Dr Andrew Fagan, Director, Human Rights Centre
The Human Rights Centre, here at the University of Essex enjoys a global reputation for our world leading undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses. We offer a wide range of courses, including our multidisciplinary MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights.
We established our MA in 1991. Last year was its 20th anniversary! Over the past 20 years, hundreds of students have successfully graduated from the MA. Many of the MA alumni proceeded to secure successful careers in various different sectors of the global human rights community. Other alumni opted for academic careers. In some cases, our MA alumni established similar multidisciplinary human rights Masters’ courses in other Universities.
We thought that the best way of celebrating the 20th anniversary of our MA was to undertake a thorough make-over, so as to provide today’s generation of human rights students with an exciting set of new opportunities and options. In October 2021, the first phase of this make-over of the MA was revealed. While still retaining the course title, students on the MA now have an opportunity to specialise in one of several different and distinct pathways.
We have retained a generic pathway for those who don’t wish to specialise at this stage of their academic career. For those who do, we have created pathways in Human Rights, Cultural Diversity and Global Challenges; Human Rights, Gender, Race and Identity; and Human Rights, Social Change and Social Justice. Each of these pathways comprises core components and a wide range of optional modules taught by human rights experts across the University. Each of these pathways provide our students with a more effective and coherent basis for engaging with key contemporary challenges and issues.
We are presently working on phase two of our makeover of the MA. Specifically, we plan to introduce two further MA pathways in the areas of Human Rights and the Arts, and Human Rights, Global Warming and Climate Change. Each of these two new pathways will offer exciting opportunities for new cohorts of human rights students.
We are extremely proud of the reputation the Essex Human Rights Centre has developed over several decades. We are delighted (and flattered) that our courses provide a model for others to follow. A significant aspect of the success of the Human Rights Centre is our talent for innovating in the face of an ever-changing world. The pathways model of the MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights provides the latest example of our innovative and path-breaking approach to human rights education.