2 years part-time or 1 year full-time
1-2 evenings a week part-time or 2-3 evenings a week full-time, October to April
The School of Law is proud to offer this exciting and innovative Master’s programme, leading to the award of an LLM or MA Human Rights. The distinctive focus of the programme is on theoretically informed and multidisciplinary approaches to human rights. It aims to expose you to a critical and contextual engagement with the subject. You will study human rights in their legal, political, sociological, anthropological and philosophical contexts.
Political, social and economic challenges are frequently articulated through the language of human rights. Is the rise of human rights discourse an emblem of hope and a political horizon, mobilising resistance to human need and suffering? Or do human rights claims deflect more radical political demands and block real transformation? Can the manifold crises of contemporary life be made more intelligible through the frame of human rights? These are some of the questions taken up in this programme.
You will be introduced to a wide variety of approaches to research across a range of disciplines, and to the theoretical frameworks for advanced legal scholarship. You will also take specialist courses, choosing from a wide range of subjects in the area of human rights.
The programme is particularly attractive to legal professionals, and to non-lawyers who work, or would like to work, in the field of human rights, allowing them to reflect critically on their role as human rights activists and practitioners.
Find out more about studying law at Birkbeck.
Why study this course at Birkbeck?
- We are among the top 10 law schools in the UK and in the top three in London in the Times Higher Education 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) rankings, while our research environment was judged conducive to producing research of the highest quality.
- The programme has close ties to a number of leading human rights NGOs and is informed by critical engagement with, and analysis of, human rights practice.
- Designed for students who are interested in exploring in depth the major contemporary debates concerning the theory and practice of human rights.
- Unique programme, focusing on the study of human rights from a critical, contextual and multidisciplinary perspective.
- Critical introduction to the vibrant world of human rights practice.
- The School of Law is an internationally recognised centre for critical and interdisciplinary legal research. It provides an exciting and innovative environment for a wide range of research with a strong theoretical and policy focus. The School is the home of Birkbeck Law Press and publishes Law and Critique: The International Journal of Critical Legal Thought.
- We use IT resources, such as electronic learning environments, to enhance teaching and learning. Birkbeck Library has an extensive teaching collection of books, journals and electronic resources in law and related disciplines, such as economics, politics and sociology. For example, it provides access to over 17,000 electronic journals, which are available online 24 hours a day. Find out more about our teaching and learning resources.
- You can also take advantage of the rich research collections nearby, including those of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Senate House Library, the British Library of Political and Economic Science (LSE Library) and the British Library.
- Applicants with a strong academic background may be eligible to apply for AHRC/ESRC awards (UK and EU-based applicants only).
- Candidates with an outstanding academic record who demonstrate high potential for strong performance on one of our Master's degrees can apply for School of Law Postgraduate Fee Awards.
- Find out more about why you should study law at Birkbeck.
- Watch our videos and hear what our students have to say about studying law at Birkbeck.
- Watch videos of our postgraduate students discussing their experience of studying at Birkbeck.
You take two core modules and four option modules, one of which can be a dissertation.
Indicative option modules
- Advanced Intellectual Property Law
- Crime and Control
- Cultures of Human Rights
- Equality and the Law
- Film and Human Rights
- Futures: The Globalization of Human Rights
- Gender, Sexuality and Criminal Justice
- Hate Crime
- Healthcare and Human Rights
- Human Rights in Britain
- Land, Law and Dispossession
- Psychology of Law and Crime
- Slavery, slaveries, enslavement : the Western experience
- Social Justice
- The International Economic Constitution
- Youth Justice
Please note that the modules listed here are indicative; not all modules will be available every year.
The dual stream award (either LLM or MA) allows you to choose a qualification that best suits your existing and future career. The final award will be determined prior to completion.
We welcome a wide range of qualifications, from the UK and abroad, and we will also consider your non-academic achievements.
Good second-class honours degree in law, the humanities or social sciences; other good honours degrees will be considered.
Degrees from overseas institutions must be equivalent to a UK second-class degree.
Other relevant qualifications and appropriate professional training and experience are welcome and will be taken into account.
International entry requirements
If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.
If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.
Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.
Fees and finance
We offer advice on all the options for financing your studies. You can pay your fees interest-free by direct debit and postgraduate loans are available for all Home/EU students.
FeesPart-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa
Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa
Part-time overseas students: £ 7225 pa
Full-time overseas students: £ 14450 pa
Teaching and assessment
Our innovative, engaging teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments.
Teaching and learning formats may vary. Some modules follow a traditional programme of weekly meetings, others may take the form of intensive courses offered over one or two weekends.
Independent study and active participation are essential to all course provision. You should plan to spend at least five hours in private study for every hour spent in class.
Final assessment for most compulsory and option modules is based on a 4000-word essay. If you choose the dissertation option, you will be required to submit a dissertation of 8000-10,000 words.
Careers and employability
To help you get ahead in your career, we offer free advice and training and our recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, can connect you with employers.
Careers and employability
Graduates can pursue careers in the legal profession, government and the public sector, and research or journalism. Possible professions include human rights lawyer, barrister, or human resources officer. This degree may also be useful in becoming a researcher, journalist, or trading standards officer.
Find more advice and information about law careers.
Find out more about the destinations of graduates in this subject.
We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck.
How to apply
You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application.
Need help with your application? Watch videos featuring our academic experts giving advice on applying to Birkbeck and answering some of the most frequently asked questions.
Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.
Application deadlines and interviews
You should apply as early as possible.
Applications open in October.
Life at Birkbeck
Birkbeck offers a unique combination of evening study and a matchless central London location, right in the geographic and academic centre of the city, giving you exceptional opportunities.
Most of our students live in private accommodation, but we also offer student accommodation and access to the professional services of the University of London Housing Services.
The Birkbeck experience
Birkbeck is different: our classes are held in the evening, so your days are free - to study, work, volunteer or just do your own thing.
Financial support and postgraduate loans
Birkbeck offers advice on all the options for financing your studies. You can pay loans by interest-free direct debit and postgraduate loans are available for all Home/EU students. Find out about the support we provide.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck. We can give you the advice and support you need.
Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research universities. Discover more about our vibrant, intellectually challenging and exciting research culture.
Boost your career
Discover how Birkbeck's unique evening teaching, coupled with our comprehensive careers and employability services, can help you get ahead in a highly competitive job market.
Fees and payment
With government loans for undergraduate and postgraduate study, fantastic financial support packages and flexible payment options, there’s never been a better time to study at Birkbeck.
There are lots of ways to come and visit us and meet our staff and former students, including Open Evenings, Open Days and guided campus tours. Discover more here.
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