Master of Arts in Human Rights

The Human Rights Institute offers an accelerated Master of Arts (MA) in Human Rights, which enables students to complete their bachelor’s degree and a MA in Human Rights in five years. The master’s in Human Rights program is designed to advance participants’ knowledge of human rights as both an academic and professional field, hone students’ critical inquiry skills, and ultimately become competitive candidates for professional positions in industry, government, education, and non-profit sectors.

The 30-credit program structure effectively integrates academic coursework on human rights with professional work experience opportunities that enhance applicants' professional portfolios in preparation for the job market.

The MA in Human Rights program requires 12 Common Core credits and a required 3-credit practicum (200 hours), at least 6 Foundational Elective credits, and 9 additional elective credits drawn from either the Foundational Elective or Supplementary Elective lists. 

The 12 Common Core credits provide students with knowledge of the theoretical foundations of human rights, insight into the challenges of defending and promoting human rights and guided instruction on how to ethically and reliably conduct human rights research and practice. 

The Human Rights Practicum ensures program participants gain substantive professional experience while pursuing the degree. It provides students with human rights-based problem solving experiences related to their career goals. This Practicum prepares students to participate in the capstone Human Rights Practice Lab, where students develop and execute a human rights research project under the supervision of faculty; the project will be oriented toward solving a real-world problem and may grow out of the student’s practicum experience.

Finally, students gain proficiency in a human rights topic area of their choosing by taking an additional 15 credits of elective coursework, at least 6 of which should be drawn from our list of foundational elective courses.


For the inaugural MA cohort, the Human Rights Institute welcomes UConn students who will have senior status during the AY21-22 school year. Applicants who have already earned their bachelor's degree are also welcome to apply, but should note that it will take two years to complete the MA degree.

Information Session

If you have any questions about the program please join us for an information session on Thursday May 13th at 3PM click here to register.

Program Structure

Common Core Courses 

  • HRTS 5301:Contemporary Debates in Human Rights
  • HRTS 5351:Topics in Human Rights Practice*
  • HRTS 5401: Methods in Human Rights Research and Practice
  • HRTS 5600: Human Rights Practice Lab

Human Rights Practicum:

  • HRTS 5282: Practicum in Human Rights 

Foundational Electives:

  • EDCI 5847: Human Rights and Social Justice in Education
  • HRTS 5055: Theory and Practice of International Criminal Justice
  • HRTS 5450: Contemporary Issues in Genocide Studies 
  • HRTS 5460: Human Rights and Armed Conflict
  • HRTS 5351:Topics in Human Rights Practice*
  • HRTS 5095: Special Topics in Human Rights*
  • HRTS 5499: Independent Study in Human Rights
  • HRTS 5899:Variable Topics in Human Rights*
  • HRTS/HIST 5270: History of Human Rights
  • HRTS/POLS 5390/ECON 5128: Economic Rights
  • LAW 7878:International Human Rights
  • SWEL 5385: Human Rights and Social Work

Supplementary Electives:

  • ALDS/GERM/CLCS 5324: Teaching for Intercultural Citizenship and Human Rights I 
  • ALDS/GERM/CLCS 5325: Teaching for Intercultural Citizenship and Human Rights II 
  • ANTH 5390: Cultural Rights
  • ENGL 6540: Seminar in Literature and Human Rights
  • HRTS/ANTH 5380: Propaganda, Disinformation, and Hate Speech
  • LAW 7380: Critical Race Theory
  • LAW  7653: European Human Rights
  • LAW 7695: Philosophy of Human Rights
  • LAW 7814: Refugee Law
  • LAW 7876: Philosophy of Collective Rights and Self-Determination
  • LAW 7883: Human Rights and Post Conflict Justice
  • LAW 7914: American Slavery and American Law: The Legal Origins of Racism in America
  • POLS 5115: Theories of Human Rights
  • POLS 5322: Assessing Human Security
  • PUBH 5460/LAW 7592: Health and Human Rights
  • SOCI/HRTS 5825: Sociology of Human Rights
  • SOCI 5515: Sociology of Immigration

Other elective options may be approved by the Graduate Education Director after consultation with the Graduate Education Committee.

