The programme aims to provide students with those multidisciplinary tools and competences indispensable for a broad-based understanding of economic, legal, political and social transformations in the European and international contexts.

Particular emphasis is given to teaching the tools and skills necessary for the analysis of:

  • the interaction of individual and collective actors both within European and international institutions;
  • the functioning of European and international economic, legal, political and social systems;
  • European and international systems of governance.

The MEIS programme attaches great importance to foreign languages which are an essential prerequisite for the development of effective communication skills. Taught courses, language workshops and tutoring activities contribute to developing advanced English language communication skills and develop a working knowledge of at least one additional foreign language (in addition to a basic knowledge of Italian).

Alongside the taught courses the School runs a rich series of guest lectures, seminars and talks held by professors of international standing and by professional practitioners working in distinguished international organizations. MEIS students are encouraged to participate in these and the many events organised at the School, including conferences, debates, careers talks and fairs and workshops held by practitioners.

The tables below present the structure of the course as defined by regulation. For contents in detail please see:

First year

Compulsory courses
Course Credits (ECTS)

Contemporary History

General knowledge of the dynamics of the history of international relations of the twentieth century; ability to analyse and discuss historical documents (speeches, treatises, scientific essays); ability to argue clearly the historiographical questions posed by international history of the twentieth century, in particular those of the global cold war. In further detail:

  • students must develop an understanding of the main events and turning points in the history of the global cold war;
  • Students must develop the ability to interpret primary sources and documents in their historical context;
  • Students must acquire and develop the ability to navigate the main historiographical debates related to the history of the Cold War and its global implications:
  • Students must be able to reflect on important historiographical questions and argue in an articulate and persuasive style.

English Language

The course intends to develop each student's general and specialised linguistic skills and competence to at least level C1 + (CEFR) in all four areas: reading comprehension, listening, written and oral (monologue and interaction) in addition to the development of an autonomous approach to language study (Ref. C1 + - Common European Framework of Reference

Students will therefore advance their knowledge of English so that they can easily work in the language in any context, whether academic or professional (NGOs, international institutions, etc.).

At the end of the course the student will have acquired:

  • advanced knowledge (C1 +) of the linguistic aspects of English (grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, English in Use etc.)
  • explicit knowledge of how English is used in practice (grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary, including collocation and colligation, etc.) i.e. metalinguistic knowledge and awareness
  • knowledge of the specialist vocabulary and linguistic conventions of the three main disciplinary areas - Law, Economics, Political Science
  • awareness of English as 'discourse practice', especially in terms of style, register, genre and lexicon, as well as the customs and uses of academic, professional and social language, with particular regard to the need to adapt a message to the reader/interlocutor
  • awareness of the 'reader expectation' approach to writing, in particular the concepts of: action, agency, separations, theme and stress position.

At the end of the course the student should be able to:

  • understand texts in a wide range of genres (written and spoken), and understand how they are structured
  • identify the communication conventions of multiple academic disciplines as well as professional ones
  • use the skills, tools and resources best suited to enhancing his/her own approach to continuous learning (metacognitive knowledge).

Applied knowledge, skills and competences

Besides the general competences included in the CEFR for C1 +, at the end of the course the student should be able to:

  • communicate specialist knowledge, including that of a technical nature, effectively and appropriately (i.e. according to the audience/interlocutor) in spoken and written English
  • understand and critically evaluate texts of all types (oral and written, academic and professional)
  • apply the concepts of the 'reader expectation' approach to writing, with particular attention to clarity, coherence, thematic/logical progression to firstly recognise and later produce academic and non-academic documents in clear, effective English
  • use the appropriate language skills and competences (both receptive and productive) to perform other communicative tasks (summarise, interpret, criticise, counter argue, negotiate, draw up, plan, make proposals etc.)
  • engage in teams, networks and professional communities thanks to an effective use of interpersonal communication skills
  • use the communication conventions of the various academic and professional disciplines
  • adopt suitable tools, skills and strategies to improve language learning, especially for self-study and discussion of this (metalinguistic skills).

