1 year full time, 2 years part time
Starts September 2017

Human Rights

Sussex is a world leader in the study of human rights. You’ll be taught by experts in the fields of anthropology, international relations, law and geography.

You have the opportunity to pursue your interests, exploring human rights in relation to women, children, migrants, minorities, fair trade, the environment and international crimes. You’ll strengthen your analytical, research and presentation abilities, and gain specialist knowledge.

If you already have experience in the field of human rights, this course is an opportunity to reflect on that experience and develop new research skills. If you're new to the field, the dissertation with placement is an invaluable opportunity to prepare for a career in this area.

Key facts

  • Development Studies at Sussex was ranked 1st in the world in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017.
  • Global Studies is a unique interdisciplinary school, with a vibrant mix of students and practitioners from around the world working on cutting-edge research.
  • We have a distinctive programme of guest lectures, as well as access to research placements with our worldwide alumni network and partner organisations.

How will I study?

You will study through taught modules. There are two core modules in the autumn term. In the spring term, you choose two options from a list, allowing you to shape your degree to your own interests. You will:

  • address key debates in the field
  • compare positions within historical and contemporary forms of human rights
  • identify and assess current international
    human rights regimes
  • apply human rights to broader concerns.

There is also a module taught through workshops that prepares you for your dissertation. You will be assessed via term papers. Your final assessment will be a dissertation, or dissertation with a placement.


You can apply to take a placement with this course. On placement, you gain work experience related to your subject and practical skills in preparation for a professional career. Research placements run for up to 12 weeks in the summer term and vacation. You can also write your dissertation based on your experience.

The School of Global Studies and the Careers and Employability Centre will help you with your applications.

Find out more about Global Studies postgraduate placements

Recent dissertation titles

The depoliticisation of homelessness: spaces of care and resistance in a voluntary homelessness organisation in Brighton

In sickness and in health: the relevance of HIV healthcare strategies in securing the rights of marginalised communities

Self-serving or self-effacing? An analysis of the Zimbabwe-UK diaspora's role in human rights advocacy

Full-time and part-time study

You can choose to study this course full time or part time. Find the modules for the full-time course below. 

For details about the part-time course structure, contact us at

What will I study?

  • Module list

    Core modules

    Core modules are taken by all students on the course. They give you a solid grounding in your chosen subject and prepare you to explore the topics that interest you most.

    • Human Rights and the Politics of Culture

      30 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      The module will introduce you to debates in 'the politics of difference' as they relate to human rights. We begin by examining the genealogy of the concept of culture in the 20th century and look at the diverse political uses to which it has been put, from being part of the discourse of the European far-right to granting greater rights for minorities that were previously politically marginalised. We consider the cultural relativist challenge to universal human rights which asserts the distinctiveness of each 'culture' and that universal human rights instruments are, therefore, inappropriate. We then assess the view that globalisation in general, and especially the globalisation of a human rights discourse, means that relativist views of societal distinctiveness no longer hold in an increasingly interconnected world. Subsequent weeks are concerned with specific instances of rights and difference, including minority rights, indigenous rights and women's human rights. We conclude by returning to the liberal tradition to ask whether or not revised forms of liberalism ('multiculturalism') can provide the answer to the problem of difference in modern societies.

    • Liberalism, Modernity and Globalisation

      30 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      Human rights are considered by many to be the core element of modern liberalism. It is certainly the case that there has been a significant growth of rights claimed and granted since the 17th century. In this module we shall explore the role of rights in the emergence of modern liberalism, consider its development and transformation and analyse the relationship between rights and other important components of the liberal conception of the good life such as democracy, liberty, equality, justice, the rule of law and self-determination. In the last part of the module we shall look into the problematic of globalisation and consider whether the process of internationalisation of rights, which has been very much part of this process, has significantly affected both the nature of rights and the nature of the international order. 

      In our study we shall try to locate the thought and discourse of human rights within its historical context and pay particular attention to the link between human rights discourse and social struggles. We shall try to establish what are the potentialities of human rights for generating social change and for that purpose we shall analyse not just the emancipatory and transformatory potentialities of human rights, but also their usage in enhancing the power of the already powerful, including the various institutions of the modern state. Thus it will be important to look at the most powerful critiques of human rights and consider not just what rights can achieve but also what are their limitations.

