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Bachelor’s Degree Course in Political Science, International Relations, Human Rights

Content and structure of the course

The teaching offered by the degree course is organised into five areas of knowledge: political, juridical, socio-economic, historic-philosophical and linguistic.

Concerning the political area, the course will provide cognitive data related to: the evolving complexity of political systems and international relations; the analysis of public policies through the lens of the human rights paradigm, with a particular focus on policies addressing migration issues and vulnerable groups; the gender approach and the different models of governance; and the institutional architecture and policies of the European Union, in particular regarding the representation of interests of state and non-state actors, political party integration, political participation and EU citizenship.  

Teaching related to the juridical area encompasses the study of Italian and comparative public law, with a particular focus on the legal recognition of fundamental rights and other constitutional principles; an introduction to private law and public administration; international organisation and international law, with particular attention to international human rights law and the pertinent institutional machinery (bodies and procedures) of promotion and protection on both the universal (United Nations) and the regional level (Council of Europe, European Union, Organization of American States, African Union, Arab League, etc).

In relation to the socio-economic area, students will be instructed on: elementary tools of micro- and macroeconomics analysis with a particular focus on issues related to income distribution, poverty and the nexus between economic growth and human development; socio-demographic aspects of international migrations; and the relation between human rights and social-religious conflicts in present-day society.

Teaching related to the historic-philosophical area encompasses the study of contemporary history; the history of international relations; and the historical development of political thought and philosophy of law, focusing in particular on the cultural and philosophical debate concerning human rights concepts and ideas. 

The students' preparation will be integrated by the teaching of at least two foreign languages at an intermediate level. 

The educational activities are organised in semesters.
While not compulsory, attendance is strongly recommended.  

Course objectives

The Degree Course in Political Science, International Relations and Human Rights is based on the rich heritage of educational, scientific and training experiences which the University of Padua has gained so far. In this field the University counts on the active role of the Interdepartmental Centre on Human Rights and the Rights of Peoples created in 1982. The “human rights system” of the University of Padua  also includes the Masters Degree Course in Institutions and Policies for Human Rights and Peace and the European Master on Human Rights and Democratisation, a European Union major project launched in 1997 by the Interdepartmental Centre on Human Rights and Rights of Peoples that sees the participation of 42 European Universities.

The degree course aims at providing the fundamental and distinctive cognitions of a degree course in Political Science and International Relations: from public law to political economy; from history of political doctrine to contemporary history; from history of international relations to international public law; and from political science to international relations. Particular attention is paid to the analysis of the political systems of the European Union as well as to the opportunities and limits of interests representation and political participation.

The course is structured in three main thematic domains: a) legal norms, bodies and procedures related to human rights promotion and protection; b) cultural, economic and social roots of human rights violations; c) philosophical and legal definition of human rights.

Concerning the first thematic domain, some of the most relevant sub-fields include: the international legal recognition of human rights; concepts and typologies of human rights; the analysis of the most relevant international legal instruments; the universal (United Nations) and regional (European, Inter-American, African and Arab) systems of human rights protection; the European Social Charter and the Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union; and the protection of human rights of particularly vulnerable groups (women, children, migrants workers and persons with disabilities). Specific domains of study are: the analysis of public policies in the field of human rights; the role played by human rights defenders and other trans-national actors; and new democratisation features of the decision-making processes of international institutions.

Concerning the second thematic domain, major topics of interest are: income distribution in the market economy; the role of education and the production of knowledge in economic growth;  the connection between economic growth and human development; social phenomena of segregation and discrimination; and the socio-economic characteristics of migration phenomena.

Concerning the third thematic domain, some of the most relevant issues are: the analysis of the legal recognition and the evolution of human rights; the nexus between constitutionalism and fundamental rights; and the connection between natural law and human rights; the relation between law and justice in the history of political philosophy.

Learning objectives

The degree course aims to provide a multidimensional and interdisciplinary education, in which the basic cognitions of subjects such as law, economics, sociology, history, philosophy and international relations coherently converge on the conceptualisation of human rights.

The main goal of the course is to provide students with cognitive abilities and applicative knowledge, preparing them to express critical viewpoints of the promotion of human rights, as well as to work with a range of different actors and institutions involved in the protection of human rights at the local, national and international level.  

Graduate students will be able to analyse the complex system of multi-level governance, from the local to the European up to the international level, taking into particular account the needs of the most vulnerable groups and adopting a gender perspective. Having completed the three years programme students will have developed analytical skills, negotiation abilities and project management capacities qualifying them for working positions in several diverse professional domains, both at the national and international level.

Students will be able to formulate scientifically and ethically grounded judgements on socially, politically and legally related questions. They will be able to identify decision making-strategies and courses of action, having in mind the conceptual paradigm of internationally recognised human rights, human development and human security.  

Graduate students of the degree course develop skills for undertaking post-graduate studies and for  operating professionally in several domains, such as: domestic and international politics, international organisations, transnational relations involving non-governmental organizations and local authorities.

