The LLM International Human Rights Law is your opportunity to explore the way that international law is used to protect human rights and enables you to gain expertise in a distinct yet relatively broad specialism. You will combine core and elective modules to gain an international perspective on this highly-relevant field of law. The degree is taught by the research-active academics based in our prestigious Law School and offers you the opportunity to engage with teaching staff who are working at the forefront of International Human Rights research.
Our Law School is home to the Centre for Crime, Law and Justice, the Centre for Law and Society, and the Centre for Child and Family Justice; these influential centres underpin our postgraduate teaching, which is research-led and research-informed.
There are two pathways for the LLM, both of which enable you to pursue your own interests:
Your core modules are International Law, International Human Rights Law and the LLM Dissertation. The modules in International Law and International Human Rights Law will address key questions such as how international laws protect, govern and define your human rights and inter-state relationships. You will evaluate the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights protected through international instruments and explore the way that international law is used to shape the world in which we live.
The dissertation is an independent, in-depth inquiry into a research topic of your choosing. The topic will link to a key legal question or issue and may also directly relate to your professional/career interests. This is your opportunity to make a contribution to the legal and academic community with new, original research and writing. A dissertation supervisor will provide you with support and introduce you to relevant legal material and research; their personal research interests will closely align with your chosen topic wherever possible.
We pride ourselves on the choice and breadth of elective modules available, offering you access to sought-after expertise in high-demand areas and growing fields such as The Rights of Peoples, Law and Global Health, International Terrorism and the Law, Gender, Sexualities and Human Rights, and International Environmental Law.
Our teaching approach is international in scope and comparative by nature, and we actively encourage you to build a beneficial network of academics, peers and alumni during your time with us. All of this will help you to broaden your experience, deepen your understanding, and prepare for your next step.
Your postgraduate LLM degree opens doors to a huge range of careers. You will develop the skills required to critically evaluate research relating to international human rights law; skills which are highly prized by employers both here in the UK and overseas. The analytical and communications skills developed through your studies are a real boost in any sector. The LLM is also an ideal stepping stone to PhD study and academia.
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
Coursework and dissertation
Ethics and human rights are always hot topics, both domestically and internationally. The LLM International Human Rights Law will enable you to explore a wide range of subjects in this area, examine the latest developments and critically analyse the arguments on all sides of the debates. The two compulsory modules – International Human Rights Law and Medical Law and Ethics – will offer you a firm foundation for human rights specialisation, particularly with an ethical and medical law perspective. Practical work and case studies underpin solid theoretical teaching, equipping you with everything you need to work in this dynamic and challenging area of international law.
In the International Human Rights Law module you will gain a critical understanding of human rights law from a comparative and cross-cultural perspective. The module also includes examination of theoretical and philosophical discussions on human rights, international and regional systems of human rights protection and the effectiveness of the United Nations system, and a focus on civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights.
The Medical Law and Ethics module offers analysis of a wide range of areas within medical law and ethics, particularly from an international perspective. You will cover topics such as medical negligence and legal and ethical dilemmas, medical law and ethics from ‘birth to death’, the impact of modern technologies in areas such as gene editing, embryo testing, surrogacy and organ donation, and the law and ethics of end-of-life issues, such as assisted suicide.
You can be sure that the teaching you receive is up to date and highly relevant to twenty-first-century global human rights issues, taught as it is by specialists at the forefront of their disciplines and underpinned by the latest research and practice. Practical, innovative teaching methods combined with traditional class seminars ensure that you are equipped with the knowledge and skills that you will need for your career in the arena of human rights.
The two compulsory modules will be complemented by two from a range of optional modules on offer, enabling you to tailor your course according to your particular ambitions and aspirations.
In addition, the University’s co-curricular programme offers a wide range of options that will further enhance your skills.
A range of innovative theoretical and practical teaching methods are used on this course, from class seminars to large group discussions, small group work to collaborative projects, role plays to debates. All this will enable you to develop those vital intellectual, transferable, interpersonal and practical skills, and to enhance your abilities in the areas of negotiation, presentation, debating, and so on. These skills can be boosted further by participation in our peer mentoring scheme.
