Disclosure: Human Rights Careers may be compensated by course providers.

10 Top-Rated Courses on Human Rights, Social Justice and UN Diplomacy 

The rise of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected billions of people around the world. Human rights are critical for response and recovery. To promote, claim and defend human rights, you first need to know them. We have compiled a list of 10 top-rated online courses to learn more about human rights, social justice, UN diplomacy and related issues. You can audit the courses for free or opt-in for a paid verified certificate for an extra fee. If you plan to obtain a verified certificate by multiple universities, all courses below are included in Coursera plus (currently $100 off the annual option until 13 Jan 2022).

Table of Contents

#1 Children’s Human Rights (University of Geneva)
#2 International Migrations: A global issue (Sciences Po)
#3 Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace (Essec Business School)
#4 Social Norms, Social Change (University of Pennsylvania)
#5 International Organizations Management (University of Geneva)
#6 Global Diplomacy: The United Nations in the World (University of London)
#7 UN Sustainable Development Goals (University of Copenhagen)
#8 Indigenous Canada (University of Alberta)
#9 Feminism and Social Justice (University of California, Santa Cruz)
#10 Internal Displacement, Conflict and Protection (University of London)

#1 Children’s Human Rights (University of Geneva)

Millions of children experience emotional, physical, or sexual violence. Hundreds of thousands flee their homes due to persecution, conflict, and war. During precarious times and humanitarian emergencies child rights are often affected the most. In this course by Geneva University, you will analyze child rights instruments, explore protection mechanisms, and assess child rights interventions. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, the course examines the rights of children from a variety of perspectives. The course is taught by leading experts in the sector of children’s rights from UNIGE’s Center of Child Rights Studies.

What you will learn (excerpt)

  • Identify human rights violations, and specifically child rights violations
  • Outline key elements of the UN Child Rights Convention (CRC)
  • Describe the UN monitoring mechanisms with regards to child rights
  • Explain strategies to promote, defend and protect child rights

How you will learn

The self-paced course takes roughly 11 hours to complete and is focused primarily on video lectures, readings, and quizzes. To obtain a verified certificate, you must answer at least 80% of the questions correctly. At time of writing the course was rated 4.7 out of 5 stars.

REGISTER HERE

#2 International Migrations: A global issue (Sciences Po)

More people than ever before live in a country they weren’t born in. People move. They always will. In this course offered by one of France’s leading universities, you will learn about international migration from a global perspective, with regional and local case studies. Throughout the course you will explore topics such as migration and development, statelessness, border controls, inclusion and exclusion, discrimination, and freedom of movement. Tackling a key human rights issue, the second week of the course is dedicated specifically to refugees and environmentally displaced persons. The course is taught by Catherine Wihtol de Wenden, Research Director at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and consultant to the Council of Europe (CoE) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

What you will learn (excerpt)

  • Define and use crucial terminology regarding migration, refugees, and displacement
  • Outline challenges and complexities related to international migrations
  • Describe the right to mobility as a fundamental human right

How you will learn

The self-paced course takes roughly 11 hours to complete and is focused primarily on video lectures, readings, and quizzes. To obtain a verified certificate, you must answer at least 80% of the questions correctly. At time of writing the course was rated 4.7 out of 5 stars.

REGISTER HERE

#3 Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace (Essec Business School)

The competencies to leverage diversity and facilitate inclusion are more than an asset. They are essential for UN entities, NGOs, governments, and companies alike. Entities that value diversity and inclusion attract more talent and achieve better outcomes. Being one of the top valued skills of employers and HR recruiters, this course provides you with easy access to develop knowledge and skills in this area. The course is hosted by Junko Takagi, Chair of Diversity and Inclusion at ESSEC Business School and features a diverse group of speakers from a variety of backgrounds.

What you will learn (excerpt)

  • Argue for the importance of diversity and inclusion
  • Reflect on your own behaviors and reactions when experiencing diversity
  • Outline key concepts of diversity and inclusion strategies
  • Analyze and assess diversity and inclusion policies

How you will learn

The self-paced course takes roughly 9 hours to complete and features a broad variety of exercise types. Designed for active learning and engagement, learners will take part in peer-assignments, guided discussions, and complete quizzes. To receive a passing grade, you need to complete one evaluation quiz and two peer-graded assignments. The course was rated 4.7 out of five.

