Masters in Human Rights and Diplomacy

This is the only Human Rights and Diplomacy programme in the world taught in partnership with the leading training body of the United Nations: the United Nations Institute for Training and Re-search (UNITAR).


2030 Agenda
SDG4: Quality education
SDG16: Peace, justice and strong institutions
Human Rights and Diplomacy
human rights

You’ll learn about the practice and theory of human rights laws and politics, the UN human rights institutions, their history and their philosophical foundations. You’ll be taught by top human rights researchers and will be given practical training from experienced UN personnel in negotiating draft documents, and learning how to make a difference.

The course includes a study visit to Geneva for all students, to observe the Human Rights council in session. Additionally, the final three months of the course, you’ll have the opportunity to apply for a highly desirable on the job placement or to pursue projects with human rights organisations or to tackle a traditional dissertation.

For the legal, political and philosophical parts of the programme, your teachers will be top academic researchers: in pursuing their modules, you will be encouraged both to learn the latest legal, political and philosophical positions, and to develop your own analyses. The optional modules allow you to explore human rights and diplomacy within broader  settings. For the practical training, your teachers will be experienced UN practitioners who will use simulation exercises, role play and case studies to help you gain negotiating skills. All teaching will involve a mixture of group work, with the exception of the one-to-one discussions and training used to help students decide whether (and where) to apply for an on the job placement, and the similar focused discussions for those who opt for the academic dissertation.

Students taking the on the job placement or professional project will have both a Stirling and a UNITAR mentor. Detailed preparation and guidance – including assistance applying, and preparation for interviews – will be offered in advance of the on the job placement and projects, as part of the Preparation for Independent Work module. Students taking the dissertation will have a primary supervisor with expertise in the student’s chosen specialism.

The Approaches to Human Rights module will introduce students to a very wide range of approaches to human rights, and will also involve sessions aimed at allowing students to share their own varied human rights and/or academic experiences, including allowing students from a professional background to compare their views with those of recent  graduates.

A minimum of a second class honours degree or equivalent. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS 6.5 with 6.0 in reading and writing and 5.5 in speaking and listening;
  • Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) 176 overall with a minimum of 169 in reading and writing and with 162 in speaking and listening;
  • Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) 180 overall with a minimum of 169 in reading and writing and 162 in speaking and listening;
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 60 overall with a minimum of 56 in reading and writing and 51 in speaking and listening;
  • IBT TOEFL 80 overall with a minimum of 17 in listening, 20 in speaking, 18 in reading and 23 in writing;
  • Trinity ISE II Pass overall with a minimum of Merit in all sub-skills, Trinity III Pass overall and in all sub-skills, ISEIV Pass overall and in all sub-skills;
  • Aptis (4 skills) CEFR B2 overall and B2 in all sub-skills.
Download Syllabus

Target Audience

Undergraduate Students.

Learning Objectives

  • Explain, analyse and apply international human rights law in both theory and practice;
  • Engage in the theoretical framework of diplomacy, its history and the development of international relations;
  • Engage and debate critiques of human rights;
  • Draft documents and possess the skills needed to negotiate their progress in a range of human rights institutions;
  • Find your way within the United Nations Institutions working on human rights matters and local NGOs;
  • Apply a wide range of theoretical and practical methods to human rights research, activism and politics.


2073 Foto Marco Rothbrust 132 aspect ratio 1920 1080

UN Summer Academy 2023


Facilitated e-learning

26 Jun 2023

Offered by: