MA Human Rights
Designed and run by activist scholars based at the School of Advanced Study's Human Rights Consortium, this practice-based online Master's builds the vocational skills you need to succeed as a human rights practitioner. It can also be studied as a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate.
Learn from world-leading experts
The degree is designed and run by activist scholars at the Human Rights Consortium (HRC), so you'll be taught by leaders in their field with a great deal of academic and practice-based expertise. Many of the modules feature videos or dialogue with guest human rights practitioners, who share their insights.
Practice-based, career-focused content
Cutting-edge course content examines human rights issues from a practical perspective as well as theoretical and legal ones, so you’ll learn the essential skills needed to work in the field. Employers praise our MA for delivering the training and knowledge that human rights professionals need for a successful career today.
Build your global network
The University of London is a truly global institution. While studying online, you’ll be able to connect with fellow current or aspiring human rights professionals around the world, benefiting from their diverse perspectives and experiences.
Study online anywhere in the world
Enjoy flexibility in terms of what, when and how you study. Fully online teaching lets you learn in your own time, without relocating. The MA can be studied part-time in a minimum of two years or up to five years, so there's no need to put your career on hold.
A mark of excellence
The University of London has been a trusted provider of distance learning for over 160 years. When you study with us, you can be confident that your qualification will be valued by employers around the world.
The programme is available to be studied as a full Master’s degree, a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) or a Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert).
You complete seven modules for the MA (three compulsory, three electives, one dissertation).
You complete six modules for the PGDip (three compulsory, three elective).
You complete three compulsory modules for the PGCert (excluding dissertation).
Each module runs for 14 weeks, starting in September or February. Most modules are available to study individually on a stand-alone basis.
The Programme Specification and Programme Regulations contain information and rules regarding what modules you can choose and the order in which they must be studied.
Dissertation (MA only)
The degree 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.
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 module convenors. Expert tuition is provided via online discussion forums, short video lectures or interviews, and periodic optional live webinars from leading academics and human rights professionals.
When you register, we will give you access to your Student Portal. You can then access your University of London email account and other key resources:
- The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Here, you can access electronic copies of all study materials, resources including audio-visual materials, and forums to discuss course material and work collaboratively with others.
- The Online Library. As a student at the University of London, you will have access to a range of resources, databases, and journals via the Online Library. You will be able to contact a team of professional and qualified librarians for any help you require.
Senate House Library
If you’re based in the United Kingdom, or are visiting London, make sure to visit Senate House Library. Students studying with the University of London can join the library free of charge. Membership includes a 10-book borrowing allowance, access to all reading rooms and study areas, and on-site access to Senate House Library digital resources.
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 written exam (70 per cent of the grade) and three E-tivities (30 per cent).
- Securing Human Rights: assessed by two equally-weighted items of coursework (70 per cent of the grade) and three E-tivities (30 per cent).
- All elective modules: assessed by one item of coursework (70 per cent of the grade) and three E-tivities (30 per cent).
- Dissertation: assessed by a research proposal (15 per cent of the grade) and a written thesis of 15,000 words (85 per cent).
Examinations are held twice a year (usually January and June).
The School of Advanced Study unites eight specialist humanities and social science research Institutes at the University of London. It is the only institution of its kind in the United Kingdom, nationally funded to promote and facilitate research in the humanities and social sciences.
The Human Rights Consortium (HRC) of the School of Advanced Study was established to facilitate and promote inter-disciplinary research in human rights nationally and internationally. The Consortium's mandate includes:
- organising and supporting events on human rights;
- disseminating research on human rights;
- fostering national and international networks of human rights researchers;
- hosting visiting fellows working in human rights;
- training research students, and enhancing the learning environment for graduate students.
Dr Corinne Lennox is a Senior Lecturer in Human Rights and Programme Director of the MA in Human Rights. She also is Co-Director of the Human Rights Consortium (HRC). Her research focuses on issues of minority and indigenous rights protection, civil society mobilisation for human rights, and human rights and development. She has worked as an advisor on human rights to UN agencies, social movements and governments.
