Frequently Asked Questions
What is a human rights masters?
A human rights masters is most commonly a one or two year academic program that awards an accredited degree upon successful completion. Human rights masters tend to be interdisciplinary and draw on the expertise from multiple other disciplines such as law, philosophy, anthropology, history, sociology, psychology and religion. A masters requires the study of a bachelors degree first. Human rights masters can be offered on a full-time or part-time basis and are available in English and multiple other languages including Spanish and French. For many human rights jobs a master's degree is a requirement.
Examples of human rights masters:
- Master of Arts in Applied Human Rights
- Master of Laws in International Human Rights Law
- Master of Philosophy in Theory and Practice of Human Rights
- Master of Science in Human Rights and Data Science
What you will learn in a human rights masters
A master in human rights will equip you with foundational knowledge and skills to promote, defend and protect human rights. You will learn about the theory of human rights from a multidisciplinary perspective and develop practical skills for their application. While some masters are highly specialized on topics such as Child Rights, Women's Rights or Refugee Rights, others provide a more holistic perspective. In a human rights masters you will learn how to critically engage in current human rights issues and develop the tools and strategies to have a tangible positive impact on people's lives. This includes studying human rights laws, documents and protection mechanisms, and developing hands-on, practical skills to research human rights violations, analyze human rights cases and advocate for human rights.
Examples of topics a human rights master covers:
- The history, origin and evolution of human rights in theory and practice as well as human rights principles, standards and instruments.
- Scope and application of specific human rights such as the right to life, the right to liberty and security, the right to freedom of expression or the right to freedom from torture.
- Mandate and functioning of the International Human Rights Protection Mechanisms such as the UN Human Rights Council, UN Special Rapporteurs, UN Treaty Bodies and regional protection mechanisms such as the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights.
- Practical skills for Human Rights Education, Research, Campaigning, Advocacy, Policy, and Activism.
- The structure, management, methods, tools and strategies of human rights organizations.
- Scholarly values and the rules of scientific working and academic research.
Examples of skills you will learn and train in a human rights masters:
- investigate, analyze and apply human rights to cases of human rights violations.
- research and critically discuss current human rights issues such as climate change, refugee and asylum rights, gender-based violence or hate crimes.
- plan, develop, manage, launch and evaluate a human rights campaign for LGBTQ rights, gender, inclusion and diversity.
- mobilize others to advocate for the release of political prisoners and individuals at risk.
- develop a learning experience to equip people with the skills to take action for human rights.
What you can do with a human rights masters
A masters in human rights opens up a variety of career paths. Most commonly people work in advocacy, activism, campaigning, research, policy, education and law for intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, governments and social enterprises. Beyond the tangible career benefits, a masters in human rights will change how you analyze and see the world.
Examples of what you can do with a human rights masters:
- equip people with the knowledge and skills to claim and defend human rights.
- advocate on behalf of victims of hate crimes, discrimination and torture.
- fight for equality and justice for refugees and migrants.
- investigate human rights violations in a specific country or region.
- mobilize and engage supporters for a cause.
Where you can work with a human rights masters
Human rights graduates often work for intergovernmental organizations (United Nations, Council of Europe, ASEAN, OSCE), international NGOs (Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Save the Children, International Committee of the Red Cross), governmental entities (UK Mission to the United Nations, Permanent Missions to the United Nations) or social enterprises. More recently also companies such as Facebook and Google employ human rights professionals.
Examples of employers for human rights graduates:
- Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
- Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
- Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) or Council of Europe (CoE)
- Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch or Save the Children
How you can fund your human rights masters
Most human rights masters offer a limited amount of scholarships for international applicants. These scholarships will cover the entirety or parts of the tuition fees. Scholarships can either be merit-based (e.g. good marks in your bachelor), which is more frequent in the United States or needs-based (e.g. financial aid). Because masters have limited scholarships available, you may want to consider applying for a scholarship offered by the government. A third option to obtain scholarships for a human rights masters are individual grants from organizations. We have compiled a list of a variety of scholarships here.
Examples of scholarships for human rights masters:
What you will earn with a human rights masters
Salaries of human rights graduates vary strongly. However, the general consensus is that human rights professionals earn less than their business counterparts. Recent graduates will normally earn between USD 30,000 and 50,000. Salaries of USD 45,000 to USD 70,000 are common for mid-career positions. With increasing seniority, and depending on the size and location of the organization, salaries can reach low to mid six figure compensation.
