Course Structure

The degree comprises practical experience as well as theoretical knowledge. Over the course of the degree, you will receive a practical introduction to and overview of the key actors involved in securing human rights – including states, international institutions, and the role of ideas.

All students must complete a minimum of three compulsory modules and three optional modules, plus the dissertation, in order to fulfil the requirement for the MA. In addition, students may wish to select one extra optional module (equalling 10 ECTS) and / or the internship (20 ECTS) for additional credit, totalling between 110 and 120 credits.

  • One module = 12.5% of the MA final grade (10 ECTS)
  • Six modules = 75% of the MA final grade (60 ECTS)
  • Dissertation = 25% of the MA final grade (30 ECTS)

If an additional optional module is taken (for an extra 10 ECTS), the final taught average is calculated from the three compulsory modules and the three optional modules with the highest grades.

The internship is not given a grade and is marked only as a pass or fail (extra 20 ECTS).

Required Modules

Optional Modules

Dissertation [30 ECTS]

Students will complete a 15,000-word research-based dissertation on a chosen topic within human rights which is of special interest to them. This topic will be chosen in consultation with your dissertation supervisor, who will provide support.

Auditing Modules

All students are welcome to audit modules (i.e. attend without the intention to be assessed) but must ask the module convenor’s permission first.

Choosing Your Optional Modules

Optional modules run in the spring term (with the exception of Human Rights in Everyday Life in Latin America, which non-pathway students are free to take in the Autumn term). Students are required to select a minimum of three optional modules. Students will be invited to sign-up to optional modules in the Autumn term. It is possible for students to audit optional modules in the first week of the spring term, before finalising their choices. If a student wishes to change their module choices after the second week of term a written request must be submitted for approval by the MA teaching staff.

Please note that the internship can be taken on a non-assessed basis, in which case it is unaccredited. If the internship option is taken on an accredited basis (for 20 ECTS credits), this must be in addition to the minimum requirement of six taught modules (three compulsory and three optional). NB: the internship is awarded a pass or fail but no marks, so it will not affect your overall grade.

Mode of Study 

Part-time study

Students have the option to study the MA full time over one year, or part time over two or three years. Taking the MA over three years is known as Part Time Plus (PT+).

Part-Time Students: In the first year, part-time students start in the autumn term with the compulsory modules: Understanding Human Rights I and The Foundations of International Human Rights Law. In the spring term of the first year, part-time students can then select to take either one or two optional modules. In year two, part- time students start in the autumn term with the compulsory module: Securing Human Rights I followed by either one or two optional modules in the spring term. Please note that Securing Human Rights II is only available as an option in the second year.

Part-Time Plus Students: In the autumn term of each year PT+ students start with the compulsory modules: Understanding I in the first year, The Foundations of International Human Rights Law in the second year, and Securing Human Rights I in the third year. In their first spring term, PT+ students will be able to take all optional modules apart from Translating Human Rights into Law and Securing Human Rights II. In the spring term of the second year, students will be able to take all optional modules apart from Securing Human Rights II. In the third year, there will be no restrictions on the modules PT+ students can take.

All students, whether full-time, part-time or PT+ must complete a minimum of three compulsory modules and three optional modules. Part-time and PT+ students may undertake more than one internship, e.g. in both years and/or during the summer between years one and two. The dissertation is to be completed over the summer of the second year in the case of part-time students and in the third year in the case of PT+ students.