The LSE MSc Human Rights offers a concentrated 12 month (or 24 months, part-time) engagement with the foundations of, and key problems in, human rights. Based in the department of Sociology, (but run from the Centre for the Study of Human Rights) students interact with a number of disciplines so that the broadest definition of human rights can be explored.
The core course, Approaches to Human Rights, is a multi-disciplinary course that provides students with a rigorous and focused engagement with three central disciplinary perspectives on the subject of human rights: philosophy, sociology and law.
The course aims to provide students with contending interpretations of human rights as idea and practice from the different standpoints that these disciplines present (including debates from within and between the disciplines), and to investigate explicitly the particular knowledge claims and modes of reasoning that the respective disciplines engage. Further, the course applies the insights of disciplinary frameworks of understanding to key human rights issues such as the right to life, free speech, genocide, transitional justice, group rights, poverty, globalization, terrorism and civil liberties.
The 10,000 word dissertation provides an opportunity to investigate further a subject of particular interest. We encourage students to concentrate on specific case studies, laws or problems and critically to apply their human rights knowledge. In previous years dissertations have dealt with, for example, the changes in American foreign policy in the Middle East after September 11; international financial institutions in sub-Saharan Africa; Japanese social structure and women's human rights; public protest and the freedom of political expression in the UK; transitional justice; and child soldiers.
With a wide choice of modules from within Sociology and many other departments, the MSc can be tailored to particular interests. Our students have a broad range of backgrounds, nationalities, ages, and academic and professional qualifications. Each year we see their diversity enhancing the challenges they pose to each other on the issues raised by their studies. Equally, their career paths are diverse, depending on their experience, interest and ambition. The MSc is not a vocational qualification, rather it is a guide to critical thinking about human rights as an object of study and a matter of policy, intervention and practice.
Students on our multidisciplinary MSc Human Rights programme engage with the foundations of, and key problems in, human rights.
Alongside scheduled teaching we organise a range of events exclusively for MSc Human Rights students in order to further encourage this engagement.
Events include guest seminars and talks by human rights practitioners, activists and experts; panel discussions, film screenings and social events. We provide career-oriented events including the annual MSc Human Rights Student-Alumni Networking Event where current students have the chance to hear from alumni and learn from their experiences of working in the human rights field.
MSc Human Rights Student Committee
At the start of the academic year, students are invited to stand for election to the MSc Human Rights Student Committee. The Committee serves an important role in both organising social events and representing the views of the group as a whole.
In 2014/15 there are six members, including a president, social organisers, blog lead, and academic liaison. They work as a team but also have particular responsibilities:
The President, Philip Belau, and Academic Liaison, Alecia Maragh, represents MSc Human Rights students at the Department of Sociology Student-Staff Liaison Committee, which meets once a term.
The Social Organisers, Helen Hasse, Molly Curtiss, and Elodie Rossignol (with support from other students) take the lead in organising a variety of events which help students to meet and interact outside of the classroom and contribute to making the MSc year a memorable one.
The Blog Lead, Andrew Small, take an active role on the editorial team of the LSE Human Rights blog, recruiting the MSc Human Rights students to the team and commissioning and editing posts throughout the year.
LSE Human Rights Reference Library
The LSE Human Rights Library is home to three collections: core readings for MSc Human Rights students; the Stan Cohen Collection; and a general collection of human rights-related books and reports.
MSc Human Rights students have exclusive access to a quiet study space where Library items (which are for reference only) can be consulted.
LSE Human Rights Blog
The LSE Human Rights blog is a student-led project, with an editorial team comprised of MSc Human Rights students and members of the LSE Human Rights Doctoral Network (MPhil and PhD students at LSE). Students are encouraged to write or commission articles for the blog. It is a place for open discussion of ideas, events, and critical views on the topic of human rights – whatever the term means to you.
Links for current MSc Human Rights Students
We use a range of tools to help MSc Human Rights Alumni to keep in touch with each other and with the Centre. We also regularly invite alumni to meet current students, we have alumni profiles on the website, and feature alumni on our student-led blog. Please get in touch if you would like to be more actively involved with the Centre and current students, and consider the following ways to keep in touch:
LSE provides valuable services to former students. Alumni have access to the LSE Library, the Careers Service (for two years after graduation), the alumni magazine LSE Connect, and to the alumni mentoring programme. There are also alumni events organised around the world, both social events, and professional networking events. Please visit LSE Alumni for more information.
Alumni on the LSE Human Rights blog