Elections have become a major factor in the stabilization and democratization of emerging democracies and post-conflict countries. However, the risk of a relapse into war and violence is considerable. Elections in these countries are a tightrope walk between war and peace, stability and instability.

Built on the expertise of UNITAR, the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), the Master in Electoral Policy and Administration (MEPA) provides advanced learning on electoral processes for current and aspiring election professionals. The Master targets mid/upper level professionals who want to acquire the specific knowledge and skills to work as election administrators and/or to work as a part of Election Management Bodies (EMBs).

The Master focuses on the development of “electoral professionals”, that is, professionals who share a common set of norms, behavioral standards, and qualifications to assume specific roles and responsibilities in the area of electoral policy and administration. Responding to a global, structural demand for qualified electoral professionals, the Master offers a systematic and comprehensive approach to the professional development of those enrolled and places particular emphasis on the importance of advancing equal career opportunity for men and women.

MEPA is composed of an online component (eight months) and an optional residential component at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa, Italy (up to three weeks). Internships are encouraged but they are not compulsory in order to earn the degree.

A student-centered, multidisciplinary approach, in which the workplace is used as the main learning environment

UNITAR has developed an extensive expertise in the delivery of online programmes. Using Internet as a medium, students, practitioners and scholars are brought together in a unique virtual learning environment designed to valorize experiential and collaborative learning.

Distinctive features of the Master include:

  • Full online delivery, allowing for a flexible schedule designed to fit the specific needs of full-time working professionals;
  • Student-centered approach, in which the learner and the learning experience at the core of the programme;
  • Leading-edge insights into prevailing theories and practices;
  • Lifelong learning approach, in which the workplace is used as the main learning environment;
  • Multi-cultural pedagogy, particularly attentive at the diversity of paradigms, perceptions and intellectual traditions;
  • Multi-disciplinary approach.

Students benefit from an experienced faculty of scholars and practitioners, peer-to-peer collaboration, and a curriculum that reflects current theory and practice.

 MEPA001 Elections and Voting as Instruments of Governance
MEPA002 Electoral Legal and Regulatory Frameworks
MEPA003 Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs)
MEPA004 Electoral Systems and Managing Representation
MEPA005 Understanding and Managing Boundary Delimitation
MEPA006 Political Parties, Campaigns, and Political Finance
MEPA007 Electoral Planning and Budgeting
MEPA008 Voter Registration and Identification Systems
MEPA009 Electoral Operations
MEPA010 Marginalized Electorates and Special Voting Programs
MEPA011 Elections and Technology
MEPA012 Civic and Voter Education
MEPA013 Media and Elections
MEPA014 Electoral Integrity and Malpractice
MEPA015 Electoral Security and Conflict Prevention
MEPA016 Electoral Justice Systems
MEPA017 Electoral Observation, Evaluation, and Validation
MEPA018 Policy Advice and Electoral Reform
MEPA019 Final Project

The Master in Electoral Policy and Administration is awarded upon completion of 60 ETCS. Students may alternatively opt to register for individual modules which will grant between 2 and 4 ETCS.

The average duration of the Master in Electoral Policy and Administration is 12 months. The average duration of the individual modules is between 20 to 40 hours (depending on the specific module choosen).

Applicants must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Three-year (at least) university degree in a relevant field, combined with some (ideally at least six months) working experience in the field of electoral policy and administration or related areas. Students expecting to graduate within a period of three months from the application are also eligible.
  • Fluency in English – at least at level C1 (please refer to: CEFR for Languages, CoE, ).

The Project Managers are available to students during the application process. Students are encouraged to email the Project Managers at or with any questions during the application process.

Applicants will be selected on the basis of the information provided in their CVs and in the online application form which is available at

Admitted participants will be informed about the results within 8 weeks from their application. In case of problems with the on-line procedure please contact

Once admitted, applicants will receive an Admission Letter and they will have up to six months to secure enough funding and start attending the courses.

10’000 Euro

The primary responsibility of the Project Managers is to ensure that admitted students can enroll and continuing students can complete their courses of study. UNITAR and the partner institutions support a comprehensive programme of student financial assistance based on need and merit. UNITAR and the partner institutions are committed to transparency, fairness, and efficiency in communicating costs associated with the programme. We welcome students’ inquiries about:

  • Tuition and fees
  • Financing options
  • Financial aid eligibility

Students can contact us at +41 22 917 87 24 or

To foster diversity within the programme, UNITAR and the partner institutions offer competitive merit-based scholarships to talented students in need of financial aid. Scholarships are based on a percentage of tuition. Scholarships are provided by long-time donors of the Institute. In order to be eligible for the scholarship, students must submit a letter in which they explain the reasons why they should be awarded the scholarship, as well as a copy of the last payslip to

In addition to the scholarships offered by UNITAR, a directory of scholarships available to students can be found here.

United Nations Institute for Training and Research
Peacekeeping Training Programme
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna
Via Cardinale Maffi, 27
56126 Pisa, Italy

To apply, click here and follow the instructions:

Should you need any guidance or additional information, please contact us at:

United Nations Institute for Training and Research
Peacekeeping Training Programme
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna
Via Cardinale Maffi, 27
56126 Pisa, Italy