LLM/PgDip/PgCert Human Rights Law

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Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Study mode and duration: LLM: 12 months full-time; 24 months part-time
    PgDip: 9 months full-time; 18 months part-time
    PgCert: 8 months part-time
  • Scholarships: EU Engagement Scholarships worth £10,000 available to applicants from EU countries

Study with us

  • offers graduates in law and other disciplines, or those with relevant professional qualifications, the opportunity to develop a detailed understanding of human rights law at UK, European and international levels
  • develop expertise through seminars and coursework, and by participating in activities within the University and the Scottish human rights community
  • focus on how human rights law shapes, and is shaped by, real-life contexts
  • engage with academics, policy and legal practitioners at the forefront of human rights leadership in Scotland and abroad
  • study with students from a range of professional backgrounds and academic disciplines
  • you can choose to do a 60-credit enhanced research proposal, professional internship or a professional project instead of a traditional dissertation
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Why this course?

For those who have a professional and/or academic interest in our evolving human rights culture, Strathclyde’s long-standing human rights programme provides an opportunity to develop deep knowledge and skills alongside an approachable team of academics, legal practitioners and policy experts.

Law is at the heart of human rights frameworks and approaches. In this course, graduates in law and other disciplines, or those with relevant professional qualifications, will be supported to develop a detailed understanding of human rights law at UK, European and international levels, and to explore the impact of human rights law on society..

Benefit from, and have the opportunity to contribute to, the work of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights Law, the only academic centre of its kind in Scotland.

There are three potential exit points from the course: Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and Masters. Assuming satisfactory performance, it's possible to change between these exit points. For example, a student who initially registers for the Certificate may opt to continue studying to the Diploma or Masters qualification; likewise, a student originally registered for the Masters can transfer to the Certificate or Diploma.

Professor Alan Miller speaking at a lectern

Our recommendations are challenging, ambitious and will need continued bold leadership to implement. It would be by far the biggest step taken in Scotland’s human rights journey.

Professor Alan Miller, Professor of Practice in Human Rights Law

Read about Strathclyde’s contribution to the work of Scotland’s National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

Interested in postgraduate study?

At the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, our friendly and knowledgeable team will be available to provide you with all the information you need to kick-start your postgraduate journey at the University of Strathclyde. Register for upcoming events below:

Strathclyde’s human rights programme provides an opportunity to develop deep knowledge and skills alongside an approachable team of academics, stellar legal practitioners, and policy experts.
Brian Dan
LLM Human Rights Law

What you’ll study

The programme may be completed or over one year (full-time) or over two years (part-time). The LLM is awarded on successful completion of six modules (five core and one optional) and on completion of a 15,000 word dissertation, or enhanced research proposal, or professional internship, or a professional project instead in addition to the above.

Successful completion of six modules (five core and one optional) will qualify you for the award of Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip). A Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) is awarded on completion of three modules.

Hear from our student, Brian Migowe

Brian Migowe decided to come to Strathclyde to study Human Rights Law after working in a law firm back home in Kenya. Discover his Strathclyde Story!

Law Postgraduate Community Bursary

The Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences offers £700 fee reduction to applicants working at a third sector/NGO organisation in the field of criminal justice and penal change, human rights or conflict resolution.

Find out more about the bursary
Human Rights Law student Robyn Conlan
The main challenge for me was the jump between undergraduate and post-graduate workload. However, I believe if you remain organised from the beginning, the workload is completely manageable. Also, when you are studying an area of law you are interested in, it is half the battle!
Robyn Conlan

Centre for the Study of Human Rights Law

The Centre for the Study of Human Rights Law (CSHRL) is a hub for exploring the impact of human rights law in several areas of legal and public policy practice. Its aim is to act as a Scottish focal point for human rights law research, knowledge exchange and engagement with non-academic communities. The CSHRL holds events and undertakes collaborative initiatives. We have strong links with other universities in Scotland, and with a number of public and civil society organisations.