Examples of salaries in the human rights sector:
- Secretary-General, Amnesty International (≈ USD 190,000)
- UN Entry Level Jobs (≈ USD 70,000 - 120,000)
- Save the Children median pay ( ≈ USD 55,000)
- Human Rights Watch Associate positions (≈ USD 52,000)
What types of human rights masters exist
Human rights masters award a variety of degrees. Most frequently Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Laws (LL.M.), Master of Science (M.Sc.) and less frequently Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.), Master of Research (M.Res.), Master of Education (M.Ed.). Masters are offered as full-time, part-time degrees or both. Whilst most masters take 1-2 years to complete, part-time masters can take up to five years to finish. Human Rights Masters can be offered fully online, on-campus or in a blended mode.
Examples of degrees that human rights masters provide:
- LLM in Human Rights Law (Master of Laws)
- MA in Human Rights and Democratization (Master of Arts)
- MSc in Human Rights (Master of Science)
- MPhil in Human Rights (Master of Philosophy)
How to choose a human rights masters
With the broad variety of masters available, it can be difficult to choose. The first and most important decision is whether you study a LL.M or any other human rights masters. An LL.M will be required for a legal career. If you want to become a human rights lawyer you first have to become a lawyer and then specialize in human rights. All other human rights masters (M.A., M.Sc. M.Phil., M.Res.) will set you up for any other career path in campaigning, education, advocacy, research and activism. There are other aspects of a human rights master that you can include in your decision, such as the country where you study, the language in which you study, etc.
- Country: Studying in particular country can give you access to organizations, courts, culture, language and extra-curricular activities.
- Pace: Depending on your current schedule a full- or part-time masters will be the better choice.
- Regional Specialization: Masters with a regional specialization can give you an edge when you want to work in that region.
- Mode: Online masters are more flexible but on-campus masters enable you to build deeper relationships with your classmates.
- Internships: Some masters maintain relationships to human rights organizations making it easier to get internships.
- Field Trips: Occasionally, masters offer field trips to post-conflict countries or courts, which can be a very valuable experience.
- Legal Clinic: In a legal clinic students support on real cases and gain hands-on experience.
- Moot Courts: Some masters offer Moot courts that are simulated court or arbitration proceedings.
- Focus: Some masters are broad, others very specific. Choose the masters that suits your interests best.
Pros and Cons of a human rights masters
While studying a human rights master has many advantages, there are also some disadvantages you should be aware of before you make your decision. The biggest advantage of a human rights masters is that it qualifies you to work for a variety of intergovernmental organizations, international NGOs and government positions. Beyond the improved career prospects, a human rights masters will likely shift and disrupt your worldview.
Pros of studying a human rights masters:
- equips you with tools and skills to change the world
- opens career paths in campaigning, education, advocacy, policy, law, activism etc.
- enables you to meet educational requirements of human rights jobs
- may disrupt your worldview and influences your own behaviors
Cons of studying a human rights masters
- lower pay than in a comparable position in the for-profit sector
- many jobs require the ability to work under high pressure
- costs of human rights masters can be high
- exposes you to cases of immense human suffering and cruelty
Human Rights Masters in the United States
Master of Human Rights (MHR), University of Minnesota – Minneapolis, MN
The University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs offers a Master of Human Rights program. This program is an interdisciplinary degree, allowing students to take courses through a variety of departments and schools. Students learn theory and skills and gain practical experience through an internship program and a capstone project. Students also have opportunities to participate in workshops, attend conferences, and engage with research centers. Through classes, seminars, conferences, workshops, and more, students learn from and engage with leaders, scholars, and activists in the field.
This 2-year program costs $18,182 for in-state residents and $27,530 for out-of-state residents. The university offers a variety of merit-based and need-based financial aid programs, including multiple graduate fellowships, loans, work-study programs, and more.
MA in Social Justice and Human Rights, Arizona State University – Tempe, AZ
Arizona State University’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences offers a Master of Arts in Social Justice and Human Rights program. Students in this degree program can choose to follow a course track of research, advocacy, or critical trauma studies and social work. The courses in each track teach students theory and method relating to issues such as human security, labor, migration, children, family, education, and environment. Students also have the opportunity to obtain an accelerated bachelor’s degree, in addition to their master’s degree, through a 5-year program. To complete the degree program, students must take the required courses, including a research class and either a thesis or an applied project.
