Research course

Human Rights

University of Essex · Human Rights Centre

Entry requirements

Good first degree or equivalent in relevant subject area.

MPhil, PhD.

Months of entry

January, April, October

Course content

Our PhD Human Rights was established to meet the demands of our students who have an established interest in human rights and wish to pursue doctoral research which goes beyond a single academic discipline but includes a distinct multi and interdisciplinary perspective.

Supervision is available across a broad range of academic interests in human rights and our research is wide ranging and in-depth. Topics include the prohibition against torture, freedom of religion, children in armed conflict, methods of democratic assessment, and the relationship between human rights and foreign direct investment. While our primary focus is international and comparative human rights, our research-active staff also encompass human rights and democracy in the UK.

Our 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.

We also offer an MPhil in this subject and part-time research study is also available.

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.

Our work has always been informed by human rights practice and our senior staff have held - and continue to occupy - key positions in the United Nations human rights and development fields. We have also conducted numerous cases in Strasbourg, establishing far-reaching precedents that have shaped the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights.

Department specialisms

Research supervision on topics connected with human rights is available in the areas of law, philosophy, political science and sociology.

Information for international students


Fees and funding

We offer many funding opportunities to support talented postgraduates, ranging from research council studentships and University scholarships to awards funded by charities and other external organisations. For more information, see:

Qualification and course duration


full time
24 months
part time
48 months


full time
36 months
part time
72 months

Course contact details

Human Rights Educational Programme Administrator
+44 (0)1206 872 529