PhD Course

Human rights, society, and multi-level governance

Thematic area Humanities
Duration 3 years
Language English
PhD Programme Coordinator Alberto Lanzavecchia

The Ph.D Programme in Human Rights, Society and Multi-level Governance is a three-year, interdisciplinary academic programme offered by the University of Padova (Italy). The administrative structure is the Human Rights Centre “Antonio Papisca” of the University of Padova.

PhD graduates gain a multi/interdisciplinary profile in human rights studies, with a major in politics, law, sociology, psychology, economics or philosophy. The programme includes learning, research and training activities, is open to different approaches and methodologies, and has global geographical scope.

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The scientific design of the doctoral programme is characterized 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. 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 structures (possibly with a comparative approach); the local community actors and dynamics (i.e. cities, regions, transboundary territories).

From an psychological and developmental perspective, the research lines, concern how to construct ways to think of the future as life design, decent work, and growth; how contextual barriers, often not very evident, stifle thought, reflection, and future design; attention to approaches and dimensions that shed light on the traps between persons and their rights, to release new energies and promote the construction of inclusive and sustainable projects for the future. Another specific research line will address palliative care and quality of life.

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 contextualization of human rights standards and policies.

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


  • Human Rights Protection and Social Justice
  • Inclusion and Psychological growth


University of Padova, Human Rights Centre "Antonio Papisca"
Address: via Martiri della libertà 2, 35137 Padova, Italy
Telephone: +39 049 8271812