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Learn more about our exciting courses that make up the degree

Year 1 – 60 ECTS

The first year is designed to build students' knowledge, skills and experience, forming solid foundations for their future study and career.

Core Courses

Economics for Policy I aims to provide an overview of microeconomics by examining the questions it addresses, the tools it employs, the themes it emphasises, and its use in personal decision-making, business development, and public policy. In particular, the course explores how microeconomics can engage with issues of public policy through government intervention and determine what effect this intervention can have on economic outcomes. Microeconomic theory will be applied to make predictions about the behavioural responses of individuals to the introduction of a policy and highlight the intended and unintended consequences of government intervention.

A core component of the Master in Transnational Governance, a thorough understanding of policy design lays the foundation for a deeper grasp of transnational governance. This course will deeply engage with all aspects of policy design, detailing the difference between actors and stakeholders, outlining why specific policy issues are addressed instead of others and delving into policy entrepreneurship. Upon completion, students will be able to effectively determine the field of policy analysis, critically reflect on the concept of ‘design’ and choose how to become model actors.

Transnational governance is an evolving domain of public service and policy practice where civil servants are increasingly being asked to work ‘beyond the state’. Knowing how transnational governance differs from the governing practices of sovereign nation-states is an essential component to understanding the diversity, and often experimental character, of transnational governance. This course will introduce policy dynamics and ideas that go beyond the traditional framework of policy studies centered around the nation-state and examine practices by which local, city and national government actors and agencies have become inter-nationalised policy actors.

The Economics for Policy II course merges macroeconomics with international economics, focusing on the performance of national economies within a much larger global scale. The issues covered include the determinants of economic growth, issues related to factors such as inflation and unemployment, and both the potential and pitfalls of fiscal and monetary policy in either closed or open economies. A key emphasis is also placed on both the benefits and challenges of international trade, as well as the complex dynamics that shape the global financial system. 

The early twenty-first century has witnessed many international clashes, while enduring transnational problems still await solutions. While in the past, these problems were managed by a network of state institutions rooted in a post-WWII order, this mode of governance has complexified, increasingly challenged to grant equal standing to the non-western world and include a range of transnational non-state actors. The rise of populist nationalism, illiberalism, and authoritarian regimes also challenges this way of governance. Transnational Politics and Institutions asks what is to be done to address these issues, adopting a critical lens which, where relevant, includes feminist international relations and post-colonial studies. The course is designed to meet the needs of Master of Transnational Governance students who are preparing for careers in state institutions, supra-national and regional organisations, non-governmental organisations, the media, the corporate world, and/or academia.

The Law of Transnational Governance provides a comprehensive overview of the methods and fundamental content that make up transnational law. Two main areas of law will be used as case studies to develop the concept of transnational law further: environmental law, with a particular emphasis on climate change and human rights, and law of international organisations.

Complementary Courses

Delving into one of the most important concepts in economics, the Introduction to Game Theory provides first-hand insights into how interactions between different agents can have profound effects on outcomes and how strategic thinking can be used to improve them. 

Knowledge in Research and Policy-Making introduces students to the different types of knowledge applied to policy-making in governance. It aims to encourage critical thinking centring around how different forms of knowledge influence the operation of transnational governance while also providing a forum through which students will be able to practice their knowledge and communication skills in the context of policymaking.

Policymakers tend to work on tight schedules and receive information from multiple sources. As a result, actors who want to influence policy must learn how to communicate their ideas for policy change as clearly as possible, not only at the ministerial / cabinet level but also to other opinion leaders and the general public.  This course will address how to bridge gaps between research and effective policy, the different types of policy writing aimed at targeted audiences, and how to effectively structure and deliver a policy paper.