    • Research Methods and Professional Skills (Int Dev)

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module provides you with training in social science research methods (generic as well as specific to your dissertation research) as well as with a set of professional skills that prepare you for a professional career. The module is run as a series of half-day workshops from which you select three workshops to match your specific needs depending on disciplinary orientation, previous training and experience, future employment plans and personal interests. The workshops will cover a wide range of topics. The social research methods workshops will include interviewing, ethnographic methods, participatory research techniques and questionnaire design. The professional skills workshops will include, for example, stakeholder engagement, sustainable livelihoods analysis, environmental impact assessment, project planning and private sector consulting. The professional skills will also help to prepare you if you plan to take a work placement over the summer. As part of the module, you will also receive a workshop on dissertation planning and design.

    • Dissertation (Human Rights)

      45 credits
      Summer Teaching, Year 1

      This module provides you with the opportunity to complete under expert supervision a dissertation on a topic of your choosing relevant to the programme themes. The subject will be chosen in consultation with the Programme Convenor. You will embark on preparation of the dissertation following completion of the Research Methods and Professional Skills module and submission of a research outline. A desk-based or original empirical study will be undertaken, enabling you to pursue an in-depth research on an aspect of human rights.


    Alongside your core modules, you can choose options to broaden your horizons and tailor your course to your interests.

    • Activism for Development and Social Justice

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      On this module, you will address the ways in which activists and activism have sought to engage in development and social justice. You'll explore and evaluate different approaches to activism, grounding this in theories of social mobilisation and citizenship, and will work through a series of practical examples, drawing on empirical material produced by anthropologists and others, to explore how activism has been used to address issues of development and social justice. In doing so, you will seek to build on the material introduced in previous terms on theories of social change and approaches to development and social justice, to explore how different kinds of activisms seek to bring about change.

      The module will explore the contributions that imaginative, insurgent, disruptive and chaotic forms of social action have to make to development, and will cover a range of forms of collective action from the use of petitions and lobbying of representatives, to the use of the arts in "interrupting" everyday life to bring some of its elements into question, to mobilisation for protests and peaceful demonstrations, to non-violent direct action and info-activism.

    • America in the World: Race, Coloniality and Knowledge

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The module explores transnational, postcolonial and decolonial approaches in international political theory with a focus on American politics. We will examine (ongoing) histories of US state-formation and the operations of US politics across a wide range of sites, actors, processes and institutions.

      Tracing the making of the American nation within a complex array of transnational relations and circuits of social power, the module offers students a sustained engagement with a range of theoretical perspectives that foreground the coloniality and raciality of power. These works challenge the neat division of the world into ‘the West and the Rest’ (Hall 1992) and emphasize the mutually constitutive relations between metropoles/colonies in the formation of modernity both materially and ideationally.

      Central to these approaches are the ‘geopolitics of knowledge’ (Dussel 1977) and the concomitant question how to ‘decolonize’ our epistemological frameworks.

      You will be introduced to a range of decolonial thinkers, including W.E.B. Du Bois, Aimée Césaire, Frantz Fanon, Edward Said, Sylvia Wynter, Hortense Spillers, Enrique Dussel, Aníbal Quijano, Andrea Smith, Frank Wilderson III and Saidiya Hartman.

    • Anthropologies of Food

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

    • Anthropology of Childhood

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      Anthropologists have taken children's lives into account from the early stages of the discipline, as visible in the works of, for example, Mead and Malinowski.

      These accounts, however, were often based on adult's views on children. More recently, anthropological interest has shifted from these socially constructed and symbolic understandings of childhood to an engagement with children's own perspectives and practices (James and Prout 1990).

      These approaches assume the centrality of children as actors, rather than passive beings who are being acted on; children are seen as complete humans, rather than as deficient adults-to-be.

      This perspective has enabled a wealth of cross-cultural, ethnographic studies to emerge, describing ideas and practices surrounding children and childhood. These include key events of the life course, such as birth and death, but also a focus on how children are shaped by, and actively shape, their social environments, such as families and peers, educational institutions and religious communities.

