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The Human Rights MA develops the skills and theoretical tools needed to carry out human rights research. It provides an understanding of the foundations, nature, limits and implementation of human rights. Read more
The Human Rights MA develops the skills and theoretical tools needed to carry out human rights research. It provides an understanding of the foundations, nature, limits and implementation of human rights. Students are introduced to philosophical, legal and policy issues and encouraged to engage with them in a critical way.

Degree information

Students develop an understanding of the central issues and problems in the formulation, defence, development, interpretation and application of human rights instruments, law, practice and policy. They gain knowledge of central disciplines and their contribution to human rights studies, and are equipped with key research skills in human rights.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of four core modules (75 credits), three optional modules (45 credits), and a research dissertation (60 credits).

Core modules
-International Law and Human Rights (30)
-International Human Rights: Standards and Institutions (15)
-Theoretical Foundations of Human Rights (15)
-Normative Methods, Legal Analysis and Research Skills (15)

Optional modules - choose one of the following 15-credit modules:
-Introduction to Qualitative Methods (15)
-Advanced Qualitative Methods (15)
-Introduction to Quantitative Methods (15)
-Advanced Quantitative Methods (15)

And then a further 30 credits from other modules. The following are suggestions:
-Terrorism (15)
-War and International Law (15)
-Equality, Justice and Difference (15)
-The Ethics of Poverty (15)
-Democracy and Accountability: Holding Power to Account (15)
-Governing Divided Societies (15)
-Gendering the Study of Politics: Theory and Practice (15)
-The Politics of Human Rights in Latin America: challenges to Democratisation (15)
-Global Ethics (15)

Dissertation/report
All MA students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.

Teaching and learning
The programme has an integrated research and teaching approach, where key and cutting edge areas are brought into the seminar room for discussion, and students are encouraged to carry out original research into these areas. Assessment is through essays, unseen examination, seminar presentations, and the dissertation.

Careers

The Human Rights MA is a challenging, formative experience that provides the foundations for a variety of future careers. Graduates of the programme are now working in an impressive number of international, national, governmental and non-governmental institutions and organisations, including:
-United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
-Advocates for International Development
-Amnesty International
-British Institute for Human Rights
-Council of Europe
-European Parliament
-International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association
-Japanese Government
-Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies
-Royal Commonwealth Society
-Save the Children
-UK Foreign Office
-UN Development Programme
-Universal Rights Group

Top career destinations for this degree:
-Researcher, Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice and studying LLM International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, University of Essex
-Legal Intern, UNHCR (United Nations High Comissioner for Refugees)
-Politics Editor, Urban Times
-Legal Assistant, Christine Lee & Co.
-Research Assistant, Overseas Development Institute

Employability
Graduates of the programme have secured employment in an impressive number of international, national, governmental and non-governmental institutions and organisations, including the UK Foreign Office, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman UK, British Institute for Human Rights, the European Union, the Council of Europe, Amnesty International, ILGA, Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies. Some of our students are now human rights lawyers. Our students have also pursued PhDs and have become human rights academics.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL Political Science is recognised as a centre of excellence in the field and offers a uniquely stimulating environment for the study of human rights.

Students benefit from weekly seminars featuring distinguished external speakers, and regular high-profile events for policymakers and others. Each year the students have the opportunity to participate in a study trip to Geneva to visit the United Nations Human Rights Institutions and meet human rights practitioners.

The research preparation and tailor-made interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary training students receive are of the highest standard available at one of the world's top universities, as reflected in UCL's performance in a range of rankings and tables.

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Birkbeck has a strong tradition in interdisciplinary gender and sexuality studies, and encourages research students to think in innovative and critical ways about the topics they are investigating. Read more
Birkbeck has a strong tradition in interdisciplinary gender and sexuality studies, and encourages research students to think in innovative and critical ways about the topics they are investigating. Your study can take a wide variety of forms and may cover themes from across the social sciences, arts and humanities. Researching for an MPhil or PhD in gender/sexuality studies will enable you to develop advanced conceptual skills and knowledges that can be applied within or beyond an academic context.

Our students benefit from being part of a vibrant research environment that includes internationally renowned scholars and a programme of visiting speakers from around the world. Research students can also take advantage of specialist research training and of postgraduate taught modules offered through the MA Gender, Sexuality and Culture/MSc Gender, Sexuality and Society.

