MSc Human Rights and Diplomacy

Our Human Rights and Diplomacy programme is taught in partnership with the leading training body of the United Nations: the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

Human Rights and Diplomacy

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
  • Start date February
  • Duration MSc full-time: 12 months
  • Mode of study Full-time, Campus based

Changes at Stirling for 2020

Find out about important changes including how you'll be taught, start dates and how we're making campus safer.

This is the only Human Rights and Diplomacy programme in the world taught in partnership with the leading training body of the United Nations: the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

You’ll learn about the practice and theory of human rights laws and politics, the UN human rights institutions, their history and their philosophical foundations. You’ll be taught by top human rights researchers and will be given practical training from experienced UN personnel in negotiating draft documents, and learning how to make a difference.

The course includes a study visit to Geneva for all students, to observe the Human Rights Council in session. Additionally, the final three months of the course, you’ll have the opportunity to apply for a highly desirable internship or to pursue projects with human rights organisations or to tackle a traditional dissertation.

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The University has a Riipen license for this course. Through this platform, you can work with global companies on real business problems that are assessed and rated. As you complete more challenges, you build a portfolio. This platform can help you boost your skills, gain career clarity, network with potential employers, and find a job you love.


Top reasons to study with us

  • Explain, analyse and apply international human rights law in both theory and practice
  • Engage in the theoretical framework of diplomacy, its history and the development of international relations
  • Engage and debate critiques of human rights
  • Draft documents and possess the skills needed to negotiate their progress in a range of human rights institutions
  • Find your way within the United Nations Institutions working on human rights matters and local NGOs
  • Apply a wide range of theoretical and practical methods to human rights research, activism and politics

Rare opportunity to apply, with UNITAR’s tailored support and guidance, for highly desirable, hard-to-get internships in the UN Agencies.

There will be a similar opportunity to establish and secure a placement directly with a local or national human rights body such as a national human rights institution or NGO engaged in the Human Rights Research Knowledge Exchange Network based in the University of Stirling. Students can choose to pursue a human rights related project with such an organisation or undertake a traditional academic dissertation as a potential pathway to pursuing a PhD programme. 

In order to be considered for the internship applicants will need English language skills of IELTS 7.0 (6.5 in each band). Students will be expected to negotiate and communicate at the highest level, and therefore this level of language proficiency is required for the internship.

Course Directors Dr Katie Boyle and Professor Rowan Cruft are widely-published in the areas of human rights and diplomacy. 

Dr Boyle’s monograph on Economic and Social Rights: Justiciability and Principles of Adjudication will be published with Routledge in 2019. She has published widely on economic, social and cultural rights, incorporation, justiciability and models of constitutionalisation including in the International Journal of Human Rights. Her research has been adopted by national human rights institutions and has featured in UN Committee level proceedings. Katie recently published a report with the Scottish Human Rights Commission on Models of Incorporation and Justiciability for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. She qualified as a solicitor with the Government Legal Service and was appointed to advise the First Minister on the FM Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership in 2018.

Professor Rowan Cruft was co-editor of Oxford University Press’s 2015 volume, Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights, and his monograph, Human Rights, Ownership, and the Individual will be published by Oxford University Press in 2019.

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MSc Human Rights and Diplomacy

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