Master’s Program in Human Rights and Democracy

The M. A. Program in Human Rights and Democracy provides students with advanced knowledge and skills in interdisciplinary human rights studies, with a specialization in the relation between human rights and democracy.

Duration: 2 years (120 ECTS credits)
The program is full time studies, which are estimated to correspond to 40 hours a week (lessons, seminars, group work and time for own reading.
Application: Apply via
Program director: Johanna Ohlsson, PhD, Senior Lecturer, Head of Department of Human Rights and Democracy
Director of studies:

The program examines the history, theoretical development and practical realization of norms pertaining to human rights and democracy. It provides students with a solid grounding in how these norms – and the practical issues they stimulate – are addressed especially within the fields of law, philosophy and politics as well as other social sciences. The program allows students to develop transferable skills such as project planning and evaluation; problem-solving and research methodology; professional writing and oral presentation. Through such insights and skill-sets, students are equipped to pursue successful careers in public administration, international affairs, as well as in private companies and NGOs. Those who successfully complete the course are also eligible to apply for doctoral studies.

Language of instruction

The program is an international program, organized on a two-year basis (120 higher education credits). The program, which is on a full time schedule, is accessible for both foreign and Swedish students and is taught on site in Bromma, Stockholm. The language of instruction is English.

Future career

The program provides knowledge that is valuable in a number of different professional sectors where expertise in human rights and democracy is necessary, including national and international institutions, private companies and non-governmental organizations. The education is carried out in an international environment and provides students with opportunities to cultivate skills in intercultural communication. The education also serves as preparation for doctoral studies in human rights and a number of related fields within the humanities and social sciences.


The program leads to a Master’s Degree (M. A.) in Human Rights with a focus on Human Rights and Democracy. The master’s degree is obtained after the student has completed the course requirements for 120 higher education credits including a degree project on 30 higher education credits in the same subject and chosen profile.

Knowledge and understanding

For the master’s degree, the student should:
– demonstrate advanced knowledge and skills in interdisciplinary human rights studies, with a specialization in the relation between human rights and democracy, as well as deep insight into current research and practice.
– demonstrate advanced knowledge of methodology in interdisciplinary human rights studies.

Skills and Abilities

For the master’s degree, the student should:
– demonstrate the ability to critically integrate knowledge and to analyze, assess and manage complex phenomena, issues and situations even with limited information;
– demonstrate the ability to critically, independently and creatively identify and formulate issues for research, to plan and execute qualified tasks within given time frames, thereby contributing to the development of knowledge and to evaluate this work;
– demonstrate the ability, in both national and international contexts, to clearly and verbally and in writing give an account of and discuss conclusions and the knowledge and arguments that underlie them in dialogue with different groups;
– demonstrate the skills required to participate in human rights research and practice, or to work independently in other qualified activities.

Evaluation ability and approach

For the master’s degree, the student should:
– demonstrate the ability to make judgments with regard to relevant scholarly, social and ethical aspects within Human Rights and Democracy and show an awareness of ethical aspects of human rights research and practice;
– show insight into the possibilities and limitations of the current topic, its role in society and people’s responsibility for how it is used;
– demonstrate the ability to identify needs for additional knowledge and to take responsibility for further knowledge development.

The program provides:

  • in-depth knowledge of the concept of human rights and democracy, as well as legal and social contexts in which such ideas are used;
  • insight into how questions of human rights and democracy are addressed within the law, social science, philosophy and history;
  • proficiency in the perspectives and working-methods that inform research and reporting in the fields of human rights and democracy;
  • advanced skills in communicating orally and in writing with academic, as well as non-academic audiences.

Structure of the program (120 ECTS credits)

To find out more about each course kindly visit our COURSE CATALOGUE and search for courses using the course code that starts with 5MR.

Semester 1
  • 100 % modul 1 – 5MR436 Human Rights and Democracy as Ideas in History, 7,5 credits
  • 100 % modul 1 – 5MR437 Human Rights and Democracy in Legal Perspective, 7,5 credits
  • 50% modul 2 – 5MR438 Human Rights and Democracy in Politics and Practice, 7,5 credits
  • 50% modul 2 – 5MR439 Human Rights and Democracy Clinic, Part I, 7,5 credits
Semester 2
  • 100 % modul 3 – 5MR445 Human Rights and Democracy Clinic, Part II, 15 credits
  • 100 % modul 4 – 5MR446 Current issues in Human Rights and Democracy, 15 credits
Semester 3
  • 100 % modul 1- 5MR567 Researching Human Rights and Democracy, 15 credits
  • 100 % modul 2 – 5MR568 Graduate Seminar in Current Research on Human Rights and Democracy, 15 credits
Semester 4
  • 100 % – 5MR554 Degree Project, Human Rights and Democracy (Master 120 credits), 30 credits

Internship and Study abroad

You have the opportunity to choose to study a semester abroad. This means that you can study courses of 30 ECTS credits at another university abroad, which will be included in your master’s degree. For more information contact the Director of Studies. 

Internship is not included in the master’s program, but as a student at University College Stockholm, you can apply for the internship course after completing a master’s degree. Contact the Director of Studies for more information.

Admission requirements

Click the button below to go to the page with detailed information about eligibility criteria and documentation that you need to attach with your application.

Human Rights and Democracy Student Reports

During the course Human Rights and Democracy Clinic Part II, students on the masters program work in small sub-groups to plan and execute a project of relevance for human rights and democracy.

Read more and find the reports

Student Perspectives on Human Rights Program