Disinformation and Societal Resilience

Andrea Rotenberg

The next admissions will take place in spring 2025, and studies will begin in autumn 2025. More information will be announced in November 2024.


Level of study
Study language
Duration and credits
1 year , 60 ECTS
Form of study
Regular study
Student places
Tuition fee
14,000 EUR
Tuition waivers
8 tuition waivers for citizens of ARM, AZE, GEO, MDA, SRB, UKR and UZB, 2 for EST
  • The master's programme in Disinformation and Societal Resilience is for professionals who need to understand information manipulations in the global context, work on strategic communication to build social resilience and deal with risk management in organisations and communities.
  • The programme combines systematic theoretical knowledge with a practical approach that connects students to their realities and focuses on the disinformation problems in their countries.
  • Unique experiences from scholars and practitioners brought into the programme help build the international network of professionals to combat disinformation effectively.
  • Up to 10 tuition waivers are provided to candidates from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Serbia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Estonia. In addition to a tuition waiver, there is a possibility of a stipend 1) to cover living expenses (up to 500 euros per month) and 2) travel costs (up to 800 euros per student). This opportunity will be presented to students accepted to the programme after the admission period is over. 


In response to the growing threat of misinformation and hostile information operations, the University of Tartu Institute of Social Studies presents a one-year master's programme dedicated to training specialists with interdisciplinary expertise in combating disinformation. This programme is tailored for students from countries often targeted by information manipulation and malicious misinformation.

Estonia, situated on the eastern border of the European Union, has experienced repeated challenges to its societal resilience due to information manipulations and hostile narratives. In response, the country has developed smart digital solutions, high levels of media and information literacy, and transparent decision-making processes. Our master's programme provides a unique opportunity to learn from these efforts, bringing together academic knowledge and practical experiences from within and outside the country.

The programme leverages cutting-edge research in communication, law, psychology, sociology, data science, and regional studies to enhance societal resilience across Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia. Students will delve into the impacts of disinformation, explore different dimensions of societal resilience, and identify sources of vulnerability. Students contribute to a holistic understanding of the problem and its regional solutions through country-based practical projects. Moreover, this journey will connect students with an international professional network actively engaged in combating disinformation daily.

Read more about the programme from its information sheet.

Watch info session dedicated to the MA in Disinformation and Societal resilience international degree programme where Maria Murumaa-Mengel and the programme director Maia Klassen offer insights into the programme's curriculum, opportunities, and the learning environment.

Our programme aims to equip professionals with essential and adaptable knowledge in communication, sociology, data sciences, regional studies, law, and psychology. Students will learn to analyse information processes and make policy recommendations to effectively combat disinformation, while actively contributing to the strengthening of societal resilience.

Course and module details

This programme structure is the latest one confirmed by the university. Next year's modules will be updated by 15 April. Significant changes to the programme will be announced in advance on this website. Check the Study Information System for the latest updates.

The programme is designed for specialists for whom the issue of building and maintaining societal resilience in the face of disruptive processes within our information sphere is a matter of professional necessity. The skills and knowledge gained during the year at the Institute of Social Studies will enable graduates to apply evidence-based strategies in their respective fields for the next decade.

Upon completion, graduates will be awarded a Master of Arts in Social Sciences (Disinformation and Societal Resilience) and will find career opportunities in the public and third sectors. This includes positions in public institutions, agencies, and NGOs, specialising in strategic communication, policy analysis, impact assessment, cyber security, media and information literacy through formal or non-formal education, and more. As the field of strengthening democracies against disinformation continues to evolve, new and unforeseen career paths emerge each year.

To enhance practical skills, the programme offers a four-week internship with our partner organisations actively combating information disorders. Through these internships, students gain firsthand knowledge of working processes and expand their professional network, providing invaluable connections for future work in the field.

Admission requirements for Disinformation and Societal Resilience

NB! Citizens of the Russian Federation who, under the legislation of the Republic of Estonia, cannot apply for a long-stay visa or residence permit to study or do not have a valid legal basis to stay in the Republic of Estonia until the end of the curriculum’s standard period of study are not eligible to apply to the University of Tartu in the 2024/2025 academic year.

According to the current legislation, citizens of Belarus can apply for Estonian long-term visa or temporary residence permit for studies and are therefore eligible to apply to the University of Tartu.

Estonian applicants should apply via National Admission Information Systems (SAIS). Further information in Estonian is available here.

Applications are evaluated based on

  • the score of the motivation letter (yields 50% of the final score)

  • the admission interview (yields 50% of the final score)

The motivation letter (in English, 700-1000 words) explains the candidate’s motivation to study in the programme and reflects on previous experience in the field. The letter of motivation may be accompanied by a letter of recommendation (not mandatory) from a representative of your organisation, a partner organisation or a national authority, for which a maximum of 5 additional points may be awarded.

