Master in Human Rights Education


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Grounded in the practice of critical pedagogy, this program provides a dynamic learning community where students benefit from rigorous experience both in the classroom and in the community.

Program Features

The only opportunity in the US to receive a master’s degree in human rights education. Rich in-class learning experiences with expert faculty blended with opportunities for practical work in schools and community organizations in the Bay Area.

Pedagogy aimed at addressing inequities based on race, class, gender, sexual identity, religion, and nation.


Our students arrive at USF as educators, filmmakers, community organizers, after-school program directors, and more, eager to explore new ways of reading the world using a human rights framework.


As part of a final capstone project, students are required to create a curriculum, design a program, and produce a written project that summarizes their knowledge and experience. Want to check out past master’s projects? Human Rights Education projects are posted on USF’s scholarship repository.

Program Details Human rights education is a deliberate, participatory practice aimed at empowering individuals, groups, and communities through fostering knowledge, skills, and attitudes consistent with internationally recognized human rights principles.

Amnesty International

Designed to support teachers of early childhood through college, as well as educators working in non-formal settings such as community organizations, Human Rights Education (HRE) entails understanding the promise of rights guarantees and the gap between rights and actual realities.

Courses examine the right to education, schooling with dignity and rights, and curricular efforts towards social justice and comprehensive human rights. Students engage with issues in local and global contexts, with emphasis on globalization, migration, social movements, and transnationalism.

Transformation is an essential element of HRE and is done through a process of education that empowers people to make changes in their own lives, as well as in their families, communities, and institutions.

Program Delivery

The program follows a schedule of alternate weekend classes that convene nine times a semester (Friday evenings and all day Saturdays). See Teaching Weekend dates.

A hallmark of the Masters in Human Rights Education program is its flexibility to work with diverse students. Students can complete the coursework requirements in as few as 18 months (two academic year semesters plus the summer term) and can extend the program as long as needed (up to 5 years). Most students complete the Master's program in 2 academic years with summer coursework often included.


The Master of Arts in Human Rights Education (HRE) consists of 30 credits. Requirements include 15 credits of core coursework, 9 credits of elective coursework, and 6 credits of Culminating Project. All classes are 3 credits unless otherwise noted.


  • IME 618 - International Human Rights Law for Educators (3)
  • IME 620 - Human Rights Education: Pedagogy and Praxis (3)
  • IME 621 - Human Rights Education: History, Philosophy and Current Debates (3)
  • IME 616 - Social Movements and Human Rights (3)
  • IME 617 - Tools for Human Rights Practice (3)
  • IME 619 - Gender and Globalization (3)
  • IME 640 - Immigration and Forced Displacement (3)


  • IME 602 - Linguistic Rights and Bilingual Education (3)
  • IME 605 - Re-conceptualizing Multicultural Education (3)
  • IME 606 - Critical Analysis of Urban Schooling (3)
  • IME 612 - Critical Race Theory and Praxis (3)
  • IME 625 - Contemporary International Issues (3)
  • IME 636 - Human Rights and Media (3)
  • IME 637 - Critical Pedagogy (3)
  • IME 639 - Cross-Cultural Literacy (3)


  • GEDU 603 - Methodology of Educational Research (3)
  • IME 649 - MA Thesis/Field Project (3)

Learning Outcomes

The Human Rights Education Program Learning Outcomes:

The goal of the HRE program is to develop professional practitioners with expertise in the following key areas:

  • Conceptual knowledge: including human rights education, globalization and migration, peace and conflict in education, cross-cultural competency, and global citizenship.
  • Theoretical knowledge: including critical social theory, critical pedagogy, multicultural theory, critical race theory, feminist critical theory.
  • Application skills: analysis, synthesis, and evaluation skills for teaching and research, program/policy development and administration, and local/global social justice/human rights activism.
  • Methodological tools based on qualitative research such as the collection of oral histories, designing participatory research and data analysis.


The HRE program is designed to enable students, upon graduation, to:

  • Use theory as a lens for thinking critically about social inequities in local/global contexts.
  • Critically engage with scholarly literature.
  • Be skillful in applying research-based educational and training practices.
  • Use a wide range of instructional materials, approaches, and methods for learners at different stages of development and from differing cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
  • Use a wide range of assessment tools, including informal/formal, individual/group, formative/summative instruments.
  • Design, implement and assess K-12, post-secondary, and community-based education and training programs focused on human rights, social justice, and/or multicultural education.


Graduates of the Human Rights Education MA program are educators and activists who work in a variety of settings.

Examples of career options include:

  • Non-governmental organizations or schools in the U.S. or internationally.
  • Work with immigrants or refugees in the U.S. in some capacity (teacher, youth development worker, after-school educator).
  • Work in curriculum development or program design for global education programs.
  • Work in policy settings such as state or national departments of education.
  • Work in agencies like UNICEF, Save the Children, CARE, etc.


  • A youth development worker with a non-profit serving homeless youth.
  • A curriculum designer and trainer for an immigrant rights organization.
  • A Fulbright recipient.
  • A community organizer with low-income communities.
  • A faculty member at a community college teaching 'Peace and Human Rights'.
  • An educator of immigrant and refugee youth.
  • A study abroad coordinator for undergraduate students.
Last updated Jun 2018

About the School

The School of Education celebrates four decades of involved teachers, devoted leaders and caring counselors. Our faculty and students are scholars and social justice advocates engaged within the diver ... Read More

The School of Education celebrates four decades of involved teachers, devoted leaders and caring counselors. Our faculty and students are scholars and social justice advocates engaged within the diverse San Francisco Bay area and beyond. Read less
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