The Human Rights MA develops the skills and theoretical tools needed to carry out human rights research. It provides an understanding of the foundations, nature, limits and implementation of human rights. Students are introduced to philosophical, legal and policy issues and encouraged to engage with them in a critical way.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2017/18)
- £12,570 (FT) £6,225 (PT)
- £20,540 (FT) £10,430 (PT)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.
As a minimum, a strong upper second-class (65%) Bachelor's degree from a UK university; a CGPA of 3.45; or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Relevant practical or work experience in a related field may also be taken into account.
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Advanced
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
Students develop an understanding of the central issues and problems in the formulation, defence, development, interpretation and application of human rights instruments, law, practice and policy. They gain knowledge of central disciplines and their contribution to human rights studies, and are equipped with key research skills in human rights.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of four core modules (75 credits), three optional modules (45 credits), and a research dissertation (60 credits).
- International Law and Human Rights (30)
- International Human Rights: Standards and Institutions (15)
- Theoretical Foundations of Human Rights (15)
- Normative Methods, Legal Analysis and Research Skills (15)
- Choose one of the following 15-credit modules:
- Introduction to Qualitative Methods (15)
- Advanced Qualitative Methods (15)
- Introduction to Quantitative Methods (15)
- Advanced Quantitative Methods (15)
- Choose further modules up to a value of 30 credits in total from a list available at:
- The following are suggestions:
- Terrorism (15)
- War and International Law (15)
- Equality, Justice and Difference (15)
- The Ethics of Poverty (15)
- Democracy and Accountability: Holding Power to Account (15)
- Governing Divided Societies (15)
- Gendering the Study of Politics: Theory and Practice (15)
- The Politics of Human Rights in Latin America: challenges to Democratisation (15)
- Global Ethics (15)
All MA students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.
Teaching and learning
The programme has an integrated research and teaching approach, where key and cutting edge areas are brought into the seminar room for discussion, and students are encouraged to carry out original research into these areas. Assessment is through essays, unseen examination, seminar presentations, and the dissertation.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
The Human Rights MA is a challenging, formative experience that provides the foundations for a variety of future careers. Graduates of the programme are now working in an impressive number of international, national, governmental and non-governmental institutions and organisations, including:
- United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
- Advocates for International Development
- Amnesty International
- British Institute for Human Rights
- Council of Europe
- European Parliament
- International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association
- Japanese Government
- Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies
- Royal Commonwealth Society
- Save the Children
- UK Foreign Office
- UN Development Programme
- Universal Rights Group
Top career destinations for this degree
- Researcher, Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice and studying LLM International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, University of Essex
- Legal Intern, UNHCR (United Nations High Comissioner for Refugees)
- Politics Editor, Urban Times
- Legal Assistant, Christine Lee & Co.
- Research Assistant, Overseas Development Institute
Graduates of the programme have secured employment in an impressive number of international, national, governmental and non-governmental institutions and organisations, including the UK Foreign Office, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman UK, British Institute for Human Rights, the European Union, the Council of Europe, Amnesty International, ILGA, Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies. Some of our students are now human rights lawyers. Our students have also pursued PhDs and have become human rights academics.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012–2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
Why study this degree at UCL?
UCL Political Science is recognised as a centre of excellence in the field and offers a uniquely stimulating environment for the study of human rights.
Students benefit from weekly seminars featuring distinguished external speakers, and regular high-profile events for policymakers and others. Each year the students have the opportunity to participate in a study trip to Geneva to visit the United Nations Human Rights Institutions and meet human rights practitioners.
The research preparation and tailor-made interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary training students receive are of the highest standard available at one of the world's top universities, as reflected in UCL's performance in a range of rankings and tables.
Department: Political Science
Student / staff numbers › 39 staff including 1 postdocs › 442 taught students › 37 research students
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Political Science
76% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
Application and next steps
Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.
Who can apply?
The programme is suitable for graduates with an interest in human rights, who wish to develop a career in this field, or use the MA as a foundation for further research.
- All applicants
- 28 July 2017
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now
What are we looking for?
When we assess your application we would like to learn:
- why you want to study Human Rights at graduate level
- why you want to study Human Rights at UCL
- what particularly attracts you to this programme
- how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging and truly international academic environment
- where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.