Human rights law is a system of international and domestic laws designed to protect and promote rights and freedoms which have been identified as essential to human dignity. Human rights norms purport to set standards in a broad range of areas, including political, civil, social, economic and cultural rights, the distribution of socio-economic resources and the status of particular social groups, including women.

Yet these standards will not be achieved without a continued demand by informed human rights professionals. Although human rights are universal and the entitlement of everyone, regardless of status, race, gender, nationality or other distinction, too often they are imperfectly understood and poorly observed. 

In recent decades, there has been a great expansion in thinking about and applying human rights concepts and standards, including in Australia and our region. The development of human rights law has altered the ways in which nation states, governments, individuals and groups interact at the international, regional and domestic levels.

The aim of this degree program is to train and support future professionals and scholars as leaders in the exciting, dynamic and expanding field of international human rights law and policy.

Degree Details
Degree Code
1 year full time, 2 years part time
Scholarships Available
Total Units Of Credit
Entry Requirements
  • Undergraduate degree in law, the social sciences or humanities - minimum credit average (65% or higher) as determined by the UNSW Postgraduate Coursework Entry Calculator OR
  • Undergraduate degree in law, the social sciences or humanities with minimum two years' relevant professional experience.

The UNSW English Language requirements also apply to this program.

Program structure

All students are required to complete the core course International Human Rights (6uoc) in the first year of study, and non-law graduates must also complete Legal Concepts, Research & Writing for Human Rights (6 uoc) with the remaining units of credit chosen from the relevant human rights law and policy electives.

Visit UNSW Online Handbook for further information.

Note: Students who have completed 36 UOC but become unable to complete their Masters program may be eligible to exit with a Graduate Diploma in Human Rights Law & Policy.

Student Profile
Hear from Samah Hadid, one of our students on her experiences studying this program
Samah Hadid
National Director of the Global Poverty Project
Year commenced: 2010
View profile
Did you know?
  • Law Postgraduate scholarships are available. Find out more
  • Gain practical experience with a Human Rights Internship.
  • Study Human Rights Law in Practice at the New York Summer School.
  • Undertake a research thesis.
  • Study legal concepts in our specially designed course for students from non-law backgrounds.
  • Study up to two courses from another stream.
How to apply

You've decided on a degree and now you're ready to apply. Let's get into the details.

How to apply