Governance of Innovation -- Master's in Public Policy and Human Development (subtitles)

The Governance of Innovation

The Governance of Innovation specialisation focuses on the rapid emergence of new and different technologies, and the challenges that arise from their integration into society. 

Students will gain a systemic understanding of the economic, social, and political actors and structures that are impacted by new technologies, and develop skills to maximise their benefits and minimise social costs. 

This specialisation covers the economic fundamentals of innovation, policy instruments, appropriate policy responses, and social impacts of new technologies. Theory is combined with practice, with opportunities to learn from recognised policymakers and staff from leading international organisations. Courses can also include field trips!

"It's not just about the technologies themselves, it's much more about actually how technology has an effect and how it can help us in the future." - Ross Mudie, student

Social Protection Policy -- Master's in Public Policy and Human Development (subtitles)

Social Protection Policy

Poverty, vulnerability, inequality and exclusion are global challenges that require extensive policy intervention if effective and sustainable solutions are to be found. In particular, social protection policy has gained momentum as a necessary component for improving well-being and creating inclusive societies.  

This specialisation provides an interdisciplinary, in-depth examination of social protection policies, frameworks, systems, interventions and instruments. It provides students with a toolbox to understand and tackle related public policy issues by applying traditional and emerging theories whilst incorporating local, regional and international contexts.  

Students are exposed to real-life case studies and learn how to identify social challenges from a public policy lens and use methods and measurement techniques to design, evaluate and analyse intervention and implementation options.  

This specialisation covers topics such as poverty and inequality; social risks and vulnerabilities; the political economy of social protection; policy interventions and instruments; the nature and economics of welfare state models; rights-based approaches; demographic, economic and social challenges; and social design and social budgeting. 

"I would like to reduce inequality in my country, which is one of the most important challenges that we are facing. Social protection is about improving the well-being of the most disadvantaged populations. The specialisation gives you the skills to formulate a proposal that is technically viable but also politically feasible. This is exactly what I was looking for." - Romina Rojas, student

Risk & Vulnerability -- Master's in Public Policy and Human Development (subtitles)

Risk & Vulnerability

Disasters, both natural and human-made, have significant impacts on people, communities, and economies worldwide. Sustainable Development Goal 13 calls for strengthening resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries. 

This specialisation focuses on geospatial, governance, and social aspects of disaster risk assessment, resilience building, and crisis management, including the role of risk perceptions. Students learn about vulnerability and resilience dimensions, databases, assessment frameworks, and analytical techniques, as well as how to select relevant indicators and construct composite indices. 

This specialisation uses various quantitative and qualitative techniques, including geo-information platforms for visualising and analysing spatial data. Students also learn how to cost-efficiently and effectively manage crises through risk financing. 

This specialisation is taught in collaboration with the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) in Bonn, Germany, and features practical sessions with disaster-risk experts and practitioners from various sectors.


"Why do all this research if you don't then use the results? At UNU-MERIT, I have the feeling that results are taken into account in doing something in the field. What we definitely learned was to draw maps that could be used to visualise information which is very important for risk communication because it gives people more information in a shorter time frame. Then we learned to use them to focus on a geographical area, a specific type of risk, a specific population even. I want to do research with an impact." - Jana Bernhard, student

Migration Studies -- Master's in Public Policy and Human Development (subtitles)

Migration Studies

Migration is a pressing topic in development, welfare, and immigration policy with around 281 million migrants worldwide, making up approximately 3.5% of the world population.

Remittance transfers - the money that migrants send back to their home countries - exceeded USD 540 billion in 2020, surpassing foreign direct investment and official development aid in many countries. The impact of migration on migrants, their families, and their communities in both the origin and destination countries is controversial and must therefore be carefully examined. 

This specialisation comprises four courses and introduces students to the essential components of migration studies, including trends, theories, causes and effects, data collection and analysis and migration policy and governance. Students will have the opportunity to explore migration studies by taking courses with a broad perspective on the prevailing theory and practice with a particular emphasis on practical fieldwork. 

The Migration Studies specialisation prepares students for careers in policy advising, research, and other roles for governments, international organizations, or academic institutions.

"I had professional experience in the field of migration but I needed to acquire the academic knowledge of the concept of migration and why people migrate. Maastricht University is one of the few universities that focuses on Migration as a specialisation. I want to contribute to achieve a safer environment for all." - Soha Youssef, student

Global Governance for Development -- Master's in Public Policy and Human Development (MPP)

Global Governance for Development

The Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 (adopted by the UN) is a driving force behind the political, institutional, economic, environmental and security conditions necessary for social change and improving human life worldwide. However, globalisation poses increasing complexity due to various challenges, such as climate change, trade protectionism and human rights violations. 

This specialisation offers advanced analytical knowledge and professional skills necessary for participating in the global governance of developmental policies. The course covers the ‘five P’ dimensions of the SDGs (people, prosperity, peace, planet and partnerships) and offers interdisciplinary study of international relations, political science, economics and law. 

Through engagement with experts and practitioners from different international organisations, students will be prepared to begin their careers in international organisations, public administration, nonprofit entities, or the private sector as future professionals in global development.

What do our students and course coordinators say about their specialisation?

  • The Governance of Innovation

  • Social Protection Policy

  • Risk & Vulnerability

  • Migration Studies

  • Global Governance for Development