One of the most significant contributions of the EU to human rights education is represented by the E.MA programme. E.MA has been designed in order to establish a common pool of highly qualified and motivated human rights experts who will work either in European governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental human rights institutions or who will be sent, on behalf of the EU or other organisations, to work in the field.


The aims of the E.MA Programme are:

  • To form 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 some practical field/work experience
  • To create a European network of curriculum development and staff exchange among universities in the field of human rights and democratisation

Learning outcomes

The E.MA learning outcomes bridge knowledge, understanding and skills in a holistic approach:

Knowledge and understanding

Upon successful completion of the E.MA Programme, students will be able to:

  • Master in-depth knowledge of recent and current developments in human rights and democratisation
  • Examine human rights and democratisation debates through a solid understanding of theories, concepts and methods
  • Refer to and apply thematic, country and comparative approaches


At the end of the E.MA Programme students will also have acquired the ability to:

  • Conduct independent research at an advanced level and evaluate and critically use materials
  • Show articulated oral and writing skills including style, organisation of ideas, clarity of expression, argumentation and presentation
  • Display analysis of research carried out on primary and secondary materials providing a foundation for professional work and academic research
  • Engage in meaningful academic and policy debates
  • Apply practical and operational skills in diverse working environments

Added value

Given the existence of several excellent human rights masters offered by European universities, including universities participating in the E.MA network, it is important to identify and underline the added value in establishing a joint European master’s programme:

  • Together the participating universities and associated institutions are able to present a richness and variety of perspectives on human rights that no single department or faculty could offer. The E.MA programme is thus unique in its scope and diversity
  • The experience of 41 prestigious universities working together on curriculum development, teaching methodology, student selection and evaluation, and even the awarding of degrees, marks a unique example of European university cooperation. While professors and experts participating in the network liberally devote their time and expertise to the common endeavour, they also gain insight and inspiration from the cooperation which in turn enriches the participating institutions
  • The very fact of bringing together students, academics and experts from all of Europe and the rest of the world in the context of a highly intense learning environment, which is focused on the core values of the EU and its policies in the global promotion of human rights and democracy, contributes in important ways to the formation of a European culture of human rights
  • The success of E.MA establishes a positive example and serves as a valuable reference point for the promotion of human rights education outside the European Union, both in neighbouring regions and globally
  • The strong bonds of friendship and solidarity within the alumni network as well as the regional and international academic networks associated with E.MA are a compelling indication of this effect