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

5 LLM Human Rights Programs That Are Available Online

The LLM (which is an abbreviation of Legum Magister or Masters of Laws) is a postgraduate law degree. Students and professionals often earn an LLM to specialize in a specific field, like human rights. With this degree, a person can show law firms they have advanced legal training and can work in many legal environments. With a specialization in human rights, a lawyer can work on social justice issues, challenge structures that aren’t enforcing human rights law, and protect the rights of the vulnerable. Here are 5 LLM human rights programs you can obtain online:

LLM with a specialization in human rights

University of London

The University of London is known for its research and teaching on human rights law. The LLM program consists of 16 modules from 4 courses. Each module takes about 115 hours. To earn the human rights specialization, you need to complete 12 modules (three complete courses) from that specialization. The specialization prepares students to work with government, inter-government, and corporate organizations on issues like human rights, immigration, women’s rights, and more.

The program can be completed within 1-5 years depending on your schedule. Courses include the International Rights of the Child; Medical Law and Ethics; The European Convention on Human Rights; and the United Nations Protections of Human Rights. Each module ends with a written exam. There are no oral exams or dissertations required. To apply, you must have a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) where 50% of the units taken were law-related. You can also be admitted with an advanced law degree or admission into legal practice by a governing organization. English proficiency is required.

LLM in Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

Aberystwyth University

This distance learning degree has students examine traditional human rights and humanitarian law subjects and new issues, like the regulation of international society. Studies cover the local, national, and international complexities. The program balances an academic approach with practical concerns. Students gain expertise in human rights with this mixture of practical and theoretical studies, as well as exposure to a wide range of human rights and humanitarian law subjects. Modules are subject to change but include topics like Contemporary Issues In Food Policy and Law, Law and Gender, and International Criminal Law. Assessment involves coursework essays (120 credits) and a 60-credit dissertation on a chosen topic.

To apply, students must have a 2:2 Bachelors (Honours) or an equivalent in law or related social science degree. English proficiency is also required (IELTS 6.5 with a minimum 5.5 in each component or an equivalent). The program takes between 2-5 years.

LLM in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

American University Washington College of Law

In 2015, this LLM became the first hybrid program of its kind with virtual and on-residence courses in Washington, D.C. You also have the option to study in-residence and online only. Students learn practical knowledge from experts in the field, including judges and presidents from international and regional courts, UN special rapporteurs, members of UN human rights committees, and civil society leaders. Virtual courses consist of 2-hour live classes with discussions. Course examples include Advanced Human Rights and Asylum and Refugee Law. To complete the LLM, students need 24 credit hours: 12 in specialized courses, 6 externship credits, and 6 independent studies credits.

To apply, students must have a JD from a US law school accredited by the American Bar Association or a first degree in law from an equivalent foreign law school. International applicants must meet an English Language Proficiency Requirement, as well.

LLM International Human Rights Law

The University of Law

This postgraduate online degree focuses on building a student’s in-depth knowledge of the subject and how international law protects human rights. It covers topics like the general principles of international human rights law, the connection between humanitarian and human rights law, and the challenges and future of international and domestic human rights. Full-time, the program takes 12 months. Part-time takes 21 months. Modules are assessed by a 3-hour written exam (which must be taken at one of the UK campuses or approved overseas center) or a written coursework assignment. A 15,000-word thesis is also required.

To apply, students need a UK undergraduate degree (any subject) at 2:2 or above, or an equivalent qualification. Proven English proficiency is needed, as well.

LLM in Transnational Crime and Justice

United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute

This LLM organized by UNICRI and the University for Peace teaches professionals and university graduates about international law, transnational crimes and transitional justice, humanitarian law, and international human rights law. Students will gain expertise in the theoretical and practical aspects of the subjects; unique insights into the UN and other organizations; and an understanding of how international criminal tribunals and courts work. There’s a distance learning phase and a residential phase at the UN Campus in Turin, Italy. During the Graduation Project at the end of the residential phase, students take part in a Moot Court simulation.

To apply, students must have at least a 3-year university degree in law, political science, social sciences, international relations, criminology, or a relevant academic subject. Full proficiency in English is required.

Explore more human rights masters here.

About the author

Emmaline Soken-Huberty

Emmaline Soken-Huberty is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon. She started to become interested in human rights while attending college, eventually getting a concentration in human rights and humanitarianism. LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, and climate change are of special concern to her. In her spare time, she can be found reading or enjoying Oregon’s natural beauty with her husband and dog.