Big data is everywhere, from big firms to big government. Policy leaders must know the use (and misuse) of data, either to regulate them or to use them to design welfare-enhancing policies. Moreover, they must be aware that the enormous predictive power of big data may sometimes mislead us into drawing false conclusions and hinder sound policymaking. That is why policy leaders must also know smart data, that is, design-based data analysis meant to distinguish spurious correlations from causal relationships. This seminar will discuss these topics through both theory and case studies to equip students with the essential skills to navigate the data-driven landscape of governance. Nowadays, data analysis cannot be missing in any high-level public policy training, even more so at the transnational level.

Negotiating Transnational Policy provides a systematic framework to prepare, conduct and debrief complex negotiations across various sectors, while bearing in mind different worldviews. The strategic, operational, and tactical skills presented, will strengthen each student's ability to identify problems in order to craft creative solutions, develop partnerships, and structure processes that yield robust agreements and timely implementation with multiple stakeholders. The course promotes reflective rather than instinctive action, particularly in the face of partners who might be passive, stubborn or resistant to change.

This course provides a systematic overview of research methods present in the social sciences, justifying why a methods-based approach to the study of transnational governance is necessary. It is supported by a number of digital sessions that will concentrate on important steps that constitute the research process and are fundamental for the success of a research project. The course will also explore several data collection techniques in order to further develop students' proficiency in this area.


The curricular internship is a compulsory part of the master’s programme worth 12 ECTS for a minimum of 300 hours. It takes place during the Spring - Summer break.

Learn more about our internship opportunities

Year 2 – 60 ECTS

The second year allows students to design a study programme that meets their goals and career plans. Students may also expand on their international educational and social experiences by participating in the mobility programme.

Core Courses

The Crisis Seminar focuses on important crises that have marked the last two decades and posed a serious challenge to the stability of transnational governance. While often having been caused by decisions taken at national level, many of these crises have a transnational nature, characterised by high "policy spillovers", with economic and political impacts crossing borders, requiring policy coordination on a regional or global scale. The course takes a multilateral approach, blending economic analysis with political and social considerations, accountability and democratic legitimacy concerns, while also addressing issues relating to institutional and administrative aspects on a national and transnational level for crisis response.

In light of the globalisation of economic and labour markets, a global increase in migration has emerged. In contrast, the requirements of national politics, often focused on defending national borders, tend to encourage greater closure. At the same time, the politics of universal human rights, suggest that there are important limits both to state sovereignty and to market logic. During this course, students will work together to examine available data and research extensively, to critically examine policy options and their implications on affected populations.

This course is designed for students to gain a theoretical and empirical understanding of the fundamental concepts and processes related to global environmental governance. Given the effects of biodiversity loss, climate change, and other pressing environmental problems, a transnational approach is crucial to address the multiple causes and impacts of environmental degradation. It involves a continuous process of negotiations carried out by a diverse group of national and local governments, international organisations, the private sector, NGOs and other social actors. The course revolves around the critical review and analysis of decision-making and discussion processes taking place at various levels of government.

Global Security in Transformation approaches global security from the perpective of the transformation of the global rules-based order and the crisis of the liberal international order. Students will learn how resilient institutions and forms of global, regional and transnational governance might be established in the face of emerging security challenges and mounting complexity and connectivity.  

This course explores the complex international relations of the Asia-Pacific, with particular reference to Northeast Asia: Japan, China, Taiwan, the two Koreas, and the United States, which plays a central role. The lectures will explore the hot economics, cold politics and dissonant histories affecting intra-regional interaction, focusing on the statecraft required to brave these stormy seas. 

Conceived by the CIVICA partnership, this course develops an original perspective on policy evaluation by combining a presentation of the critical methods and required skills needed to be a good evaluator with a reflection on the politics and institutional organisation of evaluation. Practising policy evaluation requires a particular set of skills, which are not only methodological but also include the capacity to reflect on values, identify stakeholders and organise their participation to favour evaluation use. This is an excellent opportunity for students to interact with their colleagues at CEU and Sciences Po.

