Program structure and degree requirements

The program offers a flexible structure with a mix of compulsory and optional courses selected from lists. Majority of the HRSJ courses will be offered by faculty of the LL.M. and PSIA programs, based on current LL.M. and PSIA courses.

The content of courses is reviewed on an annual basis to ensure the subject matter and issues covered are up-to-date and address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field.

The degree requirements for the MA in HRSJ  comprise completion of a minimum of 36 credits over four semesters (nine credits per semester), including a Master’s Paper. All students must take at least one credit of environmental studies in compliance with the university-wide environmental studies requirement, which can be fulfilled by taking LAW 371 (a one-credit course) or by taking a one-credit course offered by the Agopian Center for Environment.

The required core courses are HRSJ 301 (Seminar in Human Rights and Social Justice), HRSJ 302 (Theories of Social Justice and Community Engagement), LAW 342 (Human Rights Law),

LAW 334 (European Convention on Human Rights), PSIA 367 (Government, Media, and Politics), PSIA 384 (Civil Society and Social Capital), PSIA 385 (Global Justice). Other core requirements include research (Master’s paper) and clinical work. The remaining courses toward the degree are electives selected by students in consultation with their academic adviser.

Electives include Human Rights and Criminal Justice, International Humanitarian Law, Topics in Public International Law, Freedom of Information/Data Protection, Public Administration, etc.

Unless otherwise noted, each mandatory course carries three credits, and electives carry one or two credits. Students’ academic performance is evaluated through midterm and final exams, class assignments, and participation in class discussions.

Students’ performance is evaluated on a letter grade basis.  A cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 (equivalent to B) or higher is required for graduation and all grades in the transcript must be above D+ letter grade.Internship or Field-Based Learning

 

The program requires an internship or a field-based experience.

Internship is a professional development experience in which the students typically work alongside other advocates and human rights defenders. Generally, this translates to eight weeks of full-time (40 hours) work with a potential employer in a public, private or non-profit organization. Based on memorandums of understanding, internship and research opportunities are created for our graduate students. The list of public institutions includes the Constitutional Court of Armenia, the Human Rights Defender’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, Government Representation before the European Court of Human Rights.

Field-based learning is a broader experience that may include volunteer work, community organizing, reality lab experience, and other activities in which students are actively engaged with communities.

Students may earn three hours of credit upon completion of either an approved internship or field-based learning experience.

 

Human Rights Legal Clinic

Students enrolled in the Human Rights and Social Justice master’s program will work on real-life projects with the Human Rights Legal Clinic.  Projects typically are interdisciplinary and employ a variety of research methods. The projects may support litigation, advocacy, policy and program development, or extend technical guidance on human rights to civil society organizations, national human rights institutions, governments, UN human rights bodies and other international organizations.

The Human Rights Legal Clinic will provide students with the opportunity to acquire hands-on experience under the supervision of a faculty member with expertise in human rights issues. Students will apply the knowledge gained in human rights to practical situations thereby advancing their professional skills working in partnership with civil society organizations, international organizations, governments, and national human rights institutions.

 

Prospective careers for HRSJ graduates  

The human rights and social justice sector offers a variety of career paths that span campaigning and communication, research, education, advocacy, activism, and law.

This graduate program grooms students for careers as researchers, advocates and litigators in governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental institutions working on a wide range of issues relevant to social justice and protection of human rights. The list of potential professional positions may include:

  • Upper-tier government official
  • Human rights expert
  • Human rights lawyer
  • Human rights advocate
  • Human rights and social justice program officer
  • Advocacy officer
  • Policy Analyst
  • Research fellow
  • Adviser or consultant in human rights and social justice
  • Non-profit leader
  • Project coordinator
  • Public Policy Associate