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This MA is based on an established programme developed in collaboration with leading human rights activists to provide training for future human rights professionals.

The cutting-edge content looks at human rights issues from a practical perspective as well as a theoretical and legal one. We offer a wide range of elective modules. The topics address emerging issues in human rights, such as the impact of environmental destruction on human rights; human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals; or cultural genocide.

Note: this course was previously referred to as: Understanding and Securing Human Rights.

  • MA: You study 7 modules (3 compulsory, 3 electives, 1 dissertation)
  • PGDip: You study 6 modules (3 compulsory, 3 elective)
  • PGCert: You study 3 compulsory modules (excluding dissertation).

Each module runs for 14 weeks, starting in September or February. View Modules.

The programme is available online and is fully supported by a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), as well as study materials and help from academic staff. It allows you to study anywhere in the world and fit your studies around your other commitments.

Study materials

You receive individual module handbooks, assessment activities and digitised readings.

For each module, you will be able to discuss your work with fellow students and tutors. Expert tuition is provided via podcasts and videos from leading academics and human rights professionals.

Online support

When you register, we will give you access to your Student Portal. You can then access your University of London email account and two other key resources:

  • The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) enables access to course materials, resources, and forums to discuss course material and work collaboratively with others. Tutors are available to answer queries and promote discussion during the study year through the VLE.
  • The Online Library holds thousands of journal articles which you can access free of charge. A dedicated helpdesk is available if you have any difficulties in finding what you need.

Your time commitment

All modules run during two 14-week study sessions throughout the year. You register for up to two modules per session and should expect to devote between 15-20 hours per week to your studies during these periods (assuming you take two modules).


  • Understanding Human Rights / Translating Human Rights into International Law: assessed by a seen written exam (70% of the grade) and two E-tivities (30%).
  • Securing Human Rights: assessed by two equally-weighted items of coursework (70% of the grade) and two E-tivities (30%).
  • All elective modules: assessed by one item of coursework (70% of the grade) and two E-tivities (30%).
  • Dissertation: assessed by a research proposal (15% of the grade) and a written thesis (85%).

Examinations are held twice a year (usually January and June) at exam centres located all around the world.

Carer Opportunities

Graduates of the related on-campus MA have gone on to work for major international NGOs including Amnesty International, Oxfam, Friends of the Earth and Anti-Slavery International, as well as several UN agencies, businesses, academia and in government.

What do employers think of our graduates?

In some countries, qualifications earned by distance and flexible learning may not be recognised by certain authorities or regulators for the purposes of public sector employment or further study. We advise you to explore the local recognition status before you register, even if you plan to receive support from a local teaching institution.

Funding your study

Without the cost of moving to London, studying for your University of London degree anywhere in the world represents excellent value for money. However, there are additional sources of support depending on where you live and how you choose to study.

If you are a UK or EU national and you have lived in England for three years, you could be eligible to apply for a Postgraduate Loan.

More on funding your study.

Visit the Human Rights (MA, PG Diploma and PG Cert) page on the University of London website for more details!





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