The compulsory modules are assessed by way of written coursework, so independent study is, of course, essential to consolidate and broaden your learning and to demonstrate your ability to formulate arguments and seek solutions to contemporary global human rights challenges.
The knowledge, skills and critical understanding of medical law and ethics you will gain on this course will equip you to serve and support human rights efforts in a wide variety of positions and sectors. Whether you choose to work in the public sector, health, international organisations or civil society, or even to follow an academic or research career, you can be sure that your degree will be the launching pad you need for an exciting and stimulating future.
The LLM in Human Rights Law and Practice engages you in a holistic examination of the law, policy, and advocacy of human rights. As such, it provides the substantive knowledge, versatile skills and valuable 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.
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
Our core modules enable you to acquire holistic knowledge and the necessary socio-legal skills for a successful career in human rights practice or progression to PhD study. They allow you flexibility to undertake research on those human rights topics which interest you most (e.g. by writing essays, making presentations, or developing an advocacy campaign on a topic of your choice and by undertaking a human rights placement with an organisation that works on a topic of interest).
In the second term, you will be able to choose one optional module from a large variety of courses taught by staff from the Centre of Applied Human Rights (CAHR) or other departments at the University of York. You will have the opportunity to tailor your programme to enhance its interdisciplinary and to explore areas where rights are being used in new and innovative way.
Optional modules taught at the York Law School
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 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
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
This masters of law programme is designed to help students become experts in the areas of International Law that directly concern the human person - International Criminal Law & International Human Rights Law - whilst mastering the discipline of International Law of which they are part. In addition to the foundational courses in Legal Research Methods and Public International Law, students will be required to study International Criminal Law, International Human Rights Law and write a dissertation on a topic within the International Criminal Law or International Human Rights Law. The remaining courses can be chosen from a range of relevant options.
Through carefully designed course work and varied teaching approaches, students will acquire the intellectual open-ness, technical expertise and critical thinking abilities that are necessary for effectiveness in a globalising world. The programme will equip students to respond effectively to the wide range of intellectual and professional challenges facing those working on legal issues concerning the human person in International Law. The LLM in International Law (specialising in International Criminal Law & International Human Rights Law) will equip them to deal with both case work and policy making.
This advanced course in human rights taught by international experts offers a unique and distinctive focus on the theories and practice of rights, producing a vibrant environment for exploring this significant area of law and policy.
This programme will give you advanced knowledge, greater understanding and critical insights into current systems of human rights legal protection and human rights debates.
You’ll explore different domestic, regional and international human rights legal systems to analyse how rights have been legalised, developed and enforced through the theory and practice of human rights.
You’ll investigate the law relating to the protection of life and human dignity, freedom from torture and other ill treatment, freedom of expression, and human rights with regard to media organisations, terrorism, health care, the family and disabled people.
You’ll benefit from the expertise of leading academics in a stimulating research environment. Our research groups include:
The compulsory modules studied will give you the opportunity to:
Compulsory modules will also enable you to hone your legal research and writing skills, which you’ll be able to demonstrate in your dissertation – an independent piece of research on your chosen topic.
If you study with us, you’ll also benefit from our academic skills programme. This 10-week programme runs alongside your taught academic programme, and is specifically designed to meet the needs of home and international students in the School of Law. It allows you to refine and develop the academic and transferable skills to excel during your taught postgraduate programmes, as well as prepare for professional roles after graduation.
The wide-ranging list of optional modules means that you can explore a diverse range of related subjects of interest to you.
If you’re a part-time student, you’ll take three compulsory modules and choose one or two optional modules in your first year. You’ll then take the compulsory dissertation module and one or two optional modules in your second year to complete your programme.
This programme is taught through a range of weekly lectures and seminars held on a two-weekly basis. You’re strongly advised to attend the weekly lectures on international human rights and international law, particularly if you’ve not previously studied international law.
