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.
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).
Choose one of the following 15 credit methods modules:
Choose further modules up to a value of 30 credits in total from a list available at:
The following are suggestions:
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.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Human Rights MA
Graduates of the programme have secured employment in 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.
Recent career destinations for this degree
The Human Rights MA is a challenging, formative experience that provides the foundations for a variety of future careers in an impressive number of international, national, governmental and non-governmental institutions and organisations.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
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.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Political Science
89% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
Visit the Human Rights (MA) page on the University College London website for more details!