Studying for an MPhil or PhD in gender and sexuality studies at Birkbeck involves working closely with a small group of staff on an independent research project. This means that we are only able to accept students whose proposed research project lies within the areas of expertise of our staff. If there is a particular member of staff you would like to work with, please contact them to discuss your project before applying.

Our research interests include: queer theory; feminist theory and research; masculinities; lesbian and gay writing and film; gender and generation; paid domestic work; food consumption habits; gender and geography; gender and education; gender, class and citizenship; histories and theories of sexuality and gender; socio-legal dimensions of gender, sexuality and HIV/AIDS.

Our research

Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Sociology at Birkbeck was ranked 13th in the UK.

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We offer a tailored, individual doctoral research programme within an area of expertise covered by a wide range of staff interests. Read more
We offer a tailored, individual doctoral research programme within an area of expertise covered by a wide range of staff interests. In addition to individual supervision, students participate in an extensive study skills programme; an ongoing series of international level seminars, symposia and conferences; the Department’s Postgraduate Methods Reading Group and an informal Postgraduate Research Group.

Research Interests

Film and television aesthetics, history and theory; classical and contemporary Hollywood cinema; European cinema (especially British, Italian, French, and Spanish); British and US television; documentary film and television; silent cinema; feminist film and television theory, history and criticism; world cinema; gay and lesbian film cultures; film and philosophy; experimental film and video; film and television genre; film and modernity; film technology and innovation; cities and landscapes in film and television; critical studies of the archive; transnational cinemas.

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Research supervision is available across the range of the department's subjects, with examples of current students' interests being Sino-Soviet relations… Read more
Research supervision is available across the range of the department's subjects, with examples of current students' interests being Sino-Soviet relations in the 1940s, the politics of direct action, war crimes, refugees and asylum seekers, Syrian politics, international relations in the Maghreb, the social exclusion of older people and the policing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gendered people.

Staff have expertise for postgraduate supervision in Criminology including: crime control, policing, the penal system, comparative criminology, penology, philosophy of punishment, miscarriages of justice, sex work, domestic violence and sadomasochism.

How You Study

The School aims to provide considerable support to enable you to become an independent researcher. You are required to follow a structured pattern of activity during which your progress can be monitored and encouraged. You are allocated two supervisors and the emphasis is on providing whatever training you may require.

As a research student you usually have two internal supervisors with specialist knowledge of their subject areas and you can attend regular meetings with them for advice, monitoring and other support. Where appropriate, additional advisors may also be utilised. You also have the opportunity to contribute to the School’s internal seminar series and may also be able to contribute to teaching.

Due to the nature of postgraduate research programmes, the vast majority of your time will be spent in independent study and research. You will have meetings with your academic supervisors, however the regularity of these will vary depending on your own individual requirements, subject area, staff availability and the stage of your programme.

How You Are Assessed

A PhD is awarded based on the quality of your thesis and your ability in an oral examination (viva voce) to successfully defend that thesis to your examiners.

Career and Personal Development

Graduates may go on to take positions as researchers or academics in institutes of higher education. Others may choose to use the experience for personal development and go on to careers in related sectors.

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The School of Social and Political Sciences benefits from an active research base ensuring that staff are involved in current debates and that you are made aware of relevant developments and issues. Read more
The School of Social and Political Sciences benefits from an active research base ensuring that staff are involved in current debates and that you are made aware of relevant developments and issues. Each research student is supported by a programme of research training. You will be expected to identify an original area of academically relevant research and agree an approved programme of research with a tutor.

Research Areas, Projects & Topics

Research supervision is available across the range of the department's subjects, with examples of current students' interests being Sino-Soviet relations in the 1940s, the politics of direct action, war crimes, refugees and asylum seekers, Syrian politics, international relations in the Maghreb, the social exclusion of older people and the policing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gendered people.

How You Study

Research students can enrol for MPhil or PhD awards. These degrees are normally undertaken wholly by thesis and can be carried out either on a full-time or a part-time basis.

The School aims to provide considerable support to enable you to become a independent researcher. Students are required to follow a structured pattern of activity during which their progress can be monitored and encouraged. You are allocated two supervisors and the emphasis is on providing whatever training you require. Students are asked to contribute to the Department's research seminar series, are able to apply for funding to attend conferences and are encouraged to publish including in the department's Social Research Paper series and in journals.

Research students normally have two internal supervisors with specialist knowledge of the International Relations subject area and have regular meetings with them for advice, monitoring and other support. Students can engage with external experts and advisors and can contribute to the School’s internal seminar series. You may also have the opportunity to contribute to teaching.