*May be repeated for a total of 9 credits with a change in subject matter.

Applying to the Program

Required Application Materials
  1. Personal Statement
    • Your personal statement should address the following questions: 1) Why you want to earn a master’s degree in human rights and particular topical interests you have within the human rights field; 2) How your academic training, work/internships, and relevant life experiences have prepared you to be successful in this program; and 3) How this program will further your career goals.
    • Please adhere to the following guidelines: Use a standard font (Calibri, Times New Roman, Arial) with 1” margins;  your statement should not exceed 750 words.
  2. Resume
  3. Unofficial Transcript
  4. Two Letters of Recommendation
Application Due Date

We will be accepting applications for the inaugural cohort for the MA program at the end of July. A definitive due date will be posted once the application portal is ready.

Application Submission

Application Materials should be submitted online HERE (Link Forthcoming).

If you have any questions about the program or the application process, please contact HRI’s Program Coordinator Alyssa Webb at

Fall 2021 Course Offerings

ANTH 5395: Propaganda, Disinformation, and Hate Speech
T 12:00-1:30pm

Draws on current social science research to understand the effects of false information and hate speech on our politics and culture and to evaluate various private and public initiatives to regulate speech. CA 2.

HRTS 5460: Human Rights and Armed Conflict
TTH 9:30-10:45am

Examines the relationship between human rights and armed conflict from a social science perspective. Explores human rights abuses as cause and consequence of armed conflict. Evaluates the effectiveness of the human rights and humanitarian approaches to conflict management.

HIST/HRTS 5270: History of Human Rights
TH 2:00-5:00pm

Covers the field's classic texts, controversies, and recent topics. Incorporates political, social, intellectual, and cultural history.

POLS 5115: Theories of Human Rights
T 1:30-4:00pm

Debates about the meaning of human rights and their importance.

LAW 7914: American Slavery and American Law: The Legal Origins of Racism in America
W 9:30-12:30pm

Concentrating on the period from the adoption of the Constitution (1787) through ratification of the 13th Amendment (1865), this course explores the role of law and lawmakers (judges, lawyers and legislators) in the creation and operation of slavery as an institution. The slavery provisions in the Constitution, along with leading state and national judicial decisions concerning slavery and the slave trade, are located in the context of history and historical scholarship. The course also considers resistance to slave law on the part of slaves, as well as efforts by abolitionist lawyers, politicians and constitutional theorists to destroy the institution.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I have already graduated from UConn/another institution and earned my bachelor’s degree. Can I apply to the program?

A: Yes, you can apply to the program! However it will take two years for you to complete the required plan of study.

The Masters in Human Rights was designed to primarily function as a 4+1 program, meaning that students begin taking graduate coursework during their senior year at UConn, and complete their MA requirements in the year following their completion of their bachelor’s degree. Given this structure, and that this is the first year of the program’s existence, not all of the courses required by the plan of study will be offered in AY21-22. If you have completed your bachelor’s degree and would like to apply to the program, knowing it will take two years to complete the program, please contact HRI’s Program Manager Rachel Jackson at, or HRI’s Program Coordinator Alyssa Webb at before submitting your application. 

Q: Do I need to take the GRE?

A: GRE scores are not required for program admission.

Q: How many credits can count towards both my undergraduate HRTS degree, and the MA in Human Rights?

A: Up to 12 credits (four 3-credit classes) of approved graduate coursework included on the student’s undergraduate (BA) plan of study can be used toward the MA plan of study. 

Q: Does the Human Rights Institute offer Graduate Assistantships for accepted students?

A: At this time the Human Rights Institute is unable to offer financial support in the form of Graduate Assistantships for students enrolled in the MA program. 

Q: Does the Human Rights Institute offer financial support for students completing the Human Rights Practicum?

A: Yes. The Human Rights Institute will offer scholarships to support students as they complete the Human Rights Practicum. Information about these scholarships will be made available to students upon admission into the program.

Q: Do I need to be a Human Rights major to enroll in the MA in Human Rights program?

A: No. You are eligible to apply to the MA in Human Rights program regardless of your undergraduate major.