Structure and Curriculum

Each of the seven Online MACS modules carries between 11 to 14 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 Online MACS programme runs over two academic years with seven modules and a Master Thesis. Each module runs in 11 to 13 weeks. The modules comprise of several core and stand-alone courses, composed of self-study readings, interactive presentations, discussion forums, self-assessment, group works, live sessions, written assignments, webinars, etc. All modules as well as master’s thesis research and defence are conducted fully online. Upon successful completion of modules and the master’s thesis defence, the graduation ceremony takes place at IACA campus, in Laxenburg, Austria. The programme also offers an ongoing module on research methods, and an ongoing course on facilitating virtual teams and 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.

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

  • Live Sessions: Every module will have between 12 and 16 live sessions (90 minutes each). These live sessions are split among the courses proportionally.
  • Webinar panel discussions: Each module contains at least a 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.

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 themes are representative of the Online 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 and Politics of Corruption, Anti-Corruption and Reform

Core Module Courses:

  • Corruption: Themes, Trends, Definitions, Consequences and Measurements; impact of globalisation on corruption
  • Politics of Corruption and Anti-Corruption Reform
  • Using Behavioural Science to understand Corruption and Design Anti-Corruption Policies
  • Ethical leadership, Ethics Management within Organisations, and Organisational Misbehavior

Stand-alone Courses:

  • Glimpses of International Initiatives in Anti-Corruption
  • Corruption in Sports

Module 2.
Corruption, Law, and International Initiatives

Core Module Courses:

  • 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

Stand-alone Courses:

  • AML/CFT - Anti-Money Laundering and Financial Crime Protection: International Legal Framework & Initiatives
  • Illicit Financial Flow

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

Core Module Courses:

  • Politics, governance, and corruption
  • Politics, development, and corruption
  • Sociological and Anthropological dimensions of Corruption:
  • Corruption and Human Security
  • Corruption and Gender
  • Corruption and Culture
  • Corruption and Social Trust
  • Criminology of Corruption

Stand-alone Courses:

  • Collective Action in Fight Against Corruption
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Corruption

Module 4.
Economics of Corruption

Core Module Courses:

  • Economic Theories and Models of Corruption
  • Economic Consequences and Effects of Corruption
  • Behavioral and Institutional Economics Approaches to Anti-Corruption
  • Game Theory and Corruption

Stand-alone Courses:

  • Anti-Corruption measures in Procurement (Public and Private Perspective)
  • Multilateral Banks and Debarment policies and their role in anti-corruption

Module 5.
Anti-Corruption Compliance and Internal Investigation in Business Enterprises

Core Module Courses:

  • Corruption in Business Enterprises (Private Sector and State-Owned Companies)
  • Anti-corruption Compliance Systems in corporates and SMEs
  • Value-based Compliance and Role of Code of Conduct and compliance lab
  • Internal Investigations and Crisis Management in Business Enterprises

Stand-alone Courses:

  • Compliance Standards including ISO 196001 and ISO 37001
  • Open Source Investigation

Module 6.
Anti-Corruption Enforcement

Core Module Courses:

  • National Anti–Corruption Strategies; Independence of Anti-Corruption Agencies
  • Investigating and Prosecuting Corruption Cases
  • Asset Tracing and Recovery
  • Integrity Management in the Public Sector

Stand-alone Courses:

  • Whistleblowing and Whistleblower Protection
  • Corruption and Organized Crime

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

Core Module Courses

  • Prevention of Corruption, Lessons Learned from Reforms, and the Future of Anti-Corruption
  • Role of technology, Data Analytics and Emerging Technologies in Anti-Corruption
  • Blockchain, Crypto Currencies, and Corruption
  • Cybercrime, Cybersecurity, and Corruption
  • Open Governance, e-Governance and Corruption
  • Practitioner’s Perspective: Handling e-Government and its Impacts on Corruption.

Stand-alone Courses

  • Corruption and Humanitarian Aid
  • Anti-Corruption in Local Governance
  • Civil Societies and Media in the Fight against Corruption

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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