As a student here, we'll support you to become involved with the work of the Centre. We aim to facilitate interaction between students and staff, involve students in the work of the CSHRL and provide administrative support for events proposed by students.

One of the initiatives supported by the CSHRL is the LLM in Human Rights Law dissertation prize. The author of the highest-ranking dissertation in a year will receive a prize and be invited to attend the Law School’s annual prize-giving event. Visit the Centre’s homepage for news, including of previous prize-winning dissertations.


Our library has a wide range of law reports, legislation, serials and monographs. It also has duplicate sets of key law report series, houses extensive collections in government publications and other related areas.

You'll have access to a wide range of electronic information sources which can be accessed from anywhere, including all the major legal databases.

Elaine Webster
We recognise outstanding student research each year through the award of our LLM Human Rights Law dissertation prize, generously sponsored by Balfour + Manson solicitors.
Dr Elaine Webster
Programme Leader
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Course content

Students choose six modules from a list including:

European Human Rights Law

The European Convention on Human Rights is the most influential regional human rights treaty. This module looks at interpretation and enforcement of the Convention. It examines the institutions within the Council of Europe, analyses case-law on substantive guarantees in areas such as protection of life, freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment, privacy and freedom of expression, considers thematic issues, and explores challenges facing the ECHR system.

International Human Rights Law

Human rights protection is a global concern. This module examines civil and political rights along with economic, social and cultural rights, and assesses the range of international monitoring and supervision regimes. Topics covered include the major international treaties and bodies. It also looks at the challenges to human rights in transitional societies as well as the right to self-determination.

Human Rights Protection in the UK

The Human Rights Act 1998 has been a major constitutional development in the UK. This module examines the on-going transformation in legal culture, the expansion in judicial power and the value of human rights litigation in achieving social change.

International Migration Law

International migration is a global phenomenon that raises multiple complex issues. This module examines the international legal framework governing international migration. Topics include protection of migrant workers, international refugee protection, the EU asylum policy, and internal displacement.

Business and Human Rights

This class will examine the relationship between business and human rights and will include an introduction to the international human rights framework; the role of business entities as global actors and the identification of the legal challenges that business presents for the international legal system.

Human Rights & Digital Technologies

A shift towards automated decision-making and algorithmic regulation generates significant concerns for the protection of human rights. At the same time, there is a pressing need to study these technologies’ beneficent effects on human rights. This module aims to assess the suitability and relevance of existing human rights law in the digital age, and to evaluate conceptual, cross-disciplinary frameworks, which analyse how digital technologies shape developments in human rights law. 

Compulsory 60-credit module

Students will have the opportunity to take one of the below modules:


Your Masters will culminate in a dissertation. This is an extended project of enquiry into an area of your own choice. You'll create knowledge in answer to a question which really intrigues you.

While you'll be very much in the driving seat, your work is nurtured and guided by a member of our academic staff team. You'll be guided by some of the world’s foremost experts.


Enhanced Research Proposal

60 credits

This module supports students writing an enhanced research proposal, with a view to supporting their transition into PGR study (PhD/MPhil studies) and creating an early research supervision relationship with a prospective supervisor.


Please note that enrolment in the Professional Project and Professional Internship modules is by application and is not guaranteed.

Professional Internship

60 credits

This module gives students the opportunity to apply to pursue an internship in a national or international organisation relevant to their course. The internship allows students to be placed in a relevant host organisation for a specified number of hours agreed with the Strathclyde tutor. The student will be responsible for producing an internship report which will include an account of the knowledge and skills attained applying theoretical concepts and with reference to discipline specific literature as well as an in-context self-reflective analysis of the experience, the organisation and the work undertaken enabling broader critical reflections on the student’s place in the professional world.


Professional Project

60 credits

This module gives students to apply to do independent work in the final semester of their LLM/MSc. Students will be required to identify and co-design the project supported by their Strathclyde mentor. The project report includes the response to the research question co-designed with a relevant host organisation as well as an in-context self-reflective analysis of the project, the organisation and the student’s experience in executing the work enabling broader critical reflections on the student’s place in the professional world.

