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This programme offers a thorough academic analysis of one of the most salient and pressing issues in the contemporary world: the place of individual human rights in a system of international relations in which states’ rights have traditionally been paramount.

Why this programme

  • If you plan a career with non-governmental organisations, in related domestic, European and other global institutions, or in higher education, or want to learn more about human rights and international politics, this programme is designed for you.
  • You will have the opportunity to participate in a five-day study trip to Geneva to visit the UN and non-governmental human rights organisations.
  • The interdisciplinary degree is designed to ensure you will encounter both legal and political perspectives, unlike most other human rights programmes which are exclusively focused on law. You can choose to focus on one domain more than the other.
  • The programme draws on recognised expertise in international institutions, security, gender, political philosophy, theories of rights, and ethics and normative theory, as well as a wide variety of country and regional expertise.
  • You will benefit from access to a number of organisations within and beyond the University, including the Glasgow Human Rights Network; The Glasgow Refugee, Asylum & Migration Network; The Glasgow Centre for International Development; and the annual International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival.
  • If you wish to combine the study of this subject with additional advanced training in research methods, you should consider the closely-related MRes in Human Rights & International Politics..

Programme structure

You will take four core and two optional courses. Courses will be delivered via lectures and seminars. Some courses contain an exam. You will also submit a dissertation at the end of the programme.

Core courses

  • Critical perspectives on human rights (Politics)
  • Fundamentals of international law (Law)
  • Human rights and global politics (Politics)
  • Qualitative research methods OR Research design.

Optional courses may include

  • China's international politics
  • Chinese politics and society
  • Comparative public opinion
  • Environmental policies and problems in China
  • EU in international politics and development
  • Foreign policy of the United States 
  • Humanitarian intervention
  • International human rights law
  • International organisations
  • International relations and development
  • International relations research
  • International relations theory
  • International security and strategic thought
  • Internet and civil society 
  • Media and democracy
  • Political institutions communication
  • United Nations law.

Programme alteration or discontinuation

The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. For more information, please see: Student contract.

Career prospects

Career opportunities include positions in higher education, government/foreign ministry, intergovernmental organisations, non-governmental organisations and think tanks.


Visit the Human Rights & International Politics (MSc) page on the University of Glasgow website for more details!

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