LLM in Human Rights

Course Overview

Environmental changes, aging populations, the media and new technologies, asylum and migration, intergenerational justice, complex multilevel governance arrangements, the impact of trade and investment, poverty and inequalities, the rise of identity politics and the changing nature of the personal sphere are contemporary global challenges facing human rights calling into question the fundamental tenets of human rights law both in terms of its formulation and implementation through policy development and law-making.

Differentiated from existing LLMs the LLM Human Rights explicitly focused on these contemporary challenges and how best to respond to them though law, policy and practice. The programme draws on the research strengths in College of Law and Criminology, but also from other colleges, in its teaching; and, exploits strong relationships with external partners to integrate a distinctive applied focus to the programme.

Key Features

Students pursuing the LLM Human Rights will benefit from a programme designed around high calibre research and impact in human rights. Students will also benefit from academic’s strong relationships with external partners working in the field of human rights, giving the programme a distinctive approach centred on the  implementation and application of human rights.

The focus on implementation and practice is complemented by a multidisciplinary approach. Policy and practice often do not recognise disciplinary divides. The programme allows students to experience teaching from other disciplines to enhance their knowledge and understanding of human rights as an integrated project (e.g. politics and international development).

Uniquely the programme addresses diverse challenges in human rights faced by law and policy, and by practitioners at the global, regional, State and sub-State levels. The approach focuses on how these challenges might be effectively managed through law and policy. The programme offers:

  • The opportunity and choice to address a range of human rights topics and challenges across a number of thematic areas, with teaching by expert researchers in the field.
  • A multidisciplinary approach reflecting the reality of human rights in practice.
  • A practical and practice focused philosophy.


The LLM Human Rights is a modular programme, with students required to accumulate 180 credits to graduate. In appropriate circumstances a student may graduate with a merit or distinction. Each programme is divided into two parts:

Part I consists of 3 taught modules, each 20 credits. Students will be required to undertake 2 compulsory modules, these are: International Human Rights Law and Human Rights and Humanitarian Intervention. Students are also required to select 1 further optional 20 credit taught module from a range of available modules (see below for examples optional modules).

Part II gives students a choice of 3 optional modules, each 20 credits, from a range of available modules (see below for examples optional modules).

Students are also required to undertake a dissertation, which contributes 60 credits.

The following are examples of modules offered to students (modules available for selection will be dependent on contingencies, e.g. whether a module leader is in study leave).

  • Human Rights and Environment, Climate Change and Sustainability
  • Trade, Investment and Human Rights
  • Human Rights and the Media
  • Human Rights and Family Law
  • Human Rights and Identities
  • Accountability for Human Rights Implementation
  • Impact Assessment and Human Rights
  • Children’s Human Rights
  • Human Rights and Poverty
  • Human Rights, Migration and Human Trafficking
  • Human Rights and Criminal Justice
  • Human Rights and Terrorism on-line
  • Human Rights and Medical Law
  • Human Rights and Employment

Entry Requirements

A good initial degree in Law or cognate discipline. Candidates with relevant experience are also encouraged to apply.

We welcome applications by prospective students from around the world and look for evidence of previous study that is equivalent to the entry requirements stated above.

If English is not your first language you will need an acceptable pass in an approved English Language qualification to make sure you get the full benefit from studying at Swansea. We consider a wide range of qualifications, including the Swansea University English Test, the British Council IELTS test (with a score of at least 6.5 and 6.0 in each component) and TOEFL (with a score of at least 88 and at least Listening: 21, Reading: 22, Speaking: 23, Writing: 21).

How To Apply

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for one of our postgraduate programmes is to apply online at www.swansea.ac.uk/applyonline. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process and print off a copy of your decision letter.

However, if you prefer, you can request an application pack by post from:

Postgraduate Admissions Office

Swansea University

Singleton Park



Tel: +44 (0)1792 295358

Fax: +44 (0)1792 295110


The Programme Director at: s.hoffman@swansea.ac.uk

Tuition Fees

Annual tuition fees for entry in the academic year 2017/18 are as follows:

UK/EU International
LLM Full-time £6,000 £13,450
LLM Part-time £2,000 £4,500

Tuition fees for years of study after your first year are subject to an increase of 3%.

