Each of the seven MACS modules carries 14 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits, and the Master's Thesis carries 22 credits. The MACS degree therefore comes with a total of 120 ECTS credits, enabling enrolment into PhD programmes.

The MACS programme runs over two academic years with seven modules and a Master Thesis. Each module has a two-week, in-class phase which takes place approximately every three months. Most of the in-class phases are at IACA’s campus in Laxenburg, Austria (Vienna area). At least one in-class phase will be held at another location worldwide. Prior off-site classes took place in Brasilia, Brazil (in cooperation with the Office of the Comptroller General of Brazil), Tbilisi, Georgia (in cooperation with the Georgian Ministry of Justice), and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (in cooperation with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission). Each module also has pre- and post-module self-study (distance learning) phases.

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


A. The Pre–Module Phase

The pre-module phase is designed to prepare students, through self-study, for the challenges of the in-class phase by providing a common standard of familiarity with terminology and the relevant academic disciplines and perspectives. Students will read module materials and other resources provided through the IACA online e-learning platform. They will also use their own initiative to draw widely from both academic and practitioner sources to expand and deepen their knowledge of the areas to be covered in the module. During the pre-module phase, students will complete a written assignment to test the required knowledge before the in-class phase begins.

B. The In–Class Phase

The in-class phase expands and utilizes the knowledge acquired in the pre-module phase. Lecturers renowned for their expertise in the specific subject matter will provide additional in-depth understanding and tools, preparing students for the practical use and application of the material in their own professional setting. This phase concentrates on the deeper understanding of various theories and approaches, and identifies critical issues and contextual frameworks. The teaching strategy will particularly focus on higher cognitive skills, such as processing knowledge and making judgements, and on policy and practitioner understanding applicable to the students’ professional contexts.

The in-class phase involves lectures and interactive teaching methods such as group work, case studies, presentations, simulation exercises, games, and panel discussions. The aim is to enhance knowledge and practical skills and apply them through practical exercises and interaction with professional peers.

Support themes and activities during the in-class phase provide techniques and skills to enhance and maximize the learning process. They are also designed to aid students with their Master Thesis research and writing.

During the in-class phase, each student will spend some one-on-one time with the MACS Programme Director to review their progress and help them prepare for their thesis project.

C. The Post–Module Phase

During the post-module phase, students work on assignments that reflect the overall learning outcomes of the module and allow them to apply and review their newly acquired knowledge and skills. Written assignments will include the post-module assignment and, in some modules, a peer review and/or some other form of assessment designed to strengthen and interrelate competences acquired during the module. The peer review helps students with their evaluation skills. The successful completion of the post-module written assignment(s) confirms the students’ mastery of the subject matter of the module.

MACS curriculum at a glance (PDF)

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

Module I   Concepts and Issues in Corruption


  • Introduction to the Study of Corruption
  • Drivers of Personal and Organizational (Dis)honesty
  • Issues, Themes, and Trends in Corruption
  • The Practitioner’s Perspective


  • Team Building
  • Research Methods I

Module II   Political Science and Corruption


  • Corruption, Power, Politics
  • Corruption and Development
  • The Practitioner’s Perspective

Module III   Economics of Corruption


  • Microeconomic and Macroeconomic Theories and Models of Corruption
  • Measuring Corruption
  • Economic Consequences and Effects of Corruption
  • The Practitioner’s Perspective

Module IV Anti-Corruption, Law and International Initiatives


  • The Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption
  • Domestic Laws and International Anti-Corruption Instruments
  • Corruption and Human Rights
  • The Practitioner’s Perspective


  • Research Methods II
  • Research Proposal for the Master Thesis

Module V   Anti-Corruption, Compliance and the Private Sector


  • Corruption in the Private Sector
  • Corporate Governance
  • Compliance Systems and Strategies
  • Internal Controls
  • Internal Investigations and Risk Management
  • International Anti-Corruption Business Initiatives
  • The Practitioner’s Perspective


  • Research Methods III

Module VI   Anti-Corruption, Enforcement and the Public Sector


  • National Anti-Corruption Strategies
  • Anti-Corruption Investigations
  • Anti-Money-Laundering
  • Asset Recovery
  • The Practitioner’s Perspective

Module VII   Corruption Prevention and the Future of Anti-Corruption


  • Public Sector Corruption Prevention Methods
  • Anti-Corruption in Procurement
  • Anti-Corruption in Local Governance
  • Civil Society, Education, Media, and Anti-Corruption Efforts
  • Anti-Corruption Agenda: The Future
  • The Practitioner’s Perspective

The MACS programme is completed with the successful submission and defence of a Master Thesis. The Master 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 is assigned an experienced faculty supervisor to guide them in the research and writing of their Master Thesis. Master Theses are due in October of the second year of studies. Defence of the Master Theses takes place in early December of the second academic year, immediately followed by graduation on or around 9 December, International Anti-Corruption Day.

 schedule macs 2017schedule macs 2018schedule macs 2019