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: 2023-24

  • Incoming Students: 16
  • Minnesota Residents: 38%
  • International Students: 31%
  • Gender: Female: 81%, Male: 19%  
  • Domestic Students of Color: 6%
  • Average Age: 27
  • Average GPA: 3.85
  • Percent of Class total: 9%

MHR Career Statistics: Class of 2022

21 graduated, 16 known reported (76%) 

  • Known employed or continuing to further degree: 94%
  • Actively job seeking: 6% 
  • Government employment: 12%
  • Nonprofit employment: 64%
  • Private sector employment: 12% 
  • Academic staff: 6%

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.

Note: These numbers reflect the most recent data available; due to rounding, percentages may not always add up to 100 percent.


Required Credits: 45


Required 1st year courses:

Choose at least 2 of the following 5 courses for at least 6 credits:

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 or developed in consultation with advisor and DGS.


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 depart from them entirely. Current concentrations include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Arts and Humanities
  • Conflict, Security and Diplomacy 
  • Crime, Law, and Justice 
  • Development
  • Environment
  • Gender and Sexuality 
  • Migration
  • NGO Leadership and Management 
  • Project and Policy Evaluation 
  • Public Health
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Research Methods


MHR students must complete either a Capstone project or a Professional Paper. Students who choose to complete a Capstone must take the Capstone Preparation workshop PA 5080 (1 cr.) and a section of the Capstone Workshop PA 8081. 
Additional Information on Capstones can be found on the Capstone Workshop webpage.

Students who chose to complete a Professional Paper can take either PA 8082: Professional Paper Writing Workshop (3 cr.) or PA 8921 Masters: Professional Paper (1–3 cr.). Additional information can be found on the Professional Paper webpage


  • As needed/available to fulfill a minimum of 45 credits needed for graduation.
  • May include courses that develop relevant skills, such as public speaking; advanced statistical analysis; data visualization; languages; and more.


Students must complete a 200-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 Student Success will cooperate in assisting students in finding appropriate placements.

Concentrations: pre-designed

Arts and 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.

Conflict, Security, and Diplomacy

Crime, Law, and Justice  



Gender and Sexuality 


NGO Leadership and Management

Project and Policy Evaluation 

Public Health

Race and Ethnicity  

Research Methods 

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.