Professor Damien Short is a Professor in Human Rights and Environmental Justice at the School of Advanced Study and Co-Director of the HRC. He has spent his professional career working in the field of human rights, both as a scholar and as a human rights advocate. He has published extensively in the areas of indigenous peoples’ rights, genocide studies, reconciliation projects and environmental human rights.
Dr Bronwen Manby is Lecturer in International Human Rights Law at the School of Advanced Study. She is a leading authority on nationality law and statelessness in Africa. She has written on a wide range of human rights issues in Africa and in continental developments in human rights law.
|Programme starts||February 2024|
What qualifications do you need?
An undergraduate degree (e.g. bachelor's) which is considered at least comparable to a UK upper second class honours degree, from an institution acceptable to the University.
If you do not meet the entrance requirements you may still apply. Each application will be considered on an individual basis by the Programme Director, giving attention to alternative qualifications and/or relevant experience in the field of human rights, broadly understood.
English Language requirements
If your first degree was not taught in English, you will need to provide evidence of language ability as tested by the British Council or another registered body. This is equivalent to:
- A score of 7.0 overall in the IELTS test, or 7.0 in both reading and writing.
- (TOEFL) iBT Test of English as a Foreign Language with an overall score of 95 or above, including a minimum of 24 attained on the reading and writing skills sub-tests and a minimum of 25 attained on the speaking sub-test and 22 attained on the listening sub-test.
- Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English.
- Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (at grade C or above).
- Duolingo: must achieve an overall score of at least 130.
We set minimum basic computer requirements because your study resources are accessed via the Student Portal and it is vital that you can access this regularly. Certain courses may have additional requirements, such as software to manage spreadsheets and run macros.
Fees, funding and payment
The fees below relate to new students registering for the 2023-2024 session. On average, fees are subject to a five per cent year-on-year increase.
Students who registered earlier can view their fees on the Course Fees page.
|Full programme fee||2023-2024|
|Individual module [stand-alone]||£1622|
|Pay per module||2023-2024|
|Core / elective module fee||£1249|
|Other fees (where relevant)|
|Examination resit fee||£270|
|Online examination fee*||£10|
|Dissertation second deferral||£270|
Disclaimer: Currency conversion tool
*The online examination administration fee is charged for each examination paper held online, including resits. This does not apply to any coursework submissions.
You may also need to budget for examination centre fees if applicable, which are paid directly to the venues where you sit your exams.
Please note: all student fees shown are net of any local VAT, Goods and Services Tax (GST) or any other sales tax payable by the student in their country of residence. Where the University is required to add VAT, GST or any other sales tax at the local statutory rate, this will be added to the fees shown during the payment process. For students resident in the UK, our fees are exempt from VAT.
Your payment provider may apply additional transaction fees (if in doubt, please check with them before making a payment).
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.
The Azis Foundation Scholarship offers four Master’s scholarships for the 2023-24 academic year.
Can I get sponsored?
If you're employed, your employer may be willing to cover part/all of the programme fees if you can make a compelling case as to how this programme will boost your contribution to the workplace.
Our courses are ideal for employers because they get to retain you as an employee and benefit from your learning from the moment you begin.
This MA degree is designed for those who wish to develop or enhance careers in a range of professional contexts in the human rights or humanitarian fields.
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.
Students can also specialise in developing research skills in human rights for future PhD studies. The School of Advanced Study also offers a PhD programme in human rights by distance learning or on campus.
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.
You’ll have access to a wide range of careers and employability support through the University of London Careers Service, including live webinars and online drop-in sessions.
Tailored support for careers in the refugee and humanitarian fields is available through regular programme events, webinars and careers resources.
Hear from our students
“My favourite thing about the programme was talking to students from all over the world and learning from each other.”
“If you’re able to learn independently, I would absolutely recommend a University of London degree – the professors are incredible.”
- February 2024 - application deadline closes