Graduate Programs in Human Rights: Program Options

Oct 13, 2019

Human Rights graduate certificates and master's degree programs offer courses in human rights throughout history and international laws regarding human rights. Learn more about the program requirements, the course curriculum and what to expect after graduation.

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Essential Information

Graduate programs in human rights can lead to graduate certificates or master's degrees. Admission requirements vary, but both types of programs generally require at least a bachelor's degree. Human rights graduate certificates are often limited to current graduate students or law school students. While there are related doctoral degrees, they are not typically specific and central to the issue of human rights. The program lasts 4-6 classes with concentrations like advocacy or Latin American human rights issues. Many programs include class debates, seminars, and research.

Graduate Certificate in Human Rights

Students can often choose human rights-related courses in sociology, philosophy, anthropology or political science. They may study early ideas of human rights to present-day issues affecting the health and welfare of certain societies, genders or age groups. In some programs, students may be able to focus on specific cultures, such as African, European or Latin American. Individuals interested in pursuing a human rights graduate degree may be able to apply certificate coursework toward a master's degree. Human rights topics can include:

  • Social liberties
  • Fiscal rights
  • Global laws
  • Gender roles in society
  • Modern day issues concerning civil liberties

Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, as of May 2018, workers in community and social service organizations earned a median annual salary of $44,960. Common employers for these professionals included federal and state government agencies, as well as individual and family services organizations.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates of a master's degree program in human rights may go on to earn a doctoral degree. Related areas of study often include anthropology, ethnic studies, sociology or social science.

Human rights graduate certificates and master's degree programs expose students to the different facets of human rights through courses such as social liberties, fiscal rights, and global laws. After graduation, students may opt to pursue a doctoral degree in a related field.

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