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An on-site but also online program


The aim of the program is to provide its participants with an in-depth understanding of the legal rules on migration and asylum adopted by the European Union and the specialised literature they generate. It will be of interest to all persons who wish to acquire a special knowledge of migration and asylum law, for instance EU or national civil servants, lawyers or judges, workers in NGOs, researchers and PhD students who frequently confront the complex legal dimension of immigration and asylum in their work. The program is organised by the “Odysseus Academic Network for Legal Studies on Migration and Asylum in Europe” that is one of the leading research and training organisation in EU migration and asylum law founded in 1999 with the support of the Odysseus program of the European Commission. It is coordinated by the Institute for European Studies of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB).
The program provides the opportunity to live in a unique European environment, with professors coming from many different Member States as well as speakers from the EU institutions. The resort to online technology makes it easier to invite high-ranking or specialised guest speakers from all over Europe participating in distance lessons who would otherwise not have come to Brussels.

Participants will get acquainted with the EU migration and asylum law that they can follow daily via the twitter thread of the Odysseus Network and its weekly posts published on its blog. The program is also an opportunity to participate in an intellectually stimulating experience as part of a group of twenty participants specialising in migration and asylum with different backgrounds from all over Europe where internal and external networking is encouraged. Information about employment and traineeship prospects will be disseminated by the organisers.

On completing the master’s program, our graduates are distinguished among persons working in the area by their rare knowledge in migration and asylum law. They work for European institutions and agencies, international organisations like the IOM or ICMPD and NGOs like ECRE, migration law firms and national ministries for home affairs. This executive master has also enabled them to reorient their careers towards migration and asylum.


  • All courses on-site but also online

  • To acquire in-depth knowledge of EU migration & asylum law, Including the latest and most controversial developments

  • A program legally oriented but also accessible to non-jurists

  • Accessible to students but also professionals (courses on Friday evenings & Saturday mornings)

  • Professors from all Member States among the top specialists in this field, including practitioners from European Commission, Parliament and Council

  • Small group with interactive courses

  • The right place to build a professional network

  • Three modules: Introduction, Migration (including visas & borders), Asylum

  • Courses including theory and practical elements

  • Traineeship and research opportunities, including writing a blog post to be published on the Odysseus blog

A Network founded with the support of the European Commission


The demanding program is of a legal nature. Courses will therefore be rather technical in orientation, but the program includes introductory legal courses in the first module to allow non-jurists to follow it successfully by acquiring knowledge about the influence of the institutional framework on the substance of EU migration and asylum policies; the interactions between human rights and migration and asylum law; the roots of international migration and asylum law; and the freedom of movement of EU citizens by comparison with third-country migrants.

The fees cover access to the Odysseus summer school to give interested participants the possibility to acquire a sound base of knowledge before following the executive master’s program. The classes offer theoretical but also practical elements, in particular regarding the case law of the Court of Justice of the EU and of the European Court of Human Rights, including cases that have not yet been decided. Personal reading is expected from the participants. The very latest developments of the European policies are integrated into the teaching, through the participation as lecturers of high-ranking officials from the European Commission, Council and Parliament.

The classes will be conducted by academics who are among the best regarded specialists of EU and national migration or asylum law. They join the program from the universities indicated below that cooperate in the Odysseus Network, which is represented in all the Member States of the European Union, including Schengen associated States and Turkey

Université Libre de Bruxelles, (B), Université catholique de Louvain (B), Universidade Autonoma de Lisboa (P), Universidade Nova de Lisboa (P), Universität Salzburg (A), Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen (NL), Universität Konstanz (D), Universidad Pontificia Comillas de Madrid (E), Università degli Studi di Milano (I), Université de Bayonne (F), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (NL), Aarhus Universitet (DK), Lund Universitet (SE), Abo Akademi University (FIN), Eötvös Loránd University (HU), University  of Silesia (PL), Mykolas Romerio Universitetas (LT), Riga Graduate School of Law (LV), University of Ljubljana (SL), Mirovni inštitut (SL),University of Latvia (LV), Charles University Praha (CZ), Masaryk University Brno (CZ), University College Cork (IRL), University of Sofia (BG), Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration (CH), Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (CH), University of Nicosia (CY), University of Malta (MT), University of Zagreb (HR), University of Iceland (IS), CRH Michelsen Institute (NO), University of Oslo (NO), Uppsala University (SE), Suleyman Demirel University (TR), Max Planck institute (D), Maastricht Universiteit (NL).

