Master of Human Rights and Democratisation (Asia Pacific)

The Master of Human Rights and Democratisation (Asia Pacific) is a 60 credit point degree that seeks to develop the capacity of emerging leaders in the Asia Pacific region to protect and promote human rights. It is offered in partnership by the University of Sydney (Australia), Mahidol University (Thailand), Gadjah Mada University (Indonesia), the Kathmandu School of Law ( Nepal), the University of Colombo (Sri Lanka) and Ateneo de Manila Law School (Philippines).

The Asia Pacific Program in 10 points:

  • Highest standards of inter-disciplinary scholarship
  • A uniquely regional lived experience of human rights and democracy
  • Focus on the most pressing issues in the Asia Pacific region
  • Exposure to emerging areas of human rights scholarship in the Asia Pacific region
  • Practitioner-led training and development activities
  • Opportunities for independent research
  • Field experience and internships
  • Unique regional professional networks
  • Exposure to cutting-edge research
  • Engagement with leading human rights campaigns

At the end of the program, students graduate with a firm grounding in the philosophical, political, institutional, legal, sociological and cultural dimension of human rights and democratisation.

The Master of Human Rights and Democratisation (Asia Pacific region) brings the study of human rights and democracy to life.

Global Campus of Human Rights and Democratisation Programs

The MHRD is part of a unique network of human rights and democratisation Masters programs made up of over 100 universities around the world. As the Asia Pacific representative, the MHRD contributes our regional perspective to global research and education initiatives such as the 2014-15 publication: The Impact of Economic Crisisand Foreign Debt on Human Rights. This publication seeks to explore broadly the connections between economic crisis, debt andthe impact on human rights while focusing on the issues of greatest relevance for each distinct globalregion. The MHRD chapter focuses on the impact of the crisis on the development of workers’ rights in Asia. It was written by Dr Matthew Mullen (Mahidol University), Professor Purwo Santoso and JoashTapiheru (Universitas Gadjah Mada) and Dr Elisabeth Valiente-Riedl (University of Sydney).

More information about the Global Campusjoint publications, is available at


From July 2015, the MHRD program will offer students more choice and the opportunity to experience a greater amount of regional study and integrated teaching.

Unit of Study requirements

Candidates for the Master of Human Rights and Democratisation (Asia Pacific) regional program are required to complete 60 credit points as follows:

  • A minimum of 24 credit points of units of study to be completed at the University of Sydney;
  • A minimum of 24 credit points of units of study be undertaken at (a) regional partner/s including 18 credit points of elective units of study as a research component comprising either a dissertation or an internship;
  • A minimum of 30 credit points of core units of study;
  • A minimum of 12 credit points of core elective units of study.

See Degree Structure for more information.

Candidacy and timeframes

On a full-time candidacy, the Master of Human Rights and Democratisation (Asia Pacific) is taken over 1.5 years with an option to complete in 1 year. Part-time candidacy is also available with a maximum completion time of 4 years.

Students supported by European Union scholarships are required to undertake full-time candidacy following a set pattern of study as described by the Degree Director.

See Financial Support for more information.

Program features

The Master of Human Rights and Democratisation (Asia Pacific) offers an innovative program that is taught in Sydney, Australia and around the region.

Students have the opportunity to:

  • Build foundational skills in human rights philosophy, democracy theory and research skills at the University of Sydney (usually taken in the Spring Semester/ August to November);
  • Attend the unique ‘Regional Learning Hub’ – a clinic-style set of units of study taught in intensive mode by leading academics from our regional partner institutions (in 2016 to be held at Mahidol University, Thailand, in January);
  • Gain a local’s perspective critical issues facing the region first-hand, by undertaking a core unit and either an internship or dissertation at a regional partner institution (usually taken in the Autumn Semester/ February to July).

See Degree Structure for more information.

Financial support – scholarships for study

Each year, up to 20 European Union funded scholarships are offered to students from eligible countries in the Asia Pacific region to support their tuition and living costs.

Scholarships for study in the 2015-2016 student cohort have now closed. Scholarship applications for study in the 2016- 2017 student cohort (for study beginning in July 2016) will open in October 2015.

See the Financial Support page for more information about scholarships including eligibility, selection criteria and key dates.

Applications for admission

Students wishing to undertake the Master of Human Rights and Democratisation (Asia Pacific) must gain admission to the University of Sydney.

Applications for admission should be made online via

Visit the Admission Requirements page for more information.