Human Rights (LLM / MA)

Year of entry

2018

Start date

October 2018

Location

Central London

Status

Fully Approved

Duration

One year full-time or two years part-time

Attendance

Two to three evenings a week full-time or one to two evenings a week part-time, October to April

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 just some of the questions taken up in this degree. We are proud to offer this exciting and innovative Master’s degree, 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.

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.

This course 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.

Highlights

  • 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.
  • This course has close ties to a number of leading human rights NGOs and is informed by critical engagement with, and analysis of, human rights practice. 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.
  • The School of Law is 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.
  • The School is the home of Birkbeck Law Press and publishes Law and Critique: The International Journal of Critical Legal Thought. 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.
  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    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.

    Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

    If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

    Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

  • Fees

    Fees

    Part-time home/EU students: £5375 pa
    Full-time home/EU students: £10725 pa
    Part-time international students: £8200 pa
    Full-time international students: £16400 pa

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

  • Teaching and assessment

    Teaching

    At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

    Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading.

    Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

    In addition, you will have timetabled meetings with your Personal Tutor.

    Methods of teaching on this course

    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.

    Timetables

    Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

    Indicative class size

    Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to large groups, with 30 to 100+ students in attendance, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups of 10 to 30 students, led by an academic.

    Academic support

    Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

    • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
    • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
    • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

    Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

    Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

    Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short– or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

    Assessment

    Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations. You will be given time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

    Unseen written examinations are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June, and, in most cases, are held during the day on a weekday – if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance. Exam timetables are published online in March each year.

    Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

    Methods of assessment on this course

    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.

    Feedback

    As well as a mark for your coursework and exams, you will also receive feedback from your marker(s) to help you learn, improve and succeed. We encourage you to discuss feedback with your module tutor.

    Feedback can come in different forms: notes via Moodle (our online learning environment); a paper copy of a completed feedback form; or in-class or face-to-face feedback. The College Policy on Feedback on Assessment sets out what you can expect from your feedback.

    Your department will usually provide you with your marked coursework within four weeks of submission. Your initial mark is provisional until the relevant Board of Examiners has confirmed it.

    Your official coursework and exam results will be made available to you via your My Birkbeck Profile online.

  • Careers and employability

    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 out more about these professions.

    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

    How to apply

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application.

    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.