Taught course

Theory and Practice of Human Rights

University of Essex · Human Rights Centre

Entry requirements

First, upper second class or high 2.2 honours degree, or equivalent, in a relevant subject.

Months of entry


Course content

This interdisciplinary course examines the history, theoretical development and implementation of human rights. It is intended if you want to work in the field but also if you are interested in the legal, political, sociological or ethical theory. It was described by Dr Simon Caney of Oxford University as the 'premier degree of its kind'.

Beyond the practical problems of human rights lie many unresolved theoretical and philosophical issues. These form the basis of our MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights, which provides you with a solid grounding in fundamental matters of the law, politics, philosophy and sociology of human rights. It 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.

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.

Information for international students

IELTS 6.5 with 6.0 in writing

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, visit our website at: www.essex.ac.uk.

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written/ formal examinations20
Written coursework / continuous assessment40
Dissertation40 (12000 words)

Course contact details

Human Rights Educational Programme Administrator
+44 (0)1206 872719