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Human Rights (MA)

Note: This course of study is a further education course with costs. The tuition fees amount to 4900 € (plus 126 € statutory student union fee and 210 € semester ticket) for all three semesters.
What's the degree programme about?

This Master's degree programme for professional development is designed for professionals with an undergraduate degree and practical experience in relevant fields of employment. Due to its international focus, it is open to applicants from all over the world, in particular professionals working in international organisations and non-governmental organisations, public administrations (at the international, EU, federal, regional and municipal level), political consulting, in the press/media sector, in interest groups and associations, specialist legal firms, companies and research.

A special feature of this degree programme is that it is also aimed at people who have been involved in human rights work on a voluntary or part-time basis and wish to gain professional qualifications in order to pursue these activities more extensively. Applicants will therefore be accepted who are employed in other fields but have practical experience in human rights work outside of their main profession.

Modules and degree programme structure

Human Rights is offered as a full-time Master's degree programme for professional development worth 90 ECTS credits over three semesters. The first semester consists of three compulsory modules in the philosophy of human rights, human rights politics and human rights law. The second semester entails an interdisciplinary compulsory module which explores the topic of non-discrimination from a philosophical, political and legal perspective. Four modules can also be taken from a choice of eight modules (each one seminar with self-study unit) on different human rights topic areas. In the third semester students write their Master's thesis.

1st Semester: Foundations (30 ECTS)

  • Module 1: Human rights politics
    • Political dynamics of human rights
    • Empirical analysis of human rights politics
  • Module 2: Philosophy of human rights
    • Human rights – foundations and criticisms
    • Universalism and relativism
  • Module 3: Human rights law
    • Legal and institutional protection of human rights
    • Leading cases of human rights law

2nd Semester: Specialised modules (30 ECTS)

  • Module 4: Non-discrimination
    • Interdisciplinary seminar on non-discrimination
    • working groups

Four modules out of the following choices:

  • Module 5: Economic, social and cultural rights

  • Module 6: Business and human rights

  • Module 7: Freedom of religion and belief

  • Module 8: Gender and human rights

  • Module 9: International criminal law

  • Module 10: Transitional justice

  • Module 11: Human rights of refugees

  • Module 12: Rights of persons with disabilities

3rd Semester: Master's thesis (30 ECTS)


The Master's degree in Human Rights (MA) is an internationally recognised academic degree and a professional qualification. It qualifies graduates for doctoral degree programmes in Germany and abroad and for academic work in research and teaching. It also qualifies graduates for (re-)entering careers in business, administration and politics.

Admission requirements

For admission to the degree programme applicants must prove the following:

  1. A degree from a German or foreign university usually consisting of a total of 210 ECTS credits, with the minimum being 180 ECTS credits, usually in law, social sciences or humanities
  2. A minimum of one year of relevant work experience in a relevant field or equivalent experience in a position of responsibility in an organisation involved in human rights.
  3. English language proficiency at level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages or equivalent proficiency in English.

Applicants with a degree worth 180 ECTS credits will undergo a special admissions procedure to assess whether additional degree programme-specific knowledge obtained outside of their studies can be accredited to the value of 30 ECTS credits.


Information on the application procedure can be found at

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Degree programme start date and application deadlines

Start date of degree programme: Winter Term

The FAU website provides an overview of the current application deadlines as well as information on the selection process and how to apply.


Please note: Despite careful checks, we cannot rule out errors or omissions. For this reason, all prospective students are advised to seek detailed information from FAU's Student Advice and Career Service (IBZ) before commencing their studies.

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Degree type: Master of Arts (MA)
Type of study: Master, Professional development programme subject to a fee
Location: Erlangen
Standard duration of study: 3 Semester
Start date of degree programme: Winter Term
Language: English
Admission: Degree, Work Experience
Early entrance programme: no
Part-time study: no
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Theology

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