Course Facts How is the programme structured?

Bachelor of Arts with
Human Rights
Find out more
College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies
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f + 353 91 495 508 [email protected]
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Course Facts
How is the programme structured?
CAO Code: GY113
Course Level: 8
Duration: 4 years
The BA with Human Rights is unique in several respects: it is the only
undergraduate course of its kind in Ireland as until now human rights
qualifications have only been offered at Masters or PhD levels; it is a transdisciplinary programme which allows students to combine specialist study in
human rights law and theory with general Arts subjects; and it is a four-year
programme which includes an obligatory period of work placement in third
year, allowing students to experience the reality of a career in the field of human
rights. In addition to the specialism in human rights, three subjects are taken
in First Arts from the 20 subjects on offer. Subjects are organised in seven
timetable groups and not more than one subject may be taken from any one
group. In second year, two of the subjects chosen at First Arts plus Human
Rights are studied. In third year, through the work placement with a human
rights organisation, the student will pursue a full year of study relating to this
specialism. In fourth year, students complete their studies in their two degree
subjects, and will normally incorporate in their final projects knowledge gained
in their study of human rights in the previous three years.
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
Garda Vetting Requirements
Minimum Entry Points 2012:425
Average intake: 15
Course Outline
The Bachelor of Arts with Human Rights is an exciting four- year degree course
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 course of its kind in the Republic
of Ireland, thus allowing undergraduates to specialise in a field that was previously
reserved to postgraduate study. The course 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 the National University of Ireland, 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.
What is the BA with Human Rights
programme about?
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 but 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 programme is an innovative four-year degree course
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.
What, in particular, will I be studying while doing
the Human Rights programme?
The course examines a range of issues that have been brought into human
rights doctrine and discourse. Students are introduced to the basic
principles of non-discrimination, equality and human dignity. The course
offers 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 Organisations (NGOs). .
What subject choices will I have while specialising
in Human Rights?
The specialism Human Rights will be delivered in the timetable of Arts subject
group 2, and may therefore not be studied together with the subjects Legal
Studies, Psychology/Psychological Studies or Celtic Civilisation. Please refer
to the subject groupings page.
What further education options can I expect
to have?
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.
What career opportunities are offered by being
awarded a BA with Human Rights?
The degree will provide an excellent foundation for many types of career,
including working in public administration, journalism, community work,
management, development agencies and international organisations.
* For the implications of studying a modern European language please see paragraph titled “Requirements on choosing a Modern Language” on page 3
Course Outline:
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 course 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 organisations (NGOs). Students will further
participate in weekly class discussions on current human rights
Year Two
A more thematic approach to human rights analysis is adopted in
the second year of the course 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 others in specific situations. The second year of
the course 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 2 after a series of lectures and
research during semester 1.
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
What students say
“The Human Rights programme in NUIG offers
students the opportunity to study a dynamic, fascinating
field in conjunction with the internationally renowned
Irish Centre for Human Rights. The course is taught by
passionate, experienced instructors and combines theory
and practical application seamlessly. For those interested
in adding a legal element to their traditional arts degree
this course could be a perfect fit!”
David Kilgannon, BA with Human Rights