PhD in Human Rights

The Human Rights Centre has been providing world class Masters’ level education in human rights for over two decades. Starting from October 2009 the HRC is offering a Ph.D. in Human Rights. This new Ph.D. was established to meet the demand of many prospective students who have an established interest in human rights and who wish to pursue doctoral research which goes beyond a single academic discipline and includes a distinct multi- and inter-disciplinary perspective upon human rights.


Supervision is potentially available across a broad range of academic interests in human rights. For an indication of the range of potential areas of doctoral supervision available please see the HRC website page on Members of the HRC. For a specific advice on potential supervision, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr Andrew Fagan – 

Course of study

The Ph.D. in Human Rights includes a number of formal study requirements. Thus, students who have not previously studied human rights at Masters’ level will be required to attend the principal core module provided by the Human Rights Centre in order to develop a knowledge and understanding of multi- and inter-disciplinary perspectives upon the theory and application of human rights. In addition, students will be expected to participate in the fortnightly meetings of the HRC Doctoral Affiliates’ Network, which comprises research student presentations and career development workshops. Finally, students will have to demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily through their participation in regular progress meetings.  

Research environment

The HRC has an established research environment through the contributions of academic members of the HRC to HRC activities. These include annual lectures, a Speakers Series, occasional conferences, an Essex-based electronic Human Rights Journal and many other less formal events held throughout the year. The international reputation of the HRC enables us to attract some of the world’s leading academics and practitioners to address our community. We would expect all of our Ph.D. students to actively contribute to the research environment.       

The Human Rights Centre Doctoral Network

The HRC established the Doctoral Affiliates’ Network in October 2008 in order to create a formal academic forum for the inter- and multi-disciplinary study of human rights for doctoral students. The network currently comprises over thirty Ph.D. students from several different academic departments and is organised by Dr Andrew Fagan, Deputy Director of the HRC. The network holds regular events throughout the academic year, which include academic presentations, film screenings, and advice on career development. All Ph.D. students registered within the HRC will automatically enjoy membership of the Network.    

To apply you must submit an application form via you should then submit two academic references, a copy of your transcript, English Language score (we require IELTS 7.0) and a research proposal of 4-6 pages.

For further information please contact:

Emma Revill, Human Rights Educational Programme Administrator.
Human Rights Centre
University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1206 872529
Fax: +44 (0)1206 873627
e-mail: hrep (non-Essex users add
hrep (non-Essex users add

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