Our PhD Human Rights was established to meet the demands of our students who have an established interest in human rights and wish to pursue doctoral research which goes beyond a single academic discipline but includes a distinct multi and interdisciplinary perspective.
Supervision is available across a broad range of academic interests in human rights and our research is wide ranging and in-depth. Topics include the prohibition against torture, freedom of religion, children in armed conflict, methods of democratic assessment, and the relationship between human rights and foreign direct investment. While our primary focus is international and comparative human rights, our research-active staff also encompass human rights and democracy in the UK.
We also offer an MPhil in this subject.
Please note, part-time research study is also available.
You will be allocated a supervisor whose role it is to guide you through the different stages of your research degree. In some cases, you may have joint supervision by two members of our staff.
The support provided by your supervisor is a key feature of your research student experience and you will have regular one-to-one meetings to discuss progress on your research. Initially, your supervisor will help you develop your research topic and plan.
Twice a year, you will have a supervisory board meeting, which provides a more formal opportunity to discuss your progress and agree your plans for the next six months.
Our Human Rights Centre has almost 50 academic staff members and 30 external fellows, we bring together some 250 scholars and practitioners across disciplines and courses, representing 50 nationalities. We organise and support a range of activities throughout the year and manage research projects on human rights, conflict prevention and promotion of democratic governance. In April 2000, along with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, we launched the Torture Reporting Handbook, which has been translated into numerous languages and is used throughout the world.
We are home to the UK member of the UN Human Rights Committee, and a member of the Government’s new Advisory Group on Human Rights. A number of our staff have also held senior positions in intergovernmental organisations and are actively involved in international practice.
Graduates of our Human Rights Centre go on to a variety of careers in the governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental sectors, and undertake further research.
Our graduates now work for the Council of Europe, the United Nations, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Save the Children, Shelter, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists.
You will need a good honours degree and a Masters degree, or equivalent, in a related subject. A well-developed research proposal is also essential.
You will normally be required to attend an interview/Skype interview for acceptance, and acceptance is subject to research expertise in the department.
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.
Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.
A research degree doesn't have a taught structure, giving you the chance to investigate your chosen topic in real depth and reach a profound understanding. In communicating that understanding, through a thesis or other means, you have a rare opportunity to generate knowledge. A research degree allows you to develop new high-level skills, enhance your professional development and build new networks. It can open doors to many careers.
Our PhD includes a number of formal study requirements and, if you have not previously studied human rights at Masters’ level, you will be required to attend the principal core module provided by our Human Rights Centre in order to develop a knowledge and understanding of multi and interdisciplinary perspectives upon the theory and application of human rights.
In addition, you will be expected to participate in our fortnightly meetings of our HRC Doctoral Affiliates’ Network, which comprises research student presentations and career development workshops. Finally, you have to demonstrate that you are progressing satisfactorily through your participation in regular progress meetings. During your second and third years, you continue your work towards your PhD.
Within our Human Rights Centre, your PhD thesis must normally be submitted for examination within four years of first registration. The maximum length for a PhD thesis by research is 80,000 words.
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.
You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.
There is no application deadline and we aim to respond to applications within four weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
We encourage you to make a preliminary enquiry directly to a potential supervisor or the Graduate Administrator within your chosen Department or School. We encourage the consideration of a brief research proposal prior to the submission of a full 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.
Want to quiz us about your course? Got a question that just needs answering? Get in touch and we’ll do our best to email you back shortly.