What is ERMA

The European Regional Master`s Programme in Democracy and Human Rights in South East Europe (ERMA) is a full time, interdisciplinary programme focused on the development of democracy and human rights in South East Europe. It is a joint initiative by University of Sarajevo and University of Bologna, jointly co-financed by the EIUC (European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratization) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy via the Embassy of the Republic of Italy to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The programme lasts for one year, awarding the students with 60 ECTS and a double-degree diploma of both founding universities (UNSA and UNIBO).

The Master Programme is an academic educational activity intended for students that wish to combine academic studies with practical and field experience in human rights and democratisation issues. It has adopted an interdisciplinary approach recognizing that human rights are a crosscutting theme among different disciplines of study, such as political science, law, sociology, philosophy and social sciences.
Our students have the benefit of studying in an international environment together with colleagues from all over the region, European Union and the globe, with lectures and workshops held by over 40 professors from 10 partner Universities. Every year students also visit a number of governmental, nongovernmental and international organisations working in the field of human rights and democracy.

The Master Programme promotes development and realization of young generations of officials for state management, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations, for universities and think-tanks in Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, FYR of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia, as well as in the countries belonging to the EU, the rest of Europe, and worldwide.


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Structure and Contents

The structure of the lectures, its research dimension and the access to internships are shaped in order to emphasize a shared consciousness among the students about the democratic development and the human rights promotion as well as their protection and implementation in the SEE Region.

The programme consists of two semesters with three terms. The first term is taking place at the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Sarajevo. It is structured in six educational modules and three elective courses, together awarding 60 ECTS. Within all five clusters students have lectures on methodology of academic research and writing skills, information retrieval, comparative analysis and data gathering techniques. From November to June, students are taught together in Sarajevo by lecturers and tutors from the participating universities members of the "International Network Europe and the Balkans". The language of instruction is English and attendance is compulsory. Alongside with the lectures and seminars, students have also visits to state institutions, International and Intergovernmental Organizations and NGO’s active in the field of human rights and democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


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Teaching program:

  • Cluster 1: Philosophy of Human Rights
  • Cluster 2: Democracy
  • Cluster 3: Ethnicity, Nationalism and Religion
  • Cluster 4: Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  • Cluster 5: Mechanisms for Human Rights Protection and Implementation
  • Cluster 6: Methodology of Academic Research and Writing


Elective courses:

  • Life Stories and Dialogues
  • Genocide and Genocidal Atrocities in Theory and International Law
  • Introduction to Refugee Law and Protection Rights

In the second term, - mid June to end of July, students take up seven-week assessed internships at selected IGOs, NGOs, think-tanks and research institutes working in the field of human rights and democracy across SEE. The internship period is worth 12 ECTS and takes place in a country other than the country of citizenship of the student, with the goal of promoting diversity and providing for the experience of working in an intercultural environment. ERMA Term II is conceived to be strictly correlated with the MA thesis topic and both the choice of the country and the organization should be taken in accordance with the topic of each student’s research interested and needs.

During the third term of the Programme, in autumn, students are accommodated at the University of Bologna Residential Centre Of Bertinoro, where they focus on the finalization of their Master’s Theses. During this term students also benefit from comprehensive tutorship assistance and attend short seminar courses within the yearly international summer school organized by the Institute for Central-Eastern and Balkan Europe (IECOB).This term awards 18 ECTS.


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Research dimension

During the first term in Sarajevo, students benefit from methodology courses on academic research and writing, information retrieval, comparative analysis and data gathering techniques. Also, they undertake consultations with their potential supervisors and academic tutors about the dissertation topic. By the end of May students are required to submit a thesis proposal to the Executive Board of the programme and to select a suitable internship partner organization for their placement and field research period.

The Executive Board, on the basis of student applications and Faculty availability approves the dissertation topic, the internship choice and the supervisor for each student. Eligible supervisors are professors’ members of the programme from partner universities. ERMA’s students are required to finalize a master’s thesis on the current issues related to human rights and democracy development in the SEE region at the end of the third period.

In order to gain deeper understanding of the regional dimensions of issues connected to human rights and democratization, students are strongly encouraged to write the MA thesis on countries other than those of their citizenship and to do comparative studies on the countries from the SEE region.


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