The European Masters Programme in Human Rights and Democratisation (E.MA) offers an action- and policy-oriented approach to learning that combines interdisciplinary perspectives with skills building activities. While studying in a multicultural environment, students have the opportunity to meet and be taught by leading academics representing the 41 E.MA participating universities, officials of international organisations (including the European Union, the United Nations and the Council of Europe) and experts and practitioners of national and international NGOs.
Professionals in Human Rights and Democratisation
E.MA is an intensive one-year advanced masters course aimed at preparing professionals to work in international organisations, field operations, governmental and non-governmental bodies, and academia. E.MA offers an action- and policy-oriented approach to learning that combines interdisciplinary perspectives with skills building activities.
Prestigious international faculty
While studying in a multicultural environment, students have the opportunity to meet and be taught by leading academics representing the 41 E.MA participating universities, including the University of Ljubljana, officials of international organisations (such as the European Union, the United Nations and the Council of Europe) and experts and practitioners of national and international NGOs.
E.MA is both a residential and an exchange programme. During the first semester students are based at EIUC's Human Rights Village in Venice (Italy). For the second semester they move to one of the E.MA prestigious universities located throughout Europe. E.MA also includes a week-long field trip to a post-conflict country.
The majority of E.MA graduates work in advanced positions within Human Rights organisations (governmental and non-governmental, international and national) both at their headquarters and in field missions (electoral observation, Human Rights monitoring, international cooperation projects). A number of graduates are also involved in Human Rights-related activities with their home Ministries of Foreign Affairs or are seconded by them to work for international institutions.
The academic year of the European Masters Programme in Human Rights and Democratisation is divided into two semesters:
* First Semester: September to January in Venice, Italy
* Second Semester: February to July in one of the 41 E.MA participating universities located throughout the European Union
The first semester curriculum consists of:
* A core programme (the first stream) aimed at the plenary group of students and assessed for the purposes of the degree
* A series of second stream activities consisting of specialised units devised for smaller groups
* A field trip
First stream courses are organised in five Thematic Sections (subject to modification):
* TS1: Human Rights Institutions, Mechanisms and Standards (United Nations; Council of Europe; EU; OSCE; Organisation of American States; African System; perspectives on Asia)
* TS2: Human Rights in Context: History, Philosophy, Religion and Anthropology of Human Rights;
* TS3: Democratisation (Transition and Transformation Processes; Political Participation; Electoral Processes)
* TS4: Human Rights and Globalisation (Stakeholders in Economic Globalisation: States, International Economic Organisations, Companies, NGOs; Human Rights and Development; Business and Human Rights; Corporate Social Responsibility)
* TS5: Human Rights and Security (Humanitarian Law; International Criminal Law; Human Security, Vulnerability and Human Rights; Field Missions; Fact-finding in the field)
Some distinctive features of the first stream include:
* Focused lectures on EU legislation and policies regarding human rights and democratisation
* Special classes on human rights and democratisation in specific countries or regions (China, Russia, MENA Region)
* Mock elections: the whole cohort of students is involved in simulating the preparation, running, monitoring and evaluation of an election in a country in transition to democracy
* Project week: students work in groups and learn how to manage a project aimed at researching, analysing and reporting, both in writing and orally, on the human rights situation of a specific country
Second stream courses consist of different components tailored to students academic background, capabilities and interests:
* Workshops and skill classes aimed at deepening some aspects of the first stream courses
* Rolling seminars aimed at reinforcing the foundations of law, philosophy, international relations and research methods
* Semester-long special projects involving students in the production of a collective event
* Advanced Cluster classes that foster specialised knowledge of specific human rights issues
Highlights of the second stream include:
* The Moot Court: small groups of interested students are divided in two teams and act as the State and the defendant simulating a case in front of the European Court of Human Rights
* The E.MA Human Rights Film Festival: organized every year by a group of students together with the Municipality of Venice and local organisations on the occasion of Human Rights Day
* Workshops and skill classes where students learn about UN human rights mandates, develop their skills to write a funding proposal or practice how to conduct interviews in the field
The field trip is a trademark of E.MA and has been organized for years, first in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1998-2003) and then in Kosovo since 2004. This field training aims at providing deeper insights into the practical tasks, difficulties, and expectations with which human rights officers in the field are faced, and to get a better understanding of the real situation in a post-conflict country.
The field trip usually takes place in Mid-January and comprises visits to international organisations and institutions and to local and regional non-governmental organizations working on the most essential human rights issues, such as property claims, torture related questions, legal advice, womens rights, democratic elections, free media and childrens rights. Students usually stay with host families and are required to participate in all activities and events organised by the E.MA academic staff, external facilitators from the EU and other experts.
During the E.MA second semester students relocate to one of the 41 participating universities to follow courses in an area of specialisation of their own choice and to undertake personal supervised research finalised to the writing of their Masters thesis.
This part of the programme is conceived as a European exchange which implies that students will be hosted for the second semester activities in a university located in a country other than their own. The process of defining individual thesis topics and identifying suitable E.MA Universities to host these studies is undertaken with the assistance of the E.MA Academic Team in the course of the first semester from September to December, according to an established format. The maximum number of students that can be hosted by each participating University is three. Students may be allocated to any E.MA University on the basis of both the student and the universitys interest, the fittingness of the thesis topic in the respective department and the quality of the thesis proposal. The decision is made by the E.MA Council and is final and binding.
Assessment and Thesis
First semester assessment is made by written and oral assignments and exams. Only successful students are allowed to proceed to second semester courses. During the second semester, students will attend further specialised courses for which they will be assessed according to the hosting universitys practices. The Masters thesis is assessed with regard to both the written work and the oral defence.
The thesis consists of an academic piece of work, between 20.000 and 30.000 words, written individually and independently by the student under the supervision of the E.MA Director or another expert academic of the second semester university. The thesis shall be written in English. However, students may write the thesis in French upon prior approval of the E.MA Director of the second semester University. The thesis defence is in English.
Each academic year the E.MA Council selects 5 theses to be published on the E.MA website and 3 theses to be published on the website of the Regional Masters in Human Rights and Democratisation. The selection of these outstanding theses is based on academic quality, originality, and contribution to the promotion and implementation of human rights and democratic values. Further publication opportunities may arise in the framework of EIUC/E.MAs collaboration with the European Yearbook on Human Rights and The Vienna Journal on International Constitutional Law.
EIUC offers financial support in the form of a partial contribution towards living expenses and/or a full or partial tuition waiver. This type of financial support is awarded to a limited number of students (up to 10) on the basis of academic achievement, need and geographical distribution.