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5 tuition free masters in human rights and social justice

Note: This article was published in 2017. In the meanwhile, all universities have introduced tuition fees for international students. At some universities, students from EEA/EU may still be able to study without paying tuition. It might be a better choice to visit our more up-to-date directory of masters in human rights and explore what scholarships are available.

Contained in the following sections will be helpful information regarding five tuition free master’s degree programs focusing on human rights and social justice issues. These universities are located across Scandinavia. However, each of these five noteworthy and commendable programs are geared for international students as well as for regional attendees.

The information particular to each school will be broken down into sub-sections. First, explanations of what the unique specializations, experiences, training and coursework that set each program apart from the others will be offered. Following this will be helpful information on the types of career and professional work prospects each school aims to prepare degree recipients for after the completion of their studies. Next, details on enrollment, scholarship and/or tuition, and other specific requirements needed to be considered for admission will be presented.

Each master’s degree program listed below requires competencies in English and includes a thesis in the second year of studies.

University College of Southeast Norway’s MSc in Human Rights and Multiculturalism

This university’s interdisciplinary human rights program offers students a two-year track towards achieving an MSc in Human Rights and Multiculturalism. With an emphasis on both broad and narrow perspectives, program participants will learn how to effectively parse and analyze the complex inter-relationships within and between different cultures as they relate to human rights issues.

This MSc program will train students to effectively apply several methods in order to accomplish the above tasks, including methods drawn from the education realm, social science research and hermeneutics fields.

Students will be exposed to many different disciplines in this master’s program. Faculty will guide participants through their studies by drawing insights and methodologies from various disciplines ranging from the social sciences, theological studies, philosophy, political science, social anthropology, education and international law.

Career prospects for students who’ve attained this degree range from humanitarian organizations, public services, media, education, public and private businesses, and consulting work.

The requirements for admission here include a grade point average that equals or exceeds a C in the Norwegian system and a bachelor’s degree in social sciences, attained over the course of three years and in excess of the minimum Norwegian higher education matriculation requirements. Additionally, 90 European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) credits are needed.

Tuition for this program is free of charge. There is a limited scholarship program awarded to select students for living and travel expenses.

The University of Oslo’s MPhil Theory and Practice of Human Rights

Perhaps the broadest degree program in this list, this full-time, two-year course of study educates learners in almost every tangible factor of human rights, with an emphasis on both practical and theoretical aspects. Enrollees will be expected to tackle – in discussions, mock trials and internships, as well as through traditional studies – every subject that has anything to say about the historical, philosophical, legal, and the social and political science underpinnings that make up the contemporary concept of human rights and social justice issues.

The stated goals of this program are to equip degree recipients with the analytical and critical thinking tools to identify – and help to ameliorate – problems and issues regarding the challenges of realizing human rights standards, be it domestically or across regions and nations.

After successfully working through this program and with an MPhil degree in hand, recipients will be well equipped to independently carry out professional and unique research into the broadest possible theoretical and practical aspects pertaining to human rights. An MPhil degree also presents a flexible entrée into a wide array of career paths dealing with human rights issues, challenges and advocacy efforts. A few such paths include work in non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international human rights organizations, research institutes, and state agencies and ministries that address human rights priorities.

General requirements for enrollment here include a graduate degree comparable to Norway’s bachelor’s degree equivalent, successful completion of the Higher Education Entrance Qualification, a specialization specified by the program and a minimum GPA equaling a C in the Norwegian education system.

Master of Social Sciences in International Human Rights Law at Abo Akademi University’s Institute for Human Rights and Department of Law

Abo Akademi University, based in Turku, Finland, offers a master of social sciences degree in international human rights law via a two-year, full-time course. Participants can expect to acquire in-depth knowledge of human rights law as it applies to regions, nations and across the globe.

Topics covered here include women’s rights, concerns relating to refugees and displaced people, humanitarian law and the fraught subject of war. Students will be expected to conduct a research seminar covering aspects pertaining to international human rights law.

This program will endow participants with the skillsets, background and training to tackle advanced legal research in the realm of human rights, as well as provide a solid basis to embark upon career paths ranging from work in international organizations, NGOs and public administration.

To qualify for enrollment, applicants must have obtained a law degree or another graduate degree with at least 45 ECTS credits in subjects relating to law.

LL.M International Human Rights Law degree at Lund University

Another full-time, two-year program, this course stands out by offering graduates an LL.M relating to human rights concerns. This LL.M program further distinguishes itself by combining two faculties — the world-renowned Faculty of Law at Lund University and the proactive Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law faculty — into a joint and prestigious program of learning that is said to give graduates a significant advantage when it comes to employment and career opportunities. Students who earn this degree will have mastered many aspects of an increasingly complex concern: human rights within the context of international law.

Tuition is free of charge for EEA students. Otherwise, students should expect tuition to cost $27,588. Some limited scholarships are available.

Career prospects for this program’s graduates are impressive, as degree holders can look forward to opportunities in specialized law firms, private and public companies, domestic or international courts, international organizations –- including the U.N. — consulting work and in a variety of other fields that require expertise in this complex, demanding and developing sphere.

A minimum of a three-year bachelor’s degree in law is required for entry.

University of Gothenburg’s Master’s Program in Social Work and Human Rights

This full-time program seeks to highlight the point of confluence where issues relating to social work and human rights become intertwined. In so doing, program educators aim to emphasize to students the importance of seeing two related concerns – social development and human rights — in a unique light and perspective that considers various issues within every stratum of a society.

This course encourages students to concentrate on the differing values, ethics and levels of appropriate intervention across disparate corners of the globe through the practice of field placement, whereby students briefly experience relocation to a foreign country.

The requirements for entry here include a bachelor’s degree in social work/human rights or in any related disciplines. EU, EEA, officially recognized Swedish residents and exchange students pay nothing for tuition. Otherwise, expect total tuition costs to amount to 166,000 Swedish krona.

Also have a look at our dedicated page about human rights master’s degrees.

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Human Rights Careers

Human Rights Careers (HRC) provides information about online courses, jobs, paid internships, masters degrees, scholarships and other opportunities in the human rights sector and related areas.