Course Overview

This programme is offered at the Irish Centre for Human Rights within the School of Law. This Centre is one of the world’s premier university-based institutions for the study and promotion of human rights and humanitarian law. This course aims to prepare graduates for work in the field of international human rights, with international organisations, non-governmental organisations and as individual advocates. It also serves as a foundation for those who wish to pursue PhD study in the field. While the emphasis of the course is legal it accepts suitably qualified candidates from other backgrounds in the firm belief that human rights itself is multidisciplinary. The LLM programme aims to build specific and general skills with respect to the modern regime of human rights protection, and knowledge of the philosophies and theories that underpin it.

The course provides students with the requisites enabling them to contribute to the advancement of human rights globally, both in their individual capacities and in association with institutions that have such a focus. During the course of their studies, students at Masters level are encouraged by the Irish Centre for Human Rights to put into practice the foundational work provided by the LLM by undergoing internships with international institutions and nongovernmental organisations working in the field of human rights.It offers advice in finding suitable opportunities and some financial support to offset travel expenses.

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via The Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). Relevant PAC application code(s) above.

Who Teaches this Course

Prof. Michael O’Flaherty
Prof. William A. Schabas (part-time)
Dr. Kathleen Cavanaugh
Dr. Shane Darcy
Prof. Ray Murphy
Dr. Ekaterina Yahyaoui Krivenko
Dr. Noelle Higgins

In addition, every year we have a number of courses taught by adjunct and visiting lecturers.

Requirements and Assessment

Assessment for individual modules includes a combination of essays, presentations and group work, as well as other methods. Students must also complete a research thesis/dissertation of 20,000 words.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

It is preferred that applicants hold a degree in Law. However, the Centre also welcomes students with undergraduate degrees in disciplines other than law. In cases where applicants come from a non law background, the Centre for Human Rights will consider academic background, relevant work experience, references and personal statement. Applicants must normally have attained at primary degree level a result of Second Class Honours Grade 1 or equivalent. However those falling short of this standard may be considered where they can demonstrate other appropriate academic accomplishments as well as relevant work experience.

Additional Requirements


1 year, full-time
2 years, part-time

Next start date

September 2016

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


Closing Date

Please refer to the offer rounds/closing date webpage.

Next start date

September 2016

NFQ level

Mode of study


ECTS weighting




PAC code

GYL00, full-time
GYL01, part-time

Course Outline

The one-year programme is divided into three four-month terms. The first term commences in September and runs through to December, the second term begins in January and ends in April, while the third term begins in May and terminates with the submission of a dissertation at the end of August. During the first two terms candidates are required to attend a full course load as prescribed in the Guidelines, while the third term is devoted entirely to the research required for the preparation of the final dissertation. 

The two-year programme comprises part-time study, combining two semesters of course work the first year with a third semester the second year, devoted entirely to the research required for preparation of a final dissertation. 
The coursework begins with a general introduction to the systems and documents of international human rights law, and proceeds to a series of specialised courses in such areas as minority rights law, regional human rights systems such as the European Convention on Human Rights, criminal prosecution by international tribunals of human rights violators, gender and child rights, refugees and asylum seekers, and international humanitarian law. The course emphasises the analysis and critique of international human rights law and legal regimes.

Courses each year are subject to change, but may include the following:

  • Business and Human Rights 
  • Children's Rights 
  • Conflict and Post-Conflict 
  • Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights 
  • Economic, Social & Cultural Rights 
  • European Convention on Human Rights 
  • European Union and Human Rights 
  • Gender and Human Rights
  • Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
  • Human Rights Field Work: Law and Practice
  • Islam and Human Rights
  • International Criminal Law 
  • International Criminal Procedure 
  • International Humanitarian Law
  • Introduction to Human Rights Law 
  • Minority Rights 
  • Peace Support Operations 
  • Public International Law 
  • Procedure before International Criminal Courts 
  • Refugee Protection
  • Right to Development 
  • Transitional Justice

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

The human rights field is a competitive market and students in the programme are encouraged to obtain as much practical, as well as academic experience as possible whilst in the programme. Securing a place in the human rights field necessitates initiative and will likely entail several minor placements before securing the desired position. That said, students who have undertaken and successfully completed the programme tend to fall into one of four categories:

  1. those who work within UN or UN affiliated organisations
  2. those who work in NGOs and quasi NGOs--both human rights and development
  3. those who work in academic institutions or pursue of PhD/JD
  4. those who work in diplomatic or government based work (in human rights divisions of the Dept of Foreign Affairs, for example).  

Underneath these umbrella categories, students have pursued work in the ICC, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, ICRC, the UN system (Geneva and NYC), local based NGOs, trade and health organisations, domestic law firm work that draws on international legal mechanisms, and research based work in University research centres, to name but a few. The main and sub categories are by no means exhaustive, but give a flavor of the different fields that students have pursued.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€6,015 p.a. 2015/16

Fees: Tuition

€5,791 p.a. 2015/16

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2015/16

Fees: Non EU

€13,250 p.a. 2015/16

EU Full time programme:  €6,015 p.a.  EU Part time programme:  €3,065 p.a.

Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant – please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €2,000 towards your tuition.  You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee.  An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay TUITION up to a maximum of €6,270.  SUSI will not cover the student levy of €224.

Find out More

Dr. Ekaterina Yahyaoui
T: +353 91 492 065