Logo of University of Essex

MATheory and Practice of Human Rights

University of Essex
United Kingdom, Colchester
Tuition fee To be confirmed
More information

Expenses, accommodation, working etc.



Our Human Rights Centre is one of the world’s oldest and most highly-respected environments for the multi-disciplinary study of human rights. Studying human rights at Essex will enable you to become a member of one of the world’s largest, most culturally diverse and professionally successful community of human rights students, practitioners and academics.

Our interdisciplinary course, MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights, examines the history, theoretical development and implementation of human rights. Beyond the practical problems of human rights lie many unresolved theoretical and philosophical issues. These form the basis of this course, which provides you with a solid grounding in fundamental human rights matters within:

- Law
- Politics
- Philosophy
- Sociology

Studying this course will enable you to undertake practical or legal work for human rights organisations.

Our interdisciplinary Human Rights Centre is the UK’s leading centre for the study of the theory and practice of international human rights, and has a worldwide reputation for research, teaching and practice. In February 2010, we were awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in recognition of our work in advancing human rights across the globe.

At Essex we specialise in commercial law, public law, and human rights law. We are top 20 in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014), and we are ranked among the top 200 departments on the planet according to the QS World [University] Rankings [2016] for law.

Programme structure

Year 1

Human Rights: Theories and Applications
Dissertation: MA Theory and Practice Human Rights
Human Rights Clinic (optional)
Contemporary Issues in Human Rights and Cultural Diversity (optional)
Religion and Human Rights (optional)
Human Rights, International Relations and Diplomacy (optional)
International Security Studies (optional)
Contemporary Theories of Justice (optional)
Race and Class in the United States, South Africa and Britain: Select Topics (optional)
Language Rights (optional)
European Union Law and Human Rights (optional)
The Law of International Peacekeeping (optional)
Acute Crises and Displacement (optional)
International Human Rights: Law, Institutions and Practice (optional)
Public International Law (optional)
Foundations of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (optional)
The Protection of Refugees and Displaced Persons in International Law (optional)
International Child Law (optional)
European Convention on Human Rights I (optional)
The Protection of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples in International Law (optional)
Human Rights and Development (optional)
International Trade, Investment and Human Rights. (optional)
Human Rights for Women (optional)
Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in Africa (optional)
The Inter-American System of Human Rights (optional)
Business and Human Rights (optional)
Transitional Justice (optional)
Psychoanalysis of Groups and Organisations (optional)
Psychosocial Perspectives on Human Rights (optional)
Social Psychology (optional)
Culture and Psychology (optional)
Texts and Documents (optional)
Dynamics of Home and Work (optional)
Formative Debates in Criminology (optional)
Current Controversies in Criminology and Criminal Justice Policy (optional)
Colonialism, Culture and Human Rights (optional)

Career opportunities

Graduates of the MA courses within our Human Rights Centre go on to a variety of careers in the governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental sectors, and undertake further research.

Recent graduates of our MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights have found employment as:

Director of investigations for Malawi Human Rights Commission
A human rights officer for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
An experimental learning director for CIEE
A web writer for the British Red Cross
Grants Manger for the American Councils for International Education
A project officer for Relief International
Women and housing rights programme officer for the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE)

Other graduates now work for the Council of Europe, the United Nations, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Save the Children, Shelter, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists.

Apply now! Fall semester 2021/22
This intake is not applicable

We are currently NOT ACCEPTING applications from NON-EU countries, except Georgia and Serbia.

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States

Apply now! Fall semester 2021/22
This intake is not applicable

We are currently NOT ACCEPTING applications from NON-EU countries, except Georgia and Serbia.

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States