Master of Human Rights

The information on this page applies to future students. Current students should refer to their faculty handbooks for course information.

The Master of Human Rights offers candidates a firm foundation in human rights law and policy and, through a series of core units, provides a practical understanding of how human rights operate in different political, economic, social and environmental contexts. Students will build knowledge and skills in human rights across a wide range of disciplinary fields including Sociology and Social Policy, Political Science, Political Economy, Philosophy, History and Human Geography.

Emphasising the practice of human rights, the course equips you to skillfully and effectively use human rights tools and language, in order to achieve specific changes in the real world. You will gain knowledge on the mainstreaming of human rights norms within regional, national and state legislative and policy mechanisms and practices, and learn to engage with measurement, monitoring and evaluation. A practical dimension includes the opportunity to undertake an internship within an Australian or international human rights organisation.

The Master of Human Rights will also provide you with the opportunity to undertake independent scholarly research on current human rights issues, and the skills to put your academic understanding to use in real situations. While our degree has a global focus, it also capitalises on Australia’s geopolitical location, exploring domestic policy and legal issues in the context of the Asia-Pacific region.

Course outline

For an up-to-date list of units of study for this degree, please refer to the online postgraduate handbook.

Study plan


The MHR requires the satisfactory completion of:

(a) a minimum of 24 credit points from core units of study; and

(b) a maximum of 24 credit points from elective units of study. With the permission of the Degree Coordinator a maximum of 12 credit points can be taken as elective units from units of study outside those listed in the Human Rights subject area of the Postgraduate Unit of Study Table, including units of study from other faculties.

(c) 18 credit points from either the Internship or the Dissertation pathway

(d) a minimum of 6 credit points from capstone units of study.

Embedded courses

Further course information

Progression rules

Under normal progression, a student shall undertake and successfully complete all units of study to the value of 24 credit points per semester as prescribed for the course. Candidates must maintain a credit average result or above, normally over at least the first 4 units of study, in order to qualify for admission to the dissertation units of study. Students are required to attend all lectures, tutorials and other activities prescribed for their units of study.

Capstone experience

Eligible candidates undertaking the degree of Master of Human Rights have the option of completing (i) an internship in two parts, normally undertaken over two semesters, with a total value of 12 credit points (cp) and/or (ii) a dissertation on an approved topic over two units of study, normally undertaken over two semesters, with a value of 12cp, under the supervision of an academic staff member. The internship is equivalent to 20 days of full time work during each semester (40 days in total), and students are required to submit a reflective journal and a research essay.

Course outcomes and further study

Graduate opportunities

Given the growing importance of human rights in politics, law, social policy, social movements and business, graduates can expect to find employment in dedicated governmental, inter‑governmental and non-governmental organisations, where a human rights specialisation is required. Students with a background in journalism, education and other professions will also be strongly positioned to return to their principal fields with a high level of valuable specialist skills as increasingly major Australian and multinational corporations wish or need to take human rights considerations into account in their operations.

Further study

Graduates of the Master of Human Rights who have completed a dissertation with a meritorious grade are eligible to pursue a higher degree by research in their chosen subject area.

Admission

Admission requirements

Admission to candidature for the Master of Human Rights requires:

"(a) a bachelor's degree with a minimum 65% average calculated over the whole degree, from the University of Sydney, including a major in a relevant subject area in the humanities or social sciences, or an equivalent qualification; or

(b) a Bachelor of Laws degree with a minimum 60% average calculated over the whole degree, or an equivalent qualification

Upgrade is possible from a Grad Cert to a Grad Dip or Masters in the embedded degree.

Upgrade is possible for a Grad Dip to Masters in the embedded degree.

How to apply

Domestic students

How to apply

Australian citizens, permanent residents, New Zealand citizens, and holders of a permanent humanitarian visa, apply through the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences - click on the 'Apply now' icon on this page to proceed with your application.

International students

How to apply

Overseas applicants may apply:
(i) directly to the University via the International Office. Further information on applications and English language requirements and support services for international students is available on the International Office website; or

(ii) through a University overseas representative (education agent).

Fee disclaimer

Domestic students

Annual review for postgraduate student contribution amount

Importantly, student contribution amounts are subject to annual review by the University, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study (subject to a Commonwealth specified cap), effective at the start of each calendar year.

Postgraduate Domestic Tuition Fee

This 2015, tuition fee for a domestic postgraduate student represents the fee that is payable by you in the calendar year you commence your course, commencing in 2014 for a standard annual full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). If your study load is more or less than the 1.0 EFTSL your fee will differ.

Annual review for postgraduate domestic tuition fee

Importantly, tuition fees are subject to annual review by the University, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study, effective at the start of each calendar year.

Additional incidental fees

For some courses there are incidental fees additional to the student contribution and/or course fee. Some of those fees are significant, for example, faculty-specific materials, tools, protected clothing and equipment. For further information about these additional incidental fees, please visit the University's Future Students' website.

Potential for inaccuracy

Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information in this prospectus, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre for domestic students or the International Office for international students so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about those fees.

The academic requirements that are displayed are applicable to currently available courses only, and are updated annually in October and may be changed without notice. The Faculty Handbook and the University of Sydney Calendar are the official legal source of information relating to study at the University of Sydney, and you are referred to those documents

Please note that if you are classified by the University as a Research Training Scheme student in accordance with the Other Grants Guidelines (Research) 2010, you will be exempt from the payment of any SCA or tuition fees for courses undertaken as part of a Research Masters degree and Research Doctoral degree. More information about your eligibility for this Scheme is available here.

International students

International tuition fees for postgraduate students

This 2015, tuition fee for international postgraduate students represents the fees that are payable by you in the calendar year you commence your course, commencing in 2015, for a standard annual full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). If your study load is more or less than the 1.0 EFTSL your fee will differ.

Annual review

Importantly, tuition fees are subject to annual review, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study, effective at the start of each calendar year.

Additional incidental fees and health insurance

For some courses there are incidental fees additional to the tuition fees. Some of those fees are significant, for example, faculty-specific materials, tools, protected clothing, and equipment. The University's Future Students' webpage has further information about these additional incidental fees for postgraduate coursework students and postgraduate research students.

In addition to the fees indicated here for the course of study, International Students studying on an Australian Student Visa must have appropriate health insurance for the duration of their studies on a Student Visa through an approved provider of the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) scheme. This is a requirement of the Australian Government, unless otherwise exempted by the Government.

Potential for inaccuracy

Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information here, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre for domestic students or the International Office for international students so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about those fees.