Introduction

The Human Rights LLM at Aberdeen provides students with an insightful knowledge of the subject within the context of international law and the realities of the political world.

Key Facts

Duration
1 Year / 2 Years
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
January or September
Learning Mode
On Campus Learning

Interested in this Degree?

Call +44 (0)1224 274260 Email law-pg-enquiries@abdn.ac.uk Enquire Using an online form Next Steps Find out how to apply

Overview

With a strong focus on law and politics, Human Rights at Aberdeen explores social and economic rights such as education, health, housing and family rights. It looks at the international law of conflicts, how human rights impacts on criminal law and how the rules of law develop over time as social and political change occurs. Our programme will help you develop a clearer understanding of human rights in today's society around the world. You will have the opportunity to study subjects such as International Human Rights Law, The Politics of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

This programme was designed with the assistance of human rights experts as well as our internal staff at the University. With this combined input, you will gain unique insights into human rights around the world and will advance your understanding of factors that influence them. The programme has been carefully coordinated to align with the competencies required for today’s international job market.

The University of Aberdeen is known for attracting world-class teaching staff with international experience in their specialist subjects. You will have access to first rate teaching from globally respected staff, such as Programme Director Dr Mátyás Bódig, Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes at the University, as well as Programme Coordinator for LLM in Human Rights. He is a founding member of the Centre for Citizenship, Civil Society and Rule of Law at the University of Aberdeen.

What You'll Study

The information below applies to the 1 year full time / 2 year part time on campus learning LLM programme which runs in September and January. You will find information about other ways to study this programme in the next section on this page.

Semester 1

Introduction

The information listed below is for September start students. Information for January starts can be found under "Other Ways to Study".

All students must take two LS50xx courses and two LS55xx courses.

Compulsory Courses

All candidates must take the following course:

Critical Legal Thinking and Scholarship (LS501T)

This compulsory course provides students from diverse legal and educational backgrounds with a common understanding of the core research, analytical, and writing skills which would be required to excel in LLM-Taught courses. It commences with a few lectures and progresses to working within smaller groups in a workshop environment and finally to the submission of an individual assignment. It also incorporates elements such as library workshops to provide students with hands-on experience with the resources available for course and dissertation work.

Optional Courses

Three optional courses must be selected. Two should be selected from semester 1 and one from semester 2.

Alternatively, one of your three choices could be selected from another LLM programme (excluding LS5097, LS5099, LS501E, and LS551K).

Oil and Minerals for Good (LS501D)

The course examines the relationship between law, energy and natural resources, ethics, governance and development at the national and international levels on the one hand and variable developmental outcomes, particularly the resource curse phenomenon, on the other hand. The course then proceeds to apply advanced academic and experiential knowledge to formulate the fundamentals for overarching legal frameworks that will enable the good exploitation and development of energy and natural resources, thereby producing enduring benefits for all key stakeholders.

The Politics of Human Rights (LS5068)

The course addresses the political processes by which human rights law is created and sustained (e.g. by exploring the main drivers of the change in human rights norms – like global civil society activism). Classroom discussions look into the ways in which international human rights law shapes controversial issues of international politics (like the problems of international development or humanitarian intervention). Two seminars are dedicated to ‘case studies’ on human rights politics: (1) the practice of human rights activism, and (2) the relevance of human rights for dealing with the social and political tensions generated by the oil industry in Nigeria.

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

International Human Rights Law (LS5590)

The course was designed to help students build competence in dealing with the doctrinal issues about international human rights. It involves understanding the place of human rights in public international law, finding one’s way around the foundational human rights documents and the jurisprudence of human rights bodies. The course delivery puts heavy emphasis on classroom discussion on the controversial issues on contemporary human rights law that shape doctrinal development in this field: the justifiability of torture, the limits of freedom of religion, the justiciability of social rights, etc

Optional Courses

International Humanitarian Law (LS551G)

The course explores the history, nature and salient features of the principles of ‘the laws and customs of war’, also called IHL; they are enshrined, inter alia, in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977. The principles of distinction, humanity, necessity and proportionality as applied to contemporary armed conflicts are examined. The course emphasises the rules and challenges pertaining to civilian immunity, occupation, legal controls on weapons and how IHL is implemented and enforced. It also clarifies the differences/complementarity between IHL and international human rights law and the law on the use of force.

The use of Force in International Law (LS5549)

The course analyses how international law regulates the use of armed forces between States. It is of interest to students who want to understand the legal considerations which frame contemporary conflicts. The course will study the fundamental principle of the prohibition on the use of inter-State force. It will examine the current exceptions to this principle, and how States try to justify the use of force. Consequently, the course will study the most recent recourses to force on the international plane, in particular in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine. Teaching will be delivered mainly through discussion based seminars.