      Key themes address children in the context of play and labour, children's bodies, spaces and mobilities, as well as their experiences of, and responses to violence.

      In this module, you gain an overview of anthropological engagements with childhood, both historically and including its more recent methodological innovations. Broader theoretical discussions are complemented by in-depth ethnographic material from cultures and societies across the globe.

      The module covers the following topics:

      Week 1 - 'Childhood' as a cross-cultural concept
      Week 2 - Anthropological Perspectives on Children
      Week 3 - Rites of Passage
      Week 4 - Education and Morality
      Week 5 - Children's Bodies and Spaces
      Week 7 - Labour and Play
      Week 6 - Children's Mobilities
      Week 9 - Children and Violence
      Week 10 - Individual Term Paper Tutorials

    • Anthropology of Reconciliation and Reconstruction

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      In their ethnographies, anthropologies have studied 'intra-cultural' conflict resolution practices. As activists, they have contributed to the emergence of generic approaches to conflict resolution. They have, however, raised important questions regarding the contextuality of generic practices and whether they can capture the complexity of local circumstances.

      In the first part of this module, you critically assess the relationship between local ('intra-cultural') and generic approaches to conflict resolution (as practiced by INGOs and other third-parties) - asking whether the latter can be tempered with a sense of context-specificity. You also consider the sociology of mediation and peace negotiations and the power relations and dynamics involved.

      In the second part of the module, you explore the desire to 'reconstruct' society in the aftermath of violent conflict. You critically assess 'truth acknowledging' exercises (such as truth commissions), and explore issues of memory and ways in which a psychologised 'nation' can be 'healed'. You contrast this with arguments in favour of 'retributive' exercises (such as international criminal tribunals and domestic trials).

      The module is structured as follows:

      1. 'Traditional' conflict resolution
      2. Re-traditionalising conflict resolution
      3. The international 'peacebuilding' discourse
      4. Memory and narrative in post-violence contexts
      5. Memorialisation
      6. 'Reconciliation' or 'co-existence'?
      7. 'Truth commissions'
      8. International criminal tribunals
      9. Case study 1; post-genocide Rwanda
      10. Case study 2; post-war Sierra Leone
      11. Case study 3; post-war Guatemala
      12. One-to-one term paper tutorials
    • Anthropology of Science and Technology

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

    • Childhood and Youth in Global Perspective; Rights, Protection and Justice

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module will explore legal and rights frameworks relating to children and young people with a particular emphasis on international conventions and perspectives. The first part of the module will involve an exploration of three areas of law: children's rights, child protection/welfare and youth justice/offending. 
      Explorations of these topics will include an examination of ideas of globalisation and post-colonial critiques where relevant. In the second part of the module case studies will be used to critically explore these issues in relation to practice with children and young people drawing upon examples from the developed and developing world.

      An indicative list of practice topics for exploration includes: 

      • Children/young people and work
      • Children and poverty
      • Children and homelessness
      • Children and criminal justice
      • Children and refugee status
      • Children and the family 

      The module will make connections between policy and practice approaches to children and youth in majority and minority worlds as well as linking themes such as migration, adoption and child trafficking. We will, however, pay particular attention to the specificities of work within a development context including an exploration of the practice issues asssociated with work in refugee camps and with street children.

    • Critical Debates in Environment and Development

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The aim of this module is to gain familiarity with cutting edge debates linking environment and development. A subsidiary aim is to develop research skills and in particular to develop skills in establishing analytical frameworks and the use of evidence. You should think critically about cutting edge topics. Current research has questioned much of the mainstream analysis of environmental problems and their social causes that now informs development policy and practice. This research emerges from environmental history, anthropology, remote-sensing, geography and non-equilibrium ecology, and from methods reflecting different social values (eg taking a pro-poor or politically marginalised perspective). It forces us to expose relations between power, environmental knowledge and environmental policy. This module considers and evaluates these challenges. We explore their significance for understanding the relationship between poverty, environmental science and policy, and consider how these relations are changing given the globalisation of environmental science and policy. 

