Schools with Human Rights Degree Programs

Students interested in human rights can find degree and certificate programs offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Human rights curriculum does not have a standardized set of criteria across institutions. Students will need to investigate specific programs case by case to evaluate and compare course offerings.

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Several universities and colleges across the country offer human rights programs at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Students can also find shorter certificate programs in human rights. Many schools offer students the opportunity to tailor their curriculum according to their interests.

Ten Schools with Human Rights Programs

The following schools offer programs in human rights. Tuition is for the 2015-2016 school year.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered* Tuition (2015-2016)**
Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN 4 year, Public Doctoral (Minor) $8,442 (In-state) $26,812 (Out-of-state)
University of Denver Denver, CO 4 year, Private Master's $43,164
University of San Francisco San Francisco, CA 4 year, Private Master's $22,410
University of Nebraska - Lincoln Lincoln, NE 4 year, Public Bachelor's (Minor) $8,367 (In-state) $22,534 (Out-of-state)
University of California - San Diego La Jolla, CA 4 year, Public Bachelor's (Minor) $13,530 (In-state) $38,238 (Out-of-state)
Barnard College New York, NY 4 year, Private Bachelor's $47,631
Southern Methodist University Dallas, TX 4 year, Private Bachelor's $48,190
Trinity College Hartford, CT 4 year, Private Bachelor's $50,776
University of Dayton Dayton, OH 4 year, Private Bachelor's $39,090
University of Chicago Chicago, IL 4 year, Private Bachelor's (Minor), Graduate Certificate $51,351 (Undergrad) $51,624 (Graduate)

Sources: *School websites, **National Center for Education Statistics

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School Selection Criteria

Students interested in human rights may want to consider the following when looking into a program:

  • Since it is a relatively new field, majors in human rights might be difficult to find and it may be necessary to select it as a minor instead.
  • A student with a strong interest in human rights in a region, such as Africa or the Middle East, may only want to consider schools that offer courses in these areas or have professors who have published papers on these topics.
  • Students interested in how human rights relates to other fields, such as public policy or gender, should look for combined programs or dual major programs.

Bachelor of Arts in Human Rights Studies

Human rights bachelor's degree programs stress research and analysis, and they concentrate on issues of law, social justice, conflict resolution and dignity. Programs are interdisciplinary, meaning that multiple departments coordinate. Central to the field is human rights law, particularly international human rights law. Many programs offer internships and study abroad opportunities.

Master's Degree in Human Rights

A master's program in human rights can include research and advocacy, fieldwork, guest lectures and even international travel. Programs are typically offered in conjunction with a closely related field, such as social justice. In addition to required courses and scholarly research, students complete a thesis requirement in an area of human rights.

Doctoral Degree with an Emphasis in Human Rights

Doctoral programs are available as concentrations or combined with other fields of study. Much of the program focuses on a dissertation topic, which is researched, written and presented to an academic board. The doctoral degree with emphasis in human rights is suited for students who wish to obtain teaching positions at universities and colleges.

Programs in human rights can be found at both public and private colleges and universities throughout the United States. Programs are offered at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral level, with some programs offering a human rights minor rather than a major.

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