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10 USA Master Programs to study Human Rights

LLM with an area of study in Human Rights, University of California Berkeley – Berkeley, CA

The University of California Berkeley Law school offers an LLM degree with four track options. This degree is designed for foreign lawyers preparing to practice on a global level. They can choose from 4-different study options, including 2 summers-in-residence (Professional), 2 online semesters with 1 summer in residence (Hybrid), 1 academic year in residence (Traditional), or 1 academic year in residence plus research (Thesis). Each track is designed to be flexible for each student’s needs and career goals. Students will learn about US law, as well as a specialization area of their choice, including Human Rights. Students in the Human Rights focus area can participate in the International Human Rights Clinic or the Human Rights Center. Through the clinic, students can get hands-on practical experience. At the Center, students can conduct research and develop training methods. The Center also makes policy recommendations and gives tools and resources to professionals in the human rights field.

Costs vary for each track of study. The Professional Track costs a total of $58,907.50 for the entire program, not including additional expenses. The Hybrid Track costs a total of $60,345 for the entire program, not including additional expenses. The Traditional Track and Thesis Track also cost $60,345 in tuition for the academic year. Berkeley offers various scholarships for LLM, including the potential for a matching scholarship for any aid offered by other LLM programs. Berkeley does not offer any additional aid after acceptance into the program, so they highly encourage students to get their financial resources in order before program starts.

LLM with a certificate in International Human Rights Law, Georgetown University – Washington, DC

Georgetown Law offers an LLM degree for foreign lawyers as well as US lawyers who have obtained a JD degree. Students can choose a General LLM or an International Legal Studies LLM, choosing classes from various focus areas, including Human Rights & Immigration. Students can also obtain a certificate in International Human Rights Law, as part of their LLM studies. Students will take a variety of general law courses, human rights courses for the certificate, and complete their degree by building their research skills with seminars or a thesis.

Tuition for a full-time LLM degree costs $66,650. Georgetown Law offers a wide variety of fellowships and scholarships for LLM students, with different requirements and standards. US-based students can also apply for loans. International students must prove their ability to finance their studies in whole to be accepted to the program.

LLM in Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, American University – Washington, DC

American University’s Washington College of Law offers an LLM in Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. Students can take a combination of online and in-person courses to complete their degree. The program offers the chance to learn from dozens of experts in the field, including from international organizations, civil society organizations, academic institutions, and international tribunals. In addition to classes, students are also required to complete a research and writing project and a supervised externship, designed to help students develop research skills and practical professional skills. The law college offers several other opportunities for students to participate in moot courts, essay competitions, and more.

This 2-year degree program costs $28,918 per semester in tuition and fees. The university offers several scholarships and fellowships for students admitted to the LLM program. Students can also find outside scholarships or apply for loans to help finance their studies.

LLM in Intercultural Human Rights, St. Thomas University – Miami Gardens, FL

St. Thomas University Law School offers an LLM in Intercultural Human Rights, open to students from a variety of background related to human rights law. Through courses and practical experience opportunities, students will gain theoretical, methodical, and practical skills to advance their careers in human rights. Throughout their time at St. Thomas, students will learn from experts in the field. They can also gain hands-on experience and research skills through co-curricular activities such as the Intercultural Human Rights Review, International Moot Court, the Human Trafficking Academy, and the St. Thomas University Human Rights Institute.

This 1-year program costs $27,936 in tuition. St. Thomas has several scholarships and award competitions that students can apply for, in a combination of merit-based and need-based scholarships. The scholarships are primarily partial-tuition awards and students are responsible to finance the remaining cost of their studies.

LLM with an area of focus in Civil Rights & Human Rights Law, Suffolk University – Boston, MA

Suffolk University Law School offers an LLM degree, with a chance for students to focus their studies on Civil Rights & Human Rights law. For the General LLM, students choose from a variety of elective courses, focusing on the area of study they wish to pursue. In addition to the classes students choose to make up their degree program, they must also complete a substantial written work or a publishable thesis in order to graduate. As part of the Civil Rights & Human Rights area of focus, students can participate in the Innocence Clinic, dealing with wrongful conviction cases and gaining extremely useful practical skills for law practice.

