all about the master

RaduCadar - UraniaVienna -

all about the master

PROGRAM & Application

Academic degree: MA (Master of Arts)
Credits: 120 ECTS
Duration: 4 Semesters (2 years full time)
Language: English
Start: Every 1. October

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.

“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, Program Director

The Vienna Master of Arts in Applied Human Rights offers students an in-depth interdisciplinary education in the history, philosophy, politics, as well as legal dimension of the international human rights standards and their protection mechanisms by international organizations, such as the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Union, the African Union or the Organization of American States. In addition to the theoretical foundations, the Vienna Master teaches practical skills necessary for the work of a human rights practitioner, ranging from communication skills to project management.

In times of crises and global challenges, arts and culture, above all applied arts, have a special potential to be agents of political and social change. The aim of the Vienna Master of Arts in Applied Human Rights is to explore this potential and practical applicability of artistic and cultural work in creating opportunities for promoting, protecting and implementing human rights. This worldwide unique endeavor will tap into the untouched potential that lies at the intersection of arts and human rights to thus empower our change-makers with innovative perspectives and critical thinking. We are not looking for simple answers, but for new questions and creative strategies to tackle the global challenges of our times.


Our change-makers will be taught under a world-wide unique curriculum stimulating the 3 dimensions of a learning and growing experience for professional, ethical, critical, flexible, creative, innovative, sustainability-oriented and solution-aspired human rights practioners:
1. Knowledge; 2. Skills; 3. Attitude

These 3 dimensions are mainstreamed in all our modules:

  1. Interdisciplinary Understanding of Human Rights (16 Credits)
  2. Introduction to Arts and Culture (6 Credits)
  3. International Protection of Human Rights (11 Credits)
  4. Scientific Competence and Artistic Research (4 Credits)
  5. Skills for Human Rights Practioners (19 Credits)
  6. Intersection of Human Rights and Arts (14 Credits)
  7. Current Human Rights Challenges and Opportunities (21 Credits)
  8. Thesis / Final Project and Defense (29 Credits)


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 | international and national human rights protection mechanisms | interdisciplinarity | concepts and theories of arts and culture | scientific competences | human rights on the ground in a study trip to a post-conflict country | etc.

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 | culture and human rights | transcending concrete global challenges and human rights problem complexes through interdisciplinary approaches | practical human rights skills | excursions to international organisations and cultural events | etc.

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 | fact-finding skills | establishing a research project | communication skills | forms of arts and culture as responses to human rights challenges | etc.

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 | thesis writing | thesis defence | etc.

The full curriculum can be downloaded here

Students will encounter in Vienna:

  • The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)
  • The Museum of Applied Arts (MAK)
  • The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
  • This Human World (Human Rights Film Festival)
  • United Nations Organisation for Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
  • ImPulsTanz (Biggest International Dance Festival)
  • Etc.

Field Trip to a Post-Conflict Country
The field trip to a post-conflict area, such as Kosovo, offers students the opportunity to discuss human rights issues in post-conflict settings with international, national and local human rights institutions and civil society and gives them very practice-oriented insights into the daily human rights work and the challenges related to it.

Art & Culture Trip
The students of the Vienna Master will visit an international arts and culture festival or event experiencing the intersection of human rights and arts and the power this interplay emits.

The Vienna Master in Applied Human Rights is an interdisciplinary program welcoming applicants from all over the world regardless of their academic background; age; socio-economic, ethnic, cultural or religious background; sexual orientation and physical abilities.

The Vienna Master of Arts in Applied Human Rights is of the deep belief that a real growing, exploring and learning experience can only be achieved through the dynamic exchange of diverse academic, professional and personal experiences.

There are only two prerequesites for being considered a candidate for the the Vienna Master:

  1. Completed first university or college degree equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree (180 ECTS)
  2. Positive result of the admission procedure

The number of places in the program each year is limited to 30 students.

Admission is based on availability, timely application (meeting the deadline), motivation and qualifications of the applicant and is also subject to the general admission requirements of the University of Applied Arts.

The application procedure entails two phases and will lead to admission by the selection committee only if the applicant has passed both phases positively. The selection committee consists of the Program Director, Senior Academic Advisor, Artistic Program Manager and Head of Office.


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/degree certificate
      3. *Academic transcripts including final grades
      4. Proof of English language proficiency (For applicants who did not graduate from an academic program taught solely in the English language: 6.5 on the IELTS scale or 100 points on the TOEFL scale)

5 – Optional Documents:

      1. Letter(s) of recommendation
      2. Scholarship letter stating why a scholarship from the Vienna Master program would be essential for you (Scholarship Application Deadline: 7 January 2024)

*Academic degrees and final transcripts are considered foreign official documents and must be either in German or English, and if applicable, fully legalized or validated by apostille if issued outside of Austria. This is necessary for official university enrollment and applies to all students, regardless of whether a visa and/or residency permit is required for your stay in Austria.

The type of legalization depends on the country the documents were issued in. A list of the required legalization 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 (via ZOOM) if 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 program.

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 program 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.


