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LLM in Human Rights Law

LLM or PGDip

Key facts

Start dates

September 2023



Course length

Full time: LLM: 12 months, PGDip: 9 months

Part time: LLM: 24 months, PGDip: 18 months


School of Law


Develop the legal skills and knowledge to protect human rights. And drive meaningful change for vulnerable people across the world. 

This course will equip you for your career in international humanitarian protection. You’ll build the legal skills and knowledge to fight human rights abuses - from torture and disappearances to upholding freedom of expression. And you’ll understand how to work within international legal systems to drive real change. 

You’ll also develop skills that human rights protection workers rely on every day. You’ll learn how to manage evidence, collect data, carry out interviews and collaborate with other protection agents. And you’ll develop solid knowledge of safeguarding, professional standards, and ethics. 

You’ll graduate equipped with the legal knowledge to affect change within international systems - and the practical skills you need to get things done in the field.


Man in court

How to apply

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

Students will normally be required to have (or to be expecting) a good honours degree, or an equivalent degree awarded by a university outside the United Kingdom. The degree may be in Law or in a related discipline. We welcome applications from both non-Law graduates and work experience-based candidates.

If you are new to the academic study of law you will be advised to read a number of recommended texts by way of induction before the course begins. You are also encouraged to attend the induction sessions provided in the week prior to the beginning of the course.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

An IELTS minimum score of 6.5 (with 6.0 in reading and writing) is required.

Please also see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences


English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you meet the entry requirements for your postgraduate course and also familiarise you with university life in the UK.

Take a Pre-Master's course to develop your subject knowledge, study skills and academic language level in preparation for your master's course.

If you need to improve your English language, we offer pre-sessional English language courses to help you meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s course.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Application process

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time
£7,850 (Masters); £6,850 (Diploma)

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Home (UK) full time
Masters £8,200; Diploma £7,200

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2022 / 23
Home (UK) full time
£7,850 (Masters); £6,850 (Diploma)

Home (UK) part time

International full time

2023 / 24
Home (UK) full time
Masters £8,200; Diploma £7,200

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 483088

Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year your fees will increase each year.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

Funding your studies

Financial support and scholarships

Featured funding opportunities available for this course.

There are International Student Scholarships available for 2022 and other scholarships and funding options for postgraduate international students.

All financial support and scholarships

View all funding opportunities for this course

The published course and module descriptions were accurate when first published and remain the basis of the course, but the University has had to modify some course and module content in response to government restrictions and social distancing requirements

Learning and assessment

This course will equip you with the legal knowledge and skills to uphold human rights on the international stage. You’ll study human rights law as it applies in peacetime - and you’ll also explore the rules of armed conflict.

You’ll navigate the international human rights conventions - learning what they mean and how to apply them. You’ll examine the mechanisms for protecting human rights. And you’ll learn how to make a complaint or present an argument in these arenas.

You’ll build confident advocacy skills through simulations and mooting. You might act as a lawyer arguing before the International Criminal Court. Or you might take the position of a state accused of human rights abuses. You’ll build a nuanced understanding of the complex perspectives in human rights cases.

You’ll graduate equipped to tackle human rights challenges across the world - from FGM to the homelessness crisis in the UK.

You’ll study three compulsory modules and one elective module in semester 1. And in semester 2 you’ll take two compulsory modules and one elective module.

Two girls studying

Study modules

The modules listed below are for the master's award. For the PGDip award your module choices may be different. Please contact us for more details.

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

Theory of Human Rights

You’ll learn about the foundations and principles that underpin the theory and practice of human rights. You’ll trace how human rights have evolved over time and explore their philosophical foundations. By examining current debates in domestic and international law, you’ll also understand their contemporary legal and political meaning and use. The module will include critical and non-western perspectives on contemporary human rights.


International Human Rights Systems

In this introduction to international human rights law, you’ll learn about the institutions and mechanisms that protect human rights. Throughout the module, you’ll critically examine arguments and ideas about human rights. By examining the relevant law, contemporary debates and case studies, you’ll get to grips with the philosophical underpinnings of human rights and their contemporary legal and political meaning.

Law and Practice of Human Rights

You’ll use wide-ranging case studies to examine international human rights law. The case studies could cover areas such as children’s rights, environmental rights, self-determination and human rights in wartime. Using primary documents, case law and academic commentary, you’ll examine each topic from a practical perspective, underpinned by theory and principles.

Advanced Legal Research Methods

You’ll hone the research and writing skills needed to carry out legal research at an advanced level. These include research design, searching for relevant sources and materials, legal referencing and citation skills. You’ll think about the process of writing, as well as the end product, including presenting findings to different audiences. You’ll consider the distinctive features of legal research and approaches and research methodologies you might use. The work you do in this module gives you excellent preparation for your dissertation.

Optional modules

Inequality, Diversity and Human Rights

Human rights have a complicated relationship with equality and the legal reaction to diversity. Sometimes human rights and equality seem to work hand in hand – as the creation of a single Equality and Human Rights Commission in England and Wales suggests. They can also be seen as in conflict. For example, the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) allows burqa bans. From different perspectives, this could be seen as upholding women’s rights or as limiting freedom of religious expression.