This course presents an in-depth discussion on the future of policymaking concerning technology. It explores the opportunities and challenges offered by new technologies, which are rapidly implemented and ever-evolving, presenting themselves as potentially disruptive to traditional business models and regulatory frameworks.

Responsible leadership involves addressing the most pressing problems in a society, a region, a nation, a corporation or a community. It is about empowering human groups to seek adequate solutions while serving peace and democracy, social justice and human rights, the environment, and more. Responsible leadership promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion, serving vulnerable groups and individuals. This course does not focus on leadership as another form of power but instead embarks on a journey of responsible leadership, where women and men respond to the problems of a group for which they are accountable. The course aims to strengthen the power of responsible leadership and see how organisations can be empowered to deliver changes, influence other leaders and spot the risks of misleading behaviours and unkept promises.

Bureaucracies are powerful organisations, essential for any public policy to be conceived, implemented or monitored. Our idea of bureaucratic organisation has been shaped by its ideal functionality within the nation state—but with the rise of international organisations a debate has emerged about the powers and influence of international bureaucracies in transnational policymaking. This course will revisit major positions in the debate on the role of international and transnational public administration, covering topics like international bureaucratic behaviour, autonomy, expert authority, normative power, agenda control and resourcing international secretariats—focusing on issues about what has been called international public administration. In addition, horizontal and vertical interlinkages between international, transnational and national administrations are studied together, knowing that the transnationalisation of bureaucratic interaction does change “back home” in national domestic bureaucracies. 

The premise of this course is that one of the most fundamental struggles of world politics will be around the contours of the “third democratic transformation”. The rise of interdependence and global governance demands the implementation of “democracy beyond the state” or transnational democracy, but there is no agreement on what this means conceptually and empirically. This remains a crucial question, for there is no sustainable transnational governance without anchoring its continued legitimacy in the “will of the people” or “peoples” as interconnected sovereigns. We will ask how geopolitical dynamics, resistance against state and corporate capture, technological change as well as conceptual contestation have affected democracy’s recent, complicated history of progressive extension, what are the alternative designs for transnational democracy, and what institutional and policy implications follow.

Complementary Courses

In a world where AI is becoming increasingly influential, the critical question must be posed of whether or not its future implementation will evolve into a concrete threat to democracy. AI and Democracy covers the main issues related to understanding the impact of artificial intelligence on politics in democratic societies. It explores the relationship between technology and politics, the politics of big data, the dilemmas of automation, and the question of transparency.

Without a doubt, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) in recent years has been one of the most popular topics of discussion on a global scale. While AI has undeniable potential to be used in every aspect of daily life, including governance, many ethical questions have been posed regarding its future implementation. Studying how AI will impact societies, economies, and international relations, as well as what governments and non-state actors can do to steer its development towards resilience and sustainability, is fundamental. The course aims to examine the use of AI in the context of transnational governance and it analyses many of the ethical questions linked to this, looking to see if its immense potential can be conciliated with the current systems of governance that are in place.

The recognition and upholding of human rights constitute an intrinsic element of transnational governance. Developed in the aftermath of the Second World War, human rights approaches to governance are now facing a twin challenge. On the one hand, populist and increasingly authoritarian governments are pushing to limit the protections both their citizens and others receive through human rights. This course explores the potential and relevance of human rights norms, given contemporary theoretical debates around the challenges and opportunities of human rights.

Climate change governance encompasses policies executed at transnational, national, regional, and local levels that shape and control activities related to climate. This seminar will explore what constitutes an effective climate policy mix, which involves defining the right instruments with suitable geographic scope, the levels of stringency to get started and how these levels can later evolve. 

Whether a crisis stems from poor economic choices, failed governments, war, famine, a localised natural disaster, a global health epidemic, or a set of slow-moving environmental calamities, the question of how people are allowed to move in its aftermath remains. 'Crisis Politics and Human Mobility' invites participants to consider some of the particular dilemmas that arise when crisis politics intersect with issues of human mobility. In some instances, crises erect new formal barriers to people’s freedom of movement, at the same time providing new pathways for mobility in the wake of specific crises, both of which will be explored at length in this course.

