Postgraduate Courses - Human Rights and Development
LLM Human Rights and Development
The Aberystwyth LLM course in Human Rights and Development is your opportunity to gain a thorough understanding of the law in relation to development, rights, governance and justice issues. You will tackle both the letter of the law and its many applications in a wider range of humanitarian and development case studies, whilst also developing your broader skills in legal analysis and research. This balanced approach will equip you to deal with the authentic negotiation that goes on the law itself and the challenges of applying it to real life.
You will study some of the most pressing legal issues of the day which impact the health, security and freedoms of billions of people around the world. Subjects will include human rights law, democracy and international law, and environmental law in relation to human rights. The course will be particularly attractive to those seeking a career in humanitarian and human rights advocacy, business organisations, international law firms and a range of government and non-governmental organisations.
Every course at Aberystwyth offers a programme of study that will push you to extend your expertise whilst broadening your general employability. You will emerge from this LLM degree with both cutting-edge subject expertise and a proven record in academic research, analysis, reporting, argument-construction and critical thinking. These combined traits will make you a highly attractive prospect for a range of potential employers.
One year full-time. The academic year (September to September) is
divided into three semesters: September to January; January to June;
June to September.
Assessment takes the form of; research proposals including a
related bibliographic element, case studies, oral assessments and
essays. Each student will complete a Master’s dissertation of 15,000 to
20,000 words which deals with an area of chosen study in the third
An Honours Degree 2:2 (minimum). Degrees in law, the social
sciences, or other similar subjects are preferred. Those from other
disciplines or with suitable professional experience will be considered
on an individual basis.
Equivalent international qualifications are acceptable especially if
ECTS evidence is available. Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) and/or
Accreditation of Experiential Prior Learning (APEL) are considered on
an individual basis according to current University Regulations.
English Language Requirements:
If you have a Bachelor’s degree from a UK University, you do not need to take an English proficiency test.
Non-native English speakers who do not meet this requirement must
take a University-recognised test of academic English language
proficiency. For further information please see our English Language requirements page.
Please see the tuition fee pages for current tuition fees. Please note that all fees are subject to an annual increase.
Funding opportunities may be available, please check our funding calculator for details.
The LLM in Human Rights and Development provides a comprehensive overview of human rights law and how it works in the field of development. The course balances the theory with the urgently practical – for example, combining the necessarily comprehensive detail of human rights legislation with the complex reality of situations of extreme poverty or oppression. You will also examine the increasingly important link between environmental law and its impact on human rights – how and when the laws align or come into conflict over the protection of these two important issues.
Beyond the critical subject matter found in the core modules, you will enjoy a degree of freedom in directing your own study path through the choice of option modules. In addition, you will explore the subject-specialism of your choice by researching and writing your Master's dissertation. This is your opportunity to select a project topic which has a direct bearing on your professional life and our previous LLM students have found this to be an invaluable opportunity to establish a successful career.
As a student at Aberystwyth, you will be taught by staff who participate in the national and international debates and policy-making in legal, criminological and other related fields. Under their personal tutelage, you will develop your rigorous analytical skills, your abilities in presenting clear and focused arguments and your capacity for independent thought. You will also benefit from their subject-specific expertise that is borne of dynamic hands-on research.
The Department of Law and Criminology recently participated in the Research Excellence Framework (2014) assessment. It found that 96.5% of publications submitted were of of an internationally recognised standard and that 98% of research activity in the department was rated as internationally recognised.
Department of Law and Criminology lecturers are mostly either qualified to PHD level or have professional experience and qualifications as practicing lawyers. Many staff also have a PGCE (Higher Education).
Welsh medium modules available
Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.
Year 1 Core (80 Credits) Students must take the following modules:
If you want to gain a comprehensive introduction to and advanced exposition of human rights and development law
If you wish to study an area of law with urgent contemporary significance and practical relevance
If you wish to nurture a legal career within government, non-governmental or corporate structures
If you desire skills highly sought-after in any postgraduate workplace
Every course at Aberystwyth University is designed to enhance your vocational and general employability. Your LLM will place you in the jobs market as a rigorous legal professional armed with impressive expertise in the latest legal developments in the field of Human Rights and Development. In addition, this course will help you to master key skills that are required in almost every postgraduate workplace. You will be pushed to improve your approaches to planning, analysis and presentation so that you can tackle complex projects thoroughly and with professional independence, making you a highly-desirable candidate for a career in government, non-governmental and corporate contexts alike.
You will learn to quickly assemble, assimilate and interpret a wealth of legal data regarding Human Rights and Development, and you will refine your professional practices by engagement with multiple case studies. You will learn how to deploy your knowledge to assert your expertise and build your legal case. These skills in analysis and discourse, supported by your mastery of rigorous methodologies, will stand you in good stead for any professional workplace.
Self-Motivation and discipline
Studying at LLM level requires discipline and self-motivation from every candidate. Though you will have access to the expertise and helpful guidance of departmental staff, you are ultimately responsible for devising and completing a sustained programme of scholarly research in pursuit of your Master’s degree. This process will strengthen your skills as an independent and self-sufficient worker, a trait prized by most employers.
The LLM programme is designed to give you a range of transferable skills that you can apply in a variety of employment contexts. Upon graduation, you will have proven your abilities in structuring and communicating ideas efficiently, writing for and speaking to a range of audiences, evaluating and organizing information, working effectively with others and working within time frames and to specific deadlines.
How to Apply
Postgraduate applicants can submit their application either on-line or off-line. Please see our How to Apply page for further information.