For our PhD Human Rights and Research Methods, we offer supervision in all areas of staff expertise including: domestic protection of international human rights standards; free speech and law; health and human rights; human rights law; international law of armed conflicts; international of peace keeping; international humanitarian law; UK human rights; and UN international organisation law.
Our former PhD students have gone on to work in legal practice, commerce and industry, the non-governmental organisation sector and academia, including the academic community in our School of Law at Essex.
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 provide our PhD students with a work station/space to support your independent study.
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.
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.
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.
Our large community of graduates regularly inform our current postgraduates of opportunities in their organisations and businesses.
You will need a Masters degree in law and a first or 2:1 LLB honours degree, or equivalent. 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.
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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.
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.
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.
£16,230EU 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.
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. 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.
For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.
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.
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