REGISTER HERE

#4 Social Norms, Social Change (University of Pennsylvania, UNICEF)

Social Change is the transformation of institutions, values, and behaviors. It’s essential for the realization of human rights and social justice. Offered through a partnership of UNICEF and University of Pennsylvania, this course explores how to eliminate harmful practices such as child marriage, female genital mutilation, and other forms of gender-based violence. The course consists of two parts, focused on theoretical aspects and practical implementation. The course is taught by Cristina Bicchieri, Professor of Social Thought and Comparative Ethics.

What you will learn (excerpt)

  • Distinguish between different types of social practises
  • Use a variety of tools to understand, measure and influence collective practises
  • Create new beneficial norms and eliminate harmful ones
  • Outline how issues such as child marriage and gender-based violence can be addressed

How you will learn

Both courses together take roughly 22 hours to complete. The lectures consist primarily of videos and readings. Each chapter of the courses also includes an optional discussion prompt. To receive a passing grade, learners must answer 70% of the quiz questions correctly. Learners rated the course 4.7 out of 5 stars.

REGISTER HERE

#5 International Organizations Management (University of Geneva)

Offered by the University of Geneva, International Organizations Management is a high-level introductory course to the structure, management and operations of the United Nations and other international organizations. Participants of the course will learn about important UN bodies such as the UN Security Council and the UN Secretariat, as well as the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The course is taught by eight instructors and the content is adapted from Geneva Universities’ MBA on International Organizations. The course is a useful starting point for individuals who aim for managerial positions at the United Nations, international NGOs, or social enterprises. Current managers who are interested in transitioning into a career with international organizations might also find the course beneficial.

What you will learn (excerpt)

  • Outline the theory and practice of international organizations
  • Discuss the governance, structure, and mandate of the United Nations
  • Assess the different types of leadership styles in the United Nations
  • Identify challenges/opportunities involved in international organization partnerships

How you will learn

The entire course takes roughly 18 hours to complete and was rated 4.8 by previous cohorts of learners. To receive a verified certificate, learners must answer 80% of the questions in five quizzes correctly. The course mainly consists of video lecturers with additional reading materials and occasional optional guided discussions.

REGISTER HERE

#6 Global Diplomacy: The United Nations in the World (University of London)

Founded in response to the atrocities of the second world war, the main goal of the United Nations is to foster international peace and security, protect human rights and deliver humanitarian aid. To strengthen these goals the UN engages in diplomatic agreements, negotiations, and conflict resolution. Offered by the University of London, this course introduces the UN system, its bodies, functioning and mandate. Participants of the course will develop practical skills to analyze current UN affairs and explore important UN themes.

What you will learn (excerpt)

  • Outline the core values of the United Nations
  • Differentiate between crucial UN bodies, their functioning and mandate
  • Analyze the connection between human rights and the United Nations
  • Recognize key UN agencies and their role in providing crises response

How you will learn

The self-paced course takes approximately 12 hours to complete and is taught entirely in English. To receive a passing grade, learners have to submit 5 peer-graded assignments on the UN today, the origin of the UN, the UN security council, human rights and crisis response.

REGISTER HERE

#7 UN Sustainable Development Goals (University of Copenhagen)

The 17 UN SDGs were created in 2015 to achieve a better and more sustainable future for everyone. They address global challenges including hunger, poverty, inequality, climate action, clean energy, and economic growth. University of Copenhagen’s course introduces the history, scope, and development of the UN SDGs. Learners will examine multiple key stakeholders involved in the implementation of the SDGs and discuss climate action (SDG 17) more thoroughly. The course is facilitated by Professor Katherine Richardson, who was a member of the panel appointed by the UN Secretary General to write the 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report. Multiple other experts are featured throughout the learning experience.

