Economic actors and institutions - including private businesses, the World Bank, and the WTO - can have a profound impact on the realisation of human rights. Whether it's a case of an indigenous community displaced from their land for the benefit of a mining company, a World Bank-funded dam that pollutes the environment, or a state being unable to provide crucial medicines because of international property agreements, understanding the relationship between human rights and economic actors, activities, and institutions is necessary for securing the full realisation of rights.
International human rights law has traditionally focused only on the relationship between the state and individuals, meaning that businesses and international economic institutions have escaped both responsibility and liability. By pursuing LLM International Human Rights Law (Economic Relations), you will learn about the challenges, pitfalls and (most importantly) the opportunities to pursue greater compliance by and accountability for economic actors when their activity harms human rights.
Our LLM International Human Rights Law (Economic Relations) builds off of our foundation LLM International Human Rights Law, meaning that you will take the same compulsory modules that will expose to you the theories, institutions and practice of international human rights law. You will also take compulsory modules that address businesses' responsibility for human rights, and the relationship between human rights and international trade and investment law. You will complement these compulsory modules with optional modules of your choosing, and then complete your degree with a dissertation focused on issues of human rights and economic actors and relations.
You also have an opportunity to work with our Essex Business and Human Rights Project (EBHR) or a relevant project in the Essex Human Rights Centre Clinic. In working with EBHR or a Clinic project, you will have an opportunity to develop research skills, to apply those skills to practical problems arising within the field, and to network with our alumni and other leading figures within the fields of business, investment, trade and human rights. Students are also given the flexibility to attend the annual UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, either as a student volunteers or as individual attendees (although students must bear their own expenses for this trip).
Our LLM in International Human Rights Law (Economic Relations) attracts some of the most experienced and academically qualified students from around the world. It aims to produce graduates who will be leaders in the field. Our Essex human rights alumni work for a variety of relevant stakeholders, working with large multinational corporations and small non-governmental organisations, researching at academic institutions, litigating cases with law firms, and serving in either their national governments, national human rights institutes, or in intergovernmental organisations, including the United Nations. Each year, alumni working in these areas meet up with our current staff and students at the annual United Nations Business and Human Rights Forum.
There are a range of fellowships and bursaries available for LLM study. Please see our Fees and Funding pages for more information.
This course is also available on a part-time basis.
We strongly encourage those without previous human rights experience undertake at least a one-month internship with an intergovernmental or non-governmental organisation in London, Geneva or elsewhere. We offer up to 10 bursaries a year to help LLM students wishing to undertake placements.
This can be accommodated while studying for your dissertation, and extensions are available for those wishing to pursue this option full-time (for students who do not require a visa to study in the UK).
Students have previously interned with Amnesty International, Anti-Slavery International, Article 19, the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, the Council of Europe, JUSTICE, the International Commission of Jurists, the International Service for Human Rights, INTERIGHTS, Minority Rights Group International, REDRESS and UNHCR to name a few organisations.
Our work has always been informed by human rights practice. Our staff have held—and continue to occupy—key positions in the United Nations human rights and development fields, and have successfully litigated cases in the European and Inter-American human rights systems that have shaped human rights jurisprudence.
At Essex, our objective is to ensure you receive a rigorous academic education that also prepares you for work as a human rights advocate. Every member of teaching team is a leading human rights academic as well as a practitioner. Our academic specialists in the areas of trade, investment and business and human rights, follow this tradition. For example, Dr Anil Yilmaz Vastardis and Dr Tara Van Ho have both practiced in corporate law firms, and now advise non-governmental organisations, governments, intergovernmental organizations, and the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights as to how laws and legal systems impact human rights. Dr Jessica Lawrence has worked for NGOs and think tanks and now advises governments, political parties, and non-governmental organisations on the human rights implications of trade and investment agreements.
We also offer a range of opportunities for working with projects associated with our Human Rights Centre:
The majority of our students go on, or return, to work in human rights as litigators, in NGOs and international organisations like the UN, in government (particularly Ministries of Foreign Affairs) and in academia. They are a conspicuous presence in all the key human rights hubs in the world.
Our School of Law graduates have gone on to a wide variety of careers in international and intergovernmental organisations or employment with governments across the world, in commerce and banking, in non-governmental organisations and, as might be expected, in the legal profession and the judiciary.
Recent graduates of LLM International Human Rights Law have found employment as:
We are first university in the UK to sign a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). This creates internship and research opportunities for our postgraduate students and is based on our long-established expertise in international humanitarian law.
During the year, we hold a careers session for our students in which we reflect upon our own careers and how they have been built as well as those from former students. We are always available to discuss career options and if you are interested in a particular area of human rights, we can link you up with the relevant alumni to offer advice.
We also work with the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities. Take a look at our dedicated careers pages for Law and Human Rights.
A 2:2 honours degree, or international equivalent, in a Social Science, Law or any Humanities subject.
While prior academic study or professional experience of law is desirable, it is not a requirement for admission. LLM students who have not previously studied Public International Law will take a one-term module on this topic.
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
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If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.
Most of our courses combine compulsory and optional modules, giving you freedom to pursue your own interests. All of the modules listed below provide an example of what is on offer from the current academic year. Our Programme Specification provides further details of the course structure for the current academic year.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently planned for 2021 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.
£18,800EU students commencing their course in the 2021-22 academic year will be liable for the International fee.
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
We hold Open Days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.
You will need to provide a copy of your CV with your application.
Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.
The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.
At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.
The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.
The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.
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