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Study human rights abroad

An in-depth guide to studying human rights as an international student.

Human rights degrees abroad

Human rights is a crucial field of study that examines how the basic rights and freedoms of people vary around the world. It’s a far-reaching subject that encompasses several different disciplines, including law, ethics, philosophy, politics, and history.

Programs are designed to provide students with a theoretical, legal, and practical understanding of human rights. You’ll trace social injustices throughout history and learn about key human rights movements, like the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, and civil rights activism. You’ll also confront the challenges that still plague societies today and offer solutions.

Studying abroad is a vital educational experience for anyone hoping to begin a career in human rights. Textbooks are no substitute for seeing the work of international organizations in person, observing how international laws are applied across the globe, and encountering new human struggles.

Human rights program structure

It’s possible to study human rights as a bachelor’s degree over three or four years, but the number of universities offering these undergraduate courses is low.

It’s much more common to study human rights as a master’s degree over one or two years. These programs can be offered as either an MA, MSc, or Master of Laws (LLM). To enroll in an MA or MSc course, you’ll need to have an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject, like sociology, politics, philosophy, or ethics. Those hoping to pursue an LLM must have a bachelor’s degree in law.

If you’re eager to conduct your own cutting-edge research, you might consider pursuing a doctoral degree. PhDs are the highest formal qualifications available and normally take between four and six years to complete.

Timetabled teaching on human rights courses usually consists of lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops. You’ll probably be assessed through a combination of exams, essays, presentations and research projects.

The content of your program will likely be influenced by the cultural context of your university and study location. Nevertheless, most courses will introduce students to these fundamentals:

  • Understanding human rights
  • Securing human rights
  • Contemporary issues in human rights
  • International law and relations
  • Human rights violations
  • Slavery and emancipation
  • Human rights and terrorism
  • Social justice
Human rights program structure

It’s possible to study human rights as a bachelor’s degree over three or four years, but the number of universities offering these undergraduate courses is low.

It’s much more common to study human rights as a master’s degree over one or two years. These programs can be offered as either an MA, MSc, or Master of Laws (LLM). To enroll in an MA or MSc course, you’ll need to have an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject, like sociology, politics, philosophy, or ethics. Those hoping to pursue an LLM must have a bachelor’s degree in law.

If you’re eager to conduct your own cutting-edge research, you might consider pursuing a doctoral degree. PhDs are the highest formal qualifications available and normally take between four and six years to complete.

Timetabled teaching on human rights courses usually consists of lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops. You’ll probably be assessed through a combination of exams, essays, presentations and research projects.

The content of your program will likely be influenced by the cultural context of your university and study location. Nevertheless, most courses will introduce students to these fundamentals:

  • Understanding human rights
  • Securing human rights
  • Contemporary issues in human rights
  • International law and relations
  • Human rights violations
  • Slavery and emancipation
  • Human rights and terrorism
  • Social justice

How to study human rights abroad

  1. University & program search

    Find the right program for you and your career aspirations
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Our team of advisors is ready to support you at every step of your study abroad journey.
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Human rights study abroad programs

Human rights undergraduate programs

Bachelor's in human rights

  • false

    Human Rights - BA St. Thomas University, Canada

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    13,064 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 16,389 CAD

    Start date
    September, January
    Show program overview about Human Rights
  • false

    Human Rights Studies - BA University of Dayton, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    44,890 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 44,890 USD

    Start date
    August, May
    Show program overview about Human Rights Studies
  • false

    Interdisciplinary Studies (International Conflict and Human Rights) - BASc/BEd/BASc (Hons) Lakehead University, Canada

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    18,815 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 23,604 CAD

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Interdisciplinary Studies (International Conflict and Human Rights)
  • false

    International Relations - Human Rights and IR - BA Duquesne University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    38,178 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 38,178 USD

    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about International Relations - Human Rights and IR
  • false

    International Studies: Justice, Ethics, and Human Rights - BA American University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    50,542 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 50,542 USD

    Start date
    August, January
    Show program overview about International Studies: Justice, Ethics, and Human Rights
See all bachelor's degrees in human rights

Human rights graduate programs

Master's in human rights

  • false

    European Union Studies and Human Rights - MIB UCAM Universidad Católica de Murcia, Spain

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    7,174 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 6,000 EUR

    Start date
    November
    Show program overview about European Union Studies and Human Rights
  • false

    Human Rights and Conflict - MSc University of Dundee, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    23,762 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 17,275 GBP

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Human Rights and Conflict
  • false

    Human Rights and International Conflict - MA London Metropolitan University, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    18,225 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 13,250 GBP

    Start date
    September, January
    Show program overview about Human Rights and International Conflict
  • false

    International Law (and Human Rights) - LLM Keele University, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    20,288 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 14,750 GBP

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about International Law (and Human Rights)
  • false

    International Human Rights and Development - LLM London South Bank University, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    18,954 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 13,780 GBP

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about International Human Rights and Development
See all master's degrees in human rights

Doctorate in human rights

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    Human Rights, Society, and Multi-Level Governance - PhD University of Nicosia, Cyprus

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    3 years
    Annual tuition fee
    5,381 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 4,500 EUR

    Start date
    September, June, February
    Show program overview about Human Rights, Society, and Multi-Level Governance
See all doctorates in human rights

Pathway in human rights

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    Human Rights Pre-Master's Programme - PGP Kingston University, UK

    Program type
    Postgraduate pathway
    Duration
    8 months
    Annual tuition fee
    13,067 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 9,500 GBP

    Start date
    January, April
    Show program overview about Human Rights Pre-Master's Programme
See all postgraduate pathways in human rights

Future human rights careers

Your skills in empathy, conflict resolution, and collaboration will equip you for several rewarding and fulfilling careers in the field of human rights.

You can apply your expertise across a range of public and private sectors, including international organizations, governments, private businesses, and charities.

Here are just some of the career opportunities open to human rights graduates:

  • Human rights lawyer
  • Policy advisor
  • Policy analyst
  • CEO of a relief organization
  • Corporate social responsibility specialist
  • Fundraiser
  • Human rights researcher
  • Journalist

Participating in some work experience with charities, NGOs, government departments, or legal firms will help demonstrate your passion and commitment to potential employers. Talk to your university’s career service about the benefits of placements and internships to your employability.