The rationale for the programme is the development of skilled postgraduates who can make a significant contribution to the human rights agenda around the world working with civil society organisations, governments, and business. As well as the key intellectual themes of human rights work, students study organisational analysis to ensure that the organisations with which they work to protect human rights work are better managed. This element of the programme combines class and placement learning, which is central to the programme.
The partner universities will provide specialist expertise in globalisation, the rights of indigenous peoples, and research methods. These universities provide teaching and research of the highest standards and were selected because of their track records in the specialist areas they will be contributing to the Masters programme.
Underpinning the programme is an understanding of human rights practice that goes beyond but does not ignore the law. The development, critique, application and consequences of law i.e. the broader socio-political context is the basis upon which we understand human rights work and practice. Such practice might involve working with the organisations of the state, civil society and the corporate sector. For example, human rights education in schools and/or universities would represent a distinctive form of such practice. This broad concept of practice is introduced at the outset and then spirals throughout the programme being developed and embedded in a variety of human rights contexts culminating in the dissertation.
Mainstreamed throughout the programme is an attention to human rights practice in the areas of, for example, gender, childhood and religion. These do not appear as specific modules but are incorporated as issues in many of them. The induction programmes in each semester will make this clear.