MA Human Rights, Globalisation and Justice

Key Facts

Course Title: Human Rights, Globalisation and Justice
Course type: MA, Postgraduate Diploma
Mode of Study:Full Time or Part Time
Contact Details:Postgraduate Administrator
Website: Go to School homepage
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Subject Area: Law


This course offers an exciting opportunity to study human rights in the interdisciplinary context of law, politics and philosophy. The course content reflects that human rights is one of the key discourses of our times. The course is aimed both at people working in related fields (for example, professionals working in the fields of law, government and public sector, social services, human resource management, or human rights advocacy), and anyone else interested in further study in this area.

  • The course is taught on a semesterised basis. Course content combines analysis of current human rights law and practices with a critical exploration of the structures, potential, and limits of law and legal reform, at the domestic, European, and international levels.
  • The focus on ‘Globalisation and Justice’ emphasises the contemporary and interdisciplinary nature of the course. We do not aim at a simple endorsement of the discourse, but at a set of critical reflections that draw upon varied global and local human rights philosophies, policies and practice.
  • Postgraduate students will find a range of support structures, including: research training; accessible staff supervisors; good library resources; access to postgraduate study rooms; and access to IT and legal research tools.
  • This course builds on existing strengths of the Law School and SPIRE in research and teaching. Both Schools are committed to maintaining our teaching at the highest standard. Law and SPIRE are both highly regarded in their subject areas with international reputations for teaching and research. In the recent 2014 REF, Keele University stood out for its world-leading impact of research in Philosophy, Politics, and Law (with Philosophy and Politics both ranked first for Impact nationally). Keele hosts a wide range of seminars, workshops, lectures and visiting fellowships. Many of these activities are available without charge to Keele students. Both Schools are characterised by their energy and enthusiasm, as well as their friendliness and collegiality.
  • Keele is located on a beautiful and safe campus – the largest of its kind in the country – and has been consistently highly ranked for student satisfaction.

Internship Programme

As part of our concern to develop our students' experience in the field of human rights, one of our founding course team members and longstanding members of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), Professor Patrick Thornberry will host students at the Committee's sessions in Geneva.  

See here for more details about Professor Thornberry's work on racial discrimination and minority rights. Please see here for further information about CERD.


Aims of the Course

  • This Masters programme aims to enable students to develop strong practical and theoretical understandings of human rights law, politics and philosophy at domestic, regional and international levels.
  • The course also aims to provide students with a set of critical reflections that draw upon the varied global and local social and political contexts in which human rights operates.
  • The course aims to develop not only subject-specific knowledge and skills, but also transferable skills. In terms of the latter, particular attention is paid to research and analytical skills. The course also aims to provide a foundation for pursuing further study at doctoral level.
  • Course content combines analysis of current human rights law and practices with a critical exploration of the structures, potential, and limits of law and legal reform at the domestic, European, and international levels.

Entry Requirements

The MA in HRGJ is open to graduates with a first or second class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject.

Applicants for whom English is not a first language must provide evidence of a qualification in English language, unless they hold a previous degree that was taught and examined in English. Minimum score is academic IELTS 6.5 (with no subtest below 5.5) or equivalent.

Course Content

The programme consists of 3 core modules and 5 elective modules. Students taking the MA in Human Rights, Globalisation and Justice write 8 module essays and a dissertation of between 15,000-20,000 words.

The MA requires 180 credits, made up of taught modules (120 credits) and a 60-credit dissertation. The modules are taught between September and April, and the dissertation is submitted in the following September.

Students who prefer not to undertake a dissertation may conclude their studies with a Postgraduate Diploma, if they achieve 120 credits by taking 7-8 taught modules as indicated below.