For the 2-year master’s program, tuition is $12,134 for in-state students, $23,372 for out-of-state students, and $25,046 for international students. These costs do not include additional fees and expenses for living and supplies. ASU states that more than 80% of their students receive some type of financial aid. On their site, they have a link to search for various scholarships, as well as information about university fellowships, on-campus employment, and loans.
LLM in International Human Rights, Northwestern University – Chicago, IL
The LLM in International Human Rights at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law is specifically designed for JD and LLB students to gain an in-depth knowledge of theories, methods, and issues relating to international human rights. Taught by scholars with hands-on law practice experience, students have access to several resources, including the Center for International Human Rights and various seminars. Students are encouraged to look at relevant issues and situations in their home countries from the perspective the international human rights law theories they learn. In addition to the core courses, students must also take electives and complete a graduate thesis. Any applicants without a law degree who have significant relevant work experience can be accepted into the Master of Legal Studies in International Human Rights program, which is identical in content to the LLM program.
For this 2-year degree, tuition is $67,066 per year. The law school and the university offer a variety of scholarships for students that they can be considered for upon applying to the program. Students who receive a scholarship will continue to receive that scholarship for their additional years of study, as long as they keep good academic standing.
MA in International Human Rights, University of Denver – Denver, CO
The University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies offers an MA in International Human Rights. As an interdisciplinary program, the courses aim to bring human rights together with development, health, security, and humanitarian assistance through both theory and practical skills. To complete their degree, students take a variety of theory and method courses, as well as participate in an internship. Students can choose a specialization from a large selection of topic areas. The program also encourages students to gain proficiency in a foreign language. The Josef Korbel school also offers students the opportunity to get involved with academic groups, research centers, and more.
This master’s program is designed to be a 2-year degree. Tuition is charged per term and costs $17,112 each term without fees or living expenses for a total of $51,336 if your year consists of fall, winter, and spring term courses. The University of Denver offers some financial aid for students, including assistantships, fellowships, scholarships, and loans. The Josef Korbel school also offers scholarships and fellowships to its students, including a few full-tuition fellowships.MA in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Social Justice and Human Rights,
George Mason University – Fairfax, VA
George Mason University, through its College of Humanities and Social Sciences, offers a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Social Justice and Human Rights. This program is specifically designed to give students a multi-perspective approach to issues of social justice and human rights, allowing flexibility in which topic areas the students choose to study and focus on. Students are taught by faculty who are engaged in a wide variety of social justice issues around the world, teaching them theory, methods, and practical skills, all just outside of the hub of politics and activism—Washington, DC. The program requires students to take a small number of core courses, in addition to taking courses centered around a focus area, as well as electives. To complete the degree, students must complete a research methods class, proposal class, and thesis or project.
This 2-year master’s program costs about $12,402 per year for in-state students and $27,841 for out-of-state students. GMU offers several scholarship and fellowship options for graduate students, as well as grants and loans.
LLM in Human Rights & Social Justice, University of Connecticut – Hartford, CT
The University of Connecticut (UCONN)’s School of Law offers an LLM in Human Rights & Social Justice. This program is designed for students with a previous law degree to gain knowledge and experience that will allow them to work on a domestic or global level with legal issues relating to business, social policy, civil rights, and more. In addition to interdisciplinary courses teaching theory and practice in law, students will also have the chance to take classes through the Human Rights Institute at UCONN, a research center focused specifically on human rights issues. Students may also have the opportunity to participate in the Asylum and Human Rights Clinic to gain practical experience. They can also obtain a certificate in a specific law focus area through the completion of 9-12 additional credits.
The 2-year law program costs $28,560 for US students and $22,976 per year for international students. UCONN offers law scholarships and also has a list of both internal and external scholarships students may be eligible to apply for.
LLM with a concentration in Human Rights Law, Yale University – New Haven, Connecticut
Yale Law School offers an LLM degree for which students can obtain a concentration in Human Rights Law. This program, accepting a limited number of students, is designed for those who wish to teach law academically. LLM students choose their courses from a variety of elective classes and are encouraged to participate in a number of extracurricular opportunities such as presenting at national conferences, participating in student organizations, and attending events offered by the law school, such as their Works in Progress Symposium, workshops, luncheons, and field trips. With the Human Rights Law concentration, students can learn about human rights issues and contribute to research and discussion around the world. They also have the opportunity to participate in a legal clinic specifically focusing on human rights cases.