The classes bring the persons physically present in Brussels together with the participants online from all over Europe, who can exchange alongside the others due to advanced broadcasting technology. Limiting the composition of the group to about twenty persons favors interactivity with the professors and discussions among the participants as they learn from each other. The participants will have access to a specific online platform that provides access to extensive and up to date documentation.




INTRODUCTORY MODULE (1st term from September till December)

1. General EU law applied to Migration and Asylum (Institutional framework and sources of EU migration and asylum policy, including EU agencies)

4 weeks (6 ECTS)

2. Human rights implications for migration and asylum law

2 weeks (3 ECTS)

3. International migration and refugee law

3 weeks (5 ECTS)

4. Free movement of European citizens

2 weeks (3 ECTS)

5. Recent developments in EU migration and asylum law and policy

1 week (+ two weeks during the 2nd & 3rd module) (2 ECTS)

SPECIALISED MODULE: MIGRATION (2nd term: January & February)

6. Visa and border policies

2 weeks (3 ECTS)

7. Long-term admission of third country nationals (family reunification, labor migration, students)

2 weeks (3 ECTS)

8. Status and integration of third country nationals, including non-discrimination

2 weeks (3 ECTS)

9. Return and the fight against illegal immigration

2 weeks (3 ECTS)

Recent developments in EU migration and asylum law and policy (continuation of course 5)

SPECIALISED MODULE: ASYLUM (3rd term: March & April)

10. Definition of protected persons (refugee status and subsidiary protection)

2 weeks (3 ECTS)

11. Status of protected persons

2 weeks (3 ECTS)

12. Procedures for access to protection status, including the Dublin system and solidarity between Member States

3 weeks (5 ECTS)

Recent developments in EU migration and asylum law and policy (continuation of course 5)

4th MODULE: RESEARCH (4th term: from May till July)

13. Research and drafting of the blog post

8 weeks (20 ECTS)


The program is organised under the supervision of Prof. Philippe De Bruycker from the Institute of European Studies of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)


Ulrike BRANDL,
Rudolf FEIK,
Uniiversität Salzburg


Jean-Yves CARLIER, Sylvie SAROLEA, Université catholique de Louvain


Valeria ILAREVA, University of Sofia


University of Zagreb

Czech Republic

Vera Honuskova, Charles University in Praha / David KOSAR, Masaryk University Brno


Nicos TRIMIKLINIOTIS, University of Nicosia


Jens VEDSTED-HANSEN, University of Aarhus 


Tallin University


Elina PIRJATANNIEMI Abo Akademi University


Henri LABAYLE, Faculté de Droit de Bayonne


Daniel THYM Konstanz Universität


Achilles SKORDAS, Max Planck Institute Costas PAPADIMITRIOU Law School of Athens


Boldizsar NAGY, Eötvös Lorand University


Erna BLÖNDAL, University of Iceland


Siobhan MULLALLY, Cork University


Bruno NASCIMBENE Alessia DI PASCALE Università degli Studi di Milano


Juris GROMOVS, Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, OSCE


Lyra JAKULEVICIENE, Mykolas Romeris University Vilnius


Neil FALZON, Aditus Foundation


Thomas SPIJKERBOER, Tesseltje DE LANGE Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


Jessica LEIGH SCHULTZ Chr. Michelen Institute Maya JANMYR University of Oslo


Barbara MIKOLAJCZYK, University of Silesia


Constança URBANO de SOUSA Universidade Autonoma de Lisboa


Madalina MORARU, Masaryk University, Brno


Sasa ZAGORC University of Ljubljana Neza KOGOVSEK Mirovni inštitut


Martin SKAMLA, Trnava University


Cristina GORTAZÀR, Paula GARCIA ANDRADE Universidad Pontificia Comillas de Madrid


Gregor NOLL, Lund University Rebecca STERN, Uppsala University


MeFrancesco MAIANI, Graduate School of Public Administration Vincent CHETAIL, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies


Meltem INELI CIGER, Suleyman Demirel University


Elspeth GUILD, Queen Mary University of London


Participants will prepare a post to be published on the Odysseus blog that should be analytical rather than descriptive. The subject to be selected in agreement with the coordination team deals with EU or comparative law. The 4th term corresponds to a research track during which participants draft their blog post in coordination with the team of the Odysseus Network in Brussels or, upon request, in a specialised research centre of the universities co-operating in the Odysseus network. Interested persons will obtain advice on undertaking a PhD. We offer also the opportunity to do a traineeship in the Brussels Office of the Odysseus Network.


