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 visiting 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.

For course content please see:


Mandatory courses

Course Credits (ECTS)

Contemporary History

General knowledge of the dynamics of international relations in the 20th century; ability to analyse and discuss original historical documents (speeches, treaties, scientific essays); ability to argue on the crucial historiographical questions concerning 20th-century international history, and specific issues on the Cold War. More specifically:
1) Students will acquire a basic knowledge of the main events and turning points in the history of the Global Cold War;
2) Students will acquire the necessary skills to interpret documents and primary sources in their historical context;
3) Students will acquire and develop the skills to orient themselves in the main scholarly debates on the turning points in the Cold War and its global implications
4) Students will be able to elaborate on important historical questions and articulate persuasive and well-structured historical arguments.


Principles of International Economics

The aim of the course is to provide students with an understanding of the basic mechanisms underlying the functioning of the world economy.
By the end of the semester students should be (i) familiar with the main concepts and theories of international trade and open economy macroeconomics; (ii) able to answer questions such as “why do countries trade?”, “what is the relationship between the price levels in different countries and their exchange rates?”, “what are the costs and benefits of fixed versus flexible exchange rates?”.


Elements of International and European Union Law

The course aims at providing the students with a theoretical and practical understanding of the functioning of both the legal framework and the institutions of International and EU law. Students will be trained to assess the relevance of legal arguments with reference to a number of case studies drawn from the case law of International and European judicial institutions.
More specifically, the general learning objectives of the course are as follows:

- Understand the logic and the value added of legal reasoning in international relations and within the European Union.
- Understand the functioning of the sources of the law and their normativity.
- Understand and critically assess the consequences of the breach of the law in specific situations.
- Understand and critically assess the role of diversified actors and institutions in the creation and application of International and EU Law.

On completing the International Law Module of the course, students will be able to:

- describe the processes of law creation and application at the international level;
- qualify international disputes in legal terms, taking position and developing sound legal arguments;
- read and understand a judicial decision dealing with international law;
- critically assess the role of international law.

On completing the EU Module of the course, the learning outcomes are such that students will:

- be able to describe the process of European integration by means of legal concepts;
- be familiar with the key developments of the process of legal integration in the EU;
- learn core principles, the main sources, the role of the main institutions and organs of the European Union;
- understand the interaction between international law and domestic law with EU law;
- be accustomed to searching and using relevant rules and judgments from the main EU databases.


Quantitative Methods in Social Sciences (Basic) or Quantitative Methods in Social Sciences (Advanced)

Advanced: The course provides a “hands-on” empirical approach to international economics and international studies. Students will be shown how to select, retrieve and manipulate data in order to extract information and test hypotheses derived from theories.
By the end of the semester students will have acquired the ability to extract information from raw data using the appropriate statistical tools. They will be able to critically interpret results of simple data manipulation exercises and understand how to test theoretical predictions. // Basic: The course aims to provide students with the theoretical and practical tools to develop data analysis. The methodology includes both the ability to interpret social facts and hypothesize causality relationships, and the theoretical knowledge of the statistical methods suitable for these purposes.


European and International Politics

The overriding goal of this course is to develop the capacity to understand, empirically and theoretically, the main social and political phenomena of the current system of international and European relations. This course provides insight into the complexity of actors, dynamics, institutions, policy-making of world, and especially, European affairs, as well as contexts in which students can engage in debate, discussion, and reflection on the main issues of international and European politics.

By the end of the course students should have acquired:
- an in-depth understanding of the main concepts and issues in international and European politics;
- the necessary tools to analyse contemporary international and European relations;
- an ability to understand, interpret, and draw pertinent conclusions regarding social and political phenomena at the international and European level;
- a capacity to conduct independent analyses of issues in international and European relations, and to present the results of the analyses.


English Language

The course aims to develop learners' general and specialized/discipline language and communication skills and competences to a level of proficiency at least equivalent to C1+ in all four skills: reading comprehension, listening comprehension, writing and speaking (both monologue and interaction)*.
Another overarching aim of the course is to help students become more independent language learners.
The principle objective, then, is that students have a working-knowledge of English and are able to function fully in any future English Language context whether academic (e.g. PhD) or professional (e.g. in an NGO or intergovernmental organisation).

