, political science, communication science and sociology.

 Even though most teaching is in French, the Master’s thesis, reports and exams may be written in English, German or other language (subject to prior agreement of the professor). 



The Master in tourism studies’ ambition is to offer academic and professional training to students aspiring to positions of responsibility (analysts, experts, planners and decision makers) in numerous professional sectors of tourism. It develops a social science approach, where anthropology, economy, sociology, geography, history and political science are conveyed to understand the contemporary issues of tourism in society. Environmental issues such as sustainable tourism, problems of tourist destinations as places and tourism as a form of spatial mobility are especially considered. The reflection is also on the touristic dimensions of transport, regional development and urban planning as well as sustainable development or climate change. In comparison with other more  (micro-) economic and/or management oriented master programs, our program is social science oriented and fosters strategic and critical thinking around tourism and tourism innovation.

Professional perspectives

  • International organizations, NGOs and professional associations in the field of tourism
  • Tourism promotion organizations
  • R & D departments of large tourist groups
  • Consultants
  • Emerging careers related to sustainable tourism (Agenda 21 coordination, evaluation of tourism policies)
  • National, regional or local public administrations in tourism, transport, planning and regional development, urban development or cultural events
  • Scientific and academic careers for example through a subsequent doctoral training in tourism studies


The Master is organized into four learning phases, each corresponding to different stages of autonomy and interdisciplinary mix of questions.

  1. The first semester is a multidisciplinary introduction to the analysis of tourism. It is organized in three stages. Initially, a two-week introductory seminar allows for a first introductory overview of contributions of different social science disciplines to the understanding of this complex phenomenon of tourism. Secondly, lessons given in the form of seminar courses allow students to deepen knowledge about the main contributions of the geographical, anthropological, economic and politological approaches oftourism. Finally, the potential for synergies and complementarities between different disciplinary approaches are discussed throughout the semester, as part of an epistemological, theoretical and methodological introduction to then practice of inter- and transdisciplinarity.
  2. The second semester consists of an in depth interdisciplinary exploration focusing on key issues in the study of tourism phenomena in contemporary societies, such as the historical dynamics of tourism development and specifically the relationship between the quality of tourist places and their historical development paths, the linkages between tourism and sustainable development respectively issues related to the sustainable management of tourism resources, the construction of otherness and the relationship between "tourists" and "indigenous" in society, new tourism practices, socio-economic effects, political and space tourism in host regions, the relationship between tourism and heritage, etc. These thematic deepening also aim to allow testing of the practice of interdisciplinarity by students.
  3. The third semester is dedicated on the one hand, in carrying on the interdisciplinary deepening, particularly in the areas of communication and tourism marketing, and on the other hand, consolidation and operational achievements, this part research seminars, as well as in the context of achieving a transdisciplinary project, both organized around research themes developed in the framework of the Tourism Research Unit. These seminars, as well as the one on statistical methodology, aim to allow the acquisition and mastery of practical scientific skills and know-how for the various phases of research, including the passage, always delicate, from theory to empirical investigation. These lessons also aim to prepare students to achieve their personal research work of the fourth semester.
  4. Realization of a personal research as an academic dissertation or a thesis professionalizing internship. In this final stage, it is to support students in achieving an original research work, work started on the 3rd semester and leading to the writing of a academic or professionalizing thesis. This last step also opens to both research professions (academic or applied) or careers in the various private, public and semi-public sectors of tourism. Besides achieving proper academic research, students will be familiarized with various other forms of valuable scientific skills professionally such as conducting appraisals or mandates.


Applying for the Master in Tourism studies

To apply for the Master in Tourism studies, applications must be sent before the deadline via the Matriculation and Registration Service : www.unil.ch/immat

The deadline for application for the programme which only starts in September is end of April. For candidates in need of a visa: end of February
For all questions relating to matriculation and registration for a Master, please email : immat.master@unil.ch


Admission criteria

Students wishing to be admitted to the curriculum of the Master of Arts in Tourism Studies need to fulfil the following conditions for registration and enrolment at the University of Lausanne

Be the holder of a Bachelor degree of a Swiss university in one of the following disciplines social and cultural anthropology/ethnology, law, economics, finance, geography, business management, history, art history, philosophy, psychology, movement and sport sciences, environmental sciences, environmental engineering and geomatics, media and communication science, political science, sociology.

For bachelor degree’s holders from other disciplines or with degrees recognised as equivalent by the Admissions Services, the Scientific Committee, upon examination of the candidate’s academic records, may set additional conditions. If need be, further requirements may have to be fulfilled during the master programme (up to 12 ECTS) or conditions may have to be fulfilled before the master programme (up to 60 ECTS). An upgrade is said to be integrated if it is up to 12 ECTS credits. The candidate is, in this case, admitted to the Master and has to complete his/her upgrade during the first year of the Master. Upgrading exceeding 12 ECTS credits (preliminary upgrade) must be completed prior to starting the Master. If upgrading exceeds 60 ECTS, admission to the Master is denied.


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