This program starts on 15 September 2021, ends on 15 July 2022, and is organised in 3 terms. Courses amount generally to a total of 12 to 18 hours spread over a two/three-week period, with sessions of 3 hours. They take place in the Institute for European Studies located on 39 Roosevelt Avenue, 1050 Brussels on the University campus in the heart of Brussels. The schedule of courses (6 to 9pm on Fridays and 10am to 1pm on Saturdays) enables participants who choose to do so to travel every week by train or even plane.

Participants living in or near Belgium are in principle expected to attend the classes physically, but it is also possible to follow them online in real-time through the platform Teams by Microsoft. Several specific gatherings are organised in Brussels throughout the year for the participants following the courses online from abroad, who will have the occasion to meet and exchange with the participants physically present in Brussels. Hotel accommodation near the campus can be booked by our secretariat at a reduced rate. Participants are welcome for a paid traineeship in the Odysseus coordination team located in Brussels.


Separate examinations will be organised for each of the four courses of the introductory module. Two separate oral exams (a global one on migration and a global one on asylum) will be held for the two specialised modules before a jury composed of members of the Network in the framework of the Odysseus “Summer School on Migration and Asylum Law and Policy of the EU”, which takes place every year in Brussels during the two first weeks of July. Participants need to write and present a blog post during one of those exams. Participants who have followed the program assiduously throughout the year and successfully passed all the exams will receive a university certificate.


Entrance to the course is competitive, based on academic merit and potential. In addition to a good knowledge of English, applicants must have as a minimum a university Bachelor’s degree (BA) or preferably a master’s degree (MA) in Law, Political Science, European Studies or International Relations. Graduates of other disciplines can be considered. Applicants can also rely upon relevant professional experience (for example as a civil servant, NGO employee, etc.) if it can be considered as equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree. You will be required to supply supporting documents. Interviews can be organised in case there is a doubt about the fulfilment of the admission requirements, including knowledge of oral and written English. As well as your CV, a statement of purpose of between 500 and 1000 words (single spaced, 12 point font) is required to explain your motivation for following this program.


For notice, the program is self-financed by the registration fees paid by the participants and does not rely on any subvention.

The closing date for applications has been set for 31 August 2021. Applicants are requested to apply by using the registration form available on the website of the Odysseus Network. The applicants will pay 1000 Euros to hand in their file.

The registration fee is 2500 Euros for students, 3500 for PhD students or researchers remunerated by a salary or a grant and trainees, and 5000 Euros for professionals. Persons choosing only one specialised module (migration or asylum) on top of the introductory module will respectively pay 2000, 3000 or 4000 Euros. The fee covers all classes, coffee breaks, documentation, university facilities, including access to the private Odysseus library, with the exception of travel, accommodation and food expenses.

The participants following the course online benefit from a discount of 500 Euros on the fees. The Network provides a grant to allow one selected applicant to participate free of fees, based upon a competition, and can assist accepted applicants by providing them with proof of acceptance or by sending reference letters to the institutions from which they intend to request financial support.

Participants are asked to pay the entire fee at the latest by start of the program, by bank transfer to the account below :

Account name:
Bank: BNP Paribas Fortis Bank
1050 Brussels, Belgium

IBAN: BE63 0012 1223 8908 International Bank Account: 0012 1223 8908


Reference: Master2021/2022 & your name


Université Libre de Bruxelles – Institute for European Studies ODYSSEUS Network

39 avenue F. D. Roosevelt – CP 172 1050 Brussels – Belgium

Tel.: 00 32 486

Email: odysseus@ulb.be – Website: https://odysseus-network.eu

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