MSc Human Rights

Available as a One Year Masters or a Two Year (with Professional Practice) Masters.

This course is a new and innovative masters to support and develop your knowledge of human rights policy, practice and the international human rights instruments. Our approach is applying social science knowledge and analytical approaches to secure the realisation of rights in practice in everyday settings - from public services to civil society organisations or roles in government and public administration.

Across the modules you'll engage in learning, building your knowledge and analytical skills through exploring the global political and institutional contexts that inhibit and support the advancement of equality and the realisation of rights; the dynamism and activism of social movements for change, informed by perspectives on the elimination of discrimination, poverty and inequality through the realisation of economic, civil and political rights and citizenship.

The MSc in Human Rights has been developed in line with GCU's mission to provide flexible, lifelong learning opportunities whatever your background or the stage of your life. The course reflects GCU's research themes of social innovation  and public policy and social justice, equalities and communities and the institutional commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Graduate opportunities

Studying this course can help you establish a career in areas such as public administration, policy analysis, research organisations and think tanks, or in consultancy, advocacy and analysis with domestic and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

It also opens up the possibility of further academic research and study.

The emphasis in the course is on 'making rights real', and that is reflected in the emphasis on developing your analytical skills through policy analysis, critical thinking, and your practical skills in communications, writing, advocacy, developing and implementing strategies and plans, underpinned with conceptual knowledge and knowledge of the relevant institutions and forms of governance. Through the specialist modules and the ethics, leadership and work-related modules, along with the placement elements of the course, we are aiming to support you develop your work-related and leadership skills.

This masters course aims to help you achieve your future employment goals, as an advocate, analyst or changemaker in civil society organisations, different levels of government, or a range of research and analysis roles.
Module list

Transformative Social Science:Theorising In/Equality
Realising Human Rights in Practice
Poverty, Rights and Citizenship
Ethics, Governance and Responsible Leadership
Politics and Practice of Global Justice
Social Movements and Activism for Change
Public Policy Analysis: Evidence and Influence
Applied Professional Practice
Masters Research Project

Our two-year masters courses give you the chance to develop your knowledge and professional skills with an extended work placement.

You'll experience all the benefits of a regular masters, but with the additional advantage of a further professional practice placement over two trimesters. You'll be fully supported and prepared for your placement, and graduate with significant work experience, in-depth knowledge and understanding of your chosen sector. Find out more about the benefits of a two-year masters study.

Due to significant demand, applications for this course are now closed to international applicants for January 2022. Please consider our following intake in September 2022.

Study Options

  • 2021/22


Mode of study


Start date


Full Time
16 Months
31 Jan 2022
GCU Glasgow
MSc (Two-year)
Full Time
2 Years
31 Jan 2022
GCU Glasgow
Award Mode of study Duration Start date Location  
MSc Full Time 16 Months 31 Jan 2022 GCU Glasgow Enquire Apply
MSc (Two-year) Full Time 2 Years 31 Jan 2022 GCU Glasgow Enquire Apply

Study Options

  • 2022/23


Mode of study


Start date


Full Time
1 Year
Sep 2022
GCU Glasgow
MSc (Two-year)
Full Time
2 Years
Sep 2022
GCU Glasgow
Award Mode of study Duration Start date Location  
MSc Full Time 1 Year Sep 2022 GCU Glasgow Enquire Apply
MSc (Two-year) Full Time 2 Years Sep 2022 GCU Glasgow Enquire

All entry requirements listed here should be used as a guide and represent the minimum required to be considered for entry. Applicants who are made a conditional offer of a place may be asked to achieve more than is stated.

Minimum academic requirement

UK honours degree 2:2 (or equivalent) in any subject area.

English language

English language: Academic IELTS score of 6.0 (or equivalent) with no element below 5.5.

Please note: if you are from a majority English speaking country, you may not be required to provide further proof of your English Language proficiency.

Additional information

Other academic and vocational qualifications

Each application to GCU is considered on an individual basis. If you do not have the typical academic entry qualifications, but can demonstrate relevant work experience and/or credits from recognised professional bodies, you may be eligible to enter this course via the University's Recognition of Prior Learning scheme.

International pathways

The tuition fees you pay are mostly determined by your fee status. What is my student fee status?

Annual full-time tuition fees

Home (Scottish) and RUK: £7,000
International: £14,500

Two-year tuition fees

Home (Scottish) and RUK: £8,500
International: £19,000

Find out how and when to pay two-year tuition fees for masters with professional practice.

Fees are subject to change and published here for guidance only.

Additional costs

As a student at the University, there are additional fees and costs which may or may not apply to you, but that you should be aware of.

View additional costs


We provide high-quality education for a fair price; as the University for the Common Good, we are committed to offering accessible higher education for talented students by keeping our tuition fees low and providing a generous scholarship package of £2 million per year.

View our postgraduate scholarships.

Our aim is not to produce students who are "problem solvers", but rather to build your knowledge and develop your confidence applying that knowledge through discussion, investigation, and collaboration. 

This approach to learning, teaching, and assessment is evident across all modules, and in the mix of assessment methods, with their emphasis on critical engagement with theoretical and conceptual frameworks, exploring lived experience and the norms that shape the lived effects of policy and institutional responses to social, political and economic issues. The assessment strategy allows for the exploration of ideas, in-depth critical analysis, reflection on practice, and consideration of alternatives, as evidenced in the use of case studies, policy reviews and critical reviews.

Assessments include groupwork on presentations and podcasts, essays, case studies and situated placements with practical activities and outcomes.

The emphasis on applying knowledge and learning in practice in the course learning outcomes is reflected in the assessment strategy, with its emphasis on rights in practice and the application of conceptual knowledge and critical thinking to organisational practice and global/local political and institutional contexts.

Assessments requiring you to take a detailed case-study approach to specific issues, engage in policy analysis, and analyse organisational and institutional responses are intended to drive you to reflect on current global issues and ‘real-world’ examples. Reflecting the character and content of the course to mainstream gender analysis, race equality, migration, and global perspectives, you'll be required through the assessment methods to consider policy approaches that impact positively and negatively on the advancement and realisation of human rights.

Learning and development experience

Consistent with the character of the MSc in Human Rights, the approaches to learning and teaching aim to establish a critically engaged community of learning.

The course team is dedicated to the creation of learning communities with students, staff, and researchers engaged in the co-production of knowledge, and reflexive practice in relation to knowledge, learning, and analysis.

This is a significant shift from more traditional approaches to learning and teaching, and is a deliberate strategic aim of the course.

You will engaged in a wide range of methods of teaching and learning, including:

  • Lectures
  • Flipped classrooms with student-led seminars and critical reading
  • Student and tutor-led seminars
  • Case studies
  • Individual and group presentations
  • Problem-based learning scenarios
  • Individual and group exercises and projects
  • Self-assessment exercises and workshops
  • Self-directed and directed learning
  • Guest speakers
  • Videos, podcasts and online discussion forums
You will undertake synchronous and asynchronous tasks through a variety of digital learning technologies that will supplement and enhance engagement with crucial, interdisciplinary questions in the social sciences.
Students on this course will get the opportunity to hear from guest lecturers.