You can find further information on fees and how to pay on our tuition fees page.

You may be eligible for funding to help support your study. To find out about scholarships, bursaries and other funding opportunities that are available please visit the University's scholarships and bursaries page.

International students and part-time study: If you require a Tier 4 student visa you must be studying full-time. If you are in the UK under a different visa category, it may be possible for you to study part-time. Please see our part-time study and visas page for more information.

Current students: You can find further information of your fee costs on our tuition fees page.

Additional Costs

The tuition fees do not cover the costs of purchasing books or stationery, printing, thesis binding or photocopying costs.

Teaching and Assessment

In the most recent Teaching Quality Assessment conducted by the UK Quality Assurance Agency, teaching in the College of Law and Criminology was awarded the highest possible rating of ‘Commendable’.

All of the programme teaching team are active in research and are at the cutting edge of their discipline, variously publishing books and articles at the highest level, and working closely with government and the public and private sectors on implementation of human rights.

The College’s REF 2014  impact case study submitted on children’s human rights achieved the highest possible rating of 4*.

The teaching approach is underpinned by the following objectives: 

  • an emphasis on developing knowledge and understanding of human rights as a holistic project, therefore paying close attention to the pervasive nature of human rights across law, policy and practice.
  • a focus on how human rights may be effectively translated from normative expectation to practical application.
  • incorporating and facilitating experiential learning.

The programme ranges across a broad spectrum of human rights topics relevant to law, policy and practice and encourages a practical approach in these areas. Students will have the opportunity to engage with projects, providing hands-on experience of human rights research as well as dissemination to support application.

Modules are assessed using a variety of assessment methods to provide students with a range of opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding, and application skills. These include: coursework (in a range of formats, e.g. essay, problem question, report, briefing), examination, one-day examination and presentation.


Extra-curricular Activities

Throughout their studies students are provided with the opportunity to take part in a number of extra-curricular activities to enhance their practical understanding of human rights. These include:

 Guest lectures by expert practitioners in human rights.

  • Workplace learning through voluntary work and/or placement.
  • Involvement in collaborative research projects with research partners.
  • Engagement with the College’s projects focussed on practical implementation and impact from research (e.g. Cyberterrorism Project, Wales Observatory, Centre for Environment, and the Sex Work Consortium).

Careers and Employability

The LLM Human Rights will open the door to a range of careers, including:

  • Human rights institutions: increasingly international and regional human rights institutions are seeking to support, monitor and influence State policy and social arrangements. Potential graduate destinations include: the United Nations and the Council of Europe as well as other regional institutions.
  • The public sector, including government at all levels. Potential graduate destinations include: civil service, regional, national and sub-national government, local authorities and other public bodies, and, political and policy advice work.
  • The private sector: human rights are increasingly the concern of the private sector in the realm of socially responsible capitalism. Potential graduate destinations include: global business (including institutions such as the World Bank); the business sector (from large scale business such as the banking sector, to smaller concerns seeking to appeal to the ethical consumer).
  • The NGO sector: non-governmental agencies are well-established stakeholders in human rights. Potential graduate destinations include: international NGOS (e.g. UNICEF); regional or local level NGOS.
  • Research and academia: research on human rights is a well-established concern for academia. 

 The LLM enhances student employability as:

  • The programme ranges across a broad spectrum of human rights topics relevant to law, policy and practice and encourages a practical approach in these areas.
  • Students will have the opportunity to engage with projects providing opportunity for hands-on experience of human rights research as well as dissemination to support practical application.
  • The programme offers a range of work place learning opportunities.
  • Entrepreneurial skills will be developed by encouraging students to contribute ideas to project work and project activities, including as relevant to project events.

Contact Details

Dr Simon Hoffman: Programme Director

Tel: +44 (0)1792 513004

Email: s.hoffman@swansea.ac.uk