• Total units 48 Units
  • Areas of interest Human Rights
  • Major code HMRT-MAJ
  • Academic career Undergraduate

Courses in this Major address the human rights discipline in both theory and practice. Completion of this Major will equip students with an understanding of key issues relating to the study of human rights as a discipline, such as:

•The political, philosophical and historical development of ideas concerning human rights

•The emergence and role of human rights in international relations

•The interplay between human rights theory, law and practice

•Key contemporary theoretical debates on human rights

•The relationship between human rights and concepts such as social justice and equity

•The application of human rights theory in practice, such as:

- Issues around the implementation and enforcement of human rights standards

- Questions on the best mechanisms for dealing with human rights violations

- Human rights advocacy and social movements in the international system

•Contemporary case studies and issues


The Major is constructed so that the compulsory courses provide students with a robust understanding of political, legal, historical and philosophical origins and contemporary realities of the human rights field. When selecting their core courses to complete the Major, students then have a choice between selecting a pathway that will enable them to focus on a particular area of human rights (such as Indigenous rights, gender and human rights, human rights in political philosophy and the historical emergence of ideas of rights) or to select a range of courses that will enable them a broad expertise in various human rights issues (such as key contemporary issues, human rights and development, human rights in international relations).

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the Human Rights Major students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  • Identify, discuss and analyze the key moments, issues and debates in the emergenceof the contested concept of ‘human rights’
  • Identify and appraise the differing applications of human rights in theory, law andpractice
  • Explain and assess the major contemporary theoretical debates within the humanrights discourse
  • Recognize and assess the intersection between theories of human rights and theapplication of human rights standards in practice

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This major requires the completion of 48 units, which must include:

A minimum of 6 units must come from completion of courses from the following list:

Code Title Units
PHIL1004 Fundamental Ideas in Philosophy: An Introduction 6
POLS1005 Introduction to International Relations: Foundations and Concepts 6
POLS1006 Introduction to International Relations: Contemporary Global Issues 6

18 units from completion of the following course(s):

Code Title Units
LAWS2225 International Law of Human Rights 6
POLS2113 Human Rights in International Relations 6
POLS3028 Researching and Writing Human Rights 6

A maximum of 24 units may come from completion of courses from the following list:

Code Title Units
ANTH2025 Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective 6
ANTH2009 Culture and Development 6
ANTH2129 Crossing Borders: Diasporas and Transnationalism 6
ASIA1021 Understanding War and Conflict 6
ASIA1022 Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution 6
ASIA2047 Human Security: Conflict, Displacement and Peace Building 6
ASIA2053 Civil Wars and Civil Peace 6
ASIA2081 Human Rights in Southeast Asia 6
ENGL2082 Literature and Human Rights 6
GEND2021 Trauma, Memory and Culture 6
HIST2022 Indigenous Australian History 6
HIST2133 Human Variations and Racism in Western Culture, c. 1450-1950 6
HIST2223 The French Revolution and Napoleon 6
HIST2224 Colonialism, Sex, Race and Gender: Historical Episodes 6
HIST2226 Nazi Germany 6
HIST2228 Enlightenment Worlds 6
HIST2232 Crime and Justice: Historical Dilemmas 6
INDG3001 Public policy development and implementation and Indigenous Australians 6
INDG3002 Indigenous Peoples and Development 6
LAWS2271 Refugee Law 6
PHIL2020 Theories of Social Justice 6
PHIL2065 Politics and Rights 6
PHIL2111 Global Citizens 6
PHIL2113 Global Justice 6
POLS2085 Gendered Politics of War 6
POLS2011 Development and Change 6
POLS2063 Contemporary Political Theory 6
POLS2064 Global Social Movements 6
POLS2096 Genocide Studies 6
POLS2099 Cartographies of Security: Critical Security Studies and International Politics 6
POLS2100 Genocide - Post 1945 6
POLS2101 Refugee Politics: Displacement and Exclusion in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries 6
POLS2109 The Politics of Empire 6
POLS2119 Ideas in Politics 6
  POLS 2115: Revolution!
POLS2123 Peace and Conflict Studies 6
SOCY2157 Surveillance and Society 6
SOCY2030 Sociology of Third World Development 6
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