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The scientific design of the doctoral programme is characterised by its multi- and inter-disciplinarity.

Law, politics, economics and sociology are the main disciplines involved. Both theoretical perspectives and practical analyses will be given relevance in the overall approach.

Research will delve into the areas of human rights concern, and will critically assess the effectiveness and consistency of doctrines and practices as well as their impact.

A multi-level governance approach

The programme is organised around the fundamental dimensions of contemporary multi-level governance, in the light of the subsidiarity principle.

Accordingly, the focus is on the global dimension (i.e. the UN and UN family legal frameworks, institutions, policies and practices); the European regional context and its global impact, as well as other regional systems; the national governance structuresc (possibly with a comparative approach); the local community actors and dynamics (i.e. cities, regions, transboundary territories).

Both institutional and private actors are addressed, where the latter may be transnational civil society entities (i.e. social movements, religious and cultural groups, etc.), NGOs, corporate companies, etc.

The human rights legal framework

Study and research topics reflect the subjects addressed in the international and regional human rights legal instruments as well as in the practice that comes along with their implementation. Accordingly, teaching and research activities will be undertaken on, inter alia: cultural/religious pluralism and universality of human rights; evolution of regional systems of protection of human rights; justiciability of social rights as human rights; economic and institutional models for the fulfillment of social and economic rights; the linkages between economic globalisation, multinational activities, and human rights violations and promotion; the impact of relocation of sovereignty on human rights affirmation and implementation.

Joint academic events and training framework

The Academic Board will organise a joint specialised doctoral seminar per year, hosted in rotation by the Partner Universities.

The coordinating University will enter into agreement with institutions providing internship and research opportunities to enrolled doctoral students, also with the view of promoting job creation.

Enrolled students shall follow the activities planned by the Academic Board in a joint training and research framework programme. They will be assigned a supervisor and one or more co-supervisors, who will periodically monitor the research activities and the training of the doctoral student developed both at the Home and the Host University or Universities.

As part of their individual study plan, PhD students will have to spend periods of study at one or more Host Universities for a minimum of 6 months.

At the end of each academic year, students submit to the Academic Board a report on their research activities. The duration of a doctoral student’s research programme is three years. At the end of the programme the PhD students will submit a thesis written in English. The final exam for the awarding of the degree will take place at the home University or at a different location as indicated by the Home University. The examiners of the doctoral thesis will be designated by the Home University according to its own rules.

Knowledge and skills

Students will be trained in case-analysis, project setting and problem-solving. They will acquire research skills and analytical competences to address the socio-political challenges posed by the processes of implementation and contextualisation of human rights standards and policies.

The doctoral students will acquire the competence necessary to analyse and evaluate the quality and effectiveness of policies carried out by intergovernmental, state and sub-state entities, including the EU institutions and organs, as well as activities of non-state actors, including corporate organisations, civil society organisations, communities and human rights activists’ networks.

Job orientation

Doctoral graduates will possess the competence and the skills required for a research and teaching career in Academia, and for research positions in public and private organisation.

The doctoral degree allows graduates to compete for high-level positions in public and private institutions, including intergovernmental organisations, and to perform operative functions as legal officers, project managers, research and development staff as well as specialised field officers.

They will have the skills to advise and assist public and private bodies in implementing complex human rights programmes in areas such as education, communication, cultural mediation, social planning, etc. in the framework of human development, human security and social cohesion strategies.

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