human rights centre

Our courses

A world renowned education

Through the Law School and contributing departments, Essex offers a collaborative and transformational education in the theory and practice of human rights within disciplines and from an interdisciplinary perspective. 

Our education provides students with a deep and critical knowledge of human rights and their application in practice, providing them with unparalleled preparation for entry or return to human rights academia or practice.

Our expert teachers come from 11 contributing departments at the University, who are not only prominent scholars in human rights but who also actively engage in the practice of human rights.

By studying human rights at Essex you become part of a vibrant and committed human rights community, composed of over 2000 alumni, current students, members, fellows, and partners. The Human Rights Centre acts a hub for this community, facilitating interaction at the University, online, and through networks we've established across the world. Our human rights programmes attract students from all over the world, with many postgraduates arriving with substantial experience of human rights practice.


Explore our courses
Why study here?
  • We regularly offer research opportunities through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme and Frontrunners scheme. 
  • You can join our Human Rights Centre Clinic, which offers the chance to develop practical skills related to human rights and work with world-renowned human rights organisations.
  • Benefit from a range of career events organised throughout the year to give you an insight into specific areas of human rights.

Undergraduate study

Joint honours courses

Our joint honours BA Human Rights offers you the opportunity to study core human rights modules combined with modules in either the Department of Government, School of Art History and Philosophy, Department of Sociology, School of Law, or Interdisciplinary Studies Centre. These courses are perfect if you have an interest in human rights, but also want to gain expertise in another discipline.

Masters study

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.

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.

Postgraduate study

Our PhD programmes draw upon the expertise of over 100 Human Rights Centre members from different academic disciplines and areas of human rights interest.

Our research community encompasses internationally renowned scholars whose work ranges from research into the philosophical and normative bases of human rights, through to more practically-oriented interests in the legal, political and sociological application of human rights.


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PhD Supervision

You have the option of being supervised by Human Rights Centre members who offer an unrivalled range of expertise in the research and practice of human rights, covering an extensive number of research areas. Use our research finder tool to search for supervision opportunities by entering your research interests.


Search for research supervision opportunities
“In the field of human rights Essex has carved out a very special and really important reputation”
Rt. Hon Sir Keir Starmer KCB QC MP Human Rights Centre fellow

Doctoral research opportunities

PhD Triangle

The Human Rights PhD Triangle offers you the opportunity to present, disseminate and discuss your research among fellow doctoral students. The Triangle is a collaborative venture between three of the world’s leading human rights centres and universities: the University of Cambridge, the London School of Economics and the Essex Human Rights Centre.

This ongoing series was initiated by the Essex Human Rights Centre in 2011. One-day research forums are held at least twice a year at each of the partner institutions with the most recent taking place at Essex in November 2014. The Triangle aims to promote the development of inter and multi-disciplinary doctoral research in a way that encourages new perspectives upon existing scholarship. Membership of the Triangle is open to PhD candidates undertaking research in any related area of human rights interest.

Doctoral Affilliates Network

Our Doctoral Associates Network is a community of Essex-based PhD students who are engaged in some related aspect of human rights research and who wish to benefit from sharing ideas and research within a more multi and inter-disciplinary environment than would typically be possible within a single department or discipline. Membership of the Network is open to any Essex-registered PhD student from any academic department or discipline. The Network meets regularly throughout the year.

Events include the presentation and discussion of on-going research, career development seminars and workshops, as well as occasional social events.

Research Student's Conference

Each year we host a Postgraduate Research Students’ conference aimed at students working within the broad interdisciplinary field of human rights and social justice. The conference aims to stimulate research on contemporary human rights issues, problems, challenges and policies, and to facilitate the dissemination of such research.

Professional skills development

Our University’s Proficio scheme develops your skills and knowledge, and increases your employability potential for careers in academia and industry by providing funding for specialist training across a range of areas, including researching and managing your PhD, presenting your work and getting published. For example, each year we run the Essex Summer School in Human Rights Research Methods, and you can use your Proficio credit to participate in this course at a reduced cost.