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Master in Electoral Policy & Administration - Edition 2022-23

Master MEPA
  • Sede
  • Termine presentazione domanda 22.03.2023

Location* The Master program is provided online on an e-learning platform, with the possibility of an optional residential phase in Pisa (up to 3 weeks) if there is a minimum of 10 interested students.

Dates* Fall edition (starts on the 11th of October); Spring edition (starts on the 12th of April);

Italian University credits Min. 62- Max. 67; Individual modules: 2 to 5 CFU

Training hours 470 hours; Individual modules: 20 to 50 hours

Participant number Unlimited

Teaching language 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 2021; Spring intake - 22nd of March 2022.



Course description

The Master in Electoral Policy and Administration is designed to provide a comprehensive and advanced educational program on electoral processes and electoral administration to current or prospective election professionals through an exhaustive overview of all the electoral phases and different electoral frameworks. Furthermore, this program aims to offer indispensable knowledge and skills to serve as election administrators, members of Election Management Bodies, or electoral observers.

Course target

The Master in Electoral Policy and Administration (MEPA) targets current or prospective election professionals interested in working as election administrators, members of Election Management Bodies, electoral observers, and other positions within the electoral field.

Training objectives

The Master Program

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

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

Teaching methods

The lectures of the Master Program adopt an intercultural perspective and a cross-disciplinary approach. Teaching methodologies rely on analysing real situations and concrete examples and include several drills, simulations and role-plays.

The educational syllabus for the Master Program includes:

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

2. An optional internship – min. 300 hours

3. The drafting and public defence of the thesis – 3 months

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

At the beginning of the Program, students will receive a calendar organising the submission of assignments and the order of compulsory and optional modules. The said calendar will be included in a handbook portraying the curriculum of the Master program and its structure. User guidelines will also be provided informing students of all the requirements, listing the staff's contact information, and emphasizing a relevant Q&A section. Any change in the above-mentioned details will be regularly notified by email, and updated versions of the cited documents will be sent to MEPA students. Special training sessions for synchronous lectures, exams or events, webinars, group works, or career coaching will be scheduled on a specific date/time and will thus be duly communicated at least two weeks in advance.

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:

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 Master application form during the online application procedure;

5. Under penalty of exclusion, candidates must include in the application all the requested information and upload the following mandatory documents:

- 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 grades of all the exams and the final grade obtained. Screenshots of webpages will not be accepted)

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

Incomplete applications will not be taken into consideration.

Application procedure for the Individual modules

Candidates interested in attending individual modules should:

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 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 competencies, and academic excellence. 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). Admitted candidates can email the program director if they deem that they are in serious need of a financial reduction within one week of receiving the acceptance email. Fee reductions are subjected to the availability of funds. Female candidates will have precedence in the case of ex aequo.

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 based on the corresponding credits assigned to said module (depending on the complexity of the module). 700,00 euros for two credits modules, 850,00 euros for three credits modules and 950,00 euros for four credits modules. Upon enrolling in multiple modules, a 10% discount is offered on the fees of the second and third modules, and a 15% discount is applied on the fees of the fourth, fifth and sixth modules. The order of the modules whilst calculating the reduction will consider the least expensive modules first and the most expensive modules last to benefit the student. Special fee reductions are considered if an institute or organisation enrols a certain number of employees/participants simultaneously in the Master Program or in the individual modules.


The Fischer Family Scholarship is an annual scholarship award granted to one student each intake. The latter is an award of $5,000 granted to one student that has been admitted in the selection procedure corresponding to the Master in Electoral Policy and Administration (MEPA) program at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna. This scholarship covers part 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 organisations 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 provided based on 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 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, that 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: