Postgraduate taught courses

An extensive range of optional modules allow you to tailor your degree to your specific interests and learn from leading experts in their fields. Our courses are offered both full- and part-time.

LLM courses

LLM courses are appropriate if you have a specific interest in the legal protection of human rights or humanitarian law principles. You may apply if you hold an undergraduate degree in law, or a related discipline, and/or have substantial practical experience in a field related to the course.

  • LLM International Human Rights Law

    Our LLM International Human Rights Law is the oldest established human rights law course in Europe. The course provides you with an advanced understanding of the international law related to the protection and promotion of human rights, and an ability to apply this understanding to the practical human rights problems existing in the world today.


  • LLM International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

    LLM International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law examines the protection and promotion of human rights during situations of acute crisis. The course addresses issues such as armed conflict, peacekeeping, and refugee law, and the international machinery for the protection of human rights.


  • LLM Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

    LLM Economic, Social and Cultural Rights draws on our extensive expertise and experience of working for the protection of economic, social and cultural rights across the world. The course is designed for lawyers and non-lawyers, and allows you pursue a rigorous and challenging course of study that brings together human rights and public policy in an interdisciplinary context.


Essex graduates Emily, Alice and Polona talk about the unique experience of studying human rights at Essex. Emily and Alice completed LLM International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law while Polona completed LLM International Human Rights Law.

MA courses

Our Masters courses provide a first-class education in both the intellectual foundations of human rights and the application of human rights within a complex global environment. In particular, the theoretical underpinnings of human rights are addressed from a number of different perspectives including law, politics, philosophy, and sociology, while a distinct practical focus addresses the application of these perspectives to contemporary issues.

  • MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights

    The interdisciplinary MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights examines the history, theoretical development and practical implementation of human rights. It is the longest running human rights MA programme in Europe, and has been described as the 'premier degree of its kind'.

    The MA is suitable if you wish work in the field, or if you are interested in the different theories underpinning human rights. You gain a detailed knowledge and understanding of why human rights exist, why and how they are violated, and how these violations may be challenged and overcome. The course combines the study of enduring theoretical questions with a comprehensive range of legal, political, philosophical and sociological perspectives and mechanisms.


  • MA Human Rights and Cultural Diversity

    If you have a specific interest in the issue of cultural diversity, the MA Human Rights and Cultural Diversity is ideal as it presents an interdisciplinary approach examining the application of, and justification for, human rights in a culturally complex and diverse world.

    Respecting cultural traditions and practices in ways compatible with human rights standards has proven to be both a challenging and controversial task, and this course provides you with the social, political, legal and philosophical tools for better understanding and applying human rights to such situations.


If English is not your first language

If you don't meet the postgraduate entry requirements, our Essex Pathways Department offers a pre-Masters course with extra language and subject support that can assist your entry onto our Masters courses.

Languages for All

Our Languages for All scheme allows you to study a language alongside your course at no extra cost.

Graduate profiles

Ricky Gunawan

Our graduates acquire an exceptionally diverse range of skills during their time at Essex and have entered a wide variety of fields. Their stories demonstrate the versatility of a qualification in human rights.

PG events

Book a place at a postgraduate event to find out about studying at a top 20 UK research university. Staff will be available to answer your questions and you can speak to students about life at Essex.

Annual trips

Two students at UNHCR

Each year the Human Rights Centre organises two study trips which give you opportunities to engage with human rights professionals, organisations, and institutions, and offer an insight into the practical application of human rights.

How to apply

How to apply

Find out more about how to apply for a course at the Human Rights Centre. We can provide help and advice, and guide you through the application process.