Academic Programmes

Structure and Curriculum

Each of the seven MACS modules carries between 13 to 15 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits, and the Master's Thesis carries 21 credits. The MACS degree therefore comes with a total of 120 ECTS credits, thus ideal for enrolment into PhD programmes.

The MACS programme runs over two academic years with seven modules and a Master Thesis. Each module runs in 12 weeks. The modules comprise of several core and stand-alone courses, composed of self-study readings, interactive presentations, discussion forums, self-assessment, group work, on campus and instructor-led virtual classes, written assignments, webinars, etc. Upon successful completion of the modules and the master’s thesis defence, the graduation ceremony takes place at IACA headquarters in Austria. The programme also offers an ongoing module on research methods, and an ongoing course on facilitating teamwork in the learning process.



Four modules are completed in the first academic year. Three modules and the Master's Thesis are completed in the second academic year.

The interactive classes of four modules are delivered virtually, and three modules are delivered on campus (with the possibility for students who are unable to travel to participate online).

Module structure

Each module is composed of various synchronous and asynchronous learning content. In the beginning of the module, students will receive entire asynchronous learning content through their e-Learning platform.


Synchronous Learning Content

On-Campus Classes:  will take place over 7 working days, during which classes are typically held from 9:00 to 17:00. Classes will include lectures, laboratories, group exercises and other practical activities. During these modules there are also visits to anti-corruption organisations to enrich the students’ experience and knowledge.  The online modules will have between 12 and 16 live classes (90 minutes each). These live sessions are split among the courses proportionally.

Webinar panel discussions: Each online module contains at least one panel discussion in form of a webinar. Webinar topics are chosen based on the content covered in the modules and announced to the students in the beginning of each module, along with the information on the speakers.

Live Group Activities and Simulation Games: Some courses may contain virtually organized synchronous group works and simulation games, such as investigation labs.


Asynchronous Learning Content

  • Learning Content: Reading materials & Visual presentations.
  • Self-Assessment Quiz (non-graded): Guides students through their learning contents.
  • Graded Assessments (Written assignment & Quiz): Each course of a module will contain a graded assessment, and the grade weight will depend on the weight of the course in the module (number of ECTS).
  • Complementary Learning Materials: Depending on the composition of the course, various complementary learning materials may be applied, such as case studies, group works, individual works, quick surveys, etc.
  • Discussion Forum: Each course will have a dedicated discussion forum. The discussion forum starts in the beginning of the module and continues to be open until the end of the module. The lecturers will encourage students to actively participate in the discussion forums.


The following topics are covered in the MACS modules. IACA may change the sequence of the modules and/or modify the module themes.

A. Research and Writing in Anti-Corruption and Compliance

  • An Introduction to Writing Research Papers
  • Social Science Empirical Research
  • Writing a Research Proposal
  • Quantitative Research Methods

B. Facilitating virtual teams and learning process

C. Modules

Module 1.
Introduction to Anti-Corruption Studies and Politics of Corruption


  • Understanding Corruption: Themes, Trends, Definitions, Consequences and Measurements 
  • Politics of Corruption and Anti-Corruption Reform 
  • Using Behavioural Science to understand Corruption and Design Anti-Corruption Policies  
  • Organizational Wrongdoing and Ethics Management 
  • Glimpses of International Initiatives in Anti-Corruption and Corruption in Sports 
  • Introduction to Writing Research Papers

Module 2.
Corruption, Law, and International Initiatives


  • International Anti-Corruption Instruments and Initiatives 
  • Transnational Application of Anti-Corruption National Laws: A Comparative Analysis
  • Corruption and Rule of Law   
  • Corruption and Human Rights 
  • Social Science Empirical Research
  • Illicit Financial Flow 

Module 3.
Sociological, Criminological and Political Economy Approaches to Study Corruption


  • Politics, Governance, and Corruption  
  • Politics, Development, and Corruption
  • Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology of Corruption 
  • Collective Action in the Fight Against Corruption 
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Corruption 
  • AML/CFT - Anti-Money Laundering and Financial Crime Protection: International Legal Framework and Initiatives

Module 4.
Economics of Corruption


  • Economic Theories and Models of Corruption 
  • Economic Consequences of Corruption 
  • Behavioral and Institutional Economics Approaches to Anti-Corruption  
  • Anti-Corruption measures in Procurement (Public and Private Perspectives)
  • Corruption and Gender 
  • Quantitative Research Methods

Module 5.
Anti-Corruption Compliance and Corporate Internal Investigation


  • Corruption in Business Enterprises 
  • Anti-corruption Compliance Systems in corporates and SMEs 
  • Value-based Compliance and Role of Code of Conduct
  • Internal Investigation, Open-Source Investigation, and Crisis Management in Business Enterprises  
  • Compliance Standards including ISO 37001 and ISO 37301 

Module 6.
Anti-Corruption Enforcement


  • National Anti–Corruption Strategies and Independence of Anti-Corruption Agencies 
  • Integrity Management in the Public Sector 
  • Investigating and Prosecuting Corruption Cases 
  • Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management 
  • Whistleblowing and Whistle-blower Protection 
  • Corruption and Organised Crime  
  • Integrity and Anti-Corruption in International Development: The World Bank Group’s Sanctions System 

Module 7.
Corruption Prevention, Corruption in the Digitized World, and the Future of Anti-Corruption


  • Prevention of Corruption, Lessons Learned from Reforms and the Future of Anti-Corruption 
  • Role of technology, Data Analytics and Emerging Technologies in Anti-Corruption 
  • Corruption and Humanitarian Aid  
  • Anti-Corruption in Local Governance 
  • International Anti-Corruption Initiatives against Corruption
  • Research Ethics, Data-Analysis, Reporting Research

Master Thesis

The MACS programme is completed with the successful submission and defence of a Master’s Thesis. The Master’s Thesis is an academic paper of 25,000 words demonstrating conceptual and analytical approaches to a topic related to corruption, anti-corruption, and/or compliance and applying knowledge to practice.

Each MACS student of this class is assigned an experienced faculty supervisor to guide them in the research and writing of their Master’s Thesis. Master’s Theses are due in September of the second year of studies. Defence of the Master Theses takes place in October and early November of the second academic year, followed by graduation, on IACA campus, on or around 9 December, International Anti-Corruption Day.

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