The development of human rights law continuously alters how nation-states, governments, individuals and groups interact at the international, regional and domestic levels. Challenges to the standards underlying these laws by states and individuals require informed and robust responses by human rights professionals to ensure their promotion and protection.  

This Master of Laws specialisation will enable you to acquire expertise in human rights law and the policy context that it operates in. It combines the expertise of human rights academics and practitioners across a range of human rights issues that are of contemporary domestic and international significance. It will expose you to the benefits and limitations of human rights theory and practice.

Knowledge and experience you’ll gain from this specialisation

  • Specialised knowledge of international human rights law theory and doctrine and its appropriate application in various settings.

  • Enhanced skills of legal problem-solving, critical reflection about international human rights laws, analysis of human rights legal texts and documents, and an ability to make informed judgments about their application to current events and legal disputes. 

  • Experience in undertaking scholarly research on any issue of international human rights law of your choosing. 

  • Increased understanding of the role of international human rights law and the institutions they are mediated through.

Possible career outcomes

  • National government department policy advisors. 

  • Legal officers and policy advisors in national human rights institutions or commissions. 

  • Human rights officers, advisors or lawyers in the United Nations and its specialised agencies, e.g. UNICEF, UN Women and UNDP.

  • Advisors or practitioners in international courts and tribunals. 

  • Human rights officers, advisors or lawyers in domestic and international NGOs, such as Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam.

Who should study this specialisation?

Those with professional experience in or a focus on:

  • private legal practice and/or in the public sector, e.g. in NGOs, community legal centres, government departments and agencies, such as law reform and legal aid commissions

  • fields such as international relations, humanitarian studies, development policy, political science and media studies.

Related UNSW centres

International opportunities

These overseas electives are available as part of your specialisation:

For more information on the structure and courses available in this specialisation, visit the online handbook.

UNSW Master of Laws