The M.A. program in Human Rights is an interdisciplinary and international postgraduate degree program offered at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. It is directed by Professor Heiner Bielefeldt, Chair in Human Rights and Human Rights Politics and former UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief (2010–2016), Professor Markus Krajewski, Chair in Public Law and Public International Law, and Assoc. Professor Michael Krennerich, Chair for Human Rights and Human Rights Politics.

The M.A. Human Rights addresses the growing importance of human rights in all areas of society and academia. The course program covers fundamental challenges as well as current issues. It pursues an interdisciplinary approach by taking the political, philosophical and legal dimensions of human rights into account. Graduates of the program will be equipped with theoretical and practical skills to pursue professional activities in various human rights contexts.

In the first semester, all students will enroll in three compulsory modules covering political, philosophical and legal foundations of human rights respectively. In the second semester, students will participate in a compulsory, interdisciplinary module on non-discrimination and may elect four out of the following special modules: Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Business and Human Rights; Freedom of Religion and Belief; Gender and Human Rights; International Criminal Law; Transitional Justice; Human Rights of Refugees; and Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The third semester is devoted to the master thesis.

The program can be taken up only in the winter term starting in October. The application deadline is 30 June each year. However, applicants who require a visa are strongly recommended to send their application by the end of February.

Contents of the degree program

1st Semester: Foundations (30 ECTS)

Module 1: Human Rights Politics

  • Political Dynamics of Human Rights
  • Empirical Analysis of Human Rights Politics

Module 2: Philosophy of Human Rights

  • Human Rights – Foundations and Criticisms
  • Universalism and Relativism

Module 3: Human Rights Law

  • Legal and Institutional Protection of Human Rights
  • Leading Cases of Human Rights Law

2nd Semester: Specialized Courses (30 ECTS)

Module 4: Non-Discrimination

Four modules out of the following choices:

  • Module 5: Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  • Module 6: Business and Human Rights
  • Module 7: Freedom of Religion and Belief
  • Module 8: Gender and Human Rights
  • Module 9: International Criminal Law
  • Module 10: Transitional Justice
  • Module 11: Human Rights of Refugees
  • Module 12: Rights of Persons with Disabilities

3rd Semester: Master Thesis (30 ECTS)

Occupational fields

  • Public Administrations
  • International and non-governmental organizations
  • Academia and education
  • The media
  • Interest groups and associations
  • Specialized law firms and corporations

Qualification requirements

  • Admission to the Master’s program Human Rights requires a university degree based on at least 3.5 years of full-time studies (equivalent to 210 ECTS) and at least one year of professional experience in the area of human rights, or professional experience in another field in combination with practical experience in human rights work on a volunteer basis.
  • If your university degree is based on less than 3.5 years of studies, you may be accepted on the basis of a special procedure determining additional qualifications.

Language requirements

Proof of English language competence, comparable with C1 of GER


When is the application deadline for this program?

  • The application deadline is 30 June each year. However, applicants who require a visa are strongly recommended to send their application by the end of February.

How much does this program cost?

  • The tuition fees are a total of 4.900 € for the whole program. In addition, students are required to pay a statutory fee for the student union and the semester ticket, which currently amount to 112 € per semester.

Can I pay for this program in installments?

  • Individual payment modalities may be agreed upon after admission.

Is this program available online?

  • No, it is not. Students are required to be on campus during the first two semesters. The thesis, to which the third semester is devoted, can be written as a non-resident student, however.

What is the duration of this program?

  • Three semesters.

Is this program offered part-time or full-time?

  • Full-time. Nevertheless, the degree would allow for working part-time subject to a student’s visa specifications.

What documents are required to apply to this program?

  • Applicants have to fill out an application form and attach the following documents:
    • Cover/motivation letter explaining your interest and motivation to study in the Master program (1-2 pages)
    • CV
    • Copies of certificates of university degrees or diplomas and official documents on course contents and grades (diploma supplement and transcript of records)
    • Proof of one-year professional experience in the field of human rights or one-year professional experience in another field and one year of voluntary work in the fields human rights (e.g. active membership in a human rights group etc.): Employment contracts, letters from an employer, etc.
    • Proof of English language competence, comparable with C1 of GER (Gemeinsamer Europäischer Referenzrahmen/Common European Framework of Reference).
  • The form and additional information on the application procedure can be found on the program website at

What is the admission process for this program?

  • The completed application form and supporting documents should be sent by email to the program coordinator, Ms. Ines Denzler ( Applications can be sent at any time, the final deadline is 30 June every year. Decisions on admission are taken three times a year: In March, May, and July. Applicants who fulfill the entry requirements will be admitted immediately or after an interview to determine their experience and motivation in the field of human rights. Applicants whose university degree(s) is/are equivalent to less than 210 ECTS, need to undergo a special procedure to prove their academic competences.

In what language is this program taught?

  • English. Knowledge of German is not required.
Program taught in:
  • English

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Last updated February 6, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Oct 2019
3 semesters
4,900 EUR
plus 126 € student union fees and 192 € mandatory basic ‘semester ticket’ ticket for all three semesters.
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Oct 2019
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