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Posted Dec. 12, 2022

What career paths can you take with an LLM in Human Rights Law?

Human Rights Law CareersLLM course searchAwareness about Human Rights issues has been gaining momentum globally in recent times as has interest in Human Rights Law.

The LLM in Human Rights Law is one qualification that will give you both the exposure and the skills to segue into Human Rights work. In this blog, we explore the various career paths that the program can lead you to.

Human Rights Law can cover many different areas such as Family LawHealth Care Law, Immigration Law, Civil Rights Law and Housing Law, so Human Rights Law doesn't mean just the rights of those during conflicts. Human Rights Law is a fascinating area of study because it covers all jurisdictions at international, national and regional legal levels, this means that specialists in Human Rights Law are required in a huge variety of capacities in many different types of organisations. Those with a good understanding of Human Rights Law can use their knowledge to help people, organisations and nations work together to improve the prospects of everyone. 

What will you learn?

Students learn the international and national context of Human Rights Law within a political framework. Many LLM courses in Human Rights Law concentrate on Human Rights Law during times of conflict, transition or political change. Most students gain an understanding of the law, but also of the organisations that enforce and promote Human Rights Law on the international level. At the best law schools, students have the chance to discuss Human Rights Law with some of the world's legal experts and explore the application of academic discussions of cases of violations of Human Rights Law. Often Human Rights Law is studied in conjunction with Constitutional Law in the US, such as the LLM in Human Rights and Comparative Constitutional Law at the University of Texas at Austin.

What other skills will you get?

Experiences like researching and internships with places such as Queen's University Belfast's Human Rights Centre develop skills necessary to work in many different legal areas that are involved in Human Rights Law. By making full use of the contacts of your law school through networking events you will hear about new opportunities for when you graduate. Many law schools advise students to spend time developing other skills through the extra-curricular opportunities that are available to their LLM students, such as those available to law students at the University of Edinburgh.

What about taster courses?

Here are some institutions that offer free taster courses in Human Rights.



Amnesty International

Human Rights Defenders

Columbia University

Freedom of Expression & Information

in the Times of Globalization

University of London

Magna Carta & its Legacies:

Freedom & Protest

University of Witwatersrand

Media Freedom & Freedom of Expression

Trinity College Dublin

Irish Lives in War & Revolution:

Exploring Ireland’s History 1912-1923

University of Copenhagen

After the Arab Spring:

Democratic Aspirations & State Failure

University of Naples Federico II

Democracy & Autocracy:
Theories & Empirical Findings


Work in human rights legal practice

Human Rights Law LLMs offer exposure to topics such as employment, immigration and civil liberties law, which is useful when helping disenfranchised individuals, not limited to, but including migrants and refugees. Therefore, an LLM in Human Rights Law equips you with the right set of skills to aid vulnerable groups who are seeking legal advice or aid. It allows you to help people whether it’s with understanding contracts or fighting for their rights in a courtroom. Either way, an LLM in Human Rights Law provides you with the subject matter knowledge needed for you to be an effective Human Rights Solicitor.

Work at an NGO

An LLM in Human Rights Law sets you up with knowledge that will help you in fields beyond private practice. If you’re interested in working for a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), for example the United Nations, Amnesty International or Oxfam, then a solid understanding of the legal rights and frameworks will serve you well no matter what role you take on in such institutions. In addition, an LLM in Human Rights Law means you would be better placed to understand the challenges and concerns that the various beneficiaries you’re working with face, when designing or providing various services to them.

Work in the social services

An LLM in Human Rights Law could benefit you greatly if you decide to work in the social services sector. Some Human Rights LLMs offer courses in Mental Health Law and Healthcare Regulation. Knowledge about these areas will be an asset in any time of social service role you may decide to take on, as they provide you with a clearer idea of the constraints that the clients you may meet are working within. This allows you to offer support to them in a more informed way, creating greater confidence in the service you provide.

Work in international relations

Human Rights Law LLM courses typically focus on human rights challenges at both the local and international levels. This means this LLM provides you with a solid grounding of the broader humanitarian and social issues in the world. If you’re someone who enjoys working on bigger picture tasks, and wants help addressing challenges in areas like education, healthcare and migration, then you may be interested in international relations work. If this sounds like an area you’re interested in, an LLM in Human Rights Law could provide you with not only content knowledge, but also train your advocacy, communication, presentation and negotiation skills, to help you clinch a role in an international relations role.

Work in academia

An LLM in Human Rights Law is undoubtedly an interesting area to specialise in if you intend to pursue a career in academia. Human rights issues are always a hot-button topic and also constantly-evolving. That’s why, if you’re interested in going down the route of academia, then this may be the right concentration for you. There are a variety of research areas within this topic area that you could choose from, such as feminism or law and society. This is why there is no dearth of options for you to explore and write about, to ultimately contribute to the  development of Human Rights Law.

Work in the government

An LLM in Human Rights Law could be your ticket to doing policy work for the government. This LLM focuses on concentrations like criminal and migration law, which combined with the rigour of academic and legal writing, could prepare you to analyse and improve upon legislation governing these topics. Given the rising awareness about socio-political concerns such as migration, social class and ethnicity, an LLM in Human Rights Law could be a qualification that prepares you to work on policies related to some very pertinent issues.

In conclusion, an LLM in Human Rights Law is a qualification that provides a variety of career options in diverse fields. Whether you’re looking for a client-facing role or more comfortable with research work, there’s definitely something you could gain from this LLM to help you in your future job. What we’ve touched on in this article only scratches the surface on the career options that an LLM could provide and as you can see, an LLM in Human Rights Law provides you with insights to for work that involves helping people reach their full potential – the possibilities are infinite.

Alisa student writerWriter: Alisa Maya is a graduate student at the UCL Institute of Education.

She is passionate about improving learning experiences for all through EdTech.

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Lawyer Sonia Oct. 21, 2023, 7:55 a.m.

I appreciate this insightful article on career paths in LLM Human Rights Law. It offers a comprehensive overview of the diverse opportunities available to those pursuing this field. The guidance on international organizations, NGOs, and academia is particularly valuable. It's a must-read for anyone considering a career in human rights law, providing clarity and inspiration for their journey.

Charlotte King Dec. 17, 2023, 6:06 p.m.

We are so glad you found it helpful Sonia!

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