This 2-year degree program costs $62,017, not including other fees and expenses. The law school offers financial aid scholarships based solely on need, giving some level of aid to about 70% of students at the university. Those studying human rights also have a chance to obtain one of several fellowship opportunities offered.
LLM in International Human Rights Law, University of Notre Dame – Notre Dame, IN
The University of Notre Dame Law School has an LLM in International Human Rights Law. The program is designed to give students theoretical and practical experience in international human rights law, preparing them to work in the field anywhere in the world. While not ideal for students looking to begin practicing law, the curriculum is created to support practicing lawyers already in the field with additional knowledge and skills to bring to the field. In addition to a few required courses, students choose from a variety of electives to create their own concentration. If desired, students may apply for additional funding after completion of their courses to participate in an internship relevant to their degree.
This program is a 1-year program that costs $60,240 per year for all students. All applicants are considered for a scholarship and stipend upon submission of their academic application. Students can apply for additional internal and external scholarships, loans, and employment opportunities to finance their studies.
LLM with a concentration in Human Rights, New York University – New York City, NY
NYU’s law school offers an LLM degree in which you can obtain a concentration in Human Rights. Students may also choose to pursue an LLM in International Legal Studies and gain specialization in Human Rights & International Criminal Law. Through the general LLM program, students can choose courses that best fit their interests in the area of law. The Human Rights concentration offers a variety of courses designed to provide an interdisciplinary approach to students interested in this subject area. Students may participate in legal clinics that focus on human rights cases and seminars that give an in-depth study to specific human rights issues. Students can also choose to pursue a thesis or research project to complete their degree.
This 1-year program costs around $31,901 for tuition, not including fees and expenses. NYU offers some financial aid in the form of scholarship, grants, and loans. Students can also obtain external scholarships to cover expenses.
Human Rights Masters in Europe
Abo Akademi University – Institute for Human Rights, Turku
The Master of Social Sciences degree in the International Human Rights Law program requires 2 years of full-time study at the university’s campus in Turku, Finland. Students complete 85 credits of coursework related specifically to human rights law and 35 credits of electives in subjects of interest to them. Successful completion of the master’s program involves completing a research seminar and writing a master’s thesis. A bachelor’s degree in law or a related field is required for admission.
Central European University – Legal Studies Department, Budapest
This 10-month full-time course of study at Central European University awards a Master of Arts in Human Rights degree upon completion. This interdisciplinary master’s degree program examines human rights and allows students to focus their research on a number of different topics, including criminal justice, minority protection, freedom of religion, political rights and non-discrimination. Often, internships with the Open Society Foundation and other non-government organizations are a part of the master’s degree program.
Charles University – Faculty of Law, Prague
Charles University offers a Master of Laws degree program with a concentration in human rights law and protection of the environment. This course of study examines how protecting human rights and the planet are interconnected and includes course work in public international law, environmental law, international human rights law, human rights protection and environmental law in Czech Republic. Optional courses tailored to students’ interests and the completion of a thesis round up the requirements of the 3-semester program.
Global Campus of Human Rights, Venice
The European Master’s Programme in Human Rights and Democratisation is a unique program offered in cooperation with 41 universities located across Europe. Students spend the first semester of the year-long course of study in Venice taking core courses related to human rights and participating in a field experience in Kosovo. The second semester takes place at one of the partner schools with additional coursework and research for a mandatory master’s thesis that must be defended during the final semester of study.
European University Viadrina – Faculty of Law, Frankfurt am Oder
The Master of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law results in a Master of Laws degree with 1.5 years of study spanning three semesters. All students in the program take a set of core courses in general human rights, civil rights and the rights of special groups. Electives are used to round out the coursework and allow students to gain a deeper breadth of knowledge in their research areas. A master’s thesis and an internship are required.
Interfaculty Centre for Children’s Rights (formerly Inter-University Institute Kurt Bosch), University of Geneva, Geneva
A full-time interdisciplinary master’s degree program, this 3-semester long course of study is taught in French and examines the rights of minors and issues related to protecting those rights from legal, psychological, sociological and educational standpoints. All students spend the first semester completing foundation coursework and then participate in a group project and elective seminars during the second semester. The final semester is spent completing a research paper and participating in an internship work placement.
