Taught course

Understanding and Securing Human Rights

School of Advanced Study · School of Advanced Study, University of London

Entry requirements

The normal minimum entrance requirement would be a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree from a recognised university in the UK, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard (for example a grade-point-average of 3.0 or higher).

Applications from candidates who do not meet the formal academic requirements but who offer alternative qualifications and/or relevant experience, could be considered

Months of entry


Course content

What does this course cover?

The MA in Understanding and Securing Human Rights, or MA in Human Rights (Distance Learning) is the longest-running interdisciplinary, practice-orientated human rights master’s degree programme in the UK.

It was established in 1995 in collaboration with Amnesty International to provide scholarly and practical training for future human rights defenders. Located in Bloomsbury, the intellectual heart of London, it offers students easy access to world-class libraries and facilities, and proximity to a wide range of NGOs working on human rights. The degree aims to develop students as human rights practitioners and to enable them to engage with the intellectual and philosophical foundations of human rights.

The degree brings together insights on human rights from a range of disciplines, including law, international relations and sociology. This unique interdisciplinary approach will provide you with an extensive and diverse range of perspectives with which to understand contemporary human rights challenges.

For a full course description please visit our website...

Latin America Pathway

The Human Rights Consortium, in collaboration with the Institute of Latin American Studies, offers a specialist pathway through the MA in Understanding and Securing Human Rights which enables students to focus their studies on the human rights concerns – past, present and future – of Latin America.

Find out more about the Latin American Pathway on our website...


The degree comprises four compulsory modules, including a dissertation and three optional modules.

Core modules (three in autumn term, dissertation in summer term)

  • Understanding Human Rights I: Ideas and Contexts
  • Securing Human Rights I: Actors and Mechanisms, Skills and Strategies
  • Translating Human Rights into Law I: The Foundations of International Human Rights Law
  • Dissertation (15,000 words)

Optional modules (three in spring term)

  • Genocide and Reconciliation
  • Securing Human Rights II: Securing Human Rights in Development and in Conflict
  • Translating Human Rights into Law II: Topics in International Human Rights Law
  • Researching Human Rights: Social Research Methods
  • Business and Human Rights
  • Indigenous Peoples, Minorities and Human Rights
  • Contemporary Social Movements in Latin America
  • Decolonisation and Human Rights in Latin America
  • The Politics of Human Rights in Latin America

Please note that the list of modules is indicative and may be subject to change.

To view module descriptions please visit our website...

Mode of study

This course can be studied on-campus in London for 12 months full time or 24 months part time. Part-time students take four modules in the first year of study and two modules and the dissertation in the second year of study.

The distance learning option can be studied part time over 2-5 years for the MA in Human Rights or in less time for the PG Certificate or PG Diploma in Human Rights.

Information for international students

Find out more information for international students.

Fees and funding

UK students
£8,200 (2018/19 fees)
International students
£14,525 (2018/19 fees)

The School of Advanced Study has a range of funding opportunities for home, EU and international applicants. Find out more about funding opportunities here. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

The Yusuf Ali Scholarship is available to students of Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi descent who have applied for the MA in Understanding and Securing Human Rights. Awards range in value between £3,000 and £7,795, depending on financial need. Find out more about this scholarship.

Qualification and course duration


part time
24-36 months
distance learning
12-60 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

School of Advanced Study Enquiries
+44 (0) 207 862 8835