Human Rights Minor

Human Rights Studies Minor

The Human Rights Studies minor will introduce students to some of the key conceptual, ethical and methodological approaches to the study and practice of human rights. In particular, it will address key concepts, principles and norms, such as human dignity, non-discrimination, equality, due process, empowerment, human security, human development, and accountability; it will expose students to diverse disciplinary and methodological approaches to the study and practice of human rights from a domestic as well as an international perspective; it will familiarize students with the evolution of international human rights norms both in theory and practice, the latter through the study of pivotal events in the history of human rights, such as the anti-slavery and anti-slave trade campaign, the Civil Rights Movement, the Campaign Against Apartheid, the transnational movement spawned by the Helsinki Final Act, and, more recently the campaign to establish the International Criminal Court and the launching of the Millennium Development Goals; it will train students how to use the human rights framework in order to analyze and assess critical developments in key issue areas of global concern; and it will provide students with internship opportunities so as to hone their advocacy skills in addressing the challenges of an increasingly complex and interconnected world. This minor can be paired with several majors, including Gender Studies, Global History, Humanities and Justice, International Criminal Justice, and Political Science. 

Learning Outcomes

Students will: 

  • Acquire a solid understanding of basic theories, concepts, principles, and norms in human rights 
  • Become familiar with the contribution of different disciplines to our understanding of key human rights concepts, principles and norms, such as human dignity, equality, empowerment, non-discrimination, universality, human development, nonrefoulement, prohibition of torture and universal jurisdiction 
  • Become familiar with the key instruments (treaties, declarations, resolutions) in international human rights law 
  • Use this framework in order to critically discuss developments in key issue areas such as peace and security, economic and social development, human protection and justice 
  • Acquire some basic skills in human rights advocacy (once the internship component is developed) 


The minor in Human Rights Studies will advance a dynamic and intellectually stimulating approach to the study of human rights and social justice issues from an international, cross cultural, and comparative perspective. It will provide opportunities for students to apply critical theoretical concepts on contested human rights issues, as well as enable students to relate pressing legal, ethnic, race-related, religious, sexual, cultural, and ethnic matters to a human rights framework. Moreover, courses in this minor can facilitate a more thorough understanding of the interconnections among international human rights law and international humanitarian law, as well as relevant prevention and control strategies pertaining to international and transnational crime.

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Courses & Requirements

Course listings & minor requirements