The main goal of the LL.M. in Human Rights program is to provide theoretical and practical training for future scholars and professionals in human rights, with special emphasis on the legal aspects of human rights protection.
Our highly qualified and diverse full-time and part-time (visiting) faculty prepare students to engage in comparative and inter-disciplinary analysis of complex human rights problems. The program offers practical instruction in the specific legal mechanisms and institutional processes that may be used by national human rights organizations to effectively approach human rights issues confronting transitional and established democracies. As with the other programs at the Department of Legal Studies, the LLM Program in Human Rights is committed to research-based teaching. Areas of research and teaching include: mechanisms for the protection of human rights in all international and regional human rights regimes, freedom of expression and freedom of religion, human rights and criminal justice, political rights, non-discrimination, minority protection, human rights in Africa, politics and theories of European integration from a human rights perspective, and more. Courses by our part-time (visiting) faculty build on the core content taught by permanent faculty, permitting us to introduce courses on contemporary human rights challenges as they arise. The program also benefits from close cooperation with other Master’s programs at the Department via optional thematic specializations.
Rigorous and closely monitored coursework provides the tools of advocacy, analysis, critical reading and writing necessary to enable students to make a significant and lasting contribution both to rights protection in their home countries and to the enforcement of human rights at large. Courses prepare students to explore human rights issues across legal systems, to engage in advanced critical thinking, and to refine their arguments in oral interactions and group work. Classes are highly interactive, enabling students to benefit from the international composition of the student body; in-class discussions allow insight into contemporary developments as they evolve, enabling critical engagement with these developments in a manner that is sensitive to the multi-cultural composition of our academic community. Individual research skills are developed through problem-driven papers written for various courses, as well as in the thesis or capstone thesis. Students are encouraged to address practical human rights problems through comparative analysis using a theoretical framework informed by inter-disciplinary insight. As a result, our graduates, with their advanced analytical skills that draw on critical inter-disciplinary analysis, are capable of responding effectively to human rights challenges with policy-relevant proposals.
Entry Requirements for the HR LLM Program
In exceptional cases, applicants with a three-year bachelor’s degree may be allowed admission into one-year master’s programs. The applicants should be aware that they may not be able to pursue a doctoral degree in the European Higher Education Area if they have accumulated less than 300 ECTS credits in their prior university studies. Applicants wishing to pursue an academic career should choose their master’s program accordingly (two-year master’s in case they completed a three-year bachelor’s degree, and one-year master’s in case they completed a four-year bachelor’s degree). For the list of conditions under which exemptions may be granted, please refer to the program’s website.
On completion of the program students will be equipped with
- substantial understanding of the institutional and procedural frameworks of human rights enforcement in major jurisdictions;
- substantial knowledge of the protection offered by particular human rights on national and supranational levels;
- a critical appreciation of the nature, efficacy and theoretical foundations of the international human rights regime;
- the capacity to generate new ideas and advocacy strategies that provide genuine solutions to complex human rights problems using comparative arguments and interdisciplinary insight;
- skills to analyze human rights issues in a policy-relevant manner;
- the ability to envision a human rights-based approach to addressing diverse legal, regulatory and policy problems.