Program Planning


To obtain a joint major in Human Rights Studies, a student must complete requirements for the Human Rights program AND the major requirements for another department.  The requirements for Human Rights are:

Introductory course (one required)

To provide any interested student with an overview of human rights as an idea and as a major social movement, these courses examine the breadth of the field, and enable her to evaluate human rights as a potential major. 

  • HRTS BC1025 Human Rights in Theory and Practice, or
  • HRTS UN3001 Introduction to Human Rights

Core courses (two required)

The following courses familiarize the student with the basic methods and institutions that make up the modern human rights movement.

  • POLS UN3173 Power, Rights, and Social Change: Achieving Justice
  • HRTS UN3190 International Human Rights Law
  • POLS BC3254 First Amendment Values
  • POLS UN3285 Freedom of Speech and the Press
  • POLS BC3410 Colloquium on Human Rights in a Diverse World
  • POLS BC3505 Colloquium on Making Democracy Work
  • POLS BC3521 Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
  • HRTS BC3601 International Law and the United Nations in Practice 
  • POLS UN3690 International Law
  • HRTS BC3850 Human Rights and Public Health
  • HRTS BC3855 Religion, Social Justice, Human Rights
  • ANTH BC3911 The Social Contexts of U.S. Immigration Law and Policy
  • ANTH BC3913 Inequalities: Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality in U.S. Law and Society
  • HRTS BC3931 Seminar for Internships in Social Justice and Human Rights
  • ANTH BC3932 Climate Change, Global Migration, and Human Rights in the Anthropocene
  • HRTS GU4185 Human Rights and Global Economic Justice
  • HRTS GU4215 ​NGOs and the Human Rights Movement: Strategies, Successes, and Challenges
  • HRTS GU4230 Refugees, Forced Migration, and Displacement
  • HRTS GU4270 Social Media and Human Rights: Actors, Advocacy, and Analytics
  • HRTS GU4300 Economic and Social Rights in Policy and Practice
  • HRTS GU4320 Human Rights and Foreign Policy
  • HRTS GU4340 Human Rights Accountability and Remedies
  • HRTS GU4400 Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Human Rights
  • HRTS GU4500 Socio-Economic Rights: Selected Issues
  • HRTS GU4600 Human Rights in the Anthropocene
  • HRTS GU4650 Children's Rights Advocacy
  • HRTS GU4700 Ethical Dilemmas in Healthcare: A Human Rights Approach
  • HRTS GU4810 Religion and Human Rights
  • HRTS GU4880 Human Rights in the United States
  • HRTS GU4900 UN Human Rights Bodies: Impact, Reform, Advocacy
  • HRTS GU4915 Human Rights & Urban Public Space 
  • HRTS GU4930 International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights
  • HRTS GU4950 Human Rights and Human Wrongs
  • HRTS GU4955 Narrative and Representation in Post-Conflict Societies

Related courses (three required)

The three related courses will reflect the student's personal interests and specialization in human rights with the advice and guidance of her academic advisor.

For a full list of courses and their descriptions, please consult the Course Catalog.  To find options for a given semester, please consult the Directory of Classes

A senior thesis on a human rights topic

The senior thesis or project in the area of human rights studies is written in the senior thesis seminar of the major department. Where this is not possible, it is written in HRTS BC3099 Independent Study.

All of the above requirements must be approved by the student's human rights academic advisor. Up to three of the required human rights courses may also satisfy requirements of the other major, but no course may count for both the joint major and a major/minor in another department.


A student chooses her academic advisor from among the Human Rights program faculty. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the program, an unlisted professor whose work is relevant may also be chosen.

A junior/senior looking for a thesis advisor may also consult the list of Human Rights faculty for a suitable advisor in her area of research.

To ensure that courses meet the requirements for the major, students must confirm their selection with the Director of Human Rights Studies, Professor J. Paul Martin, before their final semester.