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Human Rights and Social Justice BA(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code Year of entry
3 years full time LL29 2019
2020
4 years full time including sandwich year LL92 2019
2020
4 years full time including foundation year L2L9 2019
2020
6 years part time Apply direct to the University 2019
2020

Why choose this course?

What are human rights? Why have human rights changed in history? Can justice be different between cultures?

This course is taught in collaboration with Kingston University's new Research Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice Practice. You will engage with current issues as a researcher, activist, campaigner and blogger, under the supervision of human rights and social justice specialists at the centre.

The focus on practical projects will develop your skills in research, analysis, critical reflection and political communication. The course has flexible modules so you can study a combination of politics, criminology,  sociology, history and economics to suit your own areas of interests.

Kingston's proximity to central London enables you to participate in lectures, workshops, talks and political events in the capital and expand your knowledge beyond the classroom.

Graduates from human rights courses in our department have pursued careers in campaign groups, human rights organisations, the civil service, consultancies, media, or continued with postgraduate study.

Watch this video to find out what our students have to say about studying at Kingston University:

What you will study

This course enables you to explore global human rights issues, and to examine how they can be enforced and defended. The curriculum is organised into three broad streams: the history of human rights, understanding human rights, and achieving human rights.

In Year 1, you will study conceptions of human rights across historical and modern contexts, such as the abolition of slavery, the position of women, and the War on Terror. You will assess the practice of human rights organisations, and begin to evaluate tactics for the achievement of human rights.

In Year 2, your choice of topics is flexible. You will consider the concepts of freedom, development and equality, and analyse human rights enforcement. You will apply your knowledge to a range of social, political and economic contexts, such as the Holocaust, Africa, the Middle East or Latin America. You will also have the option to study abroad in Europe, North America or Australia.

Year 3 engages with economic, social and cultural rights, considering armed conflict and other political events. You will undertake an advanced research project on a topic of interest and receive training in research skills. The project culminates with a presentation at our annual student conference.

Foundation year Social Sciences

You can also study this course with a Foundation year. Find out more >

Module listing

The course has flexible modules so you can study a combination of politics, criminology, sociology and economics to suit your own areas of interest.

Year 1

  • This module is core for students doing Politics or International Relations full fields and Human Rights as a half-field (either internal or external). It can be taken as an option by some students in related fields who are interested in learning about human rights. The module outlines the central themes in the history and evolution of human rights and introduces students to theoretical debates within the field. Through case studies of particular forms of human rights violations, it evaluates the political and legal structures in place to address these violations and assesses the degrees of success human rights actors have with enforcement. Over the spectrum of international, regional and local institutions and mechanisms, this module explores a range of organisations working within the field of human rights and looks at how they operate. This module embeds employability skills relevant to the field of human rights by providing students with the opportunity to apply their conceptual knowledge to practical situations designed to simulate working for human rights organisations. As an introduction to the subject, this module looks at the relationship between theory and practice within the field of human rights, and uncovers the challenges faced in defending, protecting and promoting human rights in the 21st century.

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  • This module provides students with an introduction to foundational concepts in the study of international relations and significant issues in contemporary international politics through which these concepts can be understood and interpreted.  The module is designed to help students to reconcile the more abstract concepts that frame the academic study of international relations, with the empirical issues they may more familiar with from news media and their day-to-day engagement with international politics.  The module is designed to provide a foundation for the study of international relations theory at Level 5 and to help students develop skills in academic writing, researching and writing a report for a non-specialist audience.

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  • This module for first year undergraduates in the Department of Politics is designed to support them in adjusting to higher education studies. It contains four main components which are meant to work together towards this goal:

    1. Study and research skills section;

    2. Substantive section on political ideologies and revolution;

    3. Personal tutorship scheme;

    4. Academic peer mentor scheme.

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  • This module is core for all students following the BA in Human Rights and Social Justice pathway. Offering tools for critical thinking through both shared practice and discussion of our experience, we practice skills developed both in the academy and through the experience of movements for justice to combine a respect for difference and practical wisdom with creative and critical reflection. Focusing upon problems of social justice from the local to the global, as well as the social movements that articulate and challenge these issues, the module is designed to introduce students to the idea that another world is possible only if another knowledge is possible, believing that there can be no global social justice without global cognitive justice; in other words, justice for whom? Who decides?  With particular focus upon structural drivers of inequalities around race, gender and class, but also interrogating other forms of oppression, through study, we move towards self-actualization and then solidarity as we come together as a learning community.