Istanbul Bilgi University – Faculty of Law
The Master of Laws in Human Rights Law program at this Turkish university allows students to focus on one of four areas: the theoretical foundations of human rights, monitoring mechanisms or human rights, discrimination against minorities and human rights in criminal justice. For further flexibility, students have their studies culminate with either a formal master’s thesis or to complete a research project. Both tracks typically require 1 year of full-time study to complete.
Leiden University – Faculty of Law
An Advanced Master of Laws program, the European and International Human Rights Law focuses on regional and global human rights and how the two are interrelated. Admission to this program is highly competitive and those admitted have the opportunity to learn firsthand from renowned human rights experts who visit the university for lectures and seminars. All students complete an internship or study experience with a human rights organization in Geneva, Switzerland, or Strasbourg, France, as a part of the curriculum.
Leuphana University of Lüneburg – Digital School
The Master’s program in Governance and Human Rights is a very unique graduate program in human rights in that portions of the curriculum is presented online. Open to students from the EU and beyond, the distance education program allows for remote study for many courses with the rest of the classes being completed at the university’s campus in Lüne-burg, Germany. The program is geared toward professionals who want to further their education in human rights as it relates to political science and public policy.
London School of Economics and Political Science – Department of Law – Human Rights Law
The Centre for the Study of Human Rights partners with the London School of Economics and Political Science to offer an interdisciplinary master’s degree program in human rights law. Students in the program take courses in a wide range of subjects, including law, sociology, criminal justice, public policy and anthropology. Course requirements vary from year to year, but students are required to complete independent research and write a master’s thesis on an aspect of human rights law of interest to them.
University of Vienna, Postgraduate Center
The Vienna Master of Arts in Human Rights is a two-year master’s program that takes a well-rounded approach to human rights, examining it from every possible angle. Examining the subject on both a regional and an international level, the program includes an internship or work experience during the third semester. All students also participate in a field experience in Kosovo and have a chance to see human rights organizations at work. A master’s thesis is a final mandatory requirement.
Middlesex University – Department of Law, London
Middlesex University allows students with bachelor’s degrees in law to pursue a certificate, a diploma or a Masters of Laws degree in Human Rights Law. Very flexible to meet the needs of both recent graduates and professionals returning to school, the master’s degree program can be completed within 1 year with full-time study or within 2 years with part-time study. The multi-disciplinary program takes on the subject of human rights law from social, cultural, ethical, political, economic and legal viewpoints.
Mykolas Romeris University – Faculty of Law, Vilnius
In cooperation with the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kiev, Ukraine, Mykolas Romeris University offers a Master of Laws degree in the Legal Regulation of Public Administration and Human Rights. The program lasts for 2 years and is intended for individuals who wish to work in the public sector after graduation. Students alternate between the campuses in Kiev and Vilnius each semester, completing course work and a research thesis on an area of interest.
National University of Ireland, Galway – Irish Centre for Human Rights
At the National University of Ireland, Galway, students with bachelor’s degrees in law or related fields can pursue either a Master of Laws degree in International Human Rights Law or a Masters of Laws degree in Peace Operations, Humanitarian Law and Conflict. Both programs prepare students for further study at the doctoral level or for careers in the private or public sectors. An internship is a mandatory part of the program; working professionals may receive course credit for their jobs.
Queen Mary, University of London – School of Law
The Master of Laws degree program in Human Rights Law at Queen Mary University of London is offered as both a 1-year full-time program and a 2-year part-time program. No matter which option students choose, the program provides an in-depth look at human rights issues in the UK, Europe and on a global scale. Students are also responsible for completing a 15,000-word dissertation. Opportunities for internships, field experiences and work placements are available for those in the program.
Queens University Belfast – Human Rights Centre
A Masters of Laws degree program at Queens University Belfast requires three semesters of full-time study and the completion of a dissertation and a specialized project in an area of interest. Students spend one semester studying international human rights law and human rights law practice. Then, they have the option to focus on areas of interest, such as equality, human rights in conflict zones, counter-terrorism, migration and human rights protections in various regions of the world.
School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London – School of Law
The University of London offers the Human Rights, Conflict and Justice Master of Laws program in a number of formats, as it is meant to be flexible for both recent baccalaureate degree recipients and adults returning to graduate school. With full-time study, the requirements for the degree can be completed within one year. Part-time programs with two, three and four-year curriculum plans are also offered. Students must complete a dissertation in one of seven areas of concentration with any of the program options.
