LLM/PgDip/PgCert Human Rights Law

Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Study mode and duration: LLM: 12 months full-time; 24 months part-time
    LLM with field dissertation: 15 months full-time; 30 months part-time
    PgDip: 9 months full-time; 18 months part-time
    PgCert: 8 months part-time
  • Placement: opportunity to apply for the Challenges Worldwide field dissertation

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
  • students will 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
  • opportunity to be awarded credits for a field dissertation based on research within non-governmental organisations, in the UK or overseas

How could the Covid-19 pandemic affect my studies?

Covid-19: information & FAQs
Back to course

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.

An innovative feature of the programme is the opportunity, offered on a competitive basis, to undertake a credit-bearing field dissertation.

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.

Check out our upcoming monthly postgraduate taught and Professional Graduate Diploma in Education drop-in sessions.

Register for drop-in session

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 a 15,000-word dissertation on a topic chosen in consultation with a supervisor.

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.


The dissertation is written over the summer and submitted in August or September.

Field dissertation

An innovative feature of this programme is the opportunity for a select number of students to undertake a dissertation in the form of a ‘field dissertation’ within a relevant non-governmental organisation.

Work completed during the placement will focus on a specific area of law relevant to, or actually form the subject of, your dissertation. Placements typically last for 6-12 weeks.

A limited number of field dissertations are supported each year. Placements are organised by students and the Law School oversees supervision arrangements.

It's open to students to organise placements in the UK, including in Glasgow.

Students may also organise international placements. For such placements, we'll arrange pre-departure training and the University provides comprehensive travel and health insurance. Students are responsible for the costs of flights, visas, and accommodation and living expenses while overseas. Such costs have been in the region of £1,500 to £2,500 per student. LLM students have previously travelled to countries such as India, Peru, and Guatemala to undertake projects in areas including right to water, law reform, developing sexual harassment policy and freedom of assembly.

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!

The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.
The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.

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
Go back

Course content

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.

You'll undertake one optional module (LLM /PgDiploma only) which will be available from a timetable at the start of each semester, including mostly daytime and some evening modules. You may choose a module on the Human Rights Law programme (Business and Human Rights) or from other Law Masters programmes and/or relevant classes from non-law Masters programmes. Choices include modules from:

  • LLM/MSc Criminal Justice & Penal Change
  • MSc Mediation & Conflict Resolution
  • MSc/LLM International Relations, Law & Security
  • LLM in Internet Law & Policy
  • LLM in Global Environmental Law & Governance
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.

International Climate Change Law

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

Global Environmental Law: Issues of Sustainability and Equity

You'll engage in the cutting-edge debate on global environmental law as an approach to understanding the interactions and mutual influences between international, EU, regional, national and sub-national law (including the customary laws of indigenous peoples and local communities and law-making by other non-state actors). This module also lends itself to explore the relevance of the comparative legal method for a variety of international and transnational environmental legal scholars and practitioners, by discussing the relevance, methods and challenges of comparative environmental law in a global perspective.

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.

Theory and Principles of Conflict Resolution

The aim of the module, which is offered on the Masters in Mediation, is for you to develop a critical awareness of the theoretical and disciplinary sources of conflict resolution.

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).

Surveillance, Technology and Crime Control

Surveillance and the use of technology in criminal justice is becoming increasingly important.

This module focuses on aspects of surveillance studies that inform the study criminal justice and penal change. If it's true that surveillance is ethically and politically problematic, how can or should it be used? Contemporary forms are stimulated by technological developments that were unavailable in earlier eras, whose deployment and consequences are, as yet, only beginning to be understood. Is increased surveillance inevitable? What is its impact on privacy and patterns of social exclusion? How can it be used for benign, even progressive objectives? 

The module focuses on theoretical understandings of surveillance, selected substantive aspects of it, patterns of resistance to it, and forms of regulation of it that have emerged in relation to it, including privacy and human rights concerns. Learning is supplemented by visits to the CCTV monitoring centre and Electronic Monitoring centre.

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

lawyer outside building.

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.

Back to course

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 EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

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

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 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

Map of the world.

Back to course

Fees & funding

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

Go back
Scotland, England, Wales & Northern Ireland


Full-time: £8,550
Part-time (Year 1): £4,425


Full-time: £5,900
Part-time (Year 1): £2,950


Part-time: £2,950



Additional costs

Participants in the Field Dissertation will be responsible for the costs of flights, visas, and accommodation and living expenses while overseas. As a guide, such costs have been in the region of £1,500 to £2,500 per student.

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?

Go back

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.

Go back

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.

Go back

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.

Go back

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.

Go back

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.

Strathclyde Alumni

We are delighted to offer our Strathclyde graduates a 15% tuition fee discount on postgraduate taught courses running in September 2021 and January 2022. All alumni will be eligible for the discount, including those who have studied at Strathclyde on an exchange or study abroad programme. Terms and conditions apply.

Find out more about our alumni discount
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
Back to course


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

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based in the very heart of Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. National Geographic named Glasgow as one of its 'Best of the World' destinations, while Rough Guide readers have voted Glasgow the world’s friendliest city! And Time Out named Glasgow in the top ten best cities in the world - we couldn't agree more!

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.

Find out what some of our students think about studying in Glasgow!

Find out all about life in Glasgow
Douglas Jack 500x500
Like many law students, my decision to study law came from an interest in history and politics as a child. However, it wasn’t until I started my LLB that I began to appreciate the diversity of subjects that the study of Law encompassed. I quickly found that I had a preference for Public law and legal theory over other subjects.
Douglas Jack
Teaching Fellow in Law
Back to course


Start date: Sep 2022

Human Rights Law

PG Diploma
Start date: Sep 2022

Start date: Sep 2022

Human Rights Law

PG Certificate
Start date: Sep 2022

Start date: Sep 2022

Human Rights Law

PG Diploma
Start date: Sep 2022

Start date: Sep 2022

Human Rights Law

Start date: Sep 2022

Start date: Sep 2022

Human Rights Law

Start date: Sep 2022

Back to course

Contact us

Register your interest and find out more about the programme

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak our team are working from home and can be contacted via our online enquiry form.