Theory and Practice of Human Rights

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University University of Oslo
Degree type Master
Academic title M.Phil. Master of Philosophy
Location Norway
Methodology on campus
Commitment Full time
Duration 24- months
Tuition fee Tuition free
Deadline 1. March 2022, 1. April 2022, 1. December 2022
Language English


It brings forward dreams of freedom as well as fears of foreign domination and it refers to actually existing international law and associated legal and political mechanisms as well as processes of far-reaching social and cultural change.

This programme focuses on human rights in both theory and practice from legal, historical, philosophical, political and social science-based perspectives. Students are provided with specialised knowledge about human rights law, including the relationship between that law and other types of human rights initiatives and activities.

Human rights are approached as an element of public international law, at global and regional levels, and the different forms of implementation — international, regional, and national — are examined. They are also contextualised within a social science perspective and knowledge about and understanding of the normative and institutional framework, contemporary issues relating to terrorism, religion, ethnicity, women and development are studied in different courses.

There will be opportunities to do practical work (mock trials, internships) and discussions about human rights as social and cultural practices are included in the courses. The final part of the programme consists in writing a thesis through which the students acquire methodological and practical skills well-suited to match a growing demand for professionals with a background in human rights.

Course Syllabus

The master’s degree programme requires successful completion of nine courses and a written master’s thesis (30 credits). Five courses are mandatory and a minimum of four elective courses must be chosen from among the various elective courses offered at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights or other institutes within the Faculty of Law or other departments at the University of Oslo.

During Term I, students are required to follow three mandatory courses:

HUMR5131 – Human Rights in History, Philosophy and Politics
HUMR5132 – Human Rights Law in Context
HUMR5140 – Human rights in international and national law

During Term II, students are required to attend two mandatory courses:

HUMR4504 – Human Rights in Practice
HUMR5191 – Human Rights Methodology: Research, Analysis and Thesis

In addition, students should choose one elective course. Elective courses offered by the NCHR are the following:

HUMR5145 – Human Rights in Asia
HUMR5508 – Human Rights and Diversity – Leading Cases and Core Dilemmas
HUMR5702 – Human Rights and Sustainable Development: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Theory and Practices

During Term III, students are required to choose three elective courses. The elective courses offered by the NCHR are, for the time being, the following:

HUMR5133 – Business and Human Rights (autumn)
JUS5134 – The Right to Peace (autumn 2018, 2020)
HUMR5502 – Dealing with Diversity: Human Rights Approaches to Ethnic Conflict (autumn)
JUS5503 – Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism: Striking a Balance? (autumn 2017, 2019)

Admission Requirements

  • Higher Education Entrance Qualification and a completed bachelor’s degree comparable to a Norwegian bachelor’s degree. Applicants with foreign education, please refer to the country list.
  • a specialization defined by the programme
  • a minimum grade average of C (in the Norwegian grading scale) or equivalent from the specialization in your degree.
  • a language requirement documented by one of the tests/exams below:
    a) Passed examination in English foundation course (140 hours/5 periods per week) with a minimum grade of 4 in Norwegian upper secondary school (or an equivalent grade from a Nordic upper secondary school) or passed examination in English from second and/or third school year in Norwegian upper secondary school, or
    b) An internationally recognised English language proficiency test.

About the author

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.