The didactic activity of the in International Master Program Eco-Polis is organized into a total of 1,750 hours, articulated into 580 hours of formal coursework (classes, seminars and workshops), 70 hours of assigned coursework, 800 hours of individual study, and 300 hours of final internship work; for a total of 70 credits.

Following two periods of study in Italy and Latin America, students complete an internship (300 hours, over the course of three months) with a host institution of their choosing (University, public or private research center, institution or public agency, office, professional studio, or ONG), per the recommendation and approval of the administrators of the Master degree. During the internship, the student develops the content and writes their Master's Thesis, based on their particular experience related to the internship in which they are engaged.


Coursework Content

The Master Eco-Polis is open to college graduates and professionals from all the nations of the world. The program structure, developed through the experience of other post-graduate programs, allows the students to participate in a higher-education course of studies characterized by:

  • high caliber instructors from Italy and other countries;
  • truly interdisciplinary coursework, organized with the contributions of numerous universities, faculties, departments, public entities and institutions from Italy and other countries, as well as private sector companies, non-profits and cooperatives;
  • workshops and laboratories in which the students, as a group and coordinated by the course instructors, engage in real-world case studies;
  • a travel-based structure with coursework in Italy and Latin America
  • the concrete oportunity to join a network of international relationships that continue following the conclusion of the program.

The course of study of the Master Eco-Polis, following the model of an "intensive program", is designed to develop the themes and issues related to the concept of sustainability in a broad and truly integrated context, both by way of theoretical and field-specific lectures (in economics, ecology, planning, etc.) as well as through the practical demonstration of policies, plans, programs, applications and projects at the urban, regional and environmental scale. These theoretical lectures, demonstrations of practical examples and group work during the workshops enable students to gain an understanding of:

  • The issues and difficulties associated with local development as well as the policies and processes associated with its realization;
  • The complexities associated with an integrated approach to local and regional strategic policy and planning;
  • Methods of analyzing production chains in the local context and ways of promoting innovation and process development;
  • Policies and instruments for the reduction of environmental impacts, energy use, and limited resource consumption (water, soil, raw materials, etc.);
  • Tools for regional planning, landscape design and urban design;
  • Policies and tools for cultural heritage preservation (both in terms of nature and the environment as well as history and local culture factors) and the compatibility of the various methods for its valorization;
  • The complexities of inclusion and empowerment processes for community groups, and methods for promoting citizen participation;
  • Models and mechanisms for developing effective forms and processes of governance for democratic management of development

The cultural and multi-disciplinary opportunities of the Master Eco-Polis are made possible both by the successful experiences of the programs conducted in the recent past and the proven techno-scientific and cultural contributions of the Scientific Committee and the faculty.

The Scientific Committee and the Academic Advisors are made up of:

  • Internationally known experts;
  • Instructors and researchers from the universities collaborating with the Master organization;
  • Academics from other universities (in Italy and worldwide);
  • Directors and officials from various public institutions;
  • International professionals and consultants.

The Master Eco-Polis is a fully interdisciplinary and multi-sector program. The coursework, seminars and workshops are designed to develop the awareness and ability of the students to engage in policy and practice directed towards sustainability and local development that is carried out in an integrated and precise manner.

During the study periods in Italy and Latin America, the students participate in focused periods of interactive training (classes, seminars, round tables) interspersed with intense periods of group work on real-world case studies (workshops).  In this way, the students can practically experience the application of strategic problem solving approaches, the difficulties of multidisciplinary and multi-sector coordination, and the benefits of leadership development.

The experience of group work during the workshops constitutes an important distinction and key characteristics of EcoPolis. Together with its itinerate organization, this aspect highlights the program as a unique case in advanced and multidisciplinary training. For this reason, the evaluation of the students by the Academic Advising Committee is formulated primarily on the basis of level of individual commitment and capacity demonstrated by the students in the course of the workshops that make up the program of study (as indicated for each year of the course calendar).

The lesson plan of the International Master Eco-Polis is articulated into primary and complimentary subject categories and study modules. The subjects covered include:

Primary Subjects:

  • Ecology
  • Applied economic policy for local development
  • Strategic environmental, urban and regional planning
  • Conservation and management of historical and cultural heritage
  • Economics of the tourism industry

Complimentary Subjects:

  • Development of geographic information systems (GIS) adapted to the local context
  • Administrative/environmental law
  • Fundamentals of hydrology and geology for strategic risk assessment
  • Landscape planning and design
  • Stakeholder engagement and environmental accountability practices
  • Urban sociology
  • Evaluation and analysis techniques (SEA-Cost/Benefit-SWOT)
  • Community planning
  • Cooperation building techniques
  • Design and management of development and cooperation projects

(depending upon the particular workshop themes, which vary from year to year, some complementary subjects may not always be addressed)