Students may replace up to two modules from the compulsory module list with modules from other Masters programme, which may include (subject to change):

International Climate Change Law

This course will explore the evolving nature and distinctive components of the international legal framework on climate change.

Environmental Treaties: Fragmentation and Regime Interactions

In the past half-century, the scope of international law has increased dramatically. From a tool dedicated to the regulation of formal diplomacy, international law has expanded to deal with the most varied kinds of international activity, from trade to environmental protection, and from human rights to scientific and technological cooperation. Most of this expansion has taken place through international treaties and institutions. International environmental treaties provide a case in point, both in terms of their relationship with other fields of international law (e.g. international trade law) and in terms of the relationship between its constituent parts (i.e. the various geographically and functionally limited regimes that make up its corpus).

This module will provide an overview of global and regional environmental treaty regimes. It will explore the causes, manifestations, and implications of this deficit, and the ways in which policy coherence, mutual supportiveness, and synergies in implementation can be promoted.

Ocean Governance and International Law

This course will explore the main legal regimes related to the oceans and seas, with an in-depth focus on recent developments in marine governance in the context of sustainable development.

International Criminal Justice

This module offers students the opportunity to engage critically with the philosophy and history of international criminal justice, as well as the legal frameworks, enforcement mechanisms, and contemporary developments in the arena of the prosecution of international crimes (genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, aggression, and torture). It explores some of the major developments that have taken place in the arena of international criminal justice over the last quarter of a century, their historical antecedents and contemporary implications.

Punishment and Processes of Penal Change

The western world’s “penal crisis” has, over the past thirty years, posed specific challenges to the reform tradition. In this module we explore the nature, dimensions and national permutations of that crisis, putative solutions to it and likely obstacles to their realisation. We draw on theoretical developments in the study of justice and punishment and explore their potential to illuminate and inform processes of progressive penal change.

The module examines contemporary changes, international evidence and policy transfer, and technological challenges and considers reform across the globe. The module draws on insights and perspectives including law, the sociology of punishment, history and the social sciences.

Learning is conducted through a range of innovative methods such as debates and media representations. The module is supplemented by visits to key institutions' prisons, women’s justice centres, as well as conferences with key practitioners and policy makers.

Childhood and Crime

Youth justice attracts interest across society, politically, socially and legally. Some issues – from the murder of two year old James Bulger in 1993 by two 10 year old children to the riots in 2011 in England – spark moral panic and demonstrate the extent to which such matters cut across disciplinary boundaries and influence legal and societal responses to children who offend. 

Youth justice generates its own philosophical approaches eg in the welfare / justice debate. It also provides a context within which to examine broader issues affecting criminal justice as a whole such as the need to balance the rights of the accused against the public interest. 

This class will provide an opportunity for you to critically examine some key aspects of youth justice law, policy and philosophy from a number of perspectives. Your learning will be supplemented by visits to custodial and innovative community settings, as well as a visit to and a simulation of Scotland’s unique system of ‘Children’s Hearings’ (a decision-making system based on the best needs of the child).

The World Trading System: Law and Policy

This class will provide you with an advanced instruction in the law of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). You’ll explore the core rules of non-discrimination and most-favoured nation treatment which underpin many of the legal agreements comprising the WTO. You’ll also look in detail at the operation of the WTO dispute settlement system. The analysis will then move on to certain of the more specialised WTO agreements as well as the operation of numerous regional trade agreements.

How to become a lawyer

There are different routes to a career in law. The choices you make now can affect the steps you would need to take to achieve your desired career in law. Here we explore the process of becoming a lawyer in Scotland and look at the different roles available within the law profession.

How to become a lawyer

Helen Vaupel-Schwittay, Human Rights Law student
Looking back now at the opportunities I've had and the work experience I've gained by networking with lecturers and being open to opportunities, I would have never imagined myself here when I first started the course a year ago!
Helen Vaupel-Schwittay

Learning & teaching

The course is taught mainly through face-to-face teaching; you'll require to attend two-hour weekly seminars. An online module in Legal Research is compulsory for LLM/PgDip students.

