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5 Human Rights Masters Degrees With a Maximum Duration of One-Year

Also consider our directory of the best masters in human rights

Master of Arts in Human Rights, Central European University

This human rights masters programme targets an international cohort of students from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds. The aim of the programme is to train students in the theoretical and policy implications of defending human rights and to provide students with the skills for successful human rights protection and advocacy. The programme has an interdisciplinary approach, combining social science, policy-based approaches and legal science, exposing student to new fields of study and ways of thinking about human rights. Teaching is designed so as to engage students with the theoretical perspectives pertaining to human rights as well as to explore empirical analyses and practical applications of human rights interventions.

The programme combines course work with a written thesis and should be completed within ten months.

MSc Human Rights, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

The MSc in Human Rights at LSE is uniquely structured to provide students with a multidisciplinary engagement around key human rights issues and the foundational aspects of human rights study. The programme recognises the need to tackle the broader questions of policy, intervention and practice and not just focus on the theoretical aspects of the field. Students will obtain knowledge in the key legal, sociological, political and philosophical issues relevant to human rights and should be able to approach these issues with a level of rigorous analysis. The programme is run by the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the university and thus encourages active participation from students in the various events hosted by the centre. A core course looking at ‘Approaches to Human Rights’ is combined with elective courses and a written dissertation to make up the one-year academic programme.

MSc in Human Rights and International Politics, University of Glasgow

This programme aims to address the question of how individual human rights fit into a system of international relations in which states’ rights have traditionally been paramount. Designed as an interdisciplinary degree, students will encounter both the legal and political perspectives and can choose where to focus their interests. Course themes focus on issues of security, international institutions, gender, political philosophy, theories of rights, ethics and normative theory. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in a five-day field-trip to Geneva where they will visit the UN headquarters and other non-governmental human rights organisations. The programme is one-year, full-time and is comprised of four core courses and two electives, as well as a written dissertation.

MA in Human Rights Law, SOAS, University of London

The MA in Human Rights Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London provides students with an introduction to the general fields of law and how these legal structures operate in both Western and non-Western social and cultural settings. The programme is designed so as to engage students in issues around human rights law and its application and relevance to a broad range of areas and legal issues. The curriculum therefore explores Islamic and Chinese law, gender issues, labour law and how these all relate to an international legal context. The modules are led by experts in these fields who have experience working in international organisations and non-governmental organisations, as well as legal practitioners and governmental advisors. Students are expected to attend a two-week ‘Preliminary Law, Legal Reasoning and Legal Methods’ course to facilitate an inter-disciplinary intake of students in the study of law. The course is then structured according to elective modules and a written dissertation to be completed within the year.

Master of Human Rights, University of Sydney

This Master’s programme aims to provide students with an understanding of how human rights apply in various political, social, economic and environmental contexts. Students will be equipped with the critical skills and tools needed to effectively engage with the practical implementation of a human rights agenda and to create workable solutions to human rights issues. As an interdisciplinary programme a variety of fields are covered, including: sociology; social policy; political science and political economy; philosophy; history and human geography. The degree has a global outlook and explores the domestic Australian policy and legal perspective within an international framework. The degree can be completed within a one-year, full-time structure and consists of coursework combined with either an internship or a dissertation component.

About the author

Claire McDonald

Claire McDonald is currently a Masters student studying Migration and Displacement at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg. She has a firm background in social science research and writing, having completed her undergraduate in Politics, Philosophy and Economics and her honours degree in Justice and Transformation, both at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Her professional experience includes almost two years work as the lead research assistant for a research organisation based at UCT – the Safety and Violence Initiative (SaVI). In 2014 she completed an internship with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Claire has since spent time travelling solo through parts of South America as well as Spain and Portugal.

Upon finishing her Master’s degree, Claire hopes to continue her career in the field of social justice, working specifically in South Africa after gaining experience working abroad.