Master of Human Rights

MHR Cohort

In a world that needs visionaries, the Master of Human Rights (MHR) degree program prepares students to engage in global human rights challenges through research, policy analysis, and advocacy.

This interdisciplinary degree program provides a solid grounding in diverse substantive and methodological approaches to the study and practice of human rights. Students have the opportunity to take courses through a number of departments and schools that match their area of concentration. The program is designed to support emerging leaders who can draw upon many types of knowledge and experiences in a field that demands innovative responses to complex challenges. Students learn both theory and skills development from leading human rights scholars, thinkers, and activists, while gaining field experience through internships, research opportunities, and capstone projects to apply strategic approaches to complex global and local issues.

The MHR program is jointly supported by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and the College of Liberal Arts, and brings together the highly regarded offerings of the graduate minor in human rights and faculty expertise in fields ranging from non-governmental organization (NGO) management to global public policy. The program leverages the global policy, leadership and management, and social policy and policy analysis expertise at the Humphrey School and the Human Rights research and teaching expertise of the College of Liberal Arts.

Want to learn more about how an MHR degree could help you pursue your goals and advance your vision?

View Master of Human Rights application requirements

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Class profile

MHR Class Profile: 2020-21

  • Incoming Students: 23
  • Gender: 57% Female, 30% Male, 4% Other, 9% Unspecified
  • Minnesota Residents: 52%
  • International Students: 22%
  • Domestic Students of Color: 30%
  • Average Age: 25
  • Average GPA: 3.55
  • Average GRE Verbal Percentile: 58.5%
  • Average GRE Quantitative Percentile: 36.1%
  • Percent of Class Total: 13%

Prospective applicants: please note that all applications are reviewed holistically, and profile numbers should not be viewed as admission cutoffs. Please contact the Office of Admissions with any questions about candidacy.


Required Credits: 45


  • and the following first-year cohort:
    • PA 5886/5887 MHR Cohort Seminar I&II (1 credit per semester x 2 semesters = 2 credits)


Minimum of 12 credits. Must include at least one course from each of the following lists:


Minimum of 12 credits to be drawn from a list of pre-designed concentrations (below) or developed in consultation with advisor and DGS.

  • Capstone/Professional Paper (3 credits)
  • Electives
    • As needed/available to fulfill a minimum of 45 credits needed for graduation.
  • Internship
    • Students must complete a 400-hour non-credit internship, generally between the first and second years of study. The Human Rights Program and the Humphrey School Office of Career and Professional Development will cooperate in assisting students in finding appropriate placements.


The list of pre-designed concentrations below (and outlined in further detail in the next dropdown menu) is suggestive only. Students will be allowed, with approval from their advisor and the DGS, to pursue a self-designed concentration that modifies these, or departs from them entirely. In addition, as students develop their concentration, advisors must ensure that students include courses that develop relevant skills, such as public speaking; advanced statistical analysis; data visualization; languages; and more.

These pre-designed concentrations are more fully developed in the drop-down below. Current concentrations include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Human Rights, Race and Ethnicity
  • Human Rights, Gender and Sexuality
  • Human Rights in the Arts and Humanities
  • Human Rights, NGO Leadership and Management
  • Human Rights and Project/Policy Evaluation
  • Human Rights and Development
  • Human Rights in Conflict and International Security
  • Human Rights and Migration
  • Human Rights Crime, Law & Justice
  • Human Rights and Research Methods (Qualitative/Quantitative)
  • Human Rights, Languages & Area Studies (Latin America, Europe, North America, Asia, Middle East, Africa.)
  • Human Rights and Public Health
  • Human Rights and the Environment

Concentrations: pre-designed

Human Rights, Race and Ethnicity  

Human Rights, Gender and Sexuality 

Human Rights in the Arts & Humanities

This concentration is meant to prepare students in the understanding of the role of artistic, literary and cultural practices in the promotion of cultures that support and respect human rights. Students will work with their faculty advisor to choose courses appropriate to their particular arts and humanities focus.

Human Rights, NGO Leadership and Management

Human Rights and Project/Policy Evaluation 

Human Rights and Development  

Human Rights, Conflict and International Security 

Human Rights and Migration  

Human Rights: Crime, Law and Justice  

Human Rights and Research Methods (Qualitative and/or Quantitative)  

Human Rights and Area Studies (Latin America, Asia, Middle East, Africa, etc.)

The potential area studies courses offered at the University are vast. Students will work with their advisor to select courses for an area studies concentration. (at least 12 credits)

Human Rights and Public Health

Human Rights and Environment  

Concentrations: self-designed

Students can deepen their professional interests by creating an interdisciplinary concentration that combines courses from two or more existing concentrations as well as courses from various departments across the University. Students provide a cohesive rationale for the several themes that tie coursework together into a coherent primary concentration.

Students pursuing this concentration should consult with their advisors and review the self-designed concentration form to understand the rationale and approval that is required for this concentration. The form also includes tips for choosing courses in a self-designed concentration.

Courses are chosen in consultation with advisors and other experts in the fields of interest students are pursuing. Students are encouraged to investigate the many research centers at the Humphrey School and throughout the University to find a match for professional interests.