What is the focus of the Executive Master?

The Executive Master is one of the few part-time, innovative and intellectually challenging programmes in international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights (HR) available in Europe and the world today.

The programme is designed for professionals employed – or aspiring to work – in the humanitarian and HR fields. It provides strong theoretical and practical knowledge of international law in armed conflict and responds to the growing need for specialists to address current challenges and complex situations.

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What is the particular value of this Executive Master?

The programme is designed for professionals with full-time/demanding jobs – diplomats, lawyers, legal advisers, judges, NGO staff, human rights advocates, media specialists, professionals working in emergency situations, UN staff and staff from other international organizations – who want to acquire a solid knowledge of international law in armed conflict.

The Geneva Academy is a prominent research and education institution in the fields of IHL and HR. It therefore provides postgraduate education taught by many of the leading academics in the field.

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What can this programme add to my career?

A solid theoretical and practical knowledge of the law that applies to armed conflicts and other situations of violence is an essential tool for those working – or aspiring to work – in this field. Addressing complex issues like humanitarian interventions, multilateral negotiations, counter-terrorism operations, the refugee crisis or HR investigations requires a solid understanding of the content and structure of the law, as well as its limits.

Mastering the appropriate legal framework that applies to these contexts is recognized as a key asset by international organizations, NGOs and governments. Enabling this, the Executive Master allows professionals to advance their career in these fields via a renowned diploma.

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Can I attend the Executive Master and work full time?

The programme is tailored for professionals with full-time demanding jobs who often have to go on missions or attend conferences.

Courses take place every week from October to June on Thursday evenings and Friday afternoons and evenings (except during official holidays). This amounts to 7.5 hours of classes per week with additional time for reading and homework. A minimum attendance at 80 percent of the courses is required to pass the exams.

For participants who cannot attend courses for professional reasons (e.g. missions, conferences), courses are recorded and can be followed from abroad or afterwards.

Once the classes are completed in June, six to nine additional months are needed to complete a master’s thesis and defend it before a jury. Students are not required to be in Geneva to write the thesis.

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Is it possible to attend some courses of the programme and receive a certificate for this?

Professionals who are not enrolled in the Executive Master can take short courses to deepen their expertise in a specific issue and receive a certificate for this.

This enables participants to draw on the comprehensive expertise of the Law Faculty, meet key experts and practitioners and interact with other professionals attending the Executive Master.

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Do you offer scholarships for the Executive Master?

No scholarships are available at the moment for the Executive Master. However, the Executive Master and its modules are eligible for an annual training allowance of up to 2,250 Swiss Francs by the Geneva Department for Education, Culture and Sport. Candidates meeting the criteria can contact our Student Office for further information.

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Does the Executive Master offer distance-learning courses?

Normally participants in the Executive Master meet every week in the Villa Moynier, which provides for good interaction with the professors and the creation of a ‘group-spirit’. However, especially well-qualified applicants, who cannot be in Geneva during a certain period, may be allowed to enrol in the programme and follow it remotely.

For participants who cannot attend courses for professional reasons (e.g. missions, conferences), courses are recorded and can therefore be followed from abroad or afterwards.

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Which degree will I receive after successfully completing the Executive Master?

Executive Master/Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) (60 ECTS credits, equivalent to an LLM), awarded by the University of Geneva and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.

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What Distinguishes the Executive Master from the two other master programmes offered at the Geneva Academy?

The Geneva Academy proposes three distinct master’s programmes: an Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflicts, an LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and a Master of Advanced Studies in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law.

Our Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflicts (60 ECTS) is a part-time programme designed for professionals - diplomats, legal advisers and professionals working in emergency situations who are active within the UN, other international organizations and NGOs- who want to gain a thorough understanding of the laws of war and how to apply them in complex contemporary contexts.

Our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights (60 ECTS) is a one-year full-time postgraduate degree. It is designed for intellectually curious and thoughtful candidates with a law degree who want to gain advanced, comprehensive and practical training in international humanitarian law, international human rights law, international criminal law and the interplay between them.

Our Master on Advanced Studies in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law (60 ECTS) is a one-year full-time postgraduate degree. It is designed for highly qualified and open-minded candidates interested in acquiring high-level academic education and real-world practice in the field of transitional justice, human rights and the rule of law. Primary focus is placed on strengthening interdisciplinary knowledge and preparing students for future professional activities.

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What are the criteria for admission to the Executive Master?

We are looking for candidates with a bachelor’s degree who have previous work experience in a field related to the programme; a demonstrable interest in legal issues related to armed conflict and who are proficient in English.

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If I have been admitted to the programme, can I defer my offer to next year?

It is not possible to defer an offer. If you have to defer your enrollment in the programme, you will need to reapply and be considered with the new pool of candidates.

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Do I need a visa to study on this programme?

The Executive Master has 7.5 hours of taught courses per week. It is therefore very unlikely that non-EU or non-AELE nationals will be granted a visa and consequently a residence permit to attend the programme. However, those who do not need a visa to enter the Schengen area might be eligible for a residence permit.

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