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Master Programme

The Master Programme is composed of an online component lasting nine months, at the end of which students are required to write a 15,000-words dissertation on a relevant topic of interest, or a 7,000-words dissertation if they choose to undertake an optional internship. In addition, students may attend the optional residential phase at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa, Italy. The optional residential component will take place twice a year, in autumn and in spring, to give students the possibility to discuss their thesis in front of an academic panel and to participate to events organised ad hoc, such as workshops and seminars. The optional residential component will be offered with a minimum of ten participants. However, all 19 modules composing the Master Programme are available online and the final thesis can be discussed via online applications programmes, such as Skype.

Students can start attending the Programme at two different times per year: 1 October or 1 April.

The average duration of the Programme is one year. Students may opt to complete the degree within a longer timeframe. However, the maximum duration of the Programme should not exceed two years. 

The Programme is based on the 2014 International IDEA designed “Model Curriculum – Master of Electoral Policy and Administration”, which is piloted for the first time. The MEPA Curriculum framework relies on the concept of the electoral cycle, pioneered by International IDEA.

The Model Curriculum is composed of the following topics divided in 19 modules:




Elections and Voting as Instruments of Governance


Electoral Legal and Regulatory Frameworks


Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs)


Electoral Systems and Managing Representation


Understanding and Managing Boundary Delimitation


Political Parties, Campaigns, and Political Finance


Electoral Planning and Budgeting


Voter Registration and Identification Systems


Electoral Operations


Marginalized Electorates and Special Voting Programs


Elections and Technology


Civic and Voter Education


Media and Elections


Electoral Integrity and Malpractice


Electoral Security and Conflict Prevention


Electoral Justice Systems


Electoral Observation, Evaluation, and Validation


Policy Advice and Electoral Reform

19 Direct Democracy (optional)

In the IDEA MEPA Model Curriculum you may find a description of each module.

The courses do not have to be attended in a pre-defined order, however we strongly suggest that the ideal path would be the one proposed at the beginning of the programme in the Student Handbook.

Teaching/Training Methodology & Faculty

MEPA adopts an approach that highlights experiential and collaborative learning, allowing participants to share knowledge and experiences and contribute dynamically to the learning process. This approach focuses on the learning needs, interest and expectations of the participants to ensure the relevance and retention of content and puts particular emphasis on the active participation of learners through practice-oriented learning activities (both during the online and residential components).

While delivering the modules, lecturers and assistants will devote particular attention to enduring:

  • Interactivity;
  • Participation;
  • Links with practical examples;
  • Links with real experiences.

With specific reference to the online component, modules are designed to foster synergies between theory and practice. Taking advantage of the opportunities of technology-enhanced learning, the learning materials are presented through various means, such as text, graphs, images and video material, which contribute to better retention and to enhance the learning process.

In order to create collective knowledge and to facilitate interaction and experience sharing among participants, working groups and discussion forums are organized.

At the end of each module there will be a final exam with different modalities (ex. multiple choice exams, essays, open questions, interviews, etc.).

Throughout the programme students will be assisted by a tutor on a regular basis.

Minimum SW and HW requirements

The Scuola and UNITAR recommend the following as a minimum in hardware and software to be able to access the “desktop/laptop” version of the MEPA e-learning platform:

  • Platform: Windows 95, 98, 2000, NT, ME, XP or superior; MacOS 9 or MacOS X; Linux
  • Hardware: 64 MB of RAM, 1 GB of free disk space
  • Software:
    - Adobe Acrobat Reader (click here to download for free)
    - Adobe Flash Player (click here to download for free)
    - Microsoft Office (Windows or Apple version) or Open Office (click here to download for free)
  • Browser:

- Google Chrome 30.0

- Safari 6

- Internet Explorer 9 (IE 10 required for drag and drop of files from outside the browser into Moodle) - click here to download IE 10 for free)

- It works better with Firefox 25.0 (click here to download for free)

  • Note that JavaScript, Cookies and Popups must be enabled
  • Modem: 56 K

For the mobile version students are requested to install the Moodle Mobile app and the platform can be accessed both with Android and iOS.