      Topics vary each year as different issues arise. Issues addressed by the module are currently: forest policy and REDD+; biofuels and the land grabs; neoliberal approaches and ecosystem services; conflict and environmental change; coastal hazards and pollution; biotechnology and food security; 9 billion people and the resource crunch; and low carbon technology.

    • Culture and Identity Rights

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The aim of this module is to explore the development of rights to culture, religion and language from an international and comparative perspective. The idea is to link rights based discussions to contemporary debates involving cultural issues and conflicts (for example on Shari'a law, on religious dress and symbols and on language rights in post-conflict reconciliation). In particular, the module seeks to explore the accommodation of such rights and the balancing of competing interests.

      The module will be divided into three parts. The first part of the module will introduce relevant legal frameworks and different theoretical perspectives required for a study of legal approaches to culture, religion and language. Specifically, this part will consider what we mean conceptually by culture, religion and language and consider how competing values and interests are reconciled within the international human rights framework. 

      The second part will consider in more depth the development of (both individual and collective) rights to culture, religion and language at the international level and consider the wider implications of the recognition of such rights with a particular focus on specific country situations. This part of the module will consider the extent to which such rights are increasingly being marginalised. It will also consider the impact of contemporary challenges, such as the current economic climate on the accommodation of such rights as well as new opportunities in a post-multicultural era. 

      The final part of the module will involve oral presentation of research plans on a case-study of your choice.

    • Fair Trade, Ethical Business & New Moral Economies

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      Where and under what conditions are our T-shirts produced? How does Fair Trade impact on the livelihoods of small farmers in the Global South? Is Corporate Social Responsibility just a marketing ploy? Has ethics become only a matter of personal consumption behaviour?

      This module familiarises you with discourses and practices around ethics and engagement in the global economy. It covers some of the ways in which ethics in markets, trade and global production networks are phrased and expressed in the contemporary world, and explores what sorts of mobilisations have emerged in the light of new ethical concerns. You will explore the ways in which ethical issues within the sphere of the economy have long been articulated in terms of moral economy, philanthropic giving, and relationships of patronage and dependency.  The module goes on to discusses the contemporary shift towards global trade and production networks, and the ways in which this shift has produced new ethical concerns around economic behaviour.

      These concerns are increasingly (and differentially) expressed in terms of CSR, fair trade and ethical consumption. They also give rise to a series of engagements in terms of CSR interventions, ethical trade initiatives, civil society activism and critical consumption practices. You will assesses each of these initiatives from both a theoretical and an ethnographic perspective. You will also critically consider the implications of such engagements in terms of power, equality and gender, and the ways in which they emerge from and reproduce complex global interdependencies.

    • Human Rights in International Relations

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      On this module you will examine the process of internationalisation of human rights and the main factors that underpin that process, including the nature of the international order, the relationship between human rights and sovereignty of states, and the problematic of intervention and redistribution. You will contrast the use of human rights as instruments of foreign policy with the involvement of international non-governmental organisations. You will examine both the global and the regional legal, and contrast questions of cultural hegemony with those that claim legitimate cultural autonomy.

    • International Crimes

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module will focus on the four core crimes in international law, including genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. In each case we will highlight their development, application in international and domestic courts and matters of controversy in relation thereto, before examining other so-called quasi-international crimes including torture, hijacking, and terrorism.

    • Knowledge, Power and Resistance

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module reflects the various ways in which power and knowledge interact within contexts of development and economic change. The module provides you with the conceptual apparatus to theorise notions of discourse, power and resistance, but also deals in depth with the historically and culturally contingent nature of the various meanings given to development, modernity and tradition, and how these in turn are linked to different forms of knowledge. As the module shows, narratives and counter narratives of development are not only produced by the developers and developees, but also by yourself and fellow students. They are also inextricable from relations of power.

    • Liberal peace, liberal war?