Cover letter components:

  • What are the candidate’s qualifications and motivation to enter the programme? (Give a short overview of your work experience and/or disinformation-related challenges encountered.)
  • What is the problem the candidate wants to solve, and why? How does the candidate intend to practically apply the competencies acquired in the programme in the future (e.g., in a specific job, organisation, community)? How will the candidate’s studies benefit the candidate’s native country or local community?
  • Which stakeholders will help the candidate to solve the central problem of his/her motivation letter? Visualize the relevant stakeholders who should be involved in solving the candidate’s problem.
    Drawing, sketch or visualisation, up to half an A4 has to be uploaded as a separate file in your DreamApply application.
  • How does the candidate assess his/her general and professional competencies (oral and written communication skills in English, ability to find and read academic texts, teamwork skills, online collaboration skills, ability to create audio-visual materials, international collaboration skills, experience in social science research, data analysis and interpretation skills)? When evaluating their competencies, please provide examples of their application and an assessment of whether they are excellent, good, satisfactory or insufficient. Candidates do not need to be experienced or competent in all of the above – the self-assessment will help us to plan support seminars.

Evaluation of the letter:

The motivation letter will provide an insight into the candidate’s professional readiness and motivation to study in the programme. The motivation letter will be assessed based on the following criteria in a 100-point system:

  • Relevance of previous studies and professional profile (20p);
  • Thoroughness of the reasoning behind the professional problem and solution and the meaningfulness of the mapping of the parties in the diagram (20p);
  • Ability to reflect on own learning motivation and needs (20p);
  • The benefits of learning for the learner and society (20p);
  • Coherence, logical structure and argumentation of the motivation letter (20p);

Using ChatGPT to generate the motivation letter is forbidden. We check the use of AI and will disqualify candidates whose work is flagged as created by AI. To be admitted to the interview, the motivation letter must score 51 out of 100 points.


The admission interview will take place with the admission committee and will aim to assess:

  • the professional motivation of the candidate in an exchange of views;
  • the candidate’s analytical, reasoning and reflection skills;
  • professional competences (expression and presentation, ability to apply the competences acquired);
  • awareness of social issues and ethical sensitivity.

The interview will last up to 30 minutes and will be conducted online via Zoom.

Evaluation of the interview

The interview will be assessed on a 100-point system based on the following criteria:

  • motivation to study and work in the field (20p);
  • motivation and motivation to work and study in the field (20p);
  • ability to analyse, reason and generalise (20p);
  • ability to apply creativity and problem-solving (20p);
  • professional prerequisites (expressive and presentational skills, coping under pressure, etc.) (20p).

To pass the admission interview, a score of 51/100 points is needed.

For each assignment, the maximum score is 100 points and minimum score 51 points to be considered for admission. The applicant needs to receive at least 51 points for the motivation letter, in order to qualify for the admission interview. After the interview, the final admission score is calculated. The total admission score will be the weighted sum of the score of the motivation letter and the interview. The maximum number of final points is 100. Only applications which receive 66 points and above as a combined score from both indicators will qualify for admission.

Further information on assessing candidates´ academic performance and calculating admissions´ score.

The decision about granting a tuition waiver is made based on the motivation letter, the interview and the need for financial support described by the candidate in the application. Also, to be considered for the tuition waiver, the cumulative score of the admissions process must be at least 80 points.

How to apply


The following information applies to international students and Estonian students who graduated abroad:

The application system opens on 1 September and closes on 15 September. The following documents must be submitted electronically via DreamApply by 15 September:

  1. online application
  2. motivation letter
  3. official certified copies of bachelor's or master's diplomas and diploma supplements (bachelor's and master's transcript/mark sheet, including the description of the grading scale) in the original language. Please read our country-specific requirements for submitting your educational documents.
  4. official translations of the bachelor’s and master's diplomas and diploma supplements (transcripts) into English, translation certified.
  5. proof of English language proficiency
  6. copy of the passport page stating the applicant’s personal particulars
  7. confirmation/receipt of application fee payment (if applicable). All international applicants are required to pay the application fee EUR 100, unless they have completed the previous study level in Estonia. An application will only be processed after the fee has been received by the UT
  8. curriculum vitae

Submitted applications can not be edited. It is only possible to upload new documents (e.g. graduation certificates). Applicants will receive feedback and notifications through the DreamApply system to their e-mail. Incomplete applications or those submitted by e-mail will not be considered for admission.

Guide to submitting an electronic application on DreamApply.

NB: The University of Tartu has no official partnerships with agents or educational representatives. We strongly recommend applying directly to the university without the help of unauthorised third-party entities. Should you use such a service, please ensure that your application's contact information is your personal details (your e-mail, phone number, etc.).