Language Workshop

1 language Workshop to be chosen from:

  • French Language Workshop  
  • Spanish Language Workshop  
  • German Language Workshop  
  • Russian Language Workshop
  • Arabic Language Workshop  
  • Chinese Language Workshop  
  • Portuguese Language Workshop
One of the options listed below
Course Credits (ECTS)

International and European Union Law (Basic)

The course aims to provide students with a theoretical and practical understanding of the legal framework and operation of international law institutions and the European Union. Students will be taught how to evaluate the significance of legal arguments in relation to a series of cases taken from international and European jurisprudence.


International and European Union Law (Advanced)

The course aims to provide students with an advanced understanding of international law and the European Union law.

One of the options listed below
Course Credits (ECTS)

Political Philosophy

The course aims to address the major issues of international politics (peace and war, national interest and the role of international institutions, Europeanism and cosmopolitanism, human rights and justice) through the analysis of some classic texts of international political philosophy and their historical contextualisation.


Political Theory

Through lectures, seminars and presentations, the course offers an overview of the main contemporary political theories, considering the international experiences and the historical cases that contributed to their development. Reading and discussion of theoretical essays will be complemented by regular study of documents and analysis of political speeches, with particular attention to their dissemination in the media.

One of the options listed below
Course Credits (ECTS)

International Economics (Basic)


International Economics (Advanced)

One of the options listed below
Course Credits (ECTS)

Quantitative Methods in Social Sciences (Basic)


Quantitative Methods in Social Sciences (Advanced)

One of the options listed below
Course Credits (ECTS)

European and International Politics (Basic)


European and International Politics (Advanced)



Second year

One of the options listed below
Course Credits (ECTS)

The Economics of European Integration

The course aims to ensure that students learn the economic and institutional aspects relating to the process of European economic integration. By introducing a theoretical foundation as reference for the analysis of European policies, students will be able to:

  • improve their understanding of the underlying reasons for European economic integration
  • appreciate the driving factors and consequences of coordination in monetary and budgetary areas.
  • understand the key economic aspects of common policies (agricultural, competition, regional cohesion) in order to develop the tools necessary for undertaking independent research, consultancy work and more advanced studies
  • apply the most important economic theories to interpret and discuss political and economic developments in the Union, including those relating to changes in economic governance following the recent economic crisis and Brexit.

Global Economic Policy

The course aims to analyse a number of economic policies in an open economy framework. At the end of the course students should be able to understand the causes, effects and implications of some of the events which characterise topical international economic issues.

One of the options listed below
Course Credits (ECTS)

The Legal Framework of EU Policies

The course aims to provide students with the theoretical knowledge and analytical skills required to work with the applicable law in the various policies of the European Union. This objective will be achieved through work on different types of legal materials, such as manuals, articles, legislative texts (primary and secondary EU law), jurisprudence, official documents, soft law and other materials.

After completing the planned work, students will have the skills to search for the applicable law on issues linked to EU policies, analyse its content, highlight its main features and critical points, and suggest solutions to important legal issues. This requires the skill to research applicable legal sources, then analyse and apply them, using analytical judicial methodologies and critical reasoning, and present results both orally and in written form.


Human Rights and Natural Resources under International Law

The learning objectives of the course are twofold. Firstly, the course aims to provide students with a general understanding of the workings of the legal framework and main institutions concerned with the international protection of human rights. Secondly and in parallel, it intends to illustrate the relationship between human rights and natural resources, with special reference to the scale of conflicts over resources. Students will learn to assess the importance of legal arguments in defining the relationship between human activities and the environment including in terms of the systems for allocating natural resources to individuals and groups.

More specifically, the learning objectives of the course can be summarised as follows:

  • understand the rationale and added value of legal reasoning in the field of human rights protection
  • understand how the international monitoring system operates
  • understand the function of human rights for non-state actors such as indigenous peoples, minorities and multinational companies
  • evaluate the existence of a link between access to natural resources and armed conflicts
  • point out the contradictions and complementary nature of the international judicial bodies that, respectively, regulate the protection of human rights and the allocation of natural resources.