Independent study is integral to this programme – not just to prepare for classes but to develop research and other critical skills. You’ll be expected to carry out advanced levels of legal research and participate fully in seminars.
Most modules are assessed by essays. This is usually the most effective method for you to showcase your advanced legal research.
Students who have graduated from this degree often choose careers that centre on or involve understanding and applying human rights law and developing policies at organisational level. Further training is required but many also go on to practise as lawyers or legal advisors.
Our alumni include people working at the European Commission, United Nations, non-governmental organisations and in the government sector. Others have chosen to follow academic careers.
The School of Law offers career and personal development support through the School of Law Careers Advisor. The School also arranges career development workshops, seminars and one-to-one sessions for students on all postgraduate programmes.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
When human rights are violated by a particular state, is it more effective to use the national, regional or international human rights protection mechanisms to address the issue? And what mechanism will probably be most effective in addressing specific types of human rights violations?
Human rights are at risk in all societies. Though various national, regional and international laws and treaties have been developed to protect the human rights of all people, some laws are more effective than others in particular situations. In this programme, you will compare the functionality of different protection mechanisms that are currently in place. You will also learn how to apply them successfully in different political, social and cultural settings.
As a student of the European and International Human Rights Law Advanced Studies programme, you will benefit from:
Would you like to actively work to protect the rights of people across the globe? Are you interested in applying your knowledge of human rights law to real-world political, social and legal settings? Then this is the programme for you. You should also have a sufficient background in law.
The General Law programme at Aberdeen is one of the best programmes in terms of scope and areas of interest you can choose to study at advanced level. If your first degree was in a specific area of law there is nothing preventing you from choosing another area of law completely or a complementary area. You could study environmental law areas such as oil and gas law, energy and environmental law, low carbon energy transition with further environmental regulation. If you are more interested in criminal law you could look at Criminology, the politics of human rights, humanitarian law. If you are more interested in business you might choose international law, intellectual property law, world trade organisation or for business with a creative aspect you might think about specialist in cultural property issues or law for business and arts and museums law. There are many possible mixes of these general areas of law you might want to explore. Employment possibilities are huge from this range of areas of law and include all notable areas to practise law and careers within the legal profession to welfare sectors such as employment, business, HR and finance.
You may become a Barrister if you wish to represent people at High Court and Magistrates court to put legal argument forward for decision. You could start off as a legal executive to later qualify as a solicitor with further training or after a number of years experience you may wish to become a judge. If you want some work experience you could become a court usher. Other careers include a Paralegal. This role undertakes much of a lawyers role in drafting documents, meetings and contracts. If you decide your law degree is useful for other areas you may look at Civil Service careers, become a politician, work in the police, city, or teach.
This programme is ideal if you want to be a generalist to an advanced level rather than a specialist in a specific area of law. You develop your analysis and research skills and you have the option of wide ranging courses to choose from which stretches your intellectual thinking capabilities in a top 10 School of Law (Complete University Guide 2018)
Courses listed for the programme
Optional (4 courses 2 in Semester 1 and 2)
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Visit our website for more information on fees, scholarships, postgraduate loans and other funding options to study Human Rights at Swansea University - 'Welsh University of the Year 2017' (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).
Environmental changes, ageing populations, the media and new technologies, asylum and migration, intergenerational justice, complex multilevel governance arrangements, the impact of trade and investment, poverty and inequalities, the rise of identity politics and the changing nature of the personal sphere are contemporary global challenges facing human rights calling into question the fundamental tenets of human rights law both in terms of its formulation and implementation through policy development and law-making.
Differentiated from existing LLMs, the LLM Human Rights explicitly focuses on these contemporary challenges and how best to respond to them though law, policy and practice. The Human Rights programme draws on the research strengths in the College of Law and Criminology, but also from other colleges, in its teaching; and, exploits strong relationships with external partners to integrate a distinctive applied focus to the Human Rights programme.
