Vienna Master of Arts in

Applied Human Rights

Academic degree: MA (Master of Arts)
Credits: 120 ECTS
Duration: 4 Semesters (2 years full time)
Language: English
Start: 1. October 2022 (followed by October each year)
Director: Univ.-Prof. Manfred Nowak

© Life in Pixels, Fearless Girl on Wall Street in New York City by sculptor Kristen Visbal

We are already accepting applications for October 2022.

The Vienna Master of Arts in Applied Human Rights was established in spring 2020 in reaction to present-day challenges generated by digitalization, globalization and neoliberalism. Global crises like the migration crisis, socio-economic inequalities, climate change or threats to data protection can only be exposed and confronted through an interdisciplinary human rights discourse and practice. Next to legal and diplomatic practices, the power of art and culture in promoting human rights values will be examined in this programme.

“The major crises of our times can only be resolved on the basis of human rights and through joining forces across borders, generations, genders, professions, cultures, political opinions, socio-economic backgrounds and scientific disciplines. In this endeavour arts and culture play a fundamental role in the dissemination and comprehension of human rights principles.”
Manfred Nowak
Manfred Nowak is co-founder and program director of the Vienna Master. He is a world-renowned professor of international law and human rights, who taught at many prestigious universities, such as the University of Vienna, Stanford University, Utrecht University, Lund University, Graduate Institute of Geneva, University of Auckland and Washington College of Law. Manfred is a holder of many prestigious human rights awards, such as Otto Hahn Peace Medal and the UNESCO Price for the Teaching of Human Rights.
Manfred is Secretary General of the Global Campus of Human Rights, which unites 100 universities across all world regions working on and teaching human rights. He is co-founder of one of the biggest human rights research institutes in Europe, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights. Amongst many international endeavours, Manfred was appointed from 2004 to 2010 Manfred to United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and from 2016 to 2019 as Independent Expert leading the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty.

An interdisciplinary contemporary teaching concept leads to comprehensive competencies in the practical application of human rights. The international student community of the Vienna Master of Applied Human Rights come from different academic backgrounds and diverse cultures enriching the learning and growing experience.

The students will be taught by renowned experts in the fields of human rights, arts and culture who will enable them to scientifically research questions relevant to human rights, recognize violations of human rights, and design as well as implement effective measures to achieve lasting human rights change and impact. In doing so, they will apply modern systemic change and communication strategies.

Students will benefit from the diplomatic and cultural infrastructure of Vienna and will be able to critically analyse global events and developments, navigate in different human rights systems, as well as to apply human rights in the diverse and constantly changing contexts.

Graduates will be qualified to work in the fields of international, regional and national human rights practice as well as apply their knowledge of human rights in the field of arts and culture.



1.    Introduction to Human Rights from an Interdisciplinary Perspective
2.    International Protection of Human Rights
3.    Introduction to Arts and Culture
4.    Scientific Competences
5.    Practical Human Rights Skills
6.    The Intersection of Human Rights and Arts
7.    Current Human Rights Challenges and Opportunities
8.    Thesis and Defence


Semester 1: Exploring the Colours of Human Rights

Just like the effects different colours have on people’s perceptions, different academic disciplines create different lenses on human rights research and analysis. In the first semester students explore:
human rights foundations and core concepts Ι international and national human rights protection mechanisms Ι interdisciplinarity Ι concepts and theories of arts and culture Ι scientific competences Ι human rights on the ground in a study trip to a post-conflict country Ι etc.

Semester 2: Mixing Colours & Creating Shapes and Shades

Just like mixing different colours with each other, intersecting human rights and the arts create new perspectives. In the second semester students reflect on and deepen acquired interdisciplinary foundations:

human rights criticism at the intersection of arts Ι culture and human rights Ι transcending concrete global challenges and human rights problem complexes through interdisciplinary approaches Ι practical human rights skills Ι excursions to international organisations and cultural events Ι etc.

Semester 3: Applying Colour Mixes on the Human Rights Canvas

Just like applying vivid colours on a canvas to create a piece of art, applying an interdisciplinary approach and practical skills to tackling global challenges will create new opportunities in promoting and protecting human rights. In the third semester students work independently, apply acquired knowledge, confront challenges and seek opportunities:
project management Ι fact-finding skills Ι establishing a research project Ι communication skills Ι forms of arts and culture as responses to human rights challenges Ι etc.

Semester 4: Finishing and Exhibiting your Big Human Rights Picture

Just like after the end of a creative process, students will defend their interdisciplinary thesis on a human rights related topic after writing it in the fourth semester:

research for thesis Ι thesis writing Ι thesis defence Ι etc.


The Vienna Master receives a high volume of applications from all around the world and has therefore set up several application deadlines and interview rounds.

The programme highly suggests applying as early as possible since admissions will be sent out after each interview round, resulting in fewer study places available in each subsequent round.

  Submission Deadline
Round 1 12 February 2022
Round 2 13 March 2022 (Deadline for Scholarship Application)
Round 3 17 April 2022
Round 4 15 May 2022
Round 5 Open Rounds From 16 Mai 2022

For more details on the applications please see below or visit the program website.

For applicants who need a Visa to live and study in Austria, we highly advice to apply as soon as possible.


(1)    Signed Application Form

(2)    Motivation Letter describing your individual motivation and professional development ideas as well as your expectations of the Vienna Master of Arts in Applied Human Rights (maximum 1 page)

(3)    CV providing a written overview of their your previously acquired qualifications, competencies and main areas of activity (including your contact information: postal address, telephone number and email address)

(4) Administrative Documents:

1.    Copy of valid passport
2.    Copy of University Diploma OR proof of relevant work experience (5 years)
3.    Academic transcripts including final grades
4.    Proof of English language proficiency, in case the applicant did not graduate from an academic programme taught solely in the English language: 6.5 on the IELTS scale or 100 points on the TOEFL scale
5.    Optional: Letter(s) of recommendation
6.    Optional: Document reflecting on why a scholarship from the Vienna Master programme would be essential
(please see the section “Tuition Fee” if you are eligible to apply for a scholarship from the programme).

All administrative documents must be either in German or English and if applicable fully legalised or validated by apostille. The type of legalisation depends on the country the documents were issued in. A list of the required legalisation types per country can be found here:

The application needs to be sent as one pdf document including all documents in the above listed order to:


The applicant will only be invited to the interview (possible also via Skype) when the application contains all necessary documents and the selection committee has shortlisted the candidate.

The applicants will then be interviewed about:
  •   their motivation to undertake the Vienna Master,
  •   how they wish to use this opportunity for their personal growth and
  •   where they envision themselves after graduating from the Master programme.

The tuition for the Vienna Master of Arts in Applied Human Rights of € 22,500 covers 2 years (4 semesters), applies to all students independent of their citizenship and is not subject to VAT.
The Vienna Master is a postgraduate program* offering highly individualised educational services and guidance and accepts a maximum of 30 students.
The programme is well aware of the hurdles tuition fees might put in front of applicants and therefore aims to support as many students as possible with financial aid to cover fully or partially the programme fee.
Since funding from donors is limited, candidates from the Global South are given preference. If you would like to apply for a scholarship, please send us in addition to your complete application a letter stating why you would need the scholarship.
Please note: The tuition fee does not cover costs for travel to and accommodation in Vienna, subsistence expenses, costs for the residence permit and health insurance.
*postgraduate (extra-ordinary) programs are not state-funded programs and therefore all costs are to be borne through tuition fees and/or scholarship funding


Univ.-Prof. Manfred Nowak

Head of Office
Georges Younes, M.Sc

Program Website
Program E-Mail