The evaluation of applications will be made based on the electronic copies added to DreamApply. A general ranking list will be formed based on the electronically submitted applications and admission results (including offers) will be announced to all applicants personally via DreamApply by October 15 at the latest. Admitted candidates are expected to accept or decline the offer in DreamApply in 7 days. If the decision is not communicated to UT via DreamApply by the stipulated deadline, UT reserves the right to withdraw the admission offer.

NB! It is not possible to postpone the beginning of studies to the next academic year.

Terms and conditions of the admission offer

Admission offers are conditional. This means that there are conditions in the offer which the applicant needs to fulfil in order to be admitted (e.g. sending application documents by post; obtaining the required level of education). If the conditions are not met, UT has the right to withdraw the offer. Also, UT reserves the right to withdraw or amend any offer or revoke the matriculation of a student, if it becomes evident that the application contains fraudulent information, the qualification does not provide access to the chosen study programme or the student is found to have omitted key information from the application. Should such circumstances occur, UT will not be liable for any material or immaterial loss which the student may suffer as a result.

Once the admission results have been announced, all admitted students are required to send the application documents by post to: Student Admissions, University of Tartu, Ülikooli 18-133, Tartu 50090, ESTONIA.

The documents are expected to be mailed only by those receiving the admission offer (unless instructed otherwise by the admissions staff). The documents must reach the university within 3 weeks from the announcement of the offer. If the application documents do not reach us by the deadline, the university has the right to withdraw the admission offer. Applicants will be informed when their documents have arrived.

Requirements for educational documents

All copies of educational documents (diplomas and Diploma Supplements/transcripts) must be officially certified. By certified we mean that the copies should bear an original signature and seal of the authority certifying that these are true copies of the original document(s). The copies can be certified either 1) by an authorised official of the issuing institution, or 2) by a notary, or 3) with an Apostille attached. NB! Country-specific requirements may also specify the way documents from certain countries must be certified.

Please note that UT does not accept simple copies made on the basis of already certified copies (primary copies are needed).

Paying the tuition fee (applicable to those receiving a fee-based study place offer)

  • EU/EEA/Swiss citizens are required to pay the fee for the first semester by 20 March at the latest after signing the fee contract, please read more here.
  • Admitted students from other countries are required to pre-pay half of the first semester's tuition fee. The invoice along with the pre-payment deadline and payment details will be sent to applicants via DreamApply after they have accepted the admissions offer and the University has received the hard copies of the application documents. Second part of the fee is due on 20 March. NB! The official admission letter (necessary for visa application) will only be issued once the University of Tartu has received the pre-payment.
  • By transferring the pre-payment to the university, you confirm that you have informed yourself about the process of the visa application and you are able to arrive in Estonia by the start of the academic year. If you have any questions please contact studentvisasupport@ut.ee.

The official admission letter will be sent to admitted students electronically via DreamApply only after the admissions office has received and reviewed hard copies of the application documents, and received the tuition fee pre-payment (if a pre-payment was required, please see step 3 for more details).

NB! The electronic admission letter is also sufficient for non-EU students for applying for visa at an Estonian embassy.

Once the admission letter is issued, accepted students may proceed further with arranging their arrival. All non-EU students should first consult information on the process of visa and temporary residence permit application to be sure, as where and when the relevant documents need to be applied. Note that housing at the UT dormitories can be applied during a limited period of time, unless specified otherwise on the website. For housing alternatives please find further information on Tartu Welcome Centre website.  
Travel information can be found here.

Based upon common queries, the most important information has been summarised into a pre-arrival information website UT Getting Started.


Estonian applicants should apply via National Admission Information Systems (SAIS). Further information in Estonian is available here.

External students

Applications for full-time degree studies for 2024 are no longer being accepted. However, you may pursue your studies as an external student from February 2024. An external student is a person who wants to:

  • raise their competence
  • broaden their horizons
  • develop their professional skills
  • continue their unfinished studies.

External students are not matriculated, i.e. they are not students. An external student is a person who has the right to complete the curriculum, including taking exams and passing evaluations for up to 30 credits (ECTS) per academic year, completing practical training, and taking the final exam or defending a graduation thesis. The status of an external student is assigned for a semester or an academic year. A contract between the university and the external student defines the relationship between the external student and the university. The tuition fee is paid on the basis of the credit point price and the volume of credit points registered for the semester.

If you wish to join the programme as an external student, please send us your previous educational documents and proof of English language proficiency. We may request you to send additional documents after the initial application.

All necessary documents should be forwarded to Kathriin Liiber, our programme coordinator (kathriin.liiber@ut.ee).

Tuition fee and scholarships

Practical info for new students

University of Tartu Institute of Social Studies

Ask about the programme and admission
Maia Klaassen
Faculty of Social Sciences
Institute of Social Studies
Junior Research Fellow in Media Competence, Programme Director
Lossi 36–414
+372 554 5559
Kathriin Liiber
Faculty of Social Sciences
Institute of Social Studies
Academic Affairs Specialist
Lossi 36–212
+372 737 5190

Student Admissions

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