Staff have expertise for postgraduate supervision in the following: international relations, minority rights, human rights, women in politics, policy making, nationalism, political economy, post-colonial studies, construction of sexual identities, global citizenship, conflict resolution and the United Nations.

Due to the nature of postgraduate research programmes, the vast majority of your time will be spent in independent study and research. You will have meetings with your academic supervisors, however the regularity of these will vary depending on your own individual requirements, subject area, staff availability and the stage of your programme.

How You Are Assessed

A PhD is awarded based on the quality of your thesis and your ability in an oral examination (viva voce) to successfully defend that thesis to your examiners.

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Postgraduate research in the School of Social and Political Sciences is informed by the expertise of our team of academics, who have long-standing links to industry, government, research organisations and the voluntary sector. Read more
Postgraduate research in the School of Social and Political Sciences is informed by the expertise of our team of academics, who have long-standing links to industry, government, research organisations and the voluntary sector.

Opportunities for research are available across a range of topics in social and political sciences. Current research projects include the politics of anti-social behaviour, quality physical education, transforming higher education, new social movements in the Middle East, support for people with HIV/AIDS, the 1984/5 miners’ strike, gender and violence, the Gambling Act 2005, and democracy and human rights in Africa.

You can benefit from a structured programme of training which aims to develop the research competencies and professional practice skills that can enhance both your postgraduate study and future career. There are opportunities for collaborative working across disciplines and you will be supported in applying for funding, attending conferences and publishing your work.

Research Areas, Projects & Topics

Examples of current research projects include:
-Collaborative Governance
-The Case of Mass Transportation in Lagos and London
-Steiner Education
-Machiavelli and New Labour
-Public Houses in Rural Communities
-The Politics of Anti-Social Behaviour
-Rural Community Engagement
-Preventive Diplomacy
-Quality Physical Education
-The Learning Motivation of Older People.

How You Study

Research supervision is available across the range of the department's subjects, with examples of current students' interests being Sino-Soviet relations in the 1940's, the politics of direct action, war crimes, refugees and asylum seekers, Syrian politics, international relations in the Maghreb, the social exclusion of older people and the policing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gendered people.

The School aims to provide considerable support to enable you to become an independent researcher. Students are required to follow a structured pattern of activity during which their progress can be monitored and encouraged. Throughout their studies students are allocated two supervisors and the emphasis is on providing whatever training students require. Students are asked to contribute to the department's research seminar series, are able to apply for funding to attend conferences and are encouraged to publish their work, including in the department's Social Research Paper series and in journals.

Due to the nature of postgraduate research programmes, the vast majority of your time will be spent in independent study and research. You will have meetings with your academic supervisors, however the regularity of these will vary depending on your own individual requirements, subject area, staff availability and the stage of your programme.

How You Are Assessed

A PhD is usually awarded based on the quality of your thesis and your ability in an oral examination (viva voce) to present and successfully defend your chosen research topic to a group of academics. You are also expected to demonstrate how your research findings have contributed to knowledge or developed existing theory or understanding.

Career and Personal Development

This programme may help to develop the high-level research skills and knowledge required to establish careers in fields related to your research. Some graduates may pursue roles in research, government, the criminal justice system, local authorities and other public services, as well as academia.

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Postgraduate research in the School of Social and Political Sciences is informed by the expertise of our team of academics, who have long-standing links to industry, government, research organisations and the voluntary sector. Read more
Postgraduate research in the School of Social and Political Sciences is informed by the expertise of our team of academics, who have long-standing links to industry, government, research organisations and the voluntary sector.

Opportunities for research are available across a range of topics in social and political sciences. Current research projects include the politics of anti-social behaviour, quality physical education, transforming higher education, new social movements in the Middle East, support for people with HIV/AIDS, the 1984/5 miners’ strike, gender and violence, the Gambling Act 2005, and democracy and human rights in Africa.

You can benefit from a structured programme of training which aims to develop the research competencies and professional practice skills that can enhance both your postgraduate study and future career. There are opportunities for collaborative working across disciplines and you will be supported in applying for funding, attending conferences and publishing your work.

Research Areas, Projects & Topics

Examples of current research projects include:
-Collaborative Governance
-The Case of Mass Transportation in Lagos and London
-Steiner Education
-Machiavelli and New Labour
-Public Houses in Rural Communities
-The Politics of Anti-Social Behaviour
-Rural Community Engagement
-Preventive Diplomacy
-Quality Physical Education
-The Learning Motivation of Older People.