LEARNING OUTCOMES – the skills and competences a learner should have acquired on completion of the course.

Knowledge and Understanding
By the end of the course students should have acquired:
- Advanced (C1+) knowledge of all aspects of language (grammar, lexis, pronunciation English in Use);
- explicit knowledge of how English works (grammar, pronunciation, lexis, lexico-grammar including collocation and colligation etc) i.e. metalinguistic awareness and knowledge;
- knowledge of the lexis and language conventions of the three main discipline areas, Law, Economics, Political Science;
- awareness of English as a discourse practice, including issues of style, register, genre, specialised lexis (of the three main discipline areas), knowledge of academic, professional and social practices but also awareness of adapting message to audience/interlocutor;
- awareness of the reader expectation approach to writing, in particular through the concepts of action, agency, separations, theme and stress position;

By the end of the course students should be able to:
- understand texts of a wide range of genres (spoken and written), also of a technical nature, and identify the way these texts are structured;
- identify the communication conventions in the different academic disciplines and professions;
- understand how languages are learned and confidently use tools and resources to enhance their own approach to language learning (metacognitive knowledge);

Applied Knowledge, Skills and Competences
In addition to the general competences found in the CEF for C1+, by the end of the course students should be able to:
- communicate effectively and appropriately (i.e. awareness of audience/interlocutor) specific knowledge and expertise, also of a technical nature, in both written and spoken language;
- process and critically evaluate texts of all kinds (spoken or written, academic or professional);
- apply the notions of the reader expectation approach to writing with a particular focus on clarity, coherence and thematic/logical progression to first recognise and ultimately produce clear effective prose in English (academic and non-academic);
– use the appropriate language skills and competences (receptive and productive) to perform other communicative tasks (summarise, interpret, critique, counter argue, negotiate, draft, plan, propose etc.);
- interact in teams, networks and professional communities making effective use of interpersonal communication skills;
- use communication conventions in the different academic disciplines and professions;
- adopt effective language learning tools, skills and strategies to enhance learning, in particular for self-directed learning;
- discuss language and learning in appropriate terms (metalinguistic skills).

* C1+ - Common European Framework of Reference


Language Workshop


Political Philosophy

The course aims at providing students with a general knowledge of the key issues, researches, and theories in political philosophy, through the study of contemporary debates and their connections with International Relations theories. The first part of the course will be devoted to the reading and the analysis of classical and modern political texts (Thucydides, Machiavelli, Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau, Kant) along with contemporary sources (Morgenthau, Arendt, Wolin, Rawls, Beitz, Buzan, Waever, Tetlock, Urbinati). During the second part, students will lead seminars, discussions and make oral presentations on specific case studies. Thus, by the end of the course, students should deliver an oral presentation on a political theory topic related to her/his own specific field of study and write two papers (at least 3000 words). They would demonstrate to be able to: 1) identify and analyze the differences between classical, modern and contemporary political theories; 2) examine, describe and compare how different approaches work to solve a particular issue. Students are expected to actively discuss other students' presentations.


Law (a 6 ECTS course IUS/13)


Economics (a 6 ECTS course SECSP/02)


Political Science (a 6 ECTS course SPS/O4)


Elective courses


Final exam



In addition to the above, starting from 2010/2011, all international students have to achieve a minimum level of fluency in Italian (A2) in order to graduate.

Elective Courses

Students can choose as elective course any course in the Programme or at Master’s level offered by any Department of the University of Trento, provided the course is highly relevant to the individual programme of study. In this case a paper version of the study plan has to be sent  to the Secretary’s Office for the MEIS (rosalia.amico [at] for approval by the Coordinator. The reasons for choosing a non-MEIS course must be clearly spelt out in the paper version of the study plan.

For the elective courses the "Outline of the curriculuim" is available at "Courses, timetable, assessment" .

Aggiornato il
18 March 2019