First Level's Master Program


Master in Electoral Policy & Administration

Tuition fees: 
10.000 euros
Training hours: 



Application deadline: Autumn intake - 21st of September 2021; Spring intake - 22nd of March 2022. 

Fall edition starts on the 11th of October 2021; Spring edition starts on the 12th of April 2022

Italian University credits: 62 min ; 67 max

Teaching language: english, french, arabic & portuguese

Individual modules: depending on the number of credits: 700-950 euros

Course description

The Master in Electoral Policy and Administration is designed to provide a comprehensive advanced education on electoral processes to current or perspective election professionals through a comprehensive overview of all the phases. It also aims to offer the knowledge and skills necessary to serve as election administrators, members of Election Management Bodies, or electoral observers.

Course target

The Master in Electoral Policy and Administration (MEPA) aims to provide advanced learning on electoral processes for current election professionals but also aspiring election practitioners, interested in working as election administrators, members of Election Management Bodies, electoral observers, and so forth.

Training objectives

The Master Program

1) responds to a global, structural demand for qualified electoral administrators.

2) contributes to reduce the gender gap in electoral administration, by strengthening women’s role in this sector, especially in senior positions.

Teaching methods

The structure of the Master Program is as follows:

1. An online component – 9 months for a total of 470 hours (excluding individual study)

2. An optional internship – min. 300 hours

3. The preparation and public defense of the thesis – 3 months

4. An optional residential component – max. 2 weeks to be held in autumn or in spring at the premises of the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies. The residential component is only organized if a minimum of 10 participants decide to attend it. It will be delivered in English.

At the beginning of the Program, students will receive a calendar for the delivery of the different modules. Any change will be regularly notified by email.

Special training sessions for synchronous lectures, exams or events, webinars, group works, or career coaching will be scheduled on specific dates and times and will thus be duly communicated at least two weeks in advance.

Course program

The didactic phase will consist of twenty-four modules including twelve compulsory modules and twelve optional modules as listed below:

1 – Elections and Voting as Instruments of Governance (2 ECTS credits) – Compulsory Module

2 – Electoral Legal and Regulatory Frameworks (3 ECTS credits) – Compulsory Module

3 – Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) (3 ECTS credits) – Compulsory Module

4 – Electoral Systems and Managing Representation (3 ECTS credits) – Compulsory Module

5 – Understanding and Managing Boundary Delimitation (3 ECTS credits) – Optional Module

6 – Political Parties, Campaigns, and Political Finance (3 ECTS credits) – Compulsory Module

7 – Electoral Planning and Budgeting (3 ECTS credits) – Compulsory Module

8 – Electoral Logistics (4 ECTS credits) – Optional Module

9 – Voter Registration and Identification Systems (3 ECTS credits) – Compulsory Module

10 – Electoral Operations (3 ECTS credits) – Compulsory Module

11 – Gender and Elections (2 ECTS credits) – Optional Module

12 – Marginalized Electorates and Special Voting Programs (2 ECTS credits) – Compulsory Module

13 – Managing Elections in Public Emergency Situations (3 ECTS credits) – Optional Module

14 – Election Integrity in the Digital Age (3 ECTS credits) – Optional Module

15 – Civic and Voter Education (2 ECTS credits) – Optional Module

16 – Media and Elections (2 ECTS credits) – Optional Module

17 – Electoral Integrity and Malpractice (4 ECTS credits) – Compulsory Module

18 – Managing Electoral Security, Electoral Violence, and Preventing Election-related conflicts (2 ECTS credits) – Optional Module

19 – Elections in Fragile / Post Conflict contexts (3 ECTS credits) – Optional Module

20 – Electoral Justice Systems (3 ECTS credits) – Compulsory Module

21 – Electoral Observation, Evaluation, and Validation (3 ECTS credits) – Optional Module

22 – Policy Advice and Electoral Reform (3 ECTS credits) – Compulsory Module

23 – Direct Democracy (2 ECTS credits) – Optional Module

24 – Leadership in Electoral Administration (2 ECTS credits) – Optional Module

A maximum of 67 academic credits calculated according to the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS credits) will be awarded upon successful completion of the Master Program, subordinate to evaluation of results and fulfilment and compliance of the Rules and Regulations of the Master in Electoral Policy and Administration.). More specifically:

- 47 ETCS credits will be awarded upon successful completion of the online compulsory and optional modules and fulfilment and compliance of the Master Program Procedural Guidelines for Students;

- 15 ECTS credits will be awarded upon positive evaluation and public defense of the Master Thesis (min 15.000 max 20.000 words). Candidates who choose to undertake an internship and successfully complete it, will present a shorter Master Thesis (min 7.000 max 10.000 words);

- 5 extra ECTS credits may be obtained by attending the optional residential phase or by successfully completing the optional additional online modules which are selected.

A minimum of 62 ECTS credits is necessary to earn the First Level Master’s Diploma.

