Top 10 LL.M. Programs for Human Rights Law 2024

It's no surprise that an increasing number of students are seeking an LL.M. in Human Rights Law. In today's world, marked by conflicts, displacement, and environmental crises, understanding the legal frameworks that safeguard human rights is crucial. The best LL.M. programs in Human Rights Law draw on cutting-edge research from human rights centers. Some offer internships with international organizations or NGOs, providing hands-on experience in humanitarian and human rights law. Curricula typically encompass international law, humanitarian law, criminal law, refugee law, and related areas. Some programs focus on specific regions, such as Europe or Africa.

Human Rights LL.M. programs are available worldwide, with many offered in Europe, the UK, and the USA. Cities like London and The Hague, where NGOs are concentrated, are popular choices for students. Proximity to these organizations facilitates networking and engagement with key stakeholders. Hubs like Geneva and New York, home to the UN, host some of the top LL.M. programs in Human Rights Law. Graduates of Human Rights LL.M.s often pursue careers in international law firms, NGOs, and advocacy groups. Employers value expertise in human rights law and related fields.

Turin, Italy 240 Followers 61 Discussions

By nature of its heritage alone, UNICRI—one of the United Nations’ five research and training institutes—is, for many students, an ideal place to study human rights law. The institute, in cooperation with the University for Peace, offers an LL.M. in Transnational Crime and Justice that combines distance learning with a residential portion and a research element. In addition to addressing a number of important topics for human rights law, the program also provides sessions on professional development in the UN system.

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Geneva, Switzerland 261 Followers 106 Discussions
Geneva Academy

The Geneva Academy—which was launched in 2007 by the University of Geneva and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies—produces a range of research in the international humanitarian law and human rights fields. Not only does the Academy run an LL.M. in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, it also offers a Master in Transnational Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law. The Academy’s location in Geneva means that Human Rights LL.M. students don’t have to go far to network with important people and organizations in the human rights field.

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Leiden, Netherlands 697 Followers 550 Discussions
Leiden

Leiden’s European and International Human Rights Law LL.M. addresses the legal challenges involved in European and international human rights law. The program also includes a study trip to Strasbourg and Geneva, so that students can experience these issues in the real world. The school also offers some related LL.M. programs, including an LL.M. in International Children’s Rights and one in International Criminal Law.

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London, United Kingdom 865 Followers 960 Discussions
LSE

LSE’s location in central London means that there’s a good flow of guest speakers from NGOs and other institutions operating in the human rights field. The school’s LL.M. specialism in Human Rights Law is delivered in close cooperation with LSE’s Centre for the Study of Human Rights and provides an overview of many aspects of human rights law.

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Washington, District of Columbia 1219 Followers 989 Discussions
Georgetown

Georgetown Law’s Human Rights Institute produces research in the field and puts on events as well. As part of its LL.M. program, the school offers an International Human Rights Certificate, which allows students to delve into relevant topics. Relatedly, the school also offers a Global Health Law and Governance LL.M. For students who are interested in human rights law and want to network with global decisionmakers, Georgetown’s Washington, DC location is a great place to start.

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New York City, New York 1614 Followers 1084 Discussions
Columbia

Students who study at Columbia can take advantage of the school’s Human Rights Institute, which serves as a hub for human rights research and events. Although the school does not offer a specialized LL.M. in Human Rights, it does offer many relevant opportunities for LL.M. students interested in human rights law, including the Human Rights LL.M. Fellowship, which offers tuition waivers and in some cases a living stipend. LL.M. students also have access to a Human Rights Clinic and social justice initiatives.

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Colchester, United Kingdom 114 Followers 195 Discussions
Essex

The University of Essex runs the Essex Human Rights Centre, which was launched in 1982 and serves as a hub for the study of human rights. The Centre—as well as others in the Essex network—gives students in the school’s LL.M. in International Humanitarian Law the opportunity to work on real-world projects during their studies. Essex also offers an MA in the Theory and Practice of Human Rights.

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Notre Dame, Indiana 56 Followers 31 Discussions
Notre Dame

Notre Dame’s LL.M. in International Human Rights Law is a well-regarded program that leverages insights from the school’s Center for Civil and Human Rights. After graduating from the program, students can pursue an internship with a human rights institution or NGO; past interns have gone into organizations like Human Rights Watch and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, for example. The school provides funding opportunities for these internships as well.

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Lund, Sweden 130 Followers 83 Discussions
Lund University

For some students interested in studying human rights law, the Sweden-based Lund University, which offers a Master of Laws in International Human Rights Law, is something to consider. In recent years, the school has doubled-down on the subject, launching a research hub in partnership with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.

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Oxford, United Kingdom 923 Followers 875 Discussions
Oxford

Oxford’s Master’s in International Human Rights Law, which the Faculty of Law offers in partnership with the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, is roughly equivalent to an LL.M. and is delivered on a part-time basis over two years plus two summer residential sessions. It covers a range of topics relevant to human rights law, with classes in Business and Human Rights, the International Rights of Children, and more. Oxford’s Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, which publishes research, ensures that the degree is infused with current thinking.

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