Students pursuing the LLM Human Rights will benefit from a programme designed around high calibre research and impact in human rights. Human Rights students will also benefit from academics' strong relationships with external partners working in the field of human rights, giving the programme a distinctive approach centred on the implementation and application of human rights.
The focus on implementation and practice in human rights is complemented by a multidisciplinary approach. Human rights policy and practice often do not recognise disciplinary divides. The Human Rights programme allows students to experience teaching from other disciplines to enhance their knowledge and understanding of human rights as an integrated project (e.g. politics and international development).
Uniquely the Human Rights programme addresses diverse challenges in human rights faced by law and policy, and by practitioners at the global, regional, State and sub-State levels. The approach focuses on how these challenges might be effectively managed through law and policy. The Human Rights programme offers:
- The opportunity and choice to address a range of human rights topics and challenges across a number of thematic areas, with teaching by expert researchers in the field.
- A multidisciplinary approach reflecting the reality of human rights in practice.
- A practical and practice focused philosophy.
The LLM Human Rights is a modular programme, with students required to accumulate 180 credits to graduate. In appropriate circumstances a student may graduate with a merit or distinction. Each programme is divided into two parts:
Part I consists of 3 taught modules, each 20 credits. Students will be required to undertake 2 compulsory modules, these are: International Human Rights Law and Human Rights and Humanitarian Intervention. Students are also required to select 1 further optional 20 credit taught module from a range of available modules (see below for examples optional modules).
Part II gives students a choice of 3 optional modules, each 20 credits, from a range of available modules (see below for examples optional modules).
Students of LLM in Human Rights are also required to undertake a dissertation, which contributes 60 credits.
The following are examples of modules offered to Human Rights students (modules available for selection will be dependent on contingencies, e.g. whether a module leader is in study leave).
Human Rights and Environment, Climate Change and Sustainability
Trade, Investment and Human Rights
Human Rights and the Media
Human Rights and Family Law
Human Rights and Identities
Accountability for Human Rights Implementation
Impact Assessment and Human Rights
Children’s Human Rights
Human Rights and Poverty
Human Rights, Migration and Human Trafficking
Human Rights and Criminal Justice
Human Rights and Terrorism on-line
Human Rights and Medical Law
Human Rights and Employment
Throughout their studies Human Rights students are provided with the opportunity to take part in a number of extra-curricular activities to enhance their practical understanding of human rights. These include:
Guest lectures by expert practitioners in human rights.
Workplace learning through voluntary work and/or placement.
Involvement in collaborative research projects with research partners.
Engagement with the College’s projects focussed on practical implementation and impact from research (e.g. Cyberterrorism Project, Wales Observatory, Centre for Environment, and the Sex Work Consortium).
The LLM Human Rights will open the door to a range of careers, including:
- Human rights institutions: increasingly international and regional human rights institutions are seeking to support, monitor and influence State policy and social arrangements. Potential graduate destinations include: the United Nations and the Council of Europe as well as other regional institutions.
- The public sector, including government at all levels. Potential graduate destinations include: civil service, regional, national and sub-national government, local authorities and other public bodies, and, political and policy advice work.
- The private sector: human rights are increasingly the concern of the private sector in the realm of socially responsible capitalism. Potential graduate destinations include: global business (including institutions such as the World Bank); the business sector (from large scale business such as the banking sector, to smaller concerns seeking to appeal to the ethical consumer).
- The NGO sector: non-governmental agencies are well-established stakeholders in human rights. Potential graduate destinations include: international NGOS (e.g. UNICEF); regional or local level NGOS.
- Research and academia: research on human rights is a well-established concern for academia.
The LLM Human Rights enhances student employability as:
- The Human Rights programme ranges across a broad spectrum of human rights topics relevant to law, policy and practice and encourages a practical approach in these areas.
- Students will have the opportunity to engage with projects providing opportunity for hands-on experience of human rights research as well as dissemination to support practical application.
- The Human Rights programme offers a range of work place learning opportunities.
- Entrepreneurial skills will be developed by encouraging students to contribute ideas to project work and project activities.