Bachelor of Arts with Human Rights

College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

What our lecturers say

What our lecturers say
Human Rights

What our students say

What our students say
Studying Human Rights

Course overview

Human Rights encompass a theoretical, philosophical, practical and legal system which advocates the position that individuals are the bearers of basic rights fundamental to human dignity. The BA with Human Rights examines the philosophical basis, history and origin of human rights. The concept of human rights is closely allied with ethics and morality. However, while there is widespread acceptance of the importance of human rights, there is confusion as to their precise nature and role.

The BA with Human Rights is an innovative four-year degree programme that introduces students to this increasingly important specialism, emphasising its historical evolution from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 to its contemporary relevance as a subject and a body of law. The human rights system in international law seeks to regulate the relationship between states and individuals and defines a series of rights which states are obliged to uphold.


Key facts

Entry requirements

Minimum Grade HC3 in two subjects and passes in four other subjects at H or O level in the Leaving Certificate, including Irish, English, another language and three other subjects recognised for entry purposes.

Additional requirements

Students must satisfy the Garda/Police vetting requirements.

Duration: 4 years

Next start date: September 2014

Entry points(2013): range 430 - 585

A Level Grades (2013): A*A*A (A-Level) or equivalent combination

Average intake: 16

Course outline

The Bachelor of Arts with Human Rights is an exciting, four year degree programme offered by the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies in conjunction with the Irish Centre for Human Rights. The programme is unique in several respects, chiefly because it is the first and only undergraduate
programme of its kind in the Republic of Ireland, thus allowing undergraduates to specialise in a field that was previously reserved to postgraduate study. The programme examines the philosophical basis, history and origin of human rights while remaining grounded in the reality of events that have shaped the world. During the first two years of the programme, students are based on campus in NUI Galway and engage with human rights discourse through class-based teaching at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, supported by field trips and lectures by visiting experts.

Year One

In their first year, students will be introduced to the basic principles of human rights through an in-depth exploration of the foundations of this field as contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The programme will also offer an introduction to the United Nations system for the promotion and protection of human rights while also examining regional and national systems, and the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Students will further participate in weekly class discussions on current human rights developments.

Year Two

A more thematic approach to human rights analysis is adopted in the second year of the programme, during which historical themes and contemporary issues are raised and examined so that students develop an understanding of how human rights interact and potentially conflict with each other in specific situations. The second year of the programme will, therefore, enable students to analyse the difficulties of realising human rights on the ground and will teach them to think practically when approaching human rights problems in reality.

Topics are subject to the availability of lecturers in any one year, but subjects which may be covered include liberty and detention, human rights and armed conflict, minority rights, universality and cultural relativism, as well as economic, social and cultural rights. Students are also given human rights advocacy training to equip them with the skills to analyse human rights movements and campaigns and familiarise them with the practicalities of engaging in such efforts.

Year Three

During the third year of the programme, students are required to undertake a work placement outside of the university setting to develop practical skills and experience the reality of a career in the field of human rights. This placement is similar in style to a traditional internship. However, it departs slightly from that format as it is an integrated requirement of an academic course. Although they may change from year to year, placements to date have been secured around the world – from Dublin to London, Paris, Los Angeles, Montreal, San Ramon in Nicaragua and Durban. It is planned that placements will take place in semester two after a series of lectures and research during semester one.

Year Four

You will complete your studies in your two core degree subjects and may incorporate in your final year projects the specialist skills and knowledge you have gained in human rights over your previous three years.

Further education

The degree will provide a firm basis for further study at the postgraduate level, including the LLM programme in International Human Rights offered by the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway.

The Irish Centre for Human Rights is recognised as a world leader in the area of human rights and has developed a global reputation for excellence in the field of human rights teaching, research and advocacy.

Find out more

College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies
T +353 91 493 958

F +353 91 495 508


E collegearts@nuigalway.ie and humanrights@nuigalway.ie
www.nuigalway.ie/human_rights

CAO code

GY113

Fees for this course

EU (Total): €5,822 p.a. 2014/15 (Inclusive of Levy & SCC)
 - Tuition: €2,848 p.a. 2014/15
 - Student contribution: €2,750 p.a. 2014/15
 - Student levy: €224 p.a. 2014/15
Non-EU (Total): €12,750 p.a. 2014/15

EU Fees:
- Tuition: may be paid by the Irish Government on your behalf if you qualify for free tuition fees see - free fee initiative.
- Student Contribution: €2,750 - payable by all students but may by paid by SUSI if you apply and are deemed eligible for a means tested SUSI grant.
- Student Levy:  €224 - payable by all students and is not covered by SUSI.

Current Students

Seana Moran

BA Connect (Human Rights)

"The BA in Human Rights with Arts is a very challenging and intellectually stimulating course from which I have already learned an enormous amount. What is great about this course is that you can choose from a range of Arts subjects to combine with your Human Rights degree. This means that you could choose a language which will prove to be very valuable if you enter the field of international human rights. I would recommend this course to anyone who has an interest in current affairs and to those who could envision themselves moving into the fascinating and exciting world of international human rights law."