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Universities Offering Graduate Programs in Human Rights in NY

Research human rights graduate programs in New York, which currently has ten colleges and universities offering programs. Read an overview of certificate and degree programs, tuition info and program options for these schools, and decide which program is right for you.

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Essential Information

Graduate courses and specializations in human rights can typically be found through programs in international affairs, law, liberal studies and peace studies. Many public and private universities offer studies through master's, doctoral and professional degree programs as well as certificate programs. Admission requirements to a graduate program usually include GRE or GMAT scores, letters of recommendation, a resume and a personal statement. Students who apply to law schools typically have to take the LSAT (Law School Admission Test).


City College of New York (City University of New York)

The Graduate Center at the City College of New York in New York City has been in existence since 1961 and awards the majority of the university's doctoral degrees. Faculty appointments currently stand at 150, and additional instructors include more than 1,800 professionals from other senior colleges and outside institutions. The center offers a flexible Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program with a concentration in international studies and courses related to human rights.

The degree requires 30 credits and culminates in a thesis or project. Requirements include an introductory course with an emphasis on war and peace and a critical study of the global economy or human rights. Through a generous number of electives, students can explore the relationship between medicine and social justice or investigate international migratory patterns.

  • Program Offered: Master of Arts in Liberal Studies
  • Graduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $8,951 in-state; $16,461 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large city

Columbia University

The School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University in New York City has over 70 full-time faculty members. The school's relevant research institutes include the Center for International Conflict Resolution, the Institute for the Study of Human Rights and the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies.

The Master of International Affairs requires a minimum of 54 credits to complete and provides students with the opportunity to pursue a policy concentration in human rights and a specialization in international conflict resolution. Degree requirements include core courses in economics, management and statistics, an internship and a capstone workshop. Students who pursue the 15-credit specialization in human rights can take mandatory and elective courses in international law, advocacy, corporate social responsibility and women's human rights. In particular, students can also study human rights in the United States, the economy of hunger and the effects of forced migration.

In addition to the above degree program, the Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School offers lectures and programs in counter-terrorism, the global economy and human rights in America.

  • Program Offered: Master of International Affairs
  • Graduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $38,380*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city

Cornell University

Cornell University in Ithaca is an Ivy League institution and the only federal land-grant institution in New York. Graduate students can pursue a minor in peace studies and peace science through the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies and the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies. They can also select a program in peace studies, available through the same institute and center. The peace studies program was created in 1970, and its purpose is to provide graduate students with the opportunity to pursue research, teaching and public service activities associated with arms control, collective violence and international conflict. The program also provides students the opportunity to work with outside institutions to study issues and make recommendations.

Students can pursue a Master of Arts, Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy program in regional science. This discipline involves using analytical and experiential research to investigate the geographical and spatial aspects of socioeconomic issues. At present, the department has nearly 20 faculty members with research interests in areas such as economics, environmental studies and international spatial problems.

  • Programs Offered: Minor in Peace Studies and Peace Science,
    Peace Studies Program,
    Master of Arts in Regional Science,
    Master of Science in Regional Science,
    Ph.D. in Regional Science
  • Graduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $29,581*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; small city

Fordham University

Fordham University is a Jesuit institution of higher learning. In addition to its original site in the Bronx, the university has a law school in New York City, a campus in Westchester County, a biological station in Armonk , a separate performing arts center and a center in London, England. The School of Law in Greenwich Village has approximately 50 faculty members with expertise in areas such as human rights, immigration law, international conflict resolution and women's rights in Africa. The Leitner Center for International Law and Justice, one of the most active human rights organizations in America, is a sponsor of the Master of Laws program in international law and justice.

The Master of Laws in International Law and Justice is specifically intended for aspiring lawyers or practicing attorneys who want to work in the academic, nongovernmental or public sectors. It requires 24 credits to complete, and the 12-credit core includes a course in international law. Coursework specific to human rights covers African customary law, the Holocaust, Guantanamo and the human rights of the child.

  • Program Offered: Master of Laws in International Law and Justice
  • Graduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $27,679*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city

New York University

One of the first in the United States to admit women, the School of Law at New York University in New York City was established in 1835. The school has approximately 213 full-time and part-time faculty members. Institutes and societies include the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, Law Students for Human Rights and the Institute for International Law and Justice.

Through the Master of Laws in International Legal Studies program, students can pursue topics in human rights, international legal theory, post-conflict reconstruction and war. Along with taking the required 14 credits of exam- and writing-based coursework, students can acquire practical experience at the school's global justice clinic.

Aside from the law program, the university's College of Arts and Sciences offers a Master of Arts and an advanced certificate in trauma and violence transdisciplinary studies with a literature-based elective in human rights.

