The key paradox of international human rights law is that the recent proliferation of treaties and adjudicative bodies has not significantly diminished serious human rights abuses.
The LLM in International Human Rights Law and Practice engages students in a critical and nuanced examination of this paradox, while providing them with the practical skills necessary to apply global norms at the local level.
Why study International Human Rights at York?
The LLM in Human Rights Law and Practice provides the knowledge, skills and networks necessary for mid-career professionals and recent graduates to work in the human rights field. The LLM is offered on both a full-time and part-time basis. Our LLM is distinctive because students:
-Work on real human rights issues, which gives practical skills, hands-on experience and improved job prospects
-Get the opportunity to work alongside human rights defenders during a two-week field visit to Malaysia (student numbers permitting) or placement in York
-Learn from international human rights defenders based at the Centre
-Explore how international human rights law interacts with national public policy in various states
Three core modules cover international human rights law, policy and advocacy. Optional CAHR modules cover several topical issues through a human rights lens: culture, development, migration, and post-conflict justice.
The programme requires you to undertake a placement with human rights organisations in Malaysia (student numbers permitting) or the UK. This is an important part of the degree programme and will develop your practical skills and provide hands-on experience, both of which will prepare you for working in this field and improve your career prospects.
The LLM is taught in weekly lectures and seminars covering specific case studies and including skills training on oral presentations, advocacy, report writing, and memos.
The compulsory modules reflect the three sides to human rights activism: law, policy and practice.
-Defending human rights (40 credits; terms 1-2)
-Applying international human rights law (20 credits; term 1)
-International human rights law and advocacy (20 credits; term 1)
-Dissertation (60 credits; terms 3-4)
In the second term students will be able to take two options. Four optional modules taught by Centre staff will explore areas where rights are being used in new and innovative ways. Students may also choose optional modules taught by other departments, from the list below.
Optional modules taught at CAHR
-Asylum, migration and trafficking
-Culture and protest
-Development Alternatives: Development, Rights, Security
-Truth, justice and reparations after violence
Optional modules taught at the York Law School
-Corporate responsibility and law
-Financial citizenship and social justice
Optional modules taught in other departments
-Conflict and development (Politics)
-Globalisation and social policy (Social Policy and Social Work)
-Global social problems (Social Policy and Social Work)
-International organisations (Politics)
-New security challenges (Politics)
-Teaching and learning citizenship and global education (Education)
-Women, citizenship and conflict (Centre for Women's Studies)
Please note that optional modules may not run if the lecturer is on leave or there is insufficient demand.
A key part of the LLM is exposing students to the practice of international human rights law at the domestic level. Thus students have the opportunity to pursue a placement and related project with our NGO partners in Malaysia and York. The fieldwork takes place over a two week period in weeks 9 and 10 of the autumn term in either Kuala Lumpur or York. Please note that the Malaysia trip/placements will only run if there are sufficient student numbers.
Students will be expected to work together in small groups in partnership with a human rights organisation. This will include:
-Extensive background research on country context, the host organisation, relevant thematic issues etc.
-Devising a project prior to the field visit, in collaboration with the host organisation
-Two weeks of intensive work in Malaysia (student numbers permitting) or York in November and December
-Ongoing discussions about project completion once students return to York
Where after the LLM?
Our LLM provides career advice, networking opportunities, hands-on experience, and personalised reference letters to help our graduates find good jobs with human rights NGOs, humanitarian organisations, charities, policy think-tanks, national governments, and UN agencies.
For example, recent graduates are working with:
-Foreign and Commonwealth Office
-UK-based bar association
-Egyptian human rights NGO
-Development NGO in West Africa
-East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network
-Human Rights Watch
-Pakistan's judicial sector
-UK-based NGO working with sub-Saharan children affected by HIV/AIDS