The main goal of the LL.M. in Human Rights program is to provide theoretical and practical training for future scholars and professionals in human rights, with special emphasis on the legal aspects of human rights protection. Our highly qualified and diverse full-time and part-time (visiting) faculty prepares students to engage in comparative and inter-disciplinary analysis of complex human rights problems. The program offers practical instruction in the specific legal mechanisms and institutional processes which may be used by national human rights organizations to effectively approach human rights issues that transitional and also established democracies confront. As all other programs at the Department of Legal Studies, the LLM Program in Human Rights is also committed to research-based teaching. Areas of research and teaching cover – among others – mechanisms for the protection of human rights in all international and regional human rights regimes, freedom of expression and freedom of religion, human rights and criminal justice, political rights, non-discrimination, minority protection, human rights in Africa, politics and theories of European integration from a human rights perspective. Courses by our part-time (visiting) faculty build on the core content taught by permanent faculty and permit us to introduce courses on contemporary human rights challenges as they arise. The program also benefits from close cooperation with other master’s programs of the Department via optional thematic specializations.
Rigorous and closely monitored coursework provides the tools of advocacy, analysis, critical reading and writing necessary to enable students to make a significant and lasting contribution both to the rights protection in their home countries and to the enforcement of human rights at large. Courses prepare students to explore human rights issues across legal systems, to engage in advanced critical thinking and refine their arguments in oral interactions and group work. Classes are highly interactive, enabling students to benefit from the international composition of the student body; in-class discussions allow insight into contemporary developments as they evolve and enable critical engagement with these developments in a manner that is sensitive to the multi-cultural composition of our academic community at all times. Individual research skills are developed through comparative problem-driven papers written for various courses, as well as in the final thesis or capstone thesis. Students are encouraged to address practical human rights problems through comparative analysis, using a theoretical framework informed by inter-disciplinary insight. As a result, our graduates are able to respond to challenging human rights problems with advanced analytical skills, drawing on critical comparative legal analysis and seeking to offer policy-relevant responses.