What you will learn (excerpt)

  • Describe the history, development, and scope of specific UN SDGs
  • Outline the causes and mechanisms of climate change
  • Discuss human inequality as central obstacle to achieving the SDGs
  • Explain the role of key stakeholders in the realization of the UN SDGs

How you will learn

Rated 4.8 out of 5 by previous learners, the course takes around 10 hours to complete. To receive a passing grade, learners must complete three quizzes and answer 80% correctly. Each week of the course consists of video lectures, readings, quizzes and discussion prompts.

REGISTER HERE

#8 Indigenous Canada (University of Alberta)

Indigenous peoples play an important role in the protection of the environment, fighting climate change and the realization of the human right to a safe, healthy and sustainable environment. Yet they continue to face exclusion, marginalization, threats and worse. This course offered by the University of Canada explores indigenous worldviews and key issues indigenous peoples are facing in Canada. Participants of the course will learn about land claims, indigenous rights, and legal systems, as well as political conflicts and activism.

What you will learn (excerpt)

  • Outline the history of indigenous worldviews, arts, and culture
  • Describe the goals and principles of indigenous legal systems
  • Recognize the consequences of resource extraction of indigenous territories
  • Explain the positive impacts of cross-gendered, third and fourth gender identity and two spirited individuals in indigenous societies
  • describe the rights pertaining to land that UNDRIP addresses for Indigenous peoples

How you will learn

Learners in previous cohorts rated the course 4.8 out of 5. The course takes approximately 21 hours to finish. To successfully pass the course, learners must answer 70% of the questions in 12 short quizzes correctly. The course primarily consists of videos, readings, quizzes and offers the opportunity to engage in optional discussions every week.

REGISTER HERE

#9 Feminism and Social Justice (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Feminist and social justice activism continue to transform our societies. In this course taught by scholar-activist Bettina Aptheker you will learn about the history and development of feminism and social justice through analyzing essential case studies and key events. Taking an intersectional approach, you will discuss issues related to domestic violence, voting rights, racism, poverty, and prison reform.

What you will learn (excerpt)

  • Explain the definition of feminism and formulate your own definition
  • Discuss the role of protests in feminism and social justice
  • Analyze key events and case studies that changed our societies
  • Assess the effects of contemporary movements such as the #metoo movement

How you will learn

Feminism and Social Justice takes approximately 8 hours to complete. The course includes videos, readings, quizzes, and optional discussion prompts. To receive a passing grade, learners must complete 4 quizzes and answer 80% of the questions correctly. Previous participants rated the course 4.8 out of 5 stars.

REGISTER HERE

#10 Internal Displacement, Conflict and Protection (University of London)

Internally displaced people (IDPs) are forced to flee their homes due to conflict, persecution, or war. Unlike refugees, they stay within the borders of their home countries because they are unable or unwilling to move to another country. In 2020, a record number of 55 million people were internally displaced. In this course by University of London you will learn about internal displacement as a major humanitarian challenge in today’s world and explore strategies to alleviate human suffering caused by internal displacement.

What you will learn (excerpt)

  • Outline the scale, causes and effects of internal displacement
  • Reflect on IDP protection at global, regional, and national levels
  • Describe challenges of IDP protection during conflicts
  • Explain the role of advocacy in elevating issues of internal displacement

How you will learn

The self-paced course takes around 27 hours to complete. While the course offers videos, readings, and quizzes, it also includes peer-assignments. To successfully pass the course, learners must complete two quizzes and four peer-graded assignments. The course has been rated 4.8 out of 5 stars by previous learners.

REGISTER HERE

If you plan to obtain a verified certificate by multiple universities, all courses above are included in Coursera plus.

About the author

Robert Fellner

Robert is founder of Human Rights Careers (HRC). A platform with the aim to support human rights students, alumni, graduates and professionals in pursuing and developing their career in human rights. Prior to launching HRC, Robert worked as Global Human Rights EdTech Manager at Amnesty International in London and as consultant for international human rights organizations globally. During 2011 and 2012, Robert worked as lecturer at Ain Shams university in Egypt. Robert has a masters in literature and human rights.