How to apply

Candidates interested in being admitted to the entire Master Program, should:

1. Go to the website;

2. Download the file called “MEPA Master Application” and fill it electronically;

3. Follow the instructions contained in the document “tutorial for application” (available on the website) and register online;

4. Upload the Master application form during the online application procedure;

5. Under penalty of exclusion, candidates must insert in the application all the required information and must upload also:

- a copy of their passport or Identification card;

- a copy of ALL the degrees mentioned in their application (e.g. BA, MA, PhD etc.);

- official transcripts of the bachelor’s degree (it must be an official document from the university that specifies the marks of all the exams and the final grade obtained. Screenshots of webpages will not be accepted)

- a copy of the last pay slip (if the candidate applying for a scholarship, is working).

Incomplete applications will not be taken into consideration.

Candidates interested in attending only some individual modules, should:

1. Go to the website;

2. Download the file called “Individual Modules Application” and fill it electronically;

3. Send the file to

Incomplete applications will not be taken into consideration.

Course fee

Master: 10,000 euros; individual modules: depending on the number of credits 700-950

Fee Reductions:

To foster diversity within the program, the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies and its partners may award partial fee reductions to talented students in need of financial aid, based on merit, distinctive competences and academic excellence. In particular, every selection round the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies and its partners may offer up to three fee reductions of 30% to Master candidates coming from Least Developed Countries (LDCs) that reach at least 85 points out of 100 and that are in need of financial aid. Fee reductions are subjected to availability of funds. Female candidates will have precedence in the case of ex aequo. 

Special  fee  reductions  are  considered  in  case  an  institute  or  organization  enrolls  a  certain  number  of employees/participants at the same time in the Master Program or in the individual modules.

Pursuant  to  art.  9,  paragraph  2  of  Legislative  Decree  No.  68/2012  the  Institution  grants  total  exemption regarding payment of the enrolment fee in the case of students with disabilities, acknowledged to be equal to or greater than sixty-six percent, in accordance with art. 3, paragraph 1 of Law No. 104/1992, and applies a 1.5% reduction for every percentage point of disability in the case of students who have been acknowledged a disability of less than sixty-six percent. A student that asks for said exemption or reduction is required to attach an appropriate certificate to the online application.

Fischer Family Scholarship - For the Prevention of Electoral Conflict (2022 Intake)

The Fischer Family Scholarship is an award of €5,000 granted to one student that has been admitted in the selection procedure pertaining to the Master in Electoral Policy and Administration (MEPA) program at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna. This scholarship covers half of the tuition costs of the Master program.

The candidate should be professionally engaged / or intends to be engaged, in some aspect of electoral conflict prevention and electoral security. These candidates could thus be staff working in electoral security departments at Electoral Management Bodies, individuals working for organizations or consultants with a conflict prevention and mediation focus.

In applying for the scholarship, the student will be asked to provide a cover letter addressed to Jeff Fischer (In English). In the latter, they should explain how they are engaged in electoral security and where they see their career path taking them in this field. The scholarship applications will be reviewed and awarded by Jeff Fischer. The award will be made based upon the relevance of the applicant’s background and professional intentions concerning electoral security combined with their future professional plans. The successful awardee will be the one who presents the most compelling professional case.

Attendance certificate

At the end of the Master Program, the Institution issues a first-level University Master’s Diploma, pursuant to art. 3 of Ministerial Decree No. 270/2004, as subsequently amended, to students who: attended the entire training syllabus regularly; passed the final exams for all the compulsory modules and the selected optional modules, in accordance with the requirements envisaged in the Disciplinary Regulations; successfully discussed the Master thesis; and are up to date with the payment of the enrolment fees.

Students admitted to individual modules, who have regularly settled the tuition costs and have passed all the required examinations, will receive a Certificate of Completion and the respective ECTS credits.

MEPA Featured in the Press:

An interesting article published by Ghana News Agency showing the impact of Innov-Election (an innovative project financed by the italian MOFA and conducted by the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in partnership with ECES) is hereafter included. Innov-Elections aims to enhance conflict and quality management capacities of electoral stakeholders, as well as boost youth and women’s participation in the management of elections - with a focus on 12 African countries and 5 African regional and sub-regional organizations. Said initiative illustrates an effective COVID19 response by relying on a range of e-learning tools, including advanced online modules from the Master in Electoral Policy & Administration, by offering a set of topical individual modules and a series of Master Slots in the cited online program.

“The programmme is very well-structured to introduce a new person to election management and at the same time will challenge a seasoned election professional", says Mr. Saneem when asked about the master program he undertook. In fact, the Supervisor of Elections in Fiji, Mr. Mohammed Saneem, has started the Master’s Program in September 2020 and has successfully defended his thesis in October 2021. The latter entitled "The establishment of a permanent election management body in Fiji and its impact on the transparency and credibility of elections" focused on the administration of elections in 2006 vs its administration in 2018, and more notably on the differences perceived between both of the cited years in transparency and accountability. The newspaper articles discussing the cited thesis and Mr. Saneem's education journey and career path can be found via the following links:


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