Employment opportunities and career prospects

The three year degree course in “Political Science, International Relations and Human Rights” is the ideal access qualification for the Masters Degree Course in Institutions and Policies for Human Rights and Peace and for every Masters Degree Course belonging to the area of “International Relations”. Graduate students are suited to work professionally in several fields such as: offices for civil defence, children's protection, equal opportunities, women's rights protection and anti-discrimination; international relations, international cooperation and civil dialogue departments of local authorities, trade unions and non-international organisations; public administration offices for international relations, human rights, development cooperation and peace, at the national, regional and local level. Furthermore, the course prepares students to cooperate in the management of information and training programmes on human rights, human development, human security and projects and services for the protection of human rights directed at consumers, immigrants, children, etc.

Internships and other equivalent activities 

Stage Manager: Prof. Paolo De Stefani (paolo.destefani@unipd.it)

During the third year of the degree course, students are required to gain 3 CFU for training activities. They can choose either to attend an internship program or to engage in one of the following equivalent activities. More information about training options can be found by visiting the e-learning section on internship and other equivalent activities.

a) Project Work in the field of human rights promotion and protection
The PW is a research-based activity leading to a final paper drafted by students, individually or in groups, whose aim is to develop a topic previously selected by a partner (civil society organisations, local authorities, NGOs). Guided by a supervising professor, students are introduced to the contents and methods of the subjects and are stimulated to develop their reporting and planning skills. The PW shall be applied to concrete situations of practical relevance, selected according to the specific needs of our partners. Its aim is to collect and analyse data useful for planning an intervention, drafting a report or implementing a policy. The PW affords students the opportunity for in-depth investigations of worthy topics during which they can develop and apply skills and typical school-knowledge. Consisting of an autonomous student’s work, the PW does not entail students’ attendance at the partner office, even though some informal meetings are welcomed.

Students who are interested in project work activities need to enrol in the Project Work Course (password is needed) where it is possible to look through all project work proposals. For more information and password write to: claudia.pividori@unipd.it.


b) Training on "Writing a project in the context of EIDHR – European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights”

Students are trained to write and submit a project proposal on human rights protection and democracy, in accordance with EIDHR rules and funding procedures. Activities include workshops on European projects and EIDHR programming as well as some practical sessions devoted to methodologies of project application. Participants are expected to submit a full application form, including the financial part.

For more information visit the e-learning section on internship and other equivalent activities

c) English for human rights

This activity aims at developing students' English comprehension and active speaking skills in connection with human rights related contexts, such as armed conflicts, racial or gender based discrimination and migrations, etc. Participants will be shown movies and documentaries in the English language and thereafter linguistic and substantive issues will be discussed. As a final assignment, students will submit a paper in English, advocating a particular case or policy tackled during the meetings.

For more information visit the e-learning section on internship and other equivalent activities
Professor in charge of the activity: Maria Teresa Musacchio - mt.musacchio@unipd.it.

d) Internships

Support and guidance are provided to students searching for potential internship opportunities with private and public institutions, non-governmental organisations, voluntary associations, etc.
The Faculty of Political Science Internship Office (via del Santo 28, first floor) is in charge of all the relevant procedures. For information and questions please contact Ms. Daniela Meneghello.
Tel. 049827.4018 and .30.73. E-mail: daniela.meneghello@unipd.it.
Office hours:

Political Science Internship Office
Tuesday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 4.30 p.m
Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

University Internship Office (Job Placement)
Palazzo Storione, Riviera Tito Livio 6, Padova
Monday-Friday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursday and Tuesday, from 3 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.

Internship offers are posted in the Job Placement Internship Window. Forms and procedures are available and downloadable at http://www.unipd.it/stage.

Eligibility requirements and admission test

Candidates to the degree course must hold a high-school leaving qualification (or a foreign degree recognized by current Italian law). They must possess adequate abilities and competences in order to deal with a university degree course and, more specifically, a good command of Italian, a good general knowledge and logical thinking skills. These competences will be tested in an admission examination which takes place in September every year. Failure will not bar candidates from enrolling; however, if they are to successfully move up to the second year, they are required to pass at least four examinations during their first year, namely: Public Law (9 CFU – crediti formativi universitari), Fundamentals of Political Economy (9 CFU), Fundamentals of Sociology and Sociology of Human Rights (12 CFU) and Contemporary History (9 CFU). If this condition is not met, students shall repeat the first year (with the possibility of attending and enrolling in 2nd year courses)

Part-time students

Under certain conditions and for the entire length of the course, the degree course accepts part-time students. The eligibility requirements for the part-time program are, at least one of the following: a) having an employment contract, either permanent or fixed term, of at least 18 hours/week b) being a self-employed worker c) being involved in parental (children under 3) or health care activities of family members d) being affected by a disease which prevents full-time engagement. Students have the possibility to opt for the part-time program when enrolling to the first year, being aware that the choice made will bind them for at least two academic years. After this period, they can choose to confirm their part-time status or became full-time students. Normally, the part-time program lasts twice the length of the full-time one and the annual workload required is half of that required from full-time students (30 CFU per year against 60 CFU). The annual student's contributions (tuitions and fees) are proportionally cut. During their first year, part-time students who have failed the admission test are required to choose and pass  two out of the four examinations listed above, i.e. Public Law (9 CFU), Fundamentals of Political Economy (9 CFU), Fundamentals of Sociology and Sociology of Human Rights (12 CFU) and Contemporary History (9 CFU).

Further information:
Faculty of Political Science
Office of the "Tutor Junior": tutor.scipol AT unipd.it / presidsp AT unipd.it
Tel. + 39049.827.4202 - 4005

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