Disclosure: Human Rights Careers may be compensated by course providers.
Key information
University University of Applied Arts
Country Austria
Learning mode On-Campus
Pace Full-time
Duration 24 months
Tuition fee € 24,500 covers 2 years (4 semesters)
Application deadline(s) May 5, 2024
Official Website Click here


The Vienna Master of Arts in Applied Human Rights was established in 2020 in reaction to present-day challenges generated by digitalisation, globalisation 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 discourse and an applied approach to human rights. Next to historical, political, philosophical and legal dimensions, the perspectives of arts and culture in understanding and working in human rights will enrichen this program.

“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, Head of Program

The complexity and intricacy of human rights issues require an interdisciplinary approach. Besides offering innovative ways of uncovering, experiencing, and conveying matters concerning human rights, this unique university program is enhanced by approaches that stem from film, music, architecture, visual and performing arts. The curriculum includes practical skills for working in the sphere of human rights, such as, project management and communication techniques.

A contemporary teaching concept, under the direction of UN expert and international human rights lawyer Manfred Nowak, leads to comprehensive competencies in the practical application of human rights. 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, recognise 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 whilst setting up their own projects. Not only does Vienna host many international organisations, such as the United Nations 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 unique and unforgettable years mastering the art of human rights.

The University of Applied Arts takes on the challenge of positively influencing our societies and therefore presents the perfect soil for the Vienna Master in Applied Human Rights to grow and tap into its full potential. The University of Applied Arts Vienna continuously shapes and directs the present toward the future. Teachers and researchers, students, alumni, employees and partners unite as a collective taking a stand for an open society, applying artistic and scientific competences to widening horizons and furthering that goal.

We are not looking for simple answers, but for new questions and creative strategies in transforming challenges into opportunities. If you are an agent of change, apply to the Vienna Master of Arts in Applied Human Rights.

Course Syllabus

The Master programme comprises eight compulsory modules, one of which includes producing and defending the Master thesis:

I. Interdisciplinary Understanding of Human Rights
II. Introduction to Arts and Culture
III. International Protection of Human Rights
IV. Scientific Competence and Artistic Research
V. Skills for Human Rights Practioners
VI. Intersection of Human Rights and Arts
VII. Current Human Rights Challenges and Opportunities
VIII. Thesis / Final Project and Defense

For more information on the individual courses, visit our website: APPLIED HUMAN RIGHTS – Aspire Inspire Transpire (uni-ak.ac.at)

Admission Requirements

The number of places in the programme 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, consisting of the Programme Director, Programme Manager and Academic Manager, only if the applicant has passed both phases positively:


(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. The application needs to be sent as one pdf document including all documents in the above listed order to: applied.humanrights@uni-ak.ac.at


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.
Apply now