SIT Study Abroad Logo


Banking, Finance, and Social Responsibility

Discover the dynamic fusion of macroeconomics and global finance with social responsibility and sustainable business in Switzerland.

At a Glance




Relevant previous coursework

Courses taught in



Aug 28 – Dec 10

Program Countries


Program Base


Critical Global Issue of Study

Development & Inequality


Why study abroad in Switzerland?

Combine your interest in ethical banking, sustainable finance, circular economy, artificial intelligence, and cryptocurrencies in Geneva and Switzerland, one of the world’s leading financial centers and a major international hub for international organizations and NGOs. While learning about global finance from a socially responsible and sustainable business perspective and alternative financial systems and intermediation, you’ll build networks with experts at leading financial institutions, nongovernmental organizations, universities and think-tanks. You’ll have the option to intern with a sustainable development company, start-up, or intergovernmental organization or a Swiss or international NGO or conduct research in sustainable development and finance, ethical banking, impact investing, or cryptocurrencies.


  • Get a background in ethical banking, sustainable finance, and cryptocurrencies.
  • Learn from experts at top international organizations and financial institutions.
  • Conduct field research, interview experts, build your professional network, and explore professional development opportunities.
  • Visit scenic Switzerland with its beautiful Alpine landscape and experience the hubs of international finance and innovation.


Previous college-level coursework or background in economics, finance, business administration, public policy, international relations, government, sociology, or ethics and social responsibility, as assessed by SIT.

program map


Switzerland Study Trip

During the one-week excursion in Switzerland during the second week of the program you will travel by train to visit cities in the three linguistic regions of Switzerland: French, German, and Italian. See the stunning scenery for which Switzerland is famous: the Alps and  many lakes and charming towns and mountain villages. Sample famous Swiss delicacies such as fondue and raclette, and of course, chocolate. You will also visit museums and cultural centers such as the Einstein Museum in Bern, the Swiss Parliament, the medieval city center of Zurich, and the unique landscape of the city and lake of Lugano.

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.


Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to: 

  • Use the opportunity of an internship experience and field visits to build professional networks with experts at financial institutions, international NGOs, and government agencies. 
  • Explain core concepts of ethical banking, sustainable finance, micro-finance, philanthropy in financial projects, and impact investment to promote socially responsible business practices. 
  • Assess business models by using criteria developed in ethical banking and sustainable finance such as SRI/ESG/CSR.  
  • Identify how the solidarity economy helps promote the ideals of social justice. 
  • Explain the alternative financial models of intermediation, such as the role of microfinance, micro-credit, the solidarity economy, and social entrepreneurship.
  • Examine the concept of Islamic banking and assess the success of the activities of Islamic financial intermediaries. 

Read more about Program Learning Outcomes.


Access virtual library guide.

The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.

The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

Please expand the sections below to see detailed course information, including course codes, credits, overviews, and syllabi.

Key Topics

  • Ethical banking, sustainable finance, and the circular economy
  • bullet list icon
  • Neoliberal globalization, financial crises, and social responsibility
  • bullet list icon
  • Tax avoidance, money laundering and criminal financial investigations
  • bullet list icon
  • Islamic banking, alternative financial systems, and cryptocurrencies
  • bullet list icon
  • Innovation and AI in finance and cybersecurity

Research Methods and Ethics

Research Methods and Ethics – syllabus
(ANTH3500 / 3 credits)

The Research Methods and Ethics (RME) seminar gives an overview of major international players, international organizations / NGOs, transnational companies, and think tanks in the field of ethical banking and sustainable finance in the Geneva Lake region and Switzerland. It introduces students to the conceptual and practical tools for gathering primary data by doing interactive field research and interviews with local experts. The seminar enhances students’ skills in analyzing primary data and writing an Independent Study Project (ISP) or internship project proposal. The overall aim is to introduce students to experiential learning based on qualitative research methodology and learning in the natural setting. Students will gather data while interacting with local communities, businesses, public agencies or think tanks. Students doing internships will be exposed to the workflow of the local institution, start-up, or scientific organization.

Alternative Finance, Cryptocurrencies and AI

Alternative Finance, Cryptocurrencies and AI – syllabus
(IBUS3503 / 3 credits)

This course focuses on the intersection of what may be considered financial services and intermediaries outside of mainstream finance. These stakeholders and actors may be as diverse as citizen’s initiatives within the solidarity economy, NGOs or SMEs active in the field of microfinance and complementary / local currencies. They can also be stakeholders in the internet-driven information society and decentralized finance such as cryptocurrency start-ups. In this context, AI and machine learning are drivers of massive social and economic change but also are drivers producing new trends with seemingly unstoppable decision-making power over the destinies of citizens, businesses, and states.

The course addresses the new cultural values, lifestyles, and modes of cooperation, equity, and innovation. Through their interaction, alternative finance stakeholders create a complex web to manage their activities with the purpose of challenging mainstream institutions by promoting issues ranging from the solidarity economy to decentralized finance, while using AI, machine learning, and virtual reality as tools of social engineering. The course addresses the limits of neoliberal global governance, which seems increasingly less capable to deal with complex 21st century challenges.