Module List

The 120 modules credit consists of the following:

The HRGJ core modules: (15 credits each)

  • Module One: Foundations of Human Rights
  • Module Two: Equality, Discrimination and Minorities
  • Module three: Human Rights in Global Politics

Students may take elective modules from the School of Law and SPIRE. Potential modules include (subject to availability):

School of Law Modules:

  • Foundations of International Law
  • International Law & Human Rights
  • Transnational Crime 
  • Community Outreach and Socio-Legal Advocacy
  • Advanced International Law 
  • Introduction to International Economic Law
  • International Environmental Law 
  • Trading in the European Union

School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy (SPIRE) Modules:

  • The Changing International Agenda
  • Approaches to European Integration: History and Practice 
  • Theory of Global Security 
  • Green Political Theory 
  • Climate Change: Governance, Power & Society 
  • Reading War 
  • Comparative European Politics
  • The EU and the Global Commons

Teaching and Assessment

Assessment of taught modules is normally by means of coursework. This requires a written assignment of 2,000-3,000 words for each module. The pass mark is 50% and students must pass each of the modules in order to progress to the dissertation.

Additional Costs

Modules across the programme will include recommended core and supplemental texts.  Costs will vary depending on the particular text [Law textbooks vary between £20-40]. 

Apart from additional costs for text books, inter-library loans and potential overdue library fines we do not anticipate any additional costs for this post graduate programme.

world map

Keele Law School is known internationally for our outward-looking and distinctive law degrees delivered in a supportive and dynamic learning environment. Students at Keele Law School learn from leading, internationally recognised academics that come from all over the world. We work hard to ensure that our ever-expanding body of international students joining us from around the world are given every support to help them succeed while studying at Keele in order to achieve their aspirations as well as providing plenty of opportunities for home students to broaden their horizons. We are committed to ensuring that your time at Keele Law School will be both successful and enjoyable.

We have staff with educational backgrounds in a wide variety of countries, such as Columbia, Canada, Bulgaria, Italy, Austria, Romania, Turkey, France, Japan, Bangladesh, Israel, and Germany who present their research all around the world. Students have the opportunity to hear visiting lecturers from various different countries, arranged through our ERASMUS partnerships.

International students will join established international communities at Keele, and will find plenty of support mechanisms in place to help them make the transition to study in the UK (see the ‘International Applicants’ button above).

TISS Exchange

Each year students taking the MA in Human Rights, Globalisation and Justice have the opportunity to study one module in Mumbai, India, as part of Keele's exciting and innovative exchange scheme with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Students lucky enough to take part in the exchange found it added to their educational experience enormously, giving this feedback:

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and you get out of it what you put in, and I think it has been a life changing experience and I can't put a price upon how much it has impacted my studies with regards to human rights".

"Overall I had the absolute time of my life in India and it is an experience I will truly value for a very long time. I learnt so much out there, both about India and the wider world and perhaps more importantly about myself. I had to sacrifice my part time job which led to fund my MA course to go there but this is not a decision which I regret and I feel humbled to have been chosen to go on such a wonderful exchange programme.

"The trip was absolutely wonderful. I would tell anyone who has the chance to go that it is absolutely worth it and more".

"The exchange is a possibility to open your horizon regarding central human rights issues and especially in the way you value those respectively in the way you evaluate those. It is a chance to get a more practical view on human rights." 

Opportunity to apply for an Internship at the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UN CERD) in Geneva, Switzerland. Internships will be offered to 1-3 students, following an interview.

Support from a personal supervisor and tutors.

In campus accommodation.


‌‌morgan davison port 0715

Morgan Davison 

"My time at Keele far surpassed my expectations." View Morgan's story.







Georgia GriffithsGeorgia Griffiths port

I am a graduate of Keele Law School, attending between 2009-2013. I spent 3 years studying for my undergraduate LLB law degree and thereafter, completed my Masters in Human Rights, Globalisation and Justice. I very much enjoyed my time and experience at Keele; I felt that the law school was very much its own little community that was always available to offer support and opportunity. I built relationships with those lecturers whose academic profiles matched my preferred areas of law, helping to shape and advise on how my career was to progress. To this day, I keep in touch with Mario Prost and Patrick Thornberry and they are always available to provide me with a reference! Further to that, Keele was able to offer me meaningful extra-curricular opportunities that no doubt helped me boost my legal profile; I was able to spend one month at a university in India conducting research for a postgraduate module and I also spent a month in Geneva as a research assistant for the UN-CERD.

