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PhD Programs in Human Rights 2018/2019

A PhD study in Human Rights is recommended if you wish to pursue an academic or research related career in Human Rights. Here is a summary of several renowned Human Rights PhD programs that can help kick-start your career.

PhD Studies in Human Rights Studies at Lund University

The PhD program in Human Rights Studies at Lund University focuses on the field of human rights from a multidisciplinary perspective. This PhD is ideal for students who want to engage with human rights on a historical, legal, political and philosophical level and explore the field from a multitude of angles. The university is specifically looking for proposals from students which match their various research interests including topics such as human rights and activism, women’s rights, freedom of religion, citizenship and nationality as well as rights discourses in civil society. The program also provides you with a pedagogical training, which is perfect if you want to teach in higher education.

The program will cover 4 years of full-time studies and takes through the Department of History. It is also possible to study part-time, but the program must be completed within eight years. For admission to this PhD program, students must have finished their Master’s degree. At least 120 credits of students’ previous studies must be relevant to the field of human rights and students must have completed a master’s thesis based on the field of human rights specifically. Doctorate positions in this field are offered when the program has available space and are listed as open faculty positions on the careers page. A doctoral student at Lund University does not have to pay any tuition fees, since all students accepted for a PhD position are seen as staff members and will therefore receive a salary. You can also find information about how to apply for this program (and PhD programs in Sweden in general) on www.studera.nu.

PhD in Human Rights, Society, and Multi-Level Governance at University of Nicosia

This interdisciplinary PhD program at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus is a joint academic program through the University of Padova in Italy, the University of Zagreb in Croatia, Western Sydney University in Australia, and Panteion University, Athens in Greece. The program is designed for students interested in pursuing careers in research and academia. Through the primary disciplines of law, economics, and sociology, students learn theory and practical skills in teaching, research, and training in the field of human rights. More information about the degree can be found on the main website for the joint program and on the University of Padova’s Human Rights Centre website.

This program is a three-year, full-time degree. In order to be admitted, students must have completed both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in law, politics, international relations, European studies, public administration or a related field. Tuition and fees vary for EU students and international students, so check the website for current costs. Fellowships are available and are announced through the University of Padova Human Rights Centre, which manages the joint degree program.

PhD in Political Science — Human Rights Minor at the Central European University in Hungary

This PhD program is especially interesting for students who have an interest in political science as well as human rights. The program focuses on research related to political institutions and their processes, political philosophy, public policy and political and economic sociology. The human rights minor, one of many minors available through this doctoral program, looks at the interaction between politics and human rights. This program will give students detailed knowledge about politics and ethics and is therefore perfect for students who want to work in government agencies or non-profit organizations.

In order to be eligible for this program, students need to have a Master’s degree and need to be able to show an academic interest in human rights. The program’s workload depends on personal preferences, but must be completed within 6 years. The first year of the program students are required to take mandatory courses and in the second year students have the opportunity to follow elective courses next to their individual research. Check the website for current tuition rates and fees. The Central European University offers a doctoral scholarship that you can apply for. If accepted, it covers the tuition fee for three years as well as accommodation costs during those three years. There is an additional scholarship available for students who will do their research on human rights called the Human Rights Scholarship. The human rights minor is mandatory coursework for any recipients of this scholarship.

PhD in Human Rights and Peace Studies (International Program) at Mahidol University in Thailand

This PhD program is primarily focused on the interdisciplinary field of human rights and peace. Students will get in-depth knowledge about theories and concepts of human rights and peace as well as research skills. The program is very academically orientated and is therefore perfect for students who want to conduct an academic career.

The program’s duration is estimated to be between 2 and 4 years. The first year consists of mandatory courses which are meant to improve students’ research skills and human rights knowledge. The following three to five semesters are spend on individual research. There are several scholarships available to help students with the tuition fee. The Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies has a scholarship available for students from developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America and two scholarships for nationals from Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines. Check the website for current tuition rates and scholarship opportunities.

Research PhD in Law at the University of Leeds in England

The PhD program at the School of Law at the University of Leeds is largely focused on research and is perfect for students who want to start a career in academics. The Faculty has four main research fields, which are Business Law and Practice, Criminal Justice studies, Law and Social Justice, and Law and Emerging Technologies. In order to apply for this program, you must have a research proposal which fits within one of the four fields. Admission is based on the quality of your research proposal and the relevance of the research. Students will receive guidance from two supervisors whom are experts in the field of the topic of the PhD thesis. There are several professors on the list of possible supervisors who specialize in fields such as (international) human rights law, social justice, non-discrimination and other relevant fields for students who want an academic human rights career.

The program’s duration is between three and four years for full-time students and between five and seven years for part-time students. In the first year, students will work on a detailed research proposal as well as a literature review. The rest of the years, if the research proposal is accepted, students will work on their individual research under constant supervision of the two selected supervisors. Tuition fees vary for international and EU residents. Check the website for the current tuition rates. There are several scholarships available, such as the scholarship offered by the White Rose Social Sciences Doctoral Training Partnership (WRDTP) and a scholarship of the White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities. You can apply all-year round for this PhD program and the related scholarships.

PhD at the School of Law at the University of Liverpool in England

The PhD program at the School of Law of the University of Liverpool is a very suitable program for students looking to start an academic career in human rights law. The School of Law has a wide variety of research interests and students are encouraged to identify potential supervisors based on their research topics. There are several academic and research staff members who focus on human rights related topics such as human rights law, children’s rights, the rights of minorities and the rights of refugees. The University of Liverpool encourages students to contact potential supervisors and discuss their research proposal before applying, which could be useful to identify points in your research proposal that need some improvement.

The program takes between 2 and 4 years of full-time studies, but it is also possible to study part-time. PhD students take a variety of courses aimed to improve the research and presentation skills of the students. At the end of the first year, students will give a presentation on a conference hosted by the School of Law, the rest of the time students will work on their individual research with the help of their supervisor. Tuition fees vary for EU and international students and can be found on the website for current rates. There are many different scholarships available for both EU and international students and on the website of the University of Liverpool you can find a funding tool that gives you a list of all the scholarships that you are eligible for. You can apply to this PhD program all-year round.

About the author

Human Rights Careers

Human Rights Careers (HRC) aims to help human rights students, recent graduates and young professionals to pursue a career in the highly competitive field of human rights.