You’ll explore the relationship between human rights, equality and diversity. You’ll then focus on two important contemporary areas – EU equality law, and the religious liberty jurisprudence of the ECHR. Understanding these regional regimes gives you a key to understanding the broader issues in other national and international contexts.



Principles of International Law

You’ll get to grips with the fundamentals of international law in this key module. You’ll study the law and legal framework governing the international community, and examine the philosophical basis of international law. This will include:

  • the nature, origins and basis of international law
  • the main sources of international law – including the importance of customs, treaties, general legal principles and international case precedents 
  • the basic rights and obligations of international actors – such as state responsibility, governmental obligations not to interfere with others, immunities and jurisdictional powers.

You’ll also study the International Court of Justice and its role in settling international disputes. Throughout the module, we’ll use case studies and group exercises to enhance your learning experience.


International Criminal Law

The International Criminal Court deals with serious crimes under international law – genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and acts of aggression. In this module, you’ll learn how international criminal law has developed since the ICC was set up.

You’ll examine actual cases in depth, drawing on the experiences of the Yugoslavia and Rwandan Criminal Tribunals. You’ll explore the degree to which the new court will be bound by such decisions. You’ll also examine the notion of individual responsibility and the issue of universal jurisdiction – the idea that a national court may prosecute individuals for crimes against international law.

International Refugees and Migrants

You’ll gain an understanding of the issues and debates surrounding nationality and forced and economic migration, while learning about the relevant International and European law. You’ll critically assess existing laws of nationality and migration, and build your knowledge of issues in human trafficking, globalisation and development. 

Part of your work for the module will involve writing an essay on a topic you choose, allowing you to research an area of particular interest. You’ll practise your research skills and deepen your subject knowledge.


War Law

You’ll develop your legal and analytical skills in this module, which promotes human rights and humanitarian law and values. You’ll learn about the international norms and institutions that support humanitarian principles in conflict situations. In particular you’ll look at: 

  • the use of force (jus ad bellum)
  • the law of armed conflict or international humanitarian law (jus in bello)
  • transitional justice (jus post bellum). 

We’ll encourage you to take part in high quality discussion and research in this field.


International Intellectual Property Law

In this module you’ll gain a grounding in the theory and basic concepts of intellectual property law, including patents, copyright, and trademarks. You’ll explore the international law that regulates them, particularly the TRIPS Agreement. You’ll go on to look at areas of current controversy. These could include: 

  • the relationship between patents and traditional knowledge
  • the challenge of biotechnology
  • the emerging protection of personality rights (an individual’s right to control the use of their identity)
  • the problem of patenting pharmaceuticals and protecting the needs of developing countries.

Independent Study

This is your chance to carry out independent research on a law topic of your choice, in consultation with your module leader. You’ll strengthen your skills in carrying out legal research and presenting your findings and arguments.

Final project

Compulsory modules


Your LLM dissertation is an extended, supervised piece of work on a particular aspect of international law, which you’ll choose in consultation with your tutors. It’s your opportunity to gain knowledge and insight through sustained research, and to demonstrate your ability to explore and present legal arguments. You’ll develop transferable skills in research and information and project management.

We’ll encourage you to choose a topic of personal interest or professional interest. Full-time students normally begin preliminary work on the dissertation in Semester 1 and formalise the topic and structure in Semester 2. The main work on the dissertation normally takes place from June to mid-August.


Work Experience

Optional modules

Work Experience

As an LLM Law student you’ll have the opportunity to participate in the CLOCK scheme (Community Legal Outreach Collaboration Keele). Taking part in the scheme, you'll gain firsthand experience of the legal world. You’ll be interviewing and advising clients, in legal cases and courtroom settings. You'll join a commitment to provide wider access to justice in the local area and gain useful legal expertise for your CV.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

You'll experience high-quality learning through the diversity of methods used throughout the LLM courses. These include:

  • lectures
  • seminar discussions
  • individual and small group tutorials
  • case studies
  • group presentations
  • individual presentations
  • moots.

You will acquire and practise legal reasoning as well as research and IT skills. Particular emphasis is placed on skills training.


Assessment methods used on this course

Assessment methods include:

  • coursework
  • individual presentations
  • group presentations


Our LLM course team consists of researchers working within the following research groups:

  • international law
  • critical approaches to law
  • fundamental rights and equality.

You can attend the programme of research seminars and other events that underpin the research culture of the School of Law. You will have the opportunity to become involved in research through specialist modules in which teaching staff have expertise. They also supervise your dissertations in their specialist subjects.

Student studying in a quiet space

After you graduate

Career prospects

Graduates from the LLM succeed across an impressive range of careers from policy makers and human rights activists through to high flying diplomats and commercial lawyers. LLM staff can advise you and direct you to possible careers and employers depending on your particular needs and ambitions. 

"The LLM offered by Oxford Brookes has already helped me very much. It has given me that international profile that is required by all the bodies and agencies of the United Nations. Without this course I would not have had the opportunity to undertake an internship with the UN and finally understand what path I want to follow in my professional career."

Stefano Consiglio, LLM International Human Right Law graduate

Our Staff

Professor Lucy Vickers

I welcome applications for doctoral supervision in the area of Equality Law, particularly relating to religion and age equality.

Read more about Lucy

Programme Changes:

On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.

For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.