     

Year 2

  • This module is a core requirement for students taking Human Rights at level 5, and can also be taken as an option by students in related fields. The module introduces the contested and evolving relationships between the theory and practice of securing human rights.

    It starts with an overview of key frameworks and mechanisms designed to secure rights at the international, regional and domestic levels.  A central feature of the module is to introduce key critical themes, from which issues can be dissected and analysed through a range of contemporary and international case-studies.

    Themes may include:

    • Human Rights, Security and Forced Migration', which analyses the way in which the issue of forced migration brings together a variety of legal, political and security debates.
    • The Politics of Human Rights in Development', which examines the recent convergence of the fields of human rights and development (inclusive of ‘the right to development' and the proliferation of ‘rights-based approaches to development').
    • Rights in the aftermath? Truth, Justice and Reconciliation', which examines the globalization of transitional justice discourses and the propagation of different mechanisms (ranging from International Criminal Tribunals, to national truth commissions, to local justice initiatives).
    • And, ‘Indigenous Peoples, Rights and Beyond' that engages with central issues surrounding indigenous peoples' claims, whilst also probing the gravity of particular contested issues (such as ‘the right to self-determination' and broader ‘sovereignty' challenges).

    The module concludes by asking: what is the future for human rights? 

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  • ‘Development' is a troublesome term. While the notion of development as a discrete project for improving human well-being emerged in the aftermath of World War II, the notion of making planned interventions towards ‘social progress' and the ‘greater good' arose much earlier, in step with the global system itself. Whilst the post-war development project seems now to be in jeopardy, there is still little consensus over what development actually is: whether it is a ‘one size fits all' measure of progress, or whether more than one path is possible, and desirable; whether development as a project is meant to include everybody or whether it necessarily involves ‘winners and losers'; what scale and conception of society and economy we're talking about; how current projects relate to more long-standing processes and structures that gave rise to the global system; and whether in fact development goals (however defined) should intersect with an ethics of social justice, equity and equality, and anti-oppression.

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Year 3

  • This module is the 'capstone' module for all half-field Politics, International Relations or Human Rights students. Working in small groups, students will be provided with the skills and support necessary to embark upon, complete and present a final year research project. The initial focus of the module will be on small groups of students working to familiarise themselves with an area of staff research expertise, under close supervision of that subject matter expert. This will be made possible through the establishment of a range of staff-led, research-orientated 'reading groups', to which students will sign up. During the first half of the module, students will also receive training in project design and implementation, to complement and consolidate the research methods training received at Levels 4 and 5. The research skills and foundational subject knowledge acquired in the first part of the module will allow students to embark upon their own research project as the year progresses. Individual projects will reflect student interests and desired focus, but will remain embedded within one of the areas of Politics, International Relations and/or Human Rights offered by staff as an initial 'reading group'. The student-led research projects will be presented at the end of the year in an undergraduate academic conference: Themes and Issues in Politics, International Relations and Human Rights.

    Read full module description

     
  • This module is the 'capstone' module for full-field Politics and International Relations students. Working in small groups, students will be provided with the skills and support necessary to embark upon, complete and present a final year research project. The initial focus of the module will be on small groups of students working to familiarise themselves with an area of staff research expertise, under close supervision of that subject matter expert. This will be made possible through the establishment of a range of staff-led, research-orientated 'reading groups', to which students will sign up. During the first half of the module, students will also receive training in project design and implementation, to complement and consolidate the research methods training received at Levels 4 and 5. The research skills and foundational subject knowledge acquired in the first part of the module will allow students to embark upon their own research project as the year progresses. Individual projects will reflect student interests and desired focus, but will remain embedded within one of the areas of Politics, International Relations and/or Human Rights offered by staff as an initial 'reading group'. The student-led research projects will be presented at the end of the year in an undergraduate academic conference: Themes and Issues in Politics, International Relations and Human Rights.

    Read full module description

     

You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Most of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's Study Abroad or Erasmus programme.

Find out more about where you can study abroad:

If you are considering studying abroad, read what our students say about their experiences.

Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

Contact our admissions team

Submit an enquiry

020 3308 9929*

*Calls cost 7p per minute from a UK landline plus your phone company's access charge. Calls to this number from mobiles are normally deductible from your inclusive minutes.

Location

This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps

Contact our admissions team

Submit an enquiry

020 3308 9929*

*Calls cost 7p per minute from a UK landline plus your phone company's access charge. Calls to this number from mobiles are normally deductible from your inclusive minutes.

Location

This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps
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