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid – Instituto de Derechos Humanos ‘Bartolomé de las Casas’
Open to Spanish speaking students, the Graduate School of Law offers a Master’s degree in Advanced Studies in Human Rights. Students who hold bachelor’s-level degrees in law receive the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of human rights issues and how laws are used to both defend and limit human rights. Research is an integral part of the program with students expected to pursue independent study and complete a lengthy dissertation prior to completing the 90-credit program.
Universidad de Alcalá – Faculty of Law, Alcalá de Henares
The Master in International Protection of Human Rights is a program that is intended for individuals who are already working as public officials, lawyers or human rights lawyers and wish to further their studies of human rights-related issues. A full-time course of study, the curriculum includes three modules: human rights in international systems, practices and institutions and research. The final module culminates with the completion of a research thesis. Courses are offered in English and in Spanish.
University College London – Institute for Human Rights
The UCL Institute for Human Rights offers two different master’s levels of programs in the field of human rights. The Master of Laws in Human Rights is intended for students who hold law degrees and are interested in children’s rights, comparative human rights, human rights in the workplace and European and international human rights law. Open to students who hold bachelor’s degrees in other fields, the Master of Arts in Human Rights includes the study of human rights theory, human rights standards and institutions, research and legal analysis and international human rights laws.
University of Bristol – Law School
At the Clifton Campus of the University of Bristol, students who have a bachelor’s degree in law may pursue a Master of Laws degree in Human Rights Law. The program can be completed in 1 year with full-time study or within two years with daytime only part-time study. Open to UK and international students, the program allows students to focus on many aspects of international law and requires the completion of a dissertation based on independent research.
University of Edinburgh – School of Law
The University of Edinburgh offers a Master of Laws degree and a Master of Arts degree in Human Rights. Both programs provide the flexibility to take classes full-time for one year or part-time for two years. With the ability to focus on human rights law, crime and criminal justice or other areas of interest, the programs are suitable for students with a broad range of interests. A dissertation or a work-based placement are required for graduation.
University of Essex – Human Rights Centre, Colchester
The Human Rights Centre offers a number of degrees related to human rights. Students with a background in law can work toward a Master of Laws degree in International Human Rights Laws, International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law or Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Those with bachelor’s degrees in other fields may pursue a Master of Arts degree in Theory and Practice of Human Rights or Human Rights and Cultural Diversity. All programs are offered as full and part-time courses of study.
University of Geneva – Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights
The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights provides students with the opportunity to pursue one of three degrees related to human rights. To continue studies after earning a law degree, students may opt for the Masters of Laws in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. Students from other backgrounds who are interested in transitional justice can pursue a master’s degree in Transitional Justice. A more general Executive Master program is offered for students who are interested in other fields related to human rights.
University of Glasgow – College of Social Sciences
The University of Glasgow offers full and part-time Master of Science degree programs in Human Rights & International Politics that last for 1 and 2 years, respectively. Students take mandatory courses in human rights perspectives, international law, global politics and statistics or research methods plus one elective course in political science and one elective course in law. The final requirement for the degree program is the completion of a thesis program on a topic of interest to each student.
University of Gothenburg – Department of Social Work
The University of Gothenburg in Sweden offers a Master’s of Social Work degree in Social Work and Human Rights. Open to students who hold a bachelor’s degree in social work or a baccalaureate degree in a related field, the program includes mandatory coursework in social work and welfare systems, interdisciplinary approaches to human rights, research method, social work practice, social work organization and international social work. A dissertation is required.
University of Latvia – Riga Graduate School of Law
Open to students with a bachelor’s degree in law, this program awards a Master of Laws degree in Public International Law and Human Rights. The program requires 1 year to complete with full-time study. Students may be admitted for part-time study on a case by case basis. All students in the program complete a thesis and courses in human rights law theory, conflict resolution in international humanitarian law, international criminal law, human rights and business law and human rights law in Europe.
University of Leeds – School of Law
The Master of Laws program in International and European Human Rights Law is open to students with a bachelor’s degree in social science or law. Students can choose to complete the program full-time within 1 year or part-time within 2 years. Students complete modules related to political philosophy, global and local human rights and domestic and international human rights laws. A dissertation is required for completion of the program and most classes require students to complete a paper, making the program very writing intensive.
