The Centre for Applied Human Rights at the University of York in the UK, offers a doctoral studies program for students with an interest in human rights. During the first year of study, students learn about various methods of conducting research in the area of interest to them. Possible fields of study include human rights activism, the practice of defending human rights, rights in developing nations, law enforcement, refugee studies, human rights protections and transitional justice. There are no course requirements; students instead spend their time working on a 100,000-word dissertation on an approved topic of research. Ph.D. candidates are permitted to audit courses in fields related to their studies. Full-time students have 3 years to complete their research. Those who complete the program on a part-time basis have 6 years to finish.
The Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex in the UK, offers a PhD program that gives students the freedom to investigate a wide variety of research subjects. Possible topics include armed conflict, human rights in business, children’s rights, prisoners’ rights, human rights in developing nations, disaster response, environmental studies, freedom of expression, indigenous rights, media’s influence on human rights, poverty, disability rights, human trafficking, religious rights and women’s rights. The majority of students receive full funding to cover the cost of their education. Applicants must submit a research proposal along with their applications for admission. All coursework and the culminating dissertation are conducted in English. Individuals who received their previous degrees from universities located in non English-speaking countries will need to submit IELTS, Pearson or TOEFL fluency scores.
The Centre for Social Studies at the University of Coimbra in Lisbon, Portugal, offers a doctoral program in Human Rights in Contemporary Societies. Students may complete the requirements in three or four years. Classes are taken in the history of human rights, human rights theory, politics, human rights practices, diversity, discrimination, social reform, development policies and research methods. All students must also complete a short-term internship with a human rights agency or organization. The final one to two years of the program is spent completing a thesis dissertation on an area of interest related to human rights in the modern world. Fluency in English is also required.
The Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland, Galway, in Ireland, accepts students for a doctoral program and typically has 40 to 50 doctoral candidates in residence at one time. Students are free to audit courses related to their fields of interest and may choose to investigate many aspects of human rights, including, but not limited to, international criminal justice, peace support, economic and social rights, counter-terrorism and transitional justice. To be considered for admission, students must hold a master’s degree and have a record of academic excellence. Prospective Ph.D. students are also expected to be fluent in English. Those who are non native speakers will be required to submit TOEFL and ELTS scores. A statement of research interests is mandatory.