Postgraduate study

Human Rights LLM

Awards: LLM

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Placements/internships

Programme website: Human Rights

As a field of academic study, human rights cuts across a wide variety of disciplines. It sits at the heart of law, political science, theology and history.

This programme is designed to provide you with a theoretical and practical understanding of international human rights law in its broader political context, such as the relationship between human rights and conflict resolution.

You will be able to explore the role of human rights globally and the international and national machinery that promotes and enforces rights, while focusing on how academic debates connect to the evolution and practice of human rights.

The University is home to a number of research centres and networks in the areas of justice, health, development, environment and society, and agriculture and food security. Each of these contribute to the ways in which we address crucial global challenges that span the ambit of civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights. These centres offer opportunities to further develop your understanding of different aspects of human rights or to peak your interest in new areas.

Opportunities for extra-curricular engagement – such as additional one-off seminars, lectures or discussion groups – are offered by centres across the Law School and broader University, such as:

As a student on this programme, you will have the unique opportunity to draw on the academic space for learning human rights created by the activities and research of these various centres.

You must complete 180 credits of study – 60 credits are taken in the compulsory dissertation or work-placement scheme and the remaining 120 credits are taken in taught courses.

You will experience a range of teaching styles on these courses, led by members of the Law School academic community and experienced legal and industry practitioners. You are expected to prepare in advance by reading the required materials and by reflecting on the issues to be discussed, and your participation will be assessed.

Please note that due to unforeseen circumstances or lack of demand for particular courses, we may not be able to run all courses as advertised come the start of the academic year.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
LLM1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2021/22
LLM2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2021/22

You will have the exciting opportunity to apply for our work-based placement scheme as an alternative to the written dissertation.

This programme offers ideal preparation for a range of employment opportunities and specialised academic work, which may include: government legal advice, international governmental and non-governmental organisations, private legal practice, advocacy work in a range of advocacy organisations or human rights consultancy.

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

A minimum UK 2:1 honours degree from a UK university, or its international equivalent, in law.

We will also consider candidates with a degree in a related discipline which includes relevant prior study.

Supporting your application

Relevant work experience is not required but may increase your chances of acceptance.

Relevant professional qualifications will be considered.

Preference will be given to those with grades above the minimum requirements due to strong competition for places on this programme.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified*:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 7.0 in the writing component and 6.5 in each other component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 25 in writing and 23 in each other component.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 with at least 185 in writing and 176 in each other component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: 70 overall with at least 70 in the writing component and 62 in each other component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

(*Revised 17 November 2021 to add accepted PTE Academic qualifications.)

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
LLM1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
LLM2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Edinburgh Law School Postgraduate Office
  • Old College
  • South Bridge
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9YL

Due to high demand, the school operates a number of selection deadlines. We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline when we will offer a proportion of the places available to applicants selected through a competitive process.

Deadlines for applicants applying to study in 2022/23:

Round Application deadline Places awarded by
1 06 December 2021 20 January 2022
2 07 February 2022 06 April 2022
3 18 April 2022 01 June 2022
4 30 June 2022 15 July 2022

Please note that the deadline for meeting the conditions of an offer is 18 August 2022.

You must submit one reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Edinburgh Law School Postgraduate Office
  • Old College
  • South Bridge
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9YL