How You Study

Research supervision is available across the range of the department's subjects, with examples of current students' interests being Sino-Soviet relations in the 1940's, the politics of direct action, war crimes, refugees and asylum seekers, Syrian politics, international relations in the Maghreb, the social exclusion of older people and the policing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gendered people.

The School aims to provide considerable support to enable you to become an independent researcher. Students are required to follow a structured pattern of activity during which their progress can be monitored and encouraged. Throughout their studies students are allocated two supervisors and the emphasis is on providing whatever training students require. Students are asked to contribute to the department's research seminar series, are able to apply for funding to attend conferences and are encouraged to publish their work, including in the department's Social Research Paper series and in journals.

Due to the nature of postgraduate research programmes, the vast majority of your time will be spent in independent study and research. You will have meetings with your academic supervisors, however the regularity of these will vary depending on your own individual requirements, subject area, staff availability and the stage of your programme.

How You Are Assessed

A PhD is usually awarded based on the quality of your thesis and your ability in an oral examination (viva voce) to present and successfully defend your chosen research topic to a group of academics. You are also expected to demonstrate how your research findings have contributed to knowledge or developed existing theory or understanding.

Career and Personal Development

This programme may help to develop the high-level research skills and knowledge required to establish careers in fields related to your research. Some graduates may pursue roles in research, government, the criminal justice system, local authorities and other public services, as well as academia.

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The MA focuses on the use of rights discourse and tools within the human rights mainstream and in a range of related fields (development, humanitarianism, conflict transformation, the environment, public health etc.). Read more
The MA focuses on the use of rights discourse and tools within the human rights mainstream and in a range of related fields (development, humanitarianism, conflict transformation, the environment, public health etc.).

As such, it is designed for practitioners and would-be practitioners across this spectrum who wish to engage with applied human rights.

Overview

Our MA in Applied Human Rights is distinctive in five main ways:
-Tt is uniquely applied, exploring how human rights can advance social justice in law, policy and social activism
-It is interdisciplinary and holistic (integrating knowledge of human rights, development, conflict, and more)
-Students will acquire relevant knowledge but also skills that are vital for a career in human rights e.g. project management skills
-The lecturers are both academics and experienced practitioners, and the international human rights defenders hosted by the Centre will attend and lead classes
-An international field trip to South Africa takes place in the first term (student numbers permitting), enabling students to work alongside local NGOs and human rights defenders on concrete projects

Course content

The MA structure has two components: compulsory modules, and optional modules. In total, students need to complete five modules (two compulsory, in the first term; one compulsory, running over two terms; two options in the second term). A dissertation will fulfill the requirements for an MA. This structure has been chosen so as to maximize the choice available to students, but to guide the selection process in a constructive way eg: indicating where modules are practice-based and where they are not.

Continuous assessment of applied skills is a feature of the programme.

Compulsory modules
-Defending human rights (40 credits; terms 1-2)
-Social sciences and human rights practice (20 credits; term 1)
-International human rights law and advocacy (20 credits, term 1)
-Dissertation (60 credits, terms 3-4)

Optional modules
In the second term students will be able to take two options. Those offered by CAHR will share the characteristics of the MA (practice based and interdisciplinary) and will explore areas where rights are being used in new and innovative ways. Students may also select from optional modules listed below taught by other departments.
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 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.

Careers

Our MA provides career advice, networking opportunities, hands-on experience, and personalised reference letters to help our graduates find good jobs with human rights NGOs, humanitarian and development organisations, policy think-tanks, national governments, and UN agencies.

Recent graduates have secured work with:
-Government departments, e.g. working on health equality and trafficking in the UK, Finnish Centre for Human Rights (NHRI)
-Human rights organisations, e.g. Freedom House, the Terrence Higgins Trust, the Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organisation, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute (Washington, DC), Freedom from Torture (Yorkshire & Humberside), International Services and Brave New Films (USA)
-Development and humanitarian organisations, e.g. Norwegian People's Aid and Merlin
-Inter-governmental agencies, e.g. the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation in The Hague, UNDP in Bangladesh, UNRIC in Brussels and Quaker UN Office in Geneva
-Research posts, e.g. PhD positions and Research Assistant on Corporate Social Responsibility at the American University, Beirut
-Think-tanks, e.g. Involve, London
-Businesses, e.g. Ethical Trade Coordinator at New Look Retailers

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