LLM in International Human Rights Law and Practice




LLM in International Human Rights Law and Practice

The key paradox of international human rights law is that the proliferation of treaties and adjudicative bodies of the past decades has not significantly diminished serious human rights violations and abuses in every state. As a consequence, standard setting and implementation, international treaties and domestic law, states and non-state actors have become central focuses of human rights activists and scholars.

The LLM in International Human Rights Law and Practice engages students in a critical, nuanced and interdisciplinary examination of this paradox and the multiple focuses of today’s human rights law and practice, while providing you with the practical socio-legal skills necessary to apply global norms at the local level.

Why study International Human Rights at York?

The LLM in Human Rights Law and Practice engages you in a holistic examination of the law, policy, and advocacy of human rights. As such, it provides the substantive knowledge, versatile skills and valuable networks necessary for mid-career professionals and recent graduates to work in the human rights field. The LLM is offered on both a full-time and part-time basis.

The LLM in Human Rights Law and Practice is distinctive because our students:

  • Work on real human rights issues – You will acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to apply international human rights frameworks and to make use of international mechanisms for promoting and protecting human rights at local, national, regional and global levels;

  • Have the opportunity to work in partnership with international and local NGOs, human rights defenders, UN mechanisms and governmental bodies – You will develop socio-legal research skills and acquire fieldwork experience during a two-week placement in Malaysia (student numbers permitting) or in York;

  • Learn from the experiences of human rights defenders based at the Centre for Applied Human Rights and from the interactions with your student peers – You will learn to critically examine how political and social context shape human rights issues at legal and policy levels and develop advocacy strategies to address these issues;

  • Are taught in innovative and interactive small-class formats by academics who undertake cutting-edge research and are also experienced practitioners – You will acquire a solid academic foundation relevant to human rights practice, an excellent basis for a new career, career progression or PhD studies in the field of human rights.

Admission requirements 

Applicants will normally be expected to have obtained an undergraduate degree with honours (2:1 or higher, or its equivalent). Some academic study or practical experience of law is desirable though not required. Applications are also welcomed from candidates with a good 2:2 degree (or equivalent) and at least 3 years of relevant work experience.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English, and you have not completed an undergraduate degree in English, you will need these minimum English test scores:

  • IELTS: 7.0, with a minimum of 7.0 in Writing and no less than 6.5 in all other components

  • PTE: 67, with a minimum of 67 in Writing and no less than 61 in all other components

  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 185, with a minimum of 185 in Writing and no less than 176 in all other components

  • TOEFL: 96 with a minimum of 24 in Writing and no less than 23 in all other components

  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Distinction in all components

Further guidance can be found on the International Applicants language requirements page.


Where after the LLM?

Our LLM provides career advice, networking opportunities, hands-on experience, and personalised reference letters to help our graduates find good jobs with human rights NGOs, charities, humanitarian organisations, policy think-tanks, bar associations, national human rights institutions, governmental bodies, domestic judiciaries, UN agencies and other international and regional organisations.

For example, recent graduates are working with:

  • The Bar Council (bar association representing barristers in England and Wales)

  • Defence for Children International

  • Development NGO in West Africa

  • East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network

  • Egyptian human rights NGO

  • European Union Special Representative's Office in Afghanistan

  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office

  • Human Rights Watch

  • National Human Rights Commission of Korea

  • Pakistan's judicial sector

  • UK-based NGO working with sub-Saharan children affected by HIV/AIDS

  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Some of our students specifically credit the LLM with helping them advance their careers.

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