EMA, The European Master’s Programme in Human Rights and Democratisation

Deadline for non-EU and all scholarship applicants:
12 February 2024


Deadline for EU and self-funded applicants:
16 April 2024

EMA in a nutshell

The European Master’s Programme in Human Rights and Democratisation (EMA)

is a one-year, full-time course that provides a practice and policy-oriented approach to learning that combines legal, political, historical,
anthropological, and philosophical perspectives of human rights and democratisation with skill-building activities and a field trip exercise.

Students are taught by leading academics representing EMA participating universities, experts and representatives of international organisations and NGOs, while studying in a multicultural environment.

The curriculum prepares participants for working in national, international, governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations as well as research institutions dealing with human rights and democratisation.

Programme Details

Key Facts


Start date Mid-September
Application deadlines Deadline for non-EU and all scholarship applicants: 12 February 2024
Deadline for EU and self-funded applicants: 16 April 2024
Duration 12 months full-time
Tuition fee €5500,00 (plus enrolment fee of €150,00)
Minimum entry requirement University degree (minimum 180 ECTS credits)
English language requirements Certified fluency in English
Location  1st Semester (Sept.-Jan.): Global Campus of Human Rights Headquarters in Venice
2nd Semester (Feb.-Jul.): one of the 43 participating universities in Europe

Entry requirements



EMA is open to a maximum of 90 candidates from EU and non-EU countries.

Candidates must meet the following entry requirements:

  • Hold a university degree of a high standard in a field relevant to human rights, including disciplines in Law, Social Sciences and Humanities, and must have a minimum of 180 ECTS (Bachelor/General Degree).
  • Have certified knowledge of English at least at level B2. Accepted certificates are IELTS (min. score 6), TOEFL (min. 80 for the IBT) and Cambridge exams (min. score 160-179), obtained no more than 3 years before the start of the programme.

Applicants completing the degree entry requirements subsequently to the application deadline are requested to provide a current transcript of exams. Eventual admission into the programme is conditional upon receipt of documentation of the completed degree (by 31 August).

Applications will be assessed against the following selection criteria:

  • Academic ability and background (i.e. university final grade, relevance of the degree and thesis subject);
  • Relevant additional academic work, courses or publications
  • Relevant practical experience
  • Motivation

Programme Structure



The first semester takes place at the Global Campus of Human Rights premises in Venice from mid-September to the end of January. Students are taught by academics from the 43 EMA participating universities, as well as experts and representatives of IGOs and NGOs. The first semester curriculum consists of a core programme organised in five thematic sections, a series of elective courses and skill-building activities and the field trip to Kosovo.

The core programme covers the following topics: Human Rights Institutions, Mechanisms and Standards; Globalisation, Development and Human Rights; Human Rights in Context: Historical, Philosophical, Anthropological and Religious Perspectives; Building and Protecting Democracy; Human Rights, Peace and Security.

Elective courses and skill-building activities are offered on issues such as New Technologies and Human Rights, Transitional Justice, Gender Relations and Human Rights, Children Rights, Bioethics, Digital Verification, Human Rights Impact Assessment and Project Management (subject to change). In addition, students have the choice between semester-long courses in International Law, International Relations or Philosophy of Human Rights. Simulation exercises are also a central part of the EMA curriculum and the resident academic staff offers research and academic skills classes and workshops.




The majority of EMA graduates work with human rights organisations (governmental and non-governmental, international and national) both at their headquarters and in field missions (e.g. electoral observation, human rights monitoring, international cooperation projects). A number of graduates are also involved in human rights-related activities with their Ministries of Foreign Affairs or are seconded by them to work for international institutions. Some graduates pursue further academic study and research and a some have become the representatives of EMA participating universities.

The Global Campus itself has facilitated the entry of its graduates into the human rights job market through the EMA Internship Programme.

EMA Internship Programme
Every year the EMA programme, with the support of the European Union, offers a paid internship in the field of human rights to the 15 graduates who achieved the highest results during their academic year. These internships in inter-governmental, governmental and non-governmental organisations give the selected graduates an opportunity to immediately put into practice the knowledge acquired during the course.

Fees and Funding



The tuition fee for the academic year 2024/2025 is €5500 (plus enrolment fee of €150). Tuition fees cover the following: all courses of the European Master’s Programme in Human Rights and Democratisation, both in the first and second semester; reading materials for the first semester; lunch (on class and exam days); tutoring, access to a specialised library; individual access to our closed e-learning environment; use of available IT facilities, and the field trip.

The tuition fee does not cover accommodation and subsistence, travel costs to and from partner universities and visa expenses.

Successful applicants will receive a letter of admission and will be requested to pay the fees upon acceptance of the offer. Payments can be made via bank transfer in one of the following ways:

  • full amount within 3 weeks from the date of the letter of admission
  • two instalments: the first instalment is due within 2 weeks from the date of the letter of admission and the second instalment at a date specified within the enrolment letter.

All applicants are requested to pay an application processing fee of €50 before submitting their application.

A small number of scholarships is available for qualified candidates. Scholarships include a tuition waiver and a modest stipend.