Master of Arts in Human Rights

No philosophical idea has had a more profound impact on international relations and world politics than human rights. Within half a century since World War II and the Holocaust, human rights developed into the only universally accepted value system of our times. The recognition of states as democratic, developed and peace-loving nations today depends on their capacity and willingness to protect human rights. Long-term dictators and brutal military rulers are increasingly being ousted and held accountable for gross and systematic violations of human rights before international criminal tribunals. Even business corporations and international organisations are judged by their human rights performance. In post-conflict situations and transitions from totalitarian to democratic rule, human rights constitute an essential element of peace-building, development and good governance. Human rights open the doors to a better world for all.

The implementation of human rights in rich and poor countries, in peace operations, development projects, transition and post-conflict situations requires highly motivated and skilled human rights experts with empathy for human beings.

With our newly designed Master of Arts in Human Rights, the University of Vienna offers you the unique opportunity to study human rights in an international, trans-disciplinary and practice-oriented environment.

Aims and objectives

We aim at providing you with the scientific knowledge and the practical skills to work as a human rights expert in different professional environments.

Target group

We welcome students with at least a bachelor degree in a broad variety of academic disciplines from all world regions, with an open mind, empathy for human beings and a strong interest to experience the fascinating world of human rights.


We provide you with an innovative and interdisciplinary approach to human rights, with a strong emphasis on practice. Since we keep the number of students small, supervision is very personal so you get the most out of the programme. Your interests are taken very seriously - you have the opportunity to determine certain contents of your courses.


We offer you a broad variety of courses taught by university professors and academic lecturers from various disciplines as well as human rights practitioners working in international organisations, human rights institutes, the corporate sector, development agencies and civil society organisations.

Field trip

We provide you with an enlightening and memorable field experience in the post-conflict situation in Kosovo, where the UN, the OSCE, the EU, NATO and other international organisations are jointly operating an international administration with a strong human rights mandate. The trip will last for one week where you stay with a local family and get the opportunity to have lively discussions about Kosovo's human rights issues with international actors, national human rights institutions, NGOs, media, universities and politicians.

Job opportunities

We will train you for a career as a human rights expert to be employed by governments, international organisations, development agencies, business corporations, research institutes and civil society organisations. You might work as an election observer, an officer for human rights monitoring and capacity building in the field, diplomat, trainer, mediator, consultant, researcher etc.

Overview of the Modules

This interdisciplinary and practice-oriented postgraduate programme comprises of 9 obligatory modules (88 ECTS), a Master thesis (30 ECTS) and a thesis defence (2 ECTS), adding up to 120 ECTS in total.

a) Introduction to Human Rights from an Interdisciplinary Perspective (7 ECTS)

b) International and Regional Human Rights Systems (16 ECTS)

c) Current Human Rights Issues from an Interdisciplinary Perspective (21 ECTS)

d) Selected Human Rights and Human Rights of Specific Groups (10 ECTS)

e) Practical Human Rights Skills (6 ECTS)

f) Scientific Competence (5 ECTS)

g) Internship Related Courses (30 ECTS)

Eligibility Criteria

The number of places on the course is limited. Admission to the course is based on availability, timely application, qualifications of the applicant and is also subject to the general admission requirements of the University of Vienna. After successful admission to the course, students must enrol at the University of Vienna within the scheduled dates.

In addition to these formal admission requirements ranking is based on candidates meeting the following criteria:

1. Candidates must hold at least a bachelor degree (180 ECTS) of any discipline. Persons without any academic degree need to prove five years of working experience in a field related to human rights.
2. Those who do not have English as their first language or who did not graduate from an English language programme must include evidence of English language proficiency (e.g. TOEFL or IELTS – see below).
3. Experience in the human rights field is not compulsory, but an asset


Applicants have to complete the application form. Please fill in the application form, print it out, and return it together with the following documents:

1. Letter of motivation

2. CV

3. Academic transcripts including final grades (all transcripts/translations either in German, English or French)

4. Copy of your University diploma OR proof of relevant work experience (5 years)

5. Copy of passport

6. Excerpt of a few pages of an English paper (max. 10 pages)

7. Proof of English language proficiency (for non-native speakers who did not graduate from an English-language programme).

Optional: letter(s) of recommendation, housing form if you wish to book housing through our programme.

Applications must include the application forms and the necessary supporting documentation and can be submitted by email, fax, or post.

Language Proficiency

All classes will be taught in English.

All non-native speakers must demonstrate their English proficiency with:

  • A test result in the International English Testing System (IELTS, 6.5 pt minimum)


  • A Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), internet based test 100pt minimum, with the following minimum section requirements: Reading: 20, Listening: 20, Speaking: 20, Writing: 20

Students with a first or second degree with the English language as a medium of instruction do not have to submit a TOEFL or IELTS test report, but need a statement from their university that their education language was in English.

Application Deadline

05 March 2018

Course Fees

The tuition for the Vienna Master of Arts in Human Rights of EUR 20,600 covers both years. The tuition is not subject to VAT. Any money transfer fees for the tuition must be covered by the student.

Travel, accommodation, subsistence expenses and health insurance are not covered by the tuition fee.

Program taught in:
  • English
Last updated March 13, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 2019
4 semesters
20,600 EUR
By locations
By date
Start Date
Sep 2019
End Date
Sep 30, 2021
Application deadline

Sep 2019

Application deadline
End Date
Sep 30, 2021