International Human Rights Law (LS5590)

The course was designed to help students build competence in dealing with the doctrinal issues about international human rights. It involves understanding the place of human rights in public international law, finding one’s way around the foundational human rights documents and the jurisprudence of human rights bodies. The course delivery puts heavy emphasis on classroom discussion on the controversial issues on contemporary human rights law that shape doctrinal development in this field: the justifiability of torture, the limits of freedom of religion, the justiciability of social rights, etc

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

Master of Law Dissertation (LS5904)

Between May and mid-August students prepare a 10,000 word dissertation on a topic of their choice related to their specialist LLM programme. Students are instructed through the delivery of a preparatory lecture, two supervisory meetings and a two hour dissertation planning workshop in a small group setting. Students are expected to spend considerable time on independent research throughout the course of the dissertation module, including; preparation of dissertation plan, amendment of plan in accordance with supervisory comments, preparation for the dissertation workshop, and, of course, in the final 10,000 word dissertation itself.

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Teaching of the LLM Human Rights programme takes place through a combination of lectures and seminars and you will benefit from being taught by world-renowned researchers and teaching staff. The University adopts a flexible approach to learning and staff use a range of teaching methods to ensure that you achieve the highest grade you can.

Learning Methods

  • Lectures
  • Seminars

Assessment

By course work, by written examination, or by a combination of these, as prescribed for each course. The degree of LLM shall not be awarded to a candidate who fails to achieve a CGS grade of D3 or above in the specified dissertation course, irrespective of their performance in other courses: such candidates may, at the discretion of the Examiners, be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma or a Postgraduate Certificate.

Why Study Human Rights?

Ever since the University’s opening in 1495, the Law School has played a pivotal role in Aberdeen’s history - and there’s no substitute for experience.

  • Our Law School is ranked 11th in the UK, out of more than 90 law schools (The Guardian, The Times Good University Guide 2015).
  • Aberdeen is ranked in the Top 10 for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2014 and has a 95% student satisfaction rating.
  • The University is one of the top 5 for graduate career prospects (National Student Survey 2014) with 96% of our students entering directly into employment, research or further study within six months of graduation.
  • In an LLM exit survey that we carried out in 2015, 95% of our students felt the programme met their expectations and 94% would recommend the University to others.
  • There are over 40 nationalities within the School of Law postgraduate community, so you will benefit from the experiences of international students from all over the world.

Students choose to study Law at Aberdeen because of our reputation for academic excellence and unrivalled student experience. At Aberdeen, you will:

  • Have the opportunity to study a programme that attracts many international students, who enrich our debates and help broaden our collective knowledge of human rights issues across the globe.
  • Benefit from the programme’s strong international focus, enabling you to meet the requirements of employers in the UK and overseas.
  • Benefit from the established research strength of the School of Law, which will provide you with valuable insights into the increasingly vital and energised role human rights play in the world.
  • Develop essential critical analysis skills that will enable you to explore the legal and political implications of the subject.
  • Benefit from the expertise of our world-renowned teaching staff, which will give you the knowledge and skills to prepare you for a career in the law profession.
  • Benefit from small class sizes, meaning you will get focused interaction with teaching staff during seminars.

The University also has a leading Law careers service that organises events focused on providing you with the additional skills needed to make the most of your career potential. You will be part of a vibrant, close-knit community of students that provides a personal and friendly atmosphere where staff have the opportunity to know students by name and can closely monitor progress.    

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Status Amount
Home / EU / RUK Students Tuition Fee for 2016/17 Academic Year £4,500
International Students Tuition Fee for 2016/17 Academic Year £13,800
Home / EU / RUK Students Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year £6,000
International Students Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year £14,300
  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Funding

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Excellent Satisfaction Rating for Law

Law has been taught at the University since 1495 with a consistently high satisfaction rate of over 90%

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

Normally a 2(i) Honours degree in Law, or another related discipline, or equivalent.

The English Language Requirement for all College of Arts and Social Sciences Masters programmes is an IELTS of 6.5 with 6.0 in the writing and reading (or equivalent TOEFL iBT or PTE).

Language Requirements

All students entering the University must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study effectively at the University of Aberdeen.

Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. This programme requires that you meet the College of Arts and Social Sciences Postgraduate Standard level of English proficiency.

If you have not achieved the required scores, the University of Aberdeen offers pre-sessional English courses. Further details are available on our Language Centre website.

Nationals of some English-speaking countries or those who hold degrees from some English-speaking countries may be exempted from this requirement. Details of countries recognised as English-speaking can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages.

Document Requirements

  • Degree Transcripta full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
  • Personal Statementa detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
  • Referencea reference letter from your university discussing your academic ability

Careers

This LLM attracts a range of students from a variety of fields – from international relations, to oil and gas programmes and those with a background in international law. The flexible programme means you can choose courses that allow you to explore the areas that interest you. A former student from Germany used the course to secure an internship with the International Court, afterwards going on to work for the international NGO Human Rights Watch.

Our Experts

Dr Mátyás Bódig is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Aberdeen. At the Law School, he is Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes, as well as Programme Coordinator for LLM in Human Rights. He is a founding member of the Centre for Citizenship, Civil Society and Rule of Law at the University of Aberdeen. He previously worked in Hungary as associate professor and senior research fellow.

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Contact

Address
School of Law
University of Aberdeen
Taylor Building

Aberdeen

AB24 3UB
Email
Phone
+44 (0)1224 274260
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