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Human Rights MA

Course Description

Choose Kingston's Human Rights MA

This course examines the human rights actors, activities and mechanisms used to define and protect human rights. A key concept is the role of practitioners/activists in the field. The course deals with political developments in the UK, in Europe and internationally, and explores the extent to which human rights are enshrined in and supported by deeper politics and culture, and by institutions, structures, movements and values.

Key features

You will benefit from exceptional teaching by enthusiastic human rights specialists and will acquire essential practical skills required in the field, eg advanced research training, campaign design and impact evaluation. You will also be supported in preparing your dissertation, in which you will research an area of interest in depth.

You will have the opportunity to arrange a placement in a human rights organisation, increasing your employability in the field.

Lively discussion is encouraged, with visiting speakers, leading academics and figures from human rights and international organisations contributing to the debate.

What you will study

You will look at the actors and activities involved in the protection of human rights. Integral to your study are explorations of who these actors are (campaigning movements, pressure groups, nation states, international and transnational organisations) and what their contributions can be to the development and securing of human rights.

You will analyse current international situations and relations between states and non-state actors where conflicts have resulted in considerable violations of rights, and consider the strengths and weaknesses of international human rights mechanisms.

You will investigate the challenges and demands that arise from the continual and growing movements of peoples, refugees, asylum seekers and migrants as they flee conflicts and disasters, seeking realisation of their fundamental rights.


Essays, reports, project work, presentations, dissertation or applied research project.

Course structure

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list.

Core modules

Human Rights: Architectures, Actors, Activism
Research Skills and Dissertation/Project Proposal
Strategies for Achieving Human Rights

Optional modules

Conflict Theory and Resolution
Contemporary Issues and Case Studies in Security and Conflict
Freedom, Censorship and Subversion
From State to Global Politics
Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity
Influencing Crime and Justice Policy
Terrorism, Political Violence and Human Rights
The Theory and Practice of International Relations
Working within the Human Rights Movement

What this course offers you

The Human Rights MA enables you to explore the history, status and scope of human rights.

Optional modules allow you to tailor the course to your own interests. The dissertation gives you the chance to study an area of interest in greater depth and gain valuable research skills.

You will have the opportunity to undertake a placement in a human rights agency as part of the course, giving you valuable practical experience.

The course has been developed in collaboration with a number of organisations committed to the defence and extension of human rights.

Much of the curriculum is issue- or case-based, compiled on an annual basis. This enables you to focus on major contemporary concerns in the field.

Some of the teaching material will be compiled on a yearly basis, with readers combining academic selections with recent current empirical data to maintain a focus on pressing contemporary issues.

Teaching staff are human rights practitioners or research-active, which keeps your learning cutting edge.

The taught modules aim to prepare you for the job market. Alongside your academic studies, you gain skills in:
problem solving and organisation;
data collation, review and synopsis;
communication (oral, written and electronic);
time management;
computing; and
co-operation and teamwork.

The course is ideal if you have a personal or professional interest in human rights. It can help you start or promote a career in areas such human rights advocacy, policy or communication, as well as conversion to law to work in direct representation.

It also provides an excellent foundation for MPhil/PhD-level study.

This course is available on a part-time basis to help you fit your studies around other commitments.

English language requirements

All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall, with no element below 5.5. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from a recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Visit the Human Rights MA page on the Kingston University website for more details!

Student Profiles

Alumni discount - 20+ Awards

All undergraduate alumni qualify for 10% off postgraduate taught course fees.

Value of Scholarship(s)



All Kingston Undergraduate alumni will receive 10% off postgraduate course fees.

Application Procedure

Automatically assessed on application, please ensure you state that your undergraduate degree was awarded by Kingston University.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

One or more of the following: a second class degree or above or equivalent; and/or relevant non-certified learning or work experience. We particularly welcome applications from people working in human rights organisations.

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