Students must take 24 credits of classes to complete the LLM degree at the tuition cost of $2031 per credit. Suffolk University offers scholarships, donor funds, and resources for outside aid and loans in order for students to finance their studies.

LLM with a focus in Human Rights, Columbia University – New York City, NY

Columbia University Law School offers an LLM degree that gives interested students the opportunities and tools to pursue a career in human rights law. Students pursuing an LLM degree have the chance to take classes from a variety of subject areas in other schools, outside of their core curriculum. They also have several opportunities to gain practical and extracurricular experience, including a law journal, law clinics, the Human Rights Institute, workshops, externships, and more. In particular, the Human Rights Institute gives students the chance to engage with experts and lawyers in the field through panels, workshops, speaker series, projects, and more. The Human Rights Law Clinic also gives students the chance to get involved with real cases.

This 1-year program costs $67,532, not including additional fees and expenses. Columbia offers several fellowships and scholarships, including an LLM Human Rights Fellowship. Some fellowships require a separate application from the admission process.

LLM with a concentration in Human Rights and Constitutional Law, University of Texas – Austin, TX

The University of Texas at Austin School of Law offers an LLM degree with an option to obtain a concentration in Human Rights and Constitutional Law. Students are able to tailor their courses to their areas of interest, including obtaining a concentration. Students pursuing a concentration in Human Rights and Constitutional Law may participate in a number of practical experience opportunities, including law clinics dealing with capital punishment, civil rights, human rights, immigration, or transnational worker rights. Students can also get involved with working groups and research projects at the Bernard & Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights & Justice. They also have the chance to contribute to the Texas Journal on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights and the Texas International Law Journal.

This 1-year LLM program costs $31,106 for Texas residents and $46,190 for non-residents. The LLM program offers a few scholarships to highly qualified students, who are considered upon submission of their admissions application. They also offer several scholarships and fellowships which require a separate application. Additionally, they encourage students to apply for outside aid or loans.

LLM in Human Rights, Regent University – Virginia Beach, VA (and online)

Regent University offers an LLM in Human Rights. This program provides students with a Christian-based perspective to human rights law and is offered both on campus and online. Students can choose to develop a specialization within their degree, as well. They can choose from a number of courses in different law topics.

This 1-year program (30 credit hours) costs $19,500 to complete. Regent states that 88% of students receive some type of aid. They offer several private scholarships to students and also have information about private loans.

LLM with a concentration in Human Rights Law, Emory University – Atlanta, GA

Emory Law School offers an LLM with a concentration in Human Rights Law. Students can choose the Human Rights Law track of study, focusing their courses on human rights issues and cases. To complete the degree with this concentration, students must take the required courses, as well as complete a dissertation. Emory offers several law clinics that students can choose to engage with to get hands-on, practical experience. Students also have the opportunity to participate in a number of other experiential learning activities, including externships, trial techniques training, a joint-discipline lab, and more. They can also submit material to be published in law journals.

This 2-year program costs $56,500 per year, excluding additional fees and expenses. Emory offers a number of scholarships and fellowships that students may be eligible for and also provides information about external scholarships available to potential Emory students.

LLM with a concentration in International Law and Human Rights Law, University of Colorado Boulder – Boulder, CO

University of Colorado Boulder Law School offers an LLM degree with the option to gain a concentration in International Law and Human Rights Law. Students in this concentration area will take courses dealing with a number of relevant human rights issues, in addition to the core law classes. They can also participate in the Public Service Pledge Program, designed to help students gain professional skills, as well as take a seminar by leading experts in the field and potentially take on a post-graduate internship at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The law school also offers opportunities such as law clinics, externships, moot courts, mock trials, and more.

The LLM program costs $34,008, not including additional fees and expenses. The law school offers several scholarships for international students, as well as external scholarships that students may qualify for.

Explore more human rights masters on Human Rights Careers.

About Allie Reefer

Allison Reefer is a young professional living in Pittsburgh, PA. She works with a refugee resettlement agency to help refugees and immigrants in the city and does volunteer marketing for local nonprofits and arts organizations. She obtained a Master in International Development from the University of Pittsburgh and a BA in Writing from Geneva College, focusing most of her academic work on human trafficking and migration in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In her free time, she loves to write, read, sing and play bass guitar, practice Russian, and explore her city.

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