After leaving Keele University, I was able to secure employment with the Home Office as an Executive Presenting Officer. This position involved advocating on behalf of the Secretary of State in the Immigration and Asylum First-Tier Tribunal. Whilst in this employment, I realised that legal advocacy was something I was very good at and confirmed my beliefs that ultimately I wanted to go on and become a barrister . I went on to consequently apply for a scholarship from the Inner Temple in order to complete the BPTC year. Fortunately, I have recently been granted the full award and will next year be studying for the BAR. I honestly feel that Keele University helped me to go on and achieve my dreams in this regard.


Sophie KhalidSophie Khalid port

I was interested in studying human rights and looked into several universities which offered similar courses. What gave Keele the edge was the opportunity to assist at the United Nations in Geneva on the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. I applied and was lucky enough to be selected, I had an amazing experience and learnt so much about how the UN works.

Coming from a law academic background the interdisciplinary nature of the course was quite difficult to get to grips with. However the staff were understanding and supportive. Consequently I found the interdisciplinary approach effective, it provided different perspectives and broadened my own understanding. The class was reflective of this too, there was a mix of people from different backgrounds and this really enhanced the learning experience.


Lauren Fuzi

I chose to study for my Masters at Keele University because it was the only university that offered a degree in human rights from an interdisciplinary perspective.  In addition, I was already familiar with the law department and so I knew that I would receive a high standard of support and guidance.‌

I found the course really interesting and found that it challenged the way that I thought about human rights and their role in our globalised world.  The workload and expectations of the masters were a lot higher than at undergraduate level, but because I was so interested in what I was studying I actually enjoyed having more work to do!



Kaushalya Ariyarathna

The HRGJ course in Keele university (2007/2008) was my first experience in an academic environment outside of my own country. So, first.....the life in Keele was exciting. However, what I mention here first should be interdisciplinary course modules. fellow students; even though it was a small group, we often had interesting classroom discussions.

Now I am back in Sri Lanka, working in an NGO related to peace works. I am based in Colombo, the capital, but I often travel in areas that recently occurred the civil war. Of course, I enjoy my work in the grass root level.

Keele Graduate Supports Ethiopian Girls with Peace Corps Action for Gender Equality Summit

Keele University graduate, Morgan Davison, who is serving as a health volunteer in Peace Corps Ethiopia, helped 39 Ethiopian students learn about gender equality and run in the biggest female only footrace in Africa. Peace Corps Ethiopia's Gender and Development Committee hosted its first Action for Gender Equality Summit in Addis Ababa from 7-10 March 2014 to celebrate International Women's Day. The event brought 17 Peace Corps Volunteers and 39 students from Oromia, Tigray, SNNPR and Amhara regions together to discuss HIV/AIDS, hygiene and sanitation, education, and leadership as well as a range of gender topics.

“It was great to see both young boys and girls come to together to grow their self-confidence and support each other,” said Davison. “I really started to think about joining the Peace Corps while studying at Keele and I learned so much during my Human Rights course that has been invaluable during my service. I am so thankful for my time and experience at Keele.”


What our students say:

‘The modules were mind broadening and eye-opening as well’.

 ‘I enjoyed the broad approach, interactive teaching methods, and wide knowledge of lecturers’.

 ‘The taught sessions were extremely relevant and useful and have broadened my understanding of academic studies and human rights’.

 ‘Brilliant! The module helped to broaden my horizons in regards to various issues involved in the title of the programme’.

 ‘The general atmosphere of the lecture room was engaging, enhancing and consistently educative.  This led to the point of me wanting to get up during the periods we had lectures with so much energy and positivity, and this then led to a productive day each lecture day in general’.

 ‘I enjoyed meeting new people from different parts of the world - and the topics were interesting’.