This course provides a comprehensive perspective on European foreign and security policies. Starting from an understanding of Europe’s foreign and security policies, institutions, and mechanisms, both from the perspective of institutions and individual EU Member States, the course centres on how these policies are applied to real-life cases, as well as how selected counterparts outside Europe and the liberal international order perceive them.

Organised in cooperation with James Madison University and the University of Florence, Model EU Florence allows students to actively engage with current policy issues alongside colleagues and EU professionals. This is an excellent opportunity to step into the shoes of EU decision-makers and work on  negotiating solutions to the most controversial policy dilemmas to comprehend the inner workings of the European policymaking system truly.

New diplomacy addresses an evolving domain of public service where civil servants are increasingly being asked to interact with their counterparts overseas or who are undertaking specific transnational policy activities. This kind of activity, sometimes called multistakeholder diplomacy, is no longer strictly covered by Ministries of Foreign Affairs. Public officials in departments of health, education, energy, and the environment or other government agencies are increasingly engaged in governance activities off-shore, in international negotiations and standard settings, or in partnering with non-state actors in quasi-official initiatives in regional or transnational policy coordination.

While governance is typically associated with the actions taken by governments at national, regional and local level, it can also be carried out by a number of other actors. Non-State Forms of Governance provides an empirically grounded overview of the effects of private transnational governance on (state-bound) citizens and national and transnational law, policy and leadership.

This course is divided into two parts: First, we will consider general leadership in a multi-centred world. Second, we will zoom in on the impact of populism on global relationships.  The course will highlight how global problem-solving can create more room for businesses, civic groups, universities, and other stakeholders and resource mobilisers in global governance. Visualising the more horizontal world of networks opens up many more opportunities for individual leadership in collaboration with others. The second central theme of the course is exploring what leading collaboratively looks like and how it differs from more vertical or hierarchical approaches. The course then offers an opportunity to use policy-analytic tools, case studies, simulations, professional writing tasks, presentations, and class discussions (both faculty- and student-led) to develop priorities for change in 21st-century transatlantic politics.


Transnational Corporations (TNCs) are critical actors in transnational governance. Their focus, primarily through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), offers complementary perspectives to other themes, issues, and actors covered by the master's curriculum.  Given the enormity and complexity of the SDGs, governments, multinational institutions, civil society, and businesses need to work multilaterally to work towards achieving them. In particular, businesses are legitimate transnational governance actors. Inevitably, the presence of several actors yields an arena for contestation and opportunities for different actors. For businesses, they hold both significant opportunities, if creatively harnessed, and enormous risks, if not addressed. Whilst the TNCs can be understood from diverse perspectives, focusing on the SDGs provides some specificity and ties in well with the sustainability focus of the master's programme.

This course provides a real-life case study-based understanding of how consulting firms offer strategic advice to public institutions, focusing on advice related to climate and sustainability themes. The course also provides an introduction to the consulting industry, a quick overview of the different theoretical approaches used to manage public institutions and deliver policy outcomes, and an introduction to what students would learn in their first six months at a strategy firm.

Specialisation Areas

Students may choose amongst the following specialisation areas: 

  • Administration and Policy
  • Democracy and Citizenship
  • Economics of Geopolitics
  • Global Challenges
    - Climate & Environment
    - Digital
    - Migration
    - Security

Master Project – 20 ECTS

The degree culminates in a final master’s project during the final/fourth semester. Here you apply what you have learned and make an intellectual contribution to the field. You need to select among two types of projects. If answering a theoretical question, you will develop a master’s thesis. Instead, if it is a response to a more practical query, you will produce a capstone report.

Page last updated on 24/04/2024

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