  • First Deadline: 7 January 2024
    (This is also the deadline for visa-seekers* and scholarship applicants.)
  • Second Deadline: 3 March 2024
  • Third Deadline: 13 May 2024
  • Open Round: Applications will be considered on a rolling basis


*A visa-seeker is defined as someone who requires a Visa D for entry into Austria.

The tuition for the Vienna Master of Arts in Applied Human Rights of € 24,500 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 each year.

The tuition fees of this tailor-made program cover:

  • full costs of the field trip to a post-conflict country (incl. flights, accommodation and travel insurance)
  • full costs of the study trip to an international arts & culture festival (incl. flights, accommodation and travel insurance)
  • instructions by internationally renowned human rights experts
  • excursions/tickets in Vienna to international organizations, institutions, museums, exhibitions, festivals, etc.
  • practical skills trainingteam building exercises, reflection sessions, project mentoring, etc.
  • individualized interview and job coaching

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 programs are not state-funded programs and therefore all costs are to be borne through tuition fees and/or scholarship funding.

If you face financial hurdles, kindly apply for a tuition fee waiver (more info can be found in Scholarships section below).

The Vienna Master of Arts in Applied Human Rights 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 program fee.

The scholarship is a tuition fee waiver and does not cover accommodation or living costs in Vienna.

The number of scholarships and the amounts are subject to yearly contributions by our funders, who form the economic advisory board of our program. Only excellent candidates with outstanding academic or professional performances will be nominated for the selection by our economic advisory board, which ultimately appoints the scholarship holder(s).

Since funding from donors is limited, candidates from the Global South are given preference. Persons with recognized refugee status or subsidiary protection in Austria are highly encouraged to apply. 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. Kindly check the application deadlines under Application Process.


We strongly encourage applicants to additionally apply at other relevant institutions or foundations for a scholarship to cover the tuition fee and/or living costs in Vienna.

Reasons Why

Vienna is not only well known to be the city with the highest quality of life, but it is also situated in the heart of Europe and lies historically at the crossroads of different cultures. People from all over the world come to Vienna to enjoy its charm, sound of music, studying opportunities or progressive dance and theatre scene. It is also a place to convene in peace and human rights congresses like the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights in 1993, which laid the ground for the current human rights architecture of the United Nations. The director of the Vienna Master, Manfred Nowak, played a key role in this milestone achievement.

Many international organizations and agencies, including the United Nations (UN), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union (FRA), have chosen Vienna for their headquarters.

Not only does Vienna host many international organisations and agencies but is also home to world-renowned art institutions and cultural festivals.

Combining tradition and modernity, arts and science, work and leisure, Vienna provides the ideal international environment to spend two unforgettable years studying the art of human rights.

Comprehensive information about Vienna is available here.

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.

The University of Applied Arts Vienna takes on the challenge of positively influencing art, research and society. It continuously shapes and directs the present toward the future. Teachers and researchers, students, alumni, employees and partners unite as a collective that takes a stand for an open society, applying artistic and scientific competences as the key to furthering that goal. The complex challenges ahead will require cooperative and multi-faceted approaches.

  • We invent new forms of work, education and art.
  • We create spaces for intellectual and creative endeavors, encouraging an open discourse that is both critical and empathic.
  • We research and evaluate the challenges facing society.
  • We explore radical solutions and develop new ideas to co-design and cope with transformations in technology, media and society.

We are not looking for simple answers, but for new questions and creative strategies arising within the context of our day-to-day activity.


(c) BirgitPeterKainz – University of Applied Arts Vienna

Future career paths

Our graduates will be qualified to work in the fields of international, regional and national human rights practice and enrichen this realm, which is in dire need of innovation, with the inspiring and powerful methods that the arts and culture make use of.

Our graduates will be able to work in the field of arts and culture strengthening artistic/cultural movements and endeavours with solid human rights knowledge and thus apply human rights to arts and culture.

Our students and alumni create a vibrant and innovative network, which has never existed in such a form: connecting human rights practionners with politically engaged artistst to work together in finding the opportunities that lie in today’s challenges. The Masters in Applied Human Rights goes beyond education, training and formation and creates a wide-spread network powered by untapped synergies.

Our alumnies work as consultants for human rights projects, experts in diverse national ministries, as producers in cinematography and music, as leaders in their own NGOs as well as in:

International Organisations

  • The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
  • The International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA)
  • The International Center for Migration and Policy Development (ICMPD)
  • The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
  • The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
  • The International Red Cross (ICRC)
  • etc.

Regional Human Rights Institutions

  • African Union (AU)
  • The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)
  • The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
  • The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODHIR)
  • The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)
  • The European Committee of Social Rights at the Council of Europe (CoE)
  • The European Parliament (EP)
  • The Working Party on Human Rights (COHOM) of the European Union
  • The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR)
  • etc.

International NGOs

  • Amnesty International
  • Human Rights Watch
  • SOS Children’s Villages
  • Transparency International
  • FIAN
  • Terre des Hommes
  • Doctors Without Borders
  • etc.
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