Master of Human Rights Application Requirements

  • December 15: Deadline for consideration for admission, and both University of Minnesota fellowships and Humphrey School merit-based aid
  • January 15: Deadline for consideration for admission and Humphrey School merit-based aid
  • June 1: Final application deadline for admission
  • After June 1: Applications for admission considered on a space-available basis

A Master in Human Rights will prepare you to to engage in global human rights challenges through research, policy analysis, and advocacy.

The Humphrey School considers many factors when choosing applicants for admission. We evaluate attributes such as prior academic achievement, professional and public service experience, commitment to a career in public affairs or planning, and a fit between the applicant's interests and goals and the programs at the Humphrey School.

All applicants for master's degree programs are required to have a four-year bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. university or foreign equivalent at the time of enrollment. While no specific experience or academic pathway is required, students with a strong liberal arts education background and sound quantitative and analytical skills will be best prepared for academic success.

Before You Apply: Connect with Us

Schedule an Individual Appointment: Meet one-to-one with a member of the admissions team to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about applying to the Humphrey School. To request individual admission appointments, please complete this appointment form.


  • Four-year bachelor's degree from an accredited US university or foreign equivalent
  • English language proficiency (see below for more information)
  • Previous coursework in mathematics, statistics, and economics is recommended

Master of Human Rights Application Checklist

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1. Personal statement

The human rights community at the University of Minnesota fosters interdisciplinary and community-engaged research, teaching, and action on human rights and social justice in a complex and diverse world. The goal of the Master of Human Rights (MHR) is to inspire, educate, and support innovative human rights professionals. In 500 to 1,000 words, discuss your educational and professional interests, and explain how the MHR degree will support you in achieving your professional goals while advancing human rights.

2. Diversity statement

The University of Minnesota seeks to create an inclusive, welcoming, and supportive educational environment, ensuring that the people and scholarship at the University reflect our community and the world. To that end, the MHR program seeks to form a cohort that is diverse in age, work or other experience, race, cultural background, political affiliation, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, and socio-economic background. In 500 words or less, describe how your background, experiences and perspectives motivate you to explore equity and inclusion in your future education and career.

3. Resume or CV

A resume or CV is required of all applicants. Please include information about awards, leadership, and service or volunteer activities in your resume.

4. Letters of recommendation

At least three letters of recommendation are required. Please request your letters of recommendation through the Graduate School application system. If your recommender cannot upload their recommendation online, they may send it in a sealed envelope, signed across the back flap, to the Humphrey School. Faxed and emailed copies are not accepted.

We require letters that provide an appraisal of the candidate's ability to pursue an advanced degree, experience in, or potential for, public service and leadership, motivation and purpose, and strengths and weaknesses that might affect the candidate's performance and potential for success as a graduate student.

5. GRE scores - This requirement is temporarily suspended

An official GRE score report must be received directly from ETS before an official admissions notification will be made. You may upload your personal copy from ETS into the additional materials section of the Graduate School online application to facilitate initial review of your application.

While you may take the test up to the application deadline for which you are applying and self-report your scores for consideration; this is not advisable due to the Office of Admissions' inability to guarantee that it will receive your scores (self-reported or official) in time the day of the deadline for consideration. We encourage applicants to plan in advance and to submit their scores prior to application deadlines.

The school code for the University of Minnesota is 6874.

6. Transcripts

Transcripts are required of all applicants. Unofficial transcripts or academic records of all post secondary institutions attended should be uploaded directly to the online application. Please do not mail in paper copies of your transcripts (there is no need for official transcripts or academic records for initial review). If you are admitted, the University will then request official copies of this material.

7. English language requirement

The University of Minnesota and the Humphrey School requires international applicants to submit scores from either the TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo, or MELAB examination to assess English language proficiency. Minimum score requirements:

  • TOEFL: minimum of 100 (22 on each section)
  • IELTS: minimum 7.0
  • Duolingo: minimum overall score: 115, minimum literacy subscore: 115 

Visit the Graduate School website for more information on the English language requirement and minimum scores for admission.

8. Extenuating circumstances 

Applicants wishing to provide additional information to the admissions committee which is not appropriate for other required documents but may be helpful in their consideration as a candidate for admission can submit a statement of extenuating circumstances. Examples may include, but are not limited to: explanations for grade trends during undergraduate work, time lapses between employment as documented in the resume/CV, or other personal circumstances which may provide additional and helpful context.

9. Application fee

The application fee is $75 for domestic students and $95 for international students.

The Humphrey School provides application fee waivers for Pickering Fellows, PPIA Fellows, Truman Scholars, Americorps, City Year, and Returning Peace Corps Volunteers applying for the Peace Corps/Coverdell Fellowship. Additionally, McNair Scholars may qualify for a University of Minnesota McNair Application Fee Grant which pays for the cost of an application fee.

10. Start an application

All Humphrey School applicants must complete the Graduate School application including the additional Humphrey School section.

Apply today