The EMAE is a 120 ECTS study programme. The EMAE is designed within the ESRALE partnership as Joint Programme, as “an integrated curriculum coordinated and offered jointly by different higher education institutions and leading to a (double/multiple or joint) degree” (A. Aerden, 2014:11). Within the ESRALE network, the 10 partner universities offer multiple degrees, according with the description of Aerden (2014:11): the “separate degrees awarded by higher education institutions offering the joint programme attesting the successful completion of this programme”. The EMAE programme is designed as further described, being followed by the partner universities.

ESRALE Core Curriculum

Study units


Theoretical framework (A1)


Adult and continuing education and learning (essentials, principles, areas.)

Learning and Teaching (A2)


Entrepreneurial educ. and training management

Needs analysis and program planning

Applied research in education

Management and public relations (A3)


Management of AE organizations

Public relations and partnerships

Policy and economy (A4)


Politics, policy and adult education

Economy of adult education

Counselling and evaluation (A5)


Career counselling

Competence development and evaluation

Research (B)


Transnational project/ practicum (D)


 Thesis (E)


The programme consists of the parts

  1. Core fields of Adult Education in Europe (40 ECTS)
  2. Research in educational sciences/adult education (10 ECTS)
  3. Specific university’s courses (50 ECTS)
  4. Transnational Project Work (10 ECTS)
  5. Master Thesis (10 ECTS)

A) In the part Core fields of Adult Education in Europe students will study courses in five key areas in adult education that are of the highest relevance in all European countries, although different approaches and concepts may prevail in the different countries. These are:

  • Theoretical Framework (A1)
  • Learning and Teaching (A2)
  • Management and Public relations (A3)
  • Policy and Economy (A4)
  • Counselling and evaluation (A5)

A) Students will be introduced to what is common European ground in each of these areas and in addition learn to recognize the existing differences and compare and assess the different approaches.

B) In the part AE Research in Europe students will be introduced both to the most relevant fields and trends of AE research in Europe and to research methods. In this part they will also develop an idea for a research project of their own and set up a research design. This research design may also be used as a basis for the final Master Thesis.

C) The Universities’ Specific Courses offer varies among the EMAE partner universities and reflects the individual universities particular strengths and areas of interest. Students choose from the already existing courses in their home university according to their interests and according to the regulations of their home university. Typically, offers in this part will include courses to study more in-depth selected topics belonging to the areas covered by part A, or courses to deepen the research competence of the students. They may also include additional offers such as courses to study in depth selected topics of specific national relevance or courses to develop additional skills such as English for education contexts, e.g.

D) The Trans-national Project Work/Practicum is carried out online in one of the topics covered in the part Core fields of Adult Education. Groups of students from various partner universities work together in designing, realising and evaluating a common trans-national project. In this programme part, students will acquire competence and skills for working in intercultural teams, planning, managing and evaluating of projects, and applying theoretical knowledge to practice. Students who spend a semester abroad at another university of the EMAE network may also choose to carry out an individual project/study or to undergo a traineeship in a relevant institution in the partner country instead of doing the online transnational project work.

E) The Master Thesis will be supervised by a professor either from the student’s respective home university or from another university of the EMAE network. Students will plan and carry out a research project with a Euroepan dimension (comparative research or research on a European topic) and present the results in a written report of about 60 pages.

In the table bellow it can be notice how the different core fields are integrated and contributing to the accumulation of the 120 ECTS needed to graduate the master program:

European Master in Adult Education
Common Core
(courses offered in every EMAE university)
Individual courses
(course offer varies in EMAE universities
A Core Fields of AE in Europe

  • A1 Theoretical Framework
  • A2 Learning and Teaching
  • A3 Management and PR
  • A4 Policy and economy
  • A5 Counselling and evaluation
C Supplementary courses

  • C1Univ. specific Courses (to A1)
  • C2 Univ. specific Courses (to A2)
  • C3 Univ. specific Courses (to A3)
  • C4 Univ. specific Courses (to A4)
  • C5 Univ. specific Courses (to A5)
B Research in AE in Europe C6 Univ. specific Courses (to B)
D Transnational Project-Work C7 Extra Courses
E Master Thesis

Descriptions of Core Fields

Core Field A1 Theoretical Framework – 5 ECTS:
This core field will address adult education as a subject area and discipline of study in Europe. Students will gain an overview of the whole field of adult and continuing education and its different sectors and structures in Europe and will be introduced to theoretical foundations and concepts.

Core field 1 includes one course:

  • Essentials and Theories of Adult Education (5 ECTS)

Core Field A2 Learning and Teaching – 10 ECTS:
This core field deals with all aspects relating to the specificities of the learning of adults and the specific role and functions of teachers of adult while supporting his/her learning. Culturally differing approaches to these issues will be reflected. The title of “Entrepreneurial education and training management” was chosen as a holistic one for two perspectives: on one hand to underline the idea of efficient use of all resources in planning and running the didactic setting (see “training management”), on the other hand to suggest the need for an innovative planning of the didactic interaction, to be able to foster knowledge production, knowledge creation, not only knowledge transfer. However, in the different study plans the name might not be found in the same way, but the partner universities indicates the aspects foreseen by the chosen corresponding courses.

On the basis of a sound theoretical knowledge students will learn to plan and analyse education situations in different contexts, to plan tailored educational offers according with training needs indentified.

Core field 2 includes two courses:

  • Entrepreneurial education and training management
  • Needs analysis and program planning

Core Field A3 Management and public relations – 10 ECTS:
Management and marketing skills are gaining ever more importance also in the field of education. This core field deals with the management and marketing strategies of adult education institutions which is characterized by the need to combine economic and pedagogic perspectives and requirements, to cooperate in networks and different partnerships. Both theoretical and practical aspects will be dealt with and are reflected in the light of different European approaches. Also, as the adult education institutions must promote and are asked to communicate in a transparent way the learning outcomes, the way they spend the money, the quality assurance mechanisms etc. to outside and inside the institution, the public relation issues are covered in systematic way.

Core field 3 includes two orientative courses:

  • Course Management of AE organizations
  • Course Public relation and partnership

Core Field A4 Policy and economy – 8 ECTS:
This core field addressed the political context(s) in which adult education is situated at national and European level. It deals with different types of actors, with different approaches to adult education policy, different methods and tools of intervention and with the evaluation and analysis of their impact. It also seeks to explore the economy of adult education, both in terms of economic impact at macro level of activities in adult education, and also in terms of economic resources and financial management of running educational activities for adults and adult education institutions. It deals with adult education and its relationship to national and corporate economic matters respectively. The issue of funding of adult education and lifelong learning is becoming an increasing challenge for today’s societies in Europe, and the shares of funding provided by the state, the companies and private individuals respectively are going to be redistributed

Core field 4 includes two courses:

  • Course Policy, politics and adult education
  • Course Economy of adult education

Core Field A5 Conselling and Evaluation – 7 ECTS:
This core field addresses two important services offered to adults and fields of activity, dealing mainly to support and guiding him/her through different learning and career paths, both for personal and professional development. It enables students both with the theoretical developments and with the methods to be used while identifying, recognizing, assessing, and validating existing knowledge, skills and competencies acquired in different life and working contexts.

Core field A5 includes two orientative  courses:

  • Course Educational and Career counselling
  • Course Competence development and evaluation

In every core field, the mentioned mandatory courses will be complemented by supplementary courses offered by each partner university, according with the specific expertise, in order to deepen the selected aspects.