The Origins of Human Rights (HSTY2624)


We tend to think of rights as things that all people have held at all times, but they are not. Rights have a history. The idea of individual rights did not exist prior to medieval times and it has been understood in many different ways since. This unit traces the creation and development of the idea of rights, and its historical uses, from medieval times through to the rise of the modern state and into the Enlightenment.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


2x1hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week


1x500wd tutorial exercise (10%), 1x250wd research bibliography (5%), 1x250wds Essay outline (5%), 1x2000wd final Essay (50%) and 1x1.5hr exam (30%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules


12 Junior credit points of History or Ancient History

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.