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Master in Electoral Policy & Administration - Edition 2024-25

  • Sede
  • Termine presentazione domanda 22.03.2025
  • Quota iscrizione 10.000 Euro
  • URL registrazione APPLY NOW
  • Crediti CFU 67
  • Ore formazione 470

Location: The Master program is delivered online through an e-learning platform. Additionally, there is an optional residential phase in Pisa for up to 3 weeks, available if there is a minimum of 10 interested students.

Dates: Fall edition (starts on the 12th of October 2024); Spring edition (starts on the 12th of April 2025);

Italian University credits: The program offers a minimum of 62 and a maximum of 67 CFU; Each individual module ranges from 2 to 5 CFU.

Training hours: The Master program consists of 470 hours of training, with individual modules ranging from 20 to 50 hours.

Participant number: There is no limit to the number of participants.

Teaching language: The program is available t in English, Arabic, French, and Portuguese.

Course fee: 10.000 EUR for the entire Master Program; As for Individual Modules, the fees depend on the number of credits (700-950 euros).

Application deadline: Autumn intake - 21st of September 2024; Spring intake - 22nd of March 2025.

Course description

The Master in Electoral Policy and Administration (MEPA) is a comprehensive and advanced educational program designed to provide current and prospective election professionals with extensive knowledge and skills in electoral processes and administration. This program offers a detailed overview of all electoral phases and different electoral frameworks, preparing participants to serve as election administrators, members of Election Management Bodies, or electoral observers.

Course target

The MEPA program is designed for current or prospective election professionals interested in working in election administration, Election Management Bodies, electoral observation, and related positions in the electoral field.

Training objectives

The Master Program in Electoral Policy and Administration serves the following objectives:

  • Meets the global demand for qualified electoral administrators.
  • Contributes to reducing the gender gap in electoral administration by empowering women in senior positions.

    Teaching methods

    The Master Program utilizes an intercultural and cross-disciplinary approach. Lectures incorporate real-life scenarios, examples, drills, simulations, and role-plays to enhance learning.

    The educational syllabus for the Master Program consists of:

  • Online Component: 9 months, totaling 470 hours (excluding individual study hours).
  • Optional Internship: Minimum of 300 hours.
  • At the beginning of the program, students will receive a calendar outlining the submission of assignments, the compulsory and optional modules’ order, and a handbook detailing the curriculum and structure. Guidelines, contact information, and a Q&A section will also be provided. Any updates or changes will be communicated via email, and updated documents will be shared with MEPA students.

  • Drafting and Public Defense of the Thesis: 3 months.
  • Optional Residential Component: Up to two weeks at the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies' premises in Pisa during autumn or spring. This component requires a minimum of 10 participants and is conducted in English.

    Course programme

    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 (under construction)

    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 the 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 (article 12) and fulfilment and compliance with the Master Program Procedural Guidelines for Students;

    - 15 ECTS credits will be awarded upon positive evaluation and public defence 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 successfully completing additional optional modules.

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

    The MEPA syllabus comprises 12 compulsory modules and 12 optional modules. 2 to 4 ECTS credits will be awarded for each module upon completion of the said module (depending on the complexity of the module). MEPA participants should complete all the assigned compulsory modules and choose a series of optional courses based on their preferences. The credits corresponding to all the selected optional modules should reach a maximum of 12 ECTS credits. ECTS credits are issued upon completing an individual module after a positive evaluation of the intermediate and final learning assessment tests and upon compliance with the obligations underlined in the Master Program Procedural Guidelines for Students. 

    How to apply


    Candidates interested in being admitted to the Full Master Program should follow the steps below:

    1. Go to the website;

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

    3. Follow the instructions based on the provided tutorial video (link available on the website) and register online;

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

    5. Include the requested information and upload the mandatory documents:

  • Copy of passport or identification card
  • Copies of all mentioned degrees (e.g., BA, MA, PhD)
  • Official transcripts of the bachelor's degree
  • Copy of the last payslip (if applying for a scholarship and currently employed)
  • 1. Go to the website;

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

    3. Send the file to


    Course fee

    The tuition fees for the entire Program are 10.000,00 euros: payable in three instalments of, respectively: 3.500,00 euros, 3.500,00 euros and 3.000,00 euros. The first instalment shall be paid at enrolment. The tuition fees cover the following components: academic and tutorial costs, didactic materials, access to university services such as the e-library, and administrative expenses. The program does not cover travel expenses, visas, and accommodation in Pisa for the optional residential phase and any other related costs.

    To promote diversity within the program, the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies and its partners may offer partial fee reductions based on merit, distinctive competencies, and academic excellence to talented students who require financial aid. In each selection round, the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies and its partners may offer fee reductions of up to 30% to Master candidates from Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Female candidates will have precedence in the case of ex aequo. Admitted candidates who require financial reductions may contact the program director within one week of receiving their acceptance email. Fee reductions are subject to the availability of funds.

    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 who asks for said exemption or reduction must attach an appropriate certificate to the online application.

    The fee for each MEPA module is determined by the number of credits assigned to it, which ranges from 2 to 4 depending on the complexity of the module. The fees are 700.00 euros for 2-credit modules, 850.00 euros for 3-credit modules, and 950.00 euros for 4-credit modules. Students who enrol in multiple modules receive a 10% discount on the fees for the second and third modules and a 15% discount on the fees for the fourth, fifth, and sixth modules. The order of the modules for calculating the reduction will consider the least expensive modules first, and the most expensive modules last to benefit the student. Special fee reductions may be available if an institute or organization enrols a certain number of employees/participants simultaneously in the Master Program or individual modules.



    The Jeff and Carolyn Fischer Scholarship is also an annual scholarship award granted to one student per intake, which covers part of the tuition costs of the Master program. The award is $5,000 and is given to a student who has been admitted to the MEPA program and is professionally engaged or intends to be engaged in some aspect of electoral conflict prevention and electoral security. Applicants must submit a cover letter in English to Professor Jeff Fischer, explaining their engagement in electoral security, career path, and future professional plans. The scholarship applications are reviewed and awarded by Professor Fischer based on the applicant's background, professional intentions concerning electoral security, and future plans.

    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 and 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.

AFRICA-VOTES Initiative:

AFRICA-VOTES builds on the achievements of the INNOV-ELECTIONS initiative, which was developed in three phases over a period of two years and launched on December 15th, 2020. The initiative was financed by The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) and has already made a significant impact, extending its reach to 35 beneficiary countries and more than 1,088 representatives of Electoral Management Bodies in Africa. The project delivered capacity-building activities in English, French, Portuguese, and Arabic, with a focus on promoting leadership skills, conflict management capabilities, and women and youth participation in election management.

Building on the lessons learned from the INNOV-ELECTIONS initiative, AFRICA-VOTES, which was also financed by The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) sought to consolidate and expand the achievements of its predecessor and provide more comprehensive and tailored support to electoral stakeholders in Africa. The project aimed to equip these stakeholders with the necessary competencies to improve the operational effectiveness of policymakers and decision-makers in elections.

The success of these initiatives reflects the growing recognition of the importance of investing in sustainable capacity development activities that can help build institutional and human capacity for effective electoral administration and promote democratic governance in the long term.

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