Full-time students are required to take three modules per semester, with part-time students taking three modules over two semesters. The face-to-face seminars will normally be held during daytime hours, up to 6pm. Although coordinated by a module leader, the seminars will be student-led and interactive.

In addition to Law School Staff, Visiting Professors teach on core and optional modules. Our Visiting Professors with special expertise in human rights law are:

  • Professor Tony Kelly: Summary Sheriff and solicitor-advocate with experience in Scotland’s most high-profile human rights cases;
  • Professor Lorenzo Cotula: Principal Researcher at the International Institute for Environment and Development who has pioneered legal and interdisciplinary research on the interactions between international investment law, international human rights and environmental law.


Classes will be assessed by a mixture of written exams, presentations and course work comprising research essays, typically of 3,500-4,000 words.

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A first or upper second-class Honours degree in any discipline (some law content recommended). Entry may be possible with other qualifications, especially where the applicant’s work experience is relevant to the course.

Please note: a Law degree is not a prerequisite for entry to this course

English Language Requirements

Please check our English requirements before making your application.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course held at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre, for international students (non-UK/Ireland) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde.

Upon successful completion, you'll be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.

Please note: Previous Maths & English qualifications and your undergraduate degree must meet GTCS minimum entry requirements as well as the pre-Masters course and an interview will be conducted before an offer can be made.

Chat to a student ambassador

If you want to know more about what it’s like to be a Humanities & Social Sciences student at the University of Strathclyde, a selection of our current students are here to help!

Our Unibuddy ambassadors can answer all the questions you might have about courses and studying at Strathclyde, along with offering insight into their experiences of life in Glasgow and Scotland.

Chat to a student ambassador

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 140 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

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Fees & funding

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

Fee payable in year 1 only for 15-month programme.

Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.

All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.

Annual revision of fees

Students on programmes of study of more than one year (or studying standalone modules) should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.

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Scotland, England, Wales & Northern Ireland


  • Full-time: £10,800
  • Part-time*: £5,400


  • Full-time: £7,200
  • Part-time*: £3,600

*Please note, Year 2 fee will be subject to an increase


  • £3,600


Additional costs

International students may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.

Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my course?

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Scottish postgraduate students

Scottish postgraduate students may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students, a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Wales

Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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International students

We've a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences Scholarships

  • EU Engagement Scholarships are available to EU applicants who would have previously been eligible for Home (Scottish/EU) fee status.
  • EU and International 50% Merit Scholarships available to self-funded, international fee-paying offer-holders (includes those classed as EU fee group). The scholarship entitles the recipient to a discount of 50% on tuition fees.
View all our scholarships
Sayali Walavalkar Human Rights Law graduate
While studying at Strathclyde for my LLM, I had more opportunities than I would have expected as a student.
Sayali Walavalkar

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based right in the very heart of Glasgow. We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.

Life in Glasgow

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We work closely with the University's Careers Service. They offer advice and guidance on career planning and looking for and applying for jobs. In addition, they administer and publicise graduate and work experience opportunities.

Our graduates can, and have progressed to research studies such as MPhil and PhD in Human Rights Law leading to an academic career.

Students may also go on to work with international non-governmental organisations in the area of human rights advocacy, practice and promotion.

The qualification is also relevant to careers in international human rights organisations, like UN agencies for example.

Where are they now?

Job titles include:

  • solicitor
  • researcher
  • policy officer
  • advocacy officer
  • outreach officer
  • judicial assistant

Employers include:

  • law firms
  • law centres
  • national human rights institutions
  • international non-governmental organisations
  • Scottish and UK advocacy organisations
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Contact us

Prospective student enquiries

Contact a member of our team on LiveChat between 10am and 4pm (GMT)

Telephone: +44 (0) 141 444 8600