Global Campus of Regional Masters

European Master’s Degree in Human Rights and Democratisation (E.MA)


The European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC) is an interdisciplinary centre formed by 41 universities from all European Union Member States. It is founded on a commitment to the realisation of the values enshrined in the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights, the promotion of high-level inter-disciplinary human rights education, research, training and culture, and a shared global understanding of human rights and democracy. EIUC is located in Venice, Italy.

The most important and prestigious project carried out by EIUC is the European Master’s Degree in Human Rights and Democratisation (E.MA). Established in 1997, it continues to develop through the joint efforts of 41 European universities with the support of the EU-institutions under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).

The European Master's Programme in Human Rights and Democratisation (E.MA) is an intensive and rigorous one-year academic programme to educate professionals in the field of human rights and democratisation, and provide its graduates with practical work experience. It is a multidisciplinary programme that reflects the indivisible links between human rights, democracy, peace and development.

Students of the E.MA enter a vibrant new era of learning where they have the opportunity to meet and be taught by leading academics, experts and representatives of international organisations (including European Union representatives) while studying in a multi-cultural environment.

The Programme offers a full intensive semester (the first, from September to January) in Venice and a semester (from February to July) in one of the 41 participating Universities.

The E.MA first semester curriculum consists of a core programme, composed of five thematic sections (the first stream) aimed at the plenary group of students, and a series of second stream activities consisting of optional units devised for smaller groups to which students enroll into.

The five thematic sessions (running over some weeks) whose attendance will be compulsory for everybody are the following:

  • TS 1    Human Rights Institutions, Mechanisms and Standards
  • TS 2    Human Rights in Context: History, Philosophy, Religion and Anthropology of Human Rights
  • TS 3    Democratisation
  • TS 4    Human Rights and Globalisation
  • TS 5    Human Rights and Security + Field trip

In the second semester students are assigned to one of the 41 participating Universities in order to follow courses and to undertake supervised research for their Master Thesis.

This part of the programme is conceived as a European exchange, and students are required to undertake their second semester research in a country other than their own.

The process of defining individual thesis topics and identifying suitable Universities within the E.MA Universities to host these studies is undertaken during the first semester programme in accordance with the following scheme from September - December with the following steps:

  1. The universities provide the E.MA students with all relevant available information on courses offered in the second semester, as well as an indication of the areas of researchwhere assistance with thesis supervision can be provided.      
  2. In order to facilitate the choice of a thesis topic, an information session will be organised by the academic team. Particular attention is given to organisational and logistical issues as well as to a presentation on possible thesis topics. The E.MA academic team will assist in advising students in their second semester university choices and thesis topics.
  3. Students submit a research proposal to the Teaching Fellows together with a list of no more than six Universities they feel could host their research. The research proposal will be presented according to the standardised format provided by the E.MA programme. The Teaching Fellows communicate student preferences to all relevant Universities.
  4. The Universities respond to the research proposals via the Teaching Fellows on availability for supervision. Responses are in three board categories: yes, maybe or no. The European Programme Director will facilitate cases where identifying an appropriate University appears difficult. The student representatives act as consultants to the process.
  5. Students formally present their three preferences by using a standardised format. On the basis of these choices, the Venice Staff prepares a proposal for the Executive Committee and the Council that takes into account both student and University preferences and applicable distribution rules.
  6. The E.MA Council takes the final decision on the 2nd semester University distribution at its December meeting.

The maximum number of students that can be hosted by each participating E.MA University is four unless otherwise decided.