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    School of Human and social Sciences and Cultural Heritage Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time available

  • Subject Areas


    Politics & Government


  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    2 years

  • Course Type


  • Course Fees

    Information on 2019/20 fees is not yet available, but the amounts will be more or less be the same of 2018/19 (euro 2507,00). Please check: website

  • Last Updated

    11 February 2019

Available places: European candidates or non-European candidates residing in Italy: unlimited; Non-European candidates residing outside Italy: 66 (6 for candidates joining the Marco Polo Project)

 Course description

The MA programme in “Human Rights and Multi-level Governance” is a contribution to developing a universal culture of human rights, as recommended by Unesco and the United Nations. Accordingly, it has a strong policy- and action-oriented approach. This master's degree is in full continuity with previous post-graduate programmes in human rights that the University of Padua has been delivering since 1988.

The MA aims at developing knowledge and skills to promote and fulfil human rights within the broader context of legal and political processes and multi-level policies. Human rights law, the multi-level governance framework, and the concepts of “sustainable human development” and “human security” are reference paradigms throughout the course.

The multi-level approach allows combining international trends’ analysis and an in-depth study of local policies. The programme’s research and lecturing activities reflect the transnational and transcultural dimensions of human rights studies. The programme is committed to supporting equality of opportunities, diversity among students and in the teaching staff, inclusion, and non-discrimination. The course offers a truly international and multicultural environment that welcomes diversity and strive towards inclusion.

Lectures and seminars, entirely in English, promote the active participation of students in class. Internships in qualified organisations, and supervised research are encouraged. The MA includes special modules with the participation of practitioners of European and international organisations and academic institutions.

The programme encourages study experiences abroad financed under student mobility programmes and bilateral agreements. In particular, up to ten students of the Master's degree may obtain a double degree in “International relations” or in “Histoire, Théorie et Pratique des Droits de l’Homme”, by spending the second year respectively at the Polish University of Wroclaw, or in France, at the Catholic University of Lyon or at the Université de Grenoble Alpes.

The programme promotes extra-curricular education opportunities, particularly in cooperation with the Human Rights Centre “Antonio Papisca” of the Padova University. Such initiatives include: a study trip to United Nations human rights bodies in Geneva; the Winter School “Microfinance in Action” in Nepal; the Summer School on “Normativity and Reality of Human Rights” (in cooperation with the School of Advanced Studies, London University, and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden); a simulation exercise on humanitarian action, organised with the Italian Red Cross; the “Simulation-based Training on Combating Human Trafficking”, organised by the OSCE/Office of the Special Representative for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings; and a unique “Model UN” dedicated to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

The programme assists students to find suitable internship opportunities with qualified governmental and nongovernmental institutions, in Italy and abroad.

The MA hosts the Save the Children Chair on “Children’s Rights”, and promotes training opportunities and public initiatives with Save the Children Italy on issues of common interest.

Several alumni are now competent officers within international organisations engaged in human rights protection, including the United Nations, the EU, the OSCE), as well as programme managers in renowned international NGOs.

The MA in Human Rights and Multi-level Governance is supported by the Human Rights Centre “Antonio Papisca” established within the University of Padova in 1982 to support multidisciplinary research and post-graduate education and training in the field of human rights. The Centre also hosts the UNESCO Chair “Human rights, democracy and peace” of the University of Padova and the Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence “Intercultural dialogue, human rights and multi-level governance”. The Centre edits the Italian Yearbook of Human Rights (published annually in Italian and English and updating on the human rights monitoring processes involving Italy), and Peace Human Rights Governance (PHRG), an open-access academic peer-reviewed journal published three times a year in English by Padova University Press. Since 1989 the Centre has been managing a rich data-base entitled “Peace Human Rights Archives”, which is functioning on the basis of a Veneto Region law on human rights and peace.

During its decades-long experience, the Centre has also developed strong network relations with academic institutions, public authorities at the local, national, European and international levels, NGOs and schools. The Centre is active in several international human rights networks, among others: the Global Campus for Human Rights and Democratisation, the Universities Against the Death Penalty, the Association of Human Rights Institutes, the Global Unesco Chairs system, the Scholars at Risk Network.

 Course structure

1st year

  • International Law of Human Rights (9)
  • Human Rights and International Justice (6) or Human Rights Practice (6)
  • European Union Law and Human Rights (6) or Children’s Rights (Save the Children Chair) (6)
  • Human Rights in International Politics (6)
  • Theory and Practice of Multi-level Governance (6)
  • Women’s Human Rights (6) Refugee Human Rights Protection (6)
  • History of International Organisations (6)
  • Economics of Human Capital (6) or Economic Globalisation and Human Rights (6)
  • Elective courses (12)

2nd year

  • Culture, Society, and Human Rights (6) or Religions and Human Rights (6)
  • Social Research Methods (6)
  • Constitutional Development and Democratisation (6)
  • The Language of Advocacy (6)
  • Second language (6) (Advanced French Language, Advanced Spanish Language, Advanced German Language, Serbian-Croatian Language, Czech and Slovak Language, Slovenian Language, Russian Language, Portuguese-Brazilian Language).
  • Internship (9)
  • Dissertation (18)

 Career opportunities

The programme is addressed to ambitious and active students, endowed with a sheer interest in human rights policies, both local and global, willing to achieve an excellent theoretical and academic knowledge, engage in a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural environment (the MA is attended by a high percentage of non-Italian students) and develop the technical skills and ethical attitudes required to professionally address the challenge of making human rights work. Change needs principled specialists and skilled activists.

The MA is aimed at training specialised operators for qualified positions in the field of multi-level governance connected to the implementation of human rights.

Visit the Human rights and Multi-level governance page on the University of Padova website for more details!




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