  • Program Offered: Master of Law in International Legal Studies
  • Graduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $36,820*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city

Pace University

The main campus of Pace University is located in New York City, while Pace Law School is located in White Plains. The school has over 100 full-time and adjunct faculty members, and the international law program includes nearly 20 administrators and professors.

Students enrolled at Pace's law school can also earn a 12-credit international law certificate. In addition to international human rights, courses are offered in diplomacy, environmental themes and war crimes. Through the Human Rights in Action project, students can participate in a for-credit summer internship at an overseas human rights organization or a war crime tribunal.

  • Program Offered: International Law Certificate
  • Graduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $31,968*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city

Syracuse University

The Maxwell School at this Syracuse university offers graduate programs in international relations, public administration and the social sciences. The faculty currently includes 154 award-winning members and published academics. Through the interdisciplinary program for the advancement of research on conflict and collaboration, students who are already enrolled in a graduate program can pursue a Certificate of Advanced Study in Conflict Resolution. The program requires 12 credits to complete and includes an introductory course in conflict studies. The remainder of the program can be devoted to, among other topics, the study of European human rights, humanitarian action, multilateral peacekeeping and/or other related issues. In the past, the Summer Institute for Creative Collaboration and Conflict Resolution has also offered 3-credit workshops in interpersonal conflict resolution and negotiation.

  • Program Offered: Certificate of Advanced Study in Conflict Resolution
  • Graduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $31,056*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; midsized city

Teachers College at Columbia University

The Teachers College at Columbia University in New York City is the oldest graduate education school in America. It is also the largest and currently includes almost 150 full-time faculty members.

Students can pursue a degree in international educational and development with a concentration in peace and human rights education. The curriculum includes two courses in peace education and electives in conflict resolution, global justice and human rights.

  • Programs Offered: Master of Arts in International Educational and Development,
    Master of Education in International Educational and Development,
    Doctor of Education in International Educational and Development
  • Graduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $31,660*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city

The New School

The New School for Public Engagement is one of seven divisions at this New York City university. Approximately 45 faculty members are associated with the Julien J. Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs. Students in this program can complete an international field experience.

The Master of Arts is specifically designed for career changers or new graduates without international experience and requires 42 credits to complete. Students with a minimum of five years' professional experience in international affairs can apply to the 30-credit Master of Science program. Students who pursue the Master of Arts must also complete a final project.

Common program requirements include courses in comparative development and globalization, economics and research. Students who are specifically interested in human rights can pursue a 4-course specialization in governance and rights, conflict and security or development. Topics covered could include humanitarian intervention, peace building and human rights research.

  • Programs Offered: Master of Arts in International Affairs,
    Master of Science in International Affairs
  • Graduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $35,544*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city

Yeshiva University

In New York City, the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law has approximately 165 full-time and adjunct faculty members with specializations in, among other areas, human rights, Holocaust restitution and prisoners' rights. The school's many notable programs and centers include the Innocence Project and the Program in Holocaust and Human Rights Studies.

Students in the Juris Doctor program must complete 84 credits of coursework over a 3-year period, with the second and third years devoted primarily to electives. These can include the study of international human rights, the rights of women and wartime confiscation.

The school also offers a program in Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Studies, which gives law students the opportunity to take action that can benefit survivors of human rights violations and genocide. Students can pursue clinics through the Holocaust Claims Restitution Practicum or the Human Rights and Genocide Clinic.

  • Program Offered: Juris Doctor
  • Graduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $25,758*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Graduate Programs in Human Rights Graduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)
City College of New York (City University of New York) 4-year, public; large city Master of Arts in Liberal Studies $8,951 in-state; 16,461 out-of-state*
Columbia University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Master of International Affairs $38,380*
Cornell University 4-year, private not-for-profit; small city Minor in Peace Studies and Peace Science,
Peace Studies Program,
Master of Arts in Regional Science,
Master of Science in Regional Science,
Ph.D. in Regional Science
$29,581*
Fordham University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Master of Laws in International Law and Justice $27,679*
New York University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Master of Law in International Legal Studies $36,820*
Pace University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city International Law Certificate $31,968*
Syracuse University 4-year, private not-for-profit; midsized city Certificate of Advanced Study in Conflict Resolution $31,056*
Teachers College at Columbia University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Master of Arts in International Educational and Development,
Master of Education in International Educational and Development,
Doctor of Education in International Educational and Development
$31,660*
The New School 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Master of Arts in International Affairs,
Master of Science in International Affairs
$35,544*
Yeshiva University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Juris Doctor $25,758*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

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