EMA, The European Master’s Programme in Human Rights and Democratisation
Deadline for non-EU and scholarship applicants:
12 February 2024
Deadline for EU and self-funded applicants:
16 April 2024
The European Master’s Programme in Human Rights and Democratisation (EMA) is the main teaching programme of the Global Campus of Human Rights (GC).
EMA is a one-year advanced master’s course aimed at preparing professionals to respond to the requirements of daily work in international organisations, field operations, governmental and non-governmental bodies, and academia. The interdisciplinary nature and wide-ranging scope of EMA reflect the benefits of true European inter-university cooperation in human rights education. Fostering this approach, EMA is organised through the joint efforts of 43 prestigious universities and human rights centres from all member states of the European Union plus the UK and Switzerland, all renowned for their leading role in education, research and advocacy in human rights and democratisation. Their experience in working together on curriculum development, teaching methodology, student selection and evaluation, and even the awarding of degrees, marks a unique example in Europe. The benefits are multiple: for students, all the EMA participating universities together present a variety of perspectives that no single department or faculty could offer; for lecturers and experts, who devote voluntarily their time and expertise to this common endeavour, the cooperation brings insight and inspiration, which in turn enriches the participating institutions.
Established in 1997 thanks to the vision of 10 pioneer universities, EMA is the oldest master’s programme supported by the European Union. It is financed by the EU through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). Over the years, it has developed according to changing approaches to human rights and democratisation in Europe and in the world and in line with more integrated strategies in trans-European human rights education.
The institutional structures associated with the EMA programme have changed as well over the years. The predecessor of the Global Campus, the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC) was founded in 2002 in Venice by 15 European universities for the main purpose of jointly organising the EMA programme. Over time, EIUC evolved into the leading interdisciplinary European centre for education and research in the field of human rights and democratisation. Parallel to EMA, it developed similar master’s programmes in other regions, which were also funded by the EU. In 2012, the EU requested EIUC to start a process of coordinating these regional master’s programmes and to transform them into a global network of universities responsible for post-graduate education in the field of human rights and democracy. The last and decisive step in the process of transforming the network of universities from a European into a global one was taken on 23 February 2019 when the EIUC Assembly decided to amend its statute and change the name of its association to Global Campus of Human Rights.
EMA’s academic excellence in teaching, research and practical training is a testament to the spirit shared by professors, experts, students and staff: genuine dedication to the advancement of global values and human dignity through inter-university cooperation, interdisciplinarity and an action-oriented approach. In order to achieve these aims, the programme successfully combines two objectives: on the one hand, to provide a solid theoretical preparation and, on the other hand, to offer a good understanding of the operational requirements and challenges of practical work.
Specifically, EMA was established with the following aims:
To educate high-level professionals in the field of human rights and democratisation qualified to work as academics, staff members or field workers for inter-governmental, governmental, and non-governmental organisations;
To provide its graduates with both a solid theoretical understanding of issues related to human rights and democratisation and with operational skills enabling them to perform practical work in this area;
To create and maintain a European network of curriculum development and staff exchange among universities in the field of human rights and democratisation.
The growing number of EMA graduates (more than 2000 so far) and their careers reflect the far-reaching impact of EMA: a source of inspiration and the creator of a community of competent specialists working in the field of human rights and democratisation at the local, regional, national, international level both in the governmental and non-governmental sectors as well as in academia.