At the end of the course the students will know how to:

  • read and understand judicial decisions and opinions concerning the protection of human rights and topics covered during the lessons in general
  • critically evaluate the interplay between the international regulations that protect the environment, the rules governing conflicts and the rules that govern access to natural resources
  • adopt a position on specific cases concerning the protection of human rights and access to resources, assessing them in accordance with the international rules applicable.

Labour Rights in the Global Economy

One of the options listed below
Course Credits (ECTS)

Strategic Studies

The goal of this module is to equip students with the theoretical and methodological tools necessary for understanding the military behaviour of States. At the end of the course students must understand and know how to use the main analytical models and approaches devised to explain and describe international political-military processes. The students must also understand the most important events related to international military security. Finally, they must be capable of applying the theoretical tools to empirical cases, and be able to draw general conclusions from studying individual case studies.


Party Politics and Democracy in Europe

The general objective of the course is to provide students with the means to gain a deep understanding of the role of political parties in contemporary European politics and their contribution to the quality of democratic processes. Pursuit of this goal is also a stimulus to critical reflection on a number of fundamental issues that are at the centre of academic and political debate, such as political representation, institutional reforms, populism and multilevel governance within the EU.

At the end of the course, students must have acquired the following skills:

  • know the terminology and basic concepts - such as political party, party system, family of parties, cleavage, representation, electoral alignment, electoral volatility, convergence/polarisation, etc. - as well as the techniques available for measuring some of these concepts
  • be very familiar with the causal relationships (even complex ones) between party systems and institutions, starting from electoral systems
  • understand the substantial changes in relationships between parties, civil society and state that have led scholars to speak of different types of parties
  • solid knowledge of the process of party adaptation with respect to European integration and emergence of the multilevel governance system, including the role of parties within EU institutions.
  • ability to argue positions competently on some 'hot topics' in the academic and political debate, such as the 'crisis of parties' and the responsibility vs. responsiveness dilemma
  • understand the causal links between the crisis of (traditional) parties and the emergence of populist movements/parties, and the potential impact of populist policy on democracy in Europe
  • critical thinking and independent research (even if based on secondary sources alone) in which the cases studied are placed into dialectical relationships with explanatory and/or normative theories.      

Free choice courses

Students in their second year have to choose 18 credits in any of the disciplinary areas, without restrictions, from the units listed in the catalogue of courses or run by the University each year.
Free choice units must be consistent with the student's overall educational plan. For this purpose, the annual catalogue of courses highlights options that are automatically approved and the courses listed in the table below are normally considered consistent. If a student intends to choose a different option, approval is needed from the relevant institution.
For elective courses the "Outline of the curriculum" is available at Courses, timetable, examination page.

Free choice courses: total of 18 credits
Course Crediti (CFU)

Peace and Conflict Studies: Theory and Methods


Science, Technology and Global Affairs

Given its very special nature, students are expected to follow at least 75% of the classes.


People, Politics and the Planet


Democratizing Security


Europe and the World. A Critical History


Minorities, Regionalism and Borders in Europe


Minoritiy Rights


The Use of Force in International Politics


International Cooperation, Development and Security


Global Migration and Security


Natural Resources and Energy Security


Global Markets and Security Issues


China and the World from the Cold War Years to the Global Era (1949-2020)


History and International Relations of the Middle East


Statistics Laboratory



Final Exam and Italian language skills
Activity Credits (ECTS)

Italian A2 (for international students)

In addition to the above, all international students have to achieve a minimum level of fluency in Italian (A2) in order to graduate.


Final Exam

To be awarded the degree, the student must have gained the 120 credits required by these Regulations.

The final exam consists of the public discussion of a paper, normally written in English, prepared by the candidate with supervision from a lecturer, the thesis supervisor.  The paper can address issues of a theoretical and practical nature and it must demonstrate the candidate's ability to deal with a topic relevant to the chosen course of study, in an autonomous and substantial way.

The final exam is assessed by a Master's Degree Committee composed of five members. In addition to the quality of the paper, the final assessment takes into account the student's whole track record. The procedures for awarding the final mark are set out in the degree regulations.

Aggiornato il
26 September 2023