The University of Oxford's Master's in International Human Rights Law is a part-time degree offered over two academic years, involving a combination of distance learning and summer residentials. It is offered jointly by the Department for Continuing Education and the Faculty of Law.
The course is designed in particular for lawyers as well as other (non-law) human rights advocates who wish to pursue advanced studies in international human rights law but may need to do so alongside work and/or care responsibilities. The course aims to develop an understanding of the principles and institutions of international human rights law, including their origins, assumptions, contents, limits and potential.
It encourages students to think analytically about the implementation and development of international human rights law, to conduct research, and to apply this body of law in their own professional setting and context. The course thus puts equal emphasis on the theory, doctrine and practice of human rights law.
The programme offers an invaluable opportunity to be a part of a vibrant and diverse community of human rights scholars and practitioners from over 90 countries around the world. It provides an institutional framework for cross-national and cross-sectoral professional collaborations and exchange of information within the human rights discourse.
Students have gone on to work as prosecutors and defence lawyers at the International Criminal Court, other UN criminal tribunals, and the European and Inter-American Human Rights Courts. They work in private and multi-national corporate practice; in various ministries in their national governments and as UN officials ranging from refugee legal protection officers to country representatives. Others are judges, university professors, lawyers with their national armed forces, heads of NGOs and journalists.
Graduates from the course also include economists, obstetricians, epidemiologists, psychiatrists and forensic anthropologists. They are advisors in the White House, the Australian Foreign Ministry, the German Defence Ministry and the EU Commissioner for Foreign Affairs. They are defence counsel at Guantanamo Bay, do front-line community work in Afghanistan and emergency co-ordination in Sudan, Haiti and many other places. They represent indigenous peoples in northern Canada, Western Australia, the Philippines and Brazil.
Get more detailsVisit official programme website
The course is divided into four components, comprising two periods of distance learning and two summer residentials in Oxford.
For the first period of distance learning, students take a seven-month online course in the Fundamentals of International Human Rights Law using a virtual learning environment (VLE). This online course runs from September to April of the first year and is made up of six units of guided online study, each of three weeks duration.
The second period of distance learning takes place from September to April of the second year when students work independently on researching and writing a dissertation with one-to one support from an academic supervisor.
Summer residential sessions in Oxford take place in July-August at the end of each academic year. Students choose two electives from the courses offered and attend three weeks of intensive small group seminars for their chosen courses.
We welcome applications from persons in all fields of human rights practice. Past students have come from a variety of backgrounds including international, governmental and non-governmental agencies, private and corporate practice, academia, politics, journalism and medicine. The programme cultivates the widest possible diversity in both its students and faculty.
- 24 months
Start dates & application deadlines
- StartingApplication deadline not specified.
DisciplinesInternational Law Public Law View 199 other Masters in Public Law in United Kingdom
- a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in any relevant subject.
- Applicants with a lower second-class (2.2) degree or a GPA lower than 3.0 are unlikely to be admitted. This is the case even if you took your degree long ago, have extensive experience or hold a senior position.
- The degree is designed primarily for early and mid-career lawyers and the majority of admitted students have a legal background and experience of international human rights law. However, in certain circumstances, applications from persons with degrees in other subjects who have extensive human rights experience will be considered.
You will be automatically considered for the majority of Oxford scholarships, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant January deadline. Most scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential.
We also offer a number of specific scholarships for this programme. You will be automatically considered if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant January deadline.
Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.
Apply and win up to €10000 to cover your tuition fees.
Due for update
Updated over a year ago
Check the official programme website for potential updates.