European Master in Labour Studies and Social Policy

The European Master in Labour Studies and Social Policy is jointly offered by the University of Bremen (MA Social Policy) and the Università degli Studi di Milano (MA Global Politics and Society). First established in 2015/16 through a successful cooperation of both universities in the Master Européen en Sciences du Travail (MEST) network, the program has been vital in strengthening the international orientation of the MA Social Policy. Students spend the first year of their studies in Bremen and the second year in Milan and receive two Master’s degrees after the successful completion of all requirements.

Profile of the degree program

The two programs in Bremen and Milan have different focal points: While Bremen has a strong social policy orientation, Milan offers a sociological and human resource perspective. Both programs focus on welfare state institutions and labor markets (especially labor relations). Additionally, both programs put a strong emphasis on empirical research method training and hence qualify for research-oriented jobs in all areas of social policy and industrial relations, e.g. in international organizations like the ILO (International Labor Organisation), Eurofound (European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions) or the World Bank, or national public administration and government departments, welfare organizations, trade unions, NGOs and community associations. The program focuses on the scientific examination of work, employment relations, and social security as well as their multifaceted interdependencies with the political, economic as well as societal environment, with a special focus on Italy and Germany.

Exemplary questions the DD deals with

  • How are different welfare states organized around the world and how do they respond to current challenges such as globalization as well as structural and demographic change?
  • How are labor markets and employment relations regulated around the world and what role do labor market, economic, educational and social policy play in the configuration of labor relations?
  • What role do trade unions, employer organizations and international organizations like the EU and the ILO play in the systems of industrial relations and the welfare state around the globe?
  • How do globalization, tertiarization and European integration impact the labor market, employment relations and social inequality? How can and do international organizations and transnational regulation influence this transformation?

Curriculum structure

All double degree students will spend the first year at the University of Bremen.

The first semester provides introductory classes to the fields of social policy and industrial relations, while at the same time deepening knowledge in social sciences methods. Courses in the first semester include, amongst others, “International and European comparative social policy” and “Introduction to qualitative methods”.

In the second semester, there is a focus on "European Labour Studies". In addition, courses from the modules "Governance (Link zu M4a)" and "Inequality and Justice (Link zu M5a)" can be elected. The courses in these modules vary each year, but currently include, amongst others, “European labor studies and comparative employment relations” and “Inequalities in the labor markets – a comparative approach”.

As of the third semester, the double degree students continue their studies at the University of Milan where knowledge in European labor studies and empirical methods is deepened. Students are additionally introduced to labor economics and law. Offered courses include “Welfare state and social innovation“, “Employment, inequalities and discrimination” and “Labor Markets and Globalization”.

During the fourth semester, double degree students write their master theses at the University of Milan. The thesis can be both empirically (comparative) or theoretically orientated. Students will register for the master thesis at the University of Milan, however, they will choose a supervisor from each university. Due to the different grading systems of both universities, students will receive two final grades (that might not coincide), one from the University of Bremen, and one from the University of Milan.


Applicants for the double degree that want to have the University of Bremen as their home university have to formally apply for the program until June 15, of each year. Applicants have to use the Online Application Portal of the University of Bremen. They have to include a letter of motivation for the double degree program into their regular application (max. 2 pages). Prior to the application, it is absolutely necessary to contact Anna Hokema (coordinator).

A Bachelor’s degree (min. 180 ECTS) in social sciences, educational sciences, human sciences or another related disciplined is required. Proven proficiency in English (B2) is mandatory. Skills in empirical social science research are recommended. Proficiency in German or Italian is not mandatory but very helpful.


Anna Hokema

Karin Gottschall

Renata Semenza

Lisa Dorigatti