Ethical Banking and Sustainable Finance

Ethical Banking and Sustainable Finance – syllabus
(IBUS3600 / 4 credits)

The course introduces students to the historical dimension of the concept of ethics and finance, main focal points, terminology, and examples of financial institutions functioning in a socially responsible way. Students also learn about financial intermediation in Islamic banking and finance and compliance with sharia law.

The course introduces the concept of sustainable finance often described as “ethical” because of its aim to produce a positive social impact locally, regionally, and globally. The course explores the principles and strategies of Social & Responsible Investment (SRI), Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG), Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and Impact Investing and their contributions to a more sustainable future. Ethical banking and sustainable finance are designed to produce a positive impact on society and articulate responsibility for future generations. Increasingly featured in financial evaluation and businesses, this course looks at the workings of divestment, stranded assets, and the changing regulatory environment in Switzerland and Europe.

Independent Study Project in Finance or Internship in Finance

Choose between the following two courses:

Independent Study Project in Finance
Independent Study Project in Finance – syllabus
(ISPR3000 / 6 credits)

For the Independent Study Project in Finance (ISPF), students will do six weeks of fieldwork and design a project that carries an innovative proposition to address banking or finance issues from a social responsibility perspective. Projects may include proposals for a sustainable business, regulatory mechanisms for financial control and ethical account reporting, or promotion of complementary currencies. Regular reflection and assessment meetings are held with the academic director and academic advisor to review the progress of the ISPF.

Sample ISPF topic areas:

  • Awareness level of sustainable finance issues among bank workers and consumers
  • Profit-generating potential of ethical bank products versus classical bank products
  • Role and efficiency of multi-stakeholder initiatives in the field of ethical investment
  • Gaps in the existing sustainable finance regulatory system
  • Alternative ways of financing new initiatives and their risks (e.g., crowdfunding, complementary and cryptocurrencies)

Browse this program’s Independent Study Projects / undergraduate research.


Internship and Seminar in Finance
Internship and Seminar in Finance – syllabus
(ITRN3000 / 6 credits)

This seminar consists of a six-week internship with a sustainable development company, impact investment institution, start-up enterprise, intergovernmental organization, or Swiss or international NGO. Students do an internship and submit a seminar paper in which they process their learning experience and design a socially responsible solution to a problem observed during their internship. The aim of an internship is to enable the student to gain valuable professional experience within the Swiss or international financial environment. The institution and internship activities must be approved by the program’s academic director. Regular reflection and assessment meetings are held with the academic director and academic advisor to review the progress of the internship.

Internship and Seminar in Finance:

Internship Placements in past semesters (partner institutions may change from term to term).

  • Aegis Experiment / CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) (scientific communication, international collaboration, marketing & finance), (spring semester only)
  • Alimuradova Organisation (entrepreneurship, civil society, SDGs & SMEs)
  • Brightside (artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, finance)
  • Consulto (impact investment, innovation technology, public health & development)
  • eFrontiers (artificial intelligence, financial literacy, IT)
  • Fongit (innovation technology, impact investment, life sciences)
  • Global Health Booster (impact investment, information technology, public health & development)
  • Globethics (ethical leadership & decision-making, applied ethics in higher education, global network & international cooperation)
  • Good For My Planet (SDGs & SMEs, social entrepreneurship & sustainability, climate & environment)
  • Harpalium Initiative (fintech innovation, public-private partnership, sustainability & international cooperation)
  • High Lantern Group (leadership & decision-making, global networking & strategic planning, public health & development)
  • Impact Hub (SDGs & SMEs, social entrepreneurship, international cooperation)
  • International Bridges to Justice (human rights & legal assistance, public private partnership, global justice & international cooperation)
  • Trust Village (artificial intelligence, digital trust innovation, cybersecurity)
  • uSec (artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, IT)



A homestay with a local family in the French-speaking canton of Vaud will enrich your cultural experience during the program. Located on the shores of Lake Geneva, the canton of Vaud offers a combination of countryside, small towns, and outdoor activities. The historical town of Nyon, where the SIT program office is located, offers a magnificent view of the Jura mountains and French Alps just on the other side of the lake.

Living with your homestay family offers you the opportunity to gain insight into local everyday life on the Geneva Lake Riviera. You will commute to classes and program activities in Geneva, just like the locals, using the excellent Swiss public transportation system.

Excursion & Orientation Accomodations

You will stay in hostels during the orientation period and study trip in Switzerland.

Faculty & Staff

Switzerland: Banking, Finance, and Social Responsibility

Goran Jovanovic, PhD bio link
Goran Jovanovic, PhD
Academic Director
Annette Boogaard bio link
Annette Boogaard
Homestay Coordinator
Joe Apostolidis, MA bio link
Joe Apostolidis, MA
Academic Coordinator
Aigul Jarmatova, MA bio link
Aigul Jarmatova, MA
Academic Advisor

Discover the Possibilities

  • Cost & Scholarships

    SIT Study Abroad is committed to ensuring that international education is within reach for all students. We believe in the transformative power of immersive, intercultural experiences and are dedicated to supporting students in their educational journey.

    See Full Breakdown

    A critical step in preparing for your study abroad program is planning how you will maintain your health and wellbeing. Please review the following information carefully and contact [email protected] with any questions or concerns.

    View Information
  • Instagram

    Meet and greet event with internship institutions at Impact Hub Geneva