University of London – School of Advanced Study – Institute of Commonwealth Studies
The Human Rights Consortium sponsors a Master of Arts in Understanding and Securing Human Rights program that includes two different courses of study. Students may focus on general human rights or focus their studies on human rights in Latin America. Those who choose the latter will have the opportunity to study abroad in a Latin American country through cooperation with the Institute of Latin American Studies. Students in the general program may also complete internships as a part of their coursework.
University of Lund – Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
Highly competitive, the International Human Rights Law Master’s Program is a rigorous course of study that encourages students from developing nations and those from the European Union to apply. To prepare students for work in the private, public and nonprofit sectors, the program includes an internship placement. Research and a master’s thesis are also required for graduation. The multi-disciplinary required coursework examines human rights from legal, sociological, economical and other contexts.
University of Malta – Faculty of Laws, Msida
The University of Malta offers a Master of Arts degree in Human Rights & Democratization of Governance that focuses on the subject of human rights as it relates to public policy and political science. Students spend one full year in the program taking courses in human rights practices, human rights in context, human rights law and human rights protections. A master’s thesis is required.
University of Nottingham – School of Law – Human Rights Law Centre
The University of Nottingham offers full-time Master of Laws degree program in Human Rights Law that requires 1 year to complete. Admission to the program is competitive with only those who received undergraduate degrees with honors eligible for admission. Some students may be permitted to take the coursework on a part-time basis over a 2-year period. The rigorous curriculum includes 90 credits of coursework in law and 30 credits of coursework in elective areas of interest. A dissertation is mandatory.
University of Oslo – Faculty of Law
The Master of Arts degree in Theory and Practice of Human Rights requires two years of full-time study to complete. All students in the program must complete coursework in human rights metholodology, human rights in practice, international and national human rights, human rights law in context and human rights in philosophy, history and politics. Four elective courses and a master’s thesis are additional requirements.
University of Oxford – Faculty of Law
The University of Oxford offers a prestigious Master of Science program in International Human Rights Laws that is intended for students who show a great potential for being leaders of tomorrow in the public, private or nonprofit spheres. To allow students to work while completing the program, the course of study is offered only on a part-time basis and requires a 2-year commitment.
University of Ulster – Transitional Justice Institute, Newtownabbey/ Londonderry
The Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University offers two human rights-related degree programs. For individuals who wish to work in areas related to women’s rights, the Master of Laws in Gender, Conflict and Human Rights is an ideal fit. The Master of Laws degree in Human Rights Law in Transitional Justice is geared toward those with a general interest in transitional justice. All applicants must have an honors bachelor’s degree in law, humanities or social sciences.
University of Warwick – School of Law, Stratford
The University of Warwick’s Master of Laws degree program in International Development Law and Human Rights is offered on a 1-year full-time or 2-year part-time basis. During the first two terms, students complete a required module and then choose three electives related to their specific interests. The final semester is devoted to the completion of a master’s thesis. A 7-month diploma program is also offered in International Development Law and Human Rights.
University of York – Centre for Applied Human Rights
The Centre for Applied Human Rights offers two graduate degree programs at the master’s level. Students with a legal background can opt for the Master of Laws in International Human Rights Law and Practice, while all others should apply for the Master of Arts in Applied Human Rights. All students are required to complete a fieldwork experience in the UK or abroad in South Africa or Malaysia and to complete a master’s thesis.
Université Panthéon-Assas – Paris II
The Université Panthéon-Assas offers a Master of Laws degree in Human Rights Law that is open to French-speaking students only. A full-time course of study, the program is open to those who hold bachelor’s degrees in law or a closely related field and requires 9 months of coursework to complete.
Université Saint-Louis, Bruxelles, Université catholique de Louvain, Université de Namur
This intensive multidisciplinary graduate program awards an Advanced Master degree in human rights. All students complete 300 hours of instructions with courses taught almost exclusively in French. A total of 120 hours of credit coursework is devoted to classes that examine human rights from a legal perspective, while another 90 credits deals with the social science-related aspects of human rights. Students then complete electives and a 30-credit dissertation.
Université de Strasbourg – Faculté de Droit
Taught in French, this full-time program awards of Master of Human Rights degree and is intended for students who have an interest in working for non-government organizations or in humanitarian relief. To qualify for admission, students must have a master’s degree in law or a related field. Along with coursework, students complete a thesis study and a field or work placement. Individuals currently working for NGOs or in humanitarian relief are preferred.