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London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London: Human Rights and Politics

Institution London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London
Department Sociology
Telephone 020 7955 6613
Study type Taught


The MSc Human Rights and Politics programme provides a rigorous year-long academic engagement with critical political issues faced by international human rights today.

The programme covers the multiple challenges that human rights thinking, institutions and activism are facing in the current period, a period during which many states, movements and political figures are turning towards populist nationalism and anti-minority discrimination. It introduces key problems with the foundations of human rights and considers the possibilities for new political foundations for human rights in a period of accelerating economic inequality and technological change.

Interdisciplinary in nature, it draws on sociology, political theory, political sociology and philosophy to investigate international human rights. The subject matter is international in scope. This master's is intended to appeal to those who want to study the politics of international human rights but who do not necessarily want to pursue a legal route to a human rights or related career.

The MSc Human Rights and Politics aims to equip you with interdisciplinary academic knowledge of the main challenges and problems affecting human rights theories, institutions, movements and practice in the world today. You will engage in a rigorous way with key human rights areas, including the many crises facing human rights thinking and human rights institutions. A key aim is to move away from discussion of international law and the UN Charter Regime and concentrate on the sociology and politics of human rights in today's world.

The programme links theoretical and empirical issues in human rights with political sociology and political philosophy using a variety of critical and analytical perspectives. Substantive themes covered in the programme may change from year to year, but indicative areas in the core course include: the threats to human rights; power and human rights institutions; the limits of political liberalism; the rise of authoritarian populism; movements against racism and white supremacism; wars and self-determination; development and human rights; identity politics; sexuality, sex, gender and human rights; human rights and coloniality; care, dignity and the renewal of human rights. You will also undertake an independent graduate dissertation. The core course and dissertation promote interdisciplinary understandings of human rights and the multiple challenges they face.

The programme is closely connected to LSE Human Rights in the Department of Sociology. In addition to research, LSE Human Rights runs a very active public events programme which includes public lectures, visiting speaker seminars and conferences involving world-leading human rights academics and practitioners. You will also benefit from masterclasses and guest practitioner seminars organised for students on the programme.

You will take a compulsory course on the contemporary politics of human rights, and will have the opportunity to choose courses from a range of available options in sociology, anthropology, development, gender, politics, international relations, and more. You will also complete a dissertation on an approved topic.


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