Master of Arts in Applied Human Rights


Program Description


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.

The applied nature of contemporary art forms challenges existing inequalities and is part of the human rights culture. One aim of this Master programme is to explore this potential and practical applicability of artistic and cultural work in creating opportunities for promoting, protecting and implementing human rights.


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.

Last updated Sep 2020

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About the School

In the heart of Vienna, the capital of the Danube monarchy, the predecessor institution of the current University of Applied Arts, the Imperial Royal Arts and Crafts School, was founded in 1867. It wa ... Read More

In the heart of Vienna, the capital of the Danube monarchy, the predecessor institution of the current University of Applied Arts, the Imperial Royal Arts and Crafts School, was founded in 1867. It was closely affiliated with the Imperial Royal Austrian Museum of Art and Industry (today the MAK), the first Arts and Crafts museum on the European continent. It was established in 1863 following the example of the South Kensington Museum in London, now the Victoria & Albert Museum, and was to serve as a collection of models for artists, industrialists, and the general public. At the time, early-industrialised England played a pioneer role in supporting a reformed Arts and Crafts movement in order to prevent its decline in the "Machine Age". In the spirit of Historicism, the aim was to make it possible, also in Vienna, to study the great styles of the past by example of Arts and Crafts objects in the museum and to set up a place of advanced education for designers and craftsmen with the Arts and Crafts School in Vienna. It should train artists and teachers in equal measure to serve the demands of the "art industry". Read less