The development of human rights law continuously alters the ways that nation states, governments, individuals and groups interact at the international, regional and domestic levels. In addition, challenges to the standards underlying these laws by states and individuals require informed and robust responses by human rights professionals to ensure their promotion and protection. 

This program will enable students to acquire expertise in human rights law and the policy context that it operates in. It combines the expertise of human rights academics and practitioners across a range of human rights issues that are of contemporary domestic and international significance and it exposes students to the benefits and limitations of human rights theory and practice. 

Knowledge and experience students will gain from the specialisation: 

  • A specialised knowledge of international human rights law theory and doctrine and its appropriate application in various settings 
  • Enhanced skills of legal problem-solving, critical reflection about international human rights laws, analysis of human rights legal texts and documents, and an ability to make informed judgments about their application to current events and legal disputes 
  • Experience in undertaking scholarly research on any issue of international human rights law of your choosing 
  • Increased understanding of the role of international human rights law and the institutions they are mediated through 

Possible career outcomes: 

  • National government department policy advisors 
  • Legal officers and policy advisors in national human rights institutions or commissions 
  • Human rights officers/advisors/lawyers in the United Nations and its specialised agencies, e.g. UNICEF, UN Women, UNDP 
  • Advisors/practitioners in international courts and tribunals 
  • Human rights officers/advisors/lawyers in domestic and international NGOs e.g. Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, Oxfam 

Who does this specialisation? 

Those with a focus on: 

  • Private legal practice and/or in the public sector (e.g. in NGOs, community legal centres, government departments and agencies, such as law reform commissions, legal aid commissions 
  • Fields such as international relations, humanitarian studies, development policy, political science, media studies 

UNSW related centres: 

International opportunities: 

For more information on specialisation structure and courses available in this specialisation visit the online handbook.