Posted Nov. 9, 2015
If you have recently completed an undergraduate degree in law, you might well be wondering where to go next.
Law degrees are beneficial in part because of the wide variety of potential career paths that they can open up for you, but all of this choice can be a little overwhelming at times. One option taken up by many following completion of the initial stages of study is to pursue a more specialised postgraduate qualification by way of a Master of Laws (LLM). And for those of an egalitarian leaning an LLM in Human Rights could be the way to go. Careers in the field of human rights law are a great fit for those looking to make the world a better place for some of society’s most marginalised, and an LLM in the discipline is a great stepping stone for those looking to take their career in this direction and really put their love of ensuring equality for all to work.
LLM Human Rights courses are typically completed in either one (full-time) or two (part-time) years of study, and although specific module availability will vary from institution to institution there are certainly some common themes in the material that you will study to prepare you for a career as a human rights lawyer. Regardless of where you go on to study, you will almost definitely take classes covering human rights law on both a European and an International scale, as an understanding of these fundamental principles is a vital foundation for the development of your future career.
The classes that concern more specific aspects of the field are more likely to vary, and so it is a good idea to consult the module list of the relevant university before making any commitments. The topics that constitute the syllabus of these LLM courses are designed to help you build a competency in the more detailed aspects associated with providing legal protection to vulnerable populations. As such, you should expect to find classes concerning the intersection of the law and mental health, or how human rights requires a more nuanced approach when dealing with the kind of gender-specific issues faced by women.
Given the current (and likely continuing) scale of migration across the world for all manner of different reasons, the study of human rights as it applies to multicultural societies is also a vital topic to cover, and related classes will likely be offered to you as part of your LLM – topics within this sphere include immigration law (especially pertinent today) and the law is it pertains to cultural diversity. You may also be afforded the option to study some truly specialised material, such as the role played by human rights in situations involving terrorism or how to overcome issues typically encountered in the protection of the rights of indigenous populations across the world.
As you may have gathered from your undergraduate law studies, the time and mental energy commitments required by studying for an LLM in Human Rights are significant, and this should be given deep consideration before you register for a course. Although the rewards at the end can be great, they are also proportional to the amount of hard work required to reap them; you will be dealing with some very intricate and challenging material after all. However, don’t let this dissuade you – the work ethic and study skills developed during your previous studies will be of huge benefit to you, and the career prospects opened up on completion offer a lot of potential to really make a difference in the world.
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