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The relationship between liberalism and contemporary peace and war is multifaceted and highly disputed. While some argue that the current practices of peace and war are born out of the defense of fundamental liberties, others will argue that they are, on the contrary, profoundly illiberal and undermining freedom, either by liberalism’s inherent violence (the dialectics of enlightenment) or because it has muted into an aberration, neoliberalism or neo-conservatism. This debate is on the one hand fashioned by the large diversity of liberal thought and the even larger diversity of its critique, and on the other by the highly ambiguous and complex character of contemporary practices of peace and war, where traditional inside/outside boundaries and liberal/illiberal distinction have been seriously blurred. The aim of the module is to explore these debates and to critically think about the liberal/illiberal character of contemporary practices of war and peace.

      The module will first look at the diversity of liberalism(s) and how liberalism is articulated in our globalised world. We will then consider three different cases of liberal/illiberal practices of peace and war such as military interventions to save lives (eg Kosovo, Libya, Mali), the discourse and defense of human rights, notably the introduction of international criminal law, and the war on terror with particular attention paid to its newest avatar, the war against ISIS. In all three cases we will explore the liberal arguments and its discontents. In the end, we will try to draw conclusions on the state of freedom(s) in this world.

    • Livelihoods, Inequalities and Rural Change

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module considers the impacts of globalisation on rural livelihoods. Attention is paid to the interconnectedness of the global, national and local levels in causing change in rural societies. We consider the influence of social relations on rural economic life and, conversely, the influence of rural economic life on social relations. The module explores the effects of population mobility and working for global markets on rural economic and social life, the future of agriculture and the role of non-agricultural activities for livelihoods.

    • Medical Anthropology: Cultural Understandings of Health and Healing

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      Medical knowledge, related practices and health-seeking are shaped by the social, political and cultural contexts in which they occur. This module draws upon theories, concepts, and approaches in medical anthropology to interrogate the concept of 'health' in its diverse formulations. The module considers how people integrate different types of medicine in their everyday lives. It examines 'health-seeking' in different medical traditions. 'The body' is used as an alternative framework for understanding medical pluralism, and the connections between experience, efficacy, and knowledge.

    • Migration, Inequality and Social Change

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module is primarily about migration for work in low-paid, low-status occupations. It lays emphasis on the connections between work migration and inequality and deliberately draws attention to the dynamic and contested social relations in which migrant experiences are embedded. The term 'work migration' is preferred to 'labour migration' here because it stresses the agency of the migrant. However, much of what we discuss as work migration is forced by economic compulsion and lack of alternative livelihoods. We focus as much on internal migration for work (for example within India and China) as we do on international migration. 

      Particular attention is paid to global economic change (including the current crisis) and its link with changes in workplace relations. We are also centrally concerned with structures of ideas and how they change, including gendered and racialised ideologies of work. We study work migration as integrated into processes of social change, both caused by and causing changing relations between ethnic groups, genders and generations. Throughout the course ethnographic studies are drawn on to bring out how migration is experienced by migrant workers themselves, relatives they may have left behind, employers in 'destination' areas and local workers. The final sessions consider both ways of reducing the vulnerability of migrant workers and the development of a more critical approach to migration policy analysis.

    • Migration, Rights and Governance

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The seductive term "crisis" describes the state of international migration today. This crisis demands action on the part of experts and it demands study so as to understand the legal and political processes these experts use to manage migration.

      This module explores migration management – or governance – as well as its legal, political and ethical connotations.

      You will look at global migration governance and rights, international migration trends, and at how the international community responds to refugees and displaced people using a rights-based approach. The course focuses on the use of rights language in migration management.

      A large part of this module will focus on Europe – a key destinations for migrants  – and the so-called ‘migrant crisis’. You will examine the broad themes of migration governance, rights, security, solidarity and mobility, and consider them through topics such as trafficking, immigration detention, relocation, deportation and criminal conviction.

      You will be asked to contribute your own knowledge, experience and personal interest in the area through a case study-style assessment that will rotate throughout the term.

    • Postcolonial Africa: Politics and Society

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      In this module, you explore theoretical debates over key postcolonial political and socio-cultural dynamics in sub-Saharan Africa.

      You are encouraged to think critically about dominant representations of the sub-continent in the West particularly as these shape developmental, security and other interventions, and to assess alternative representations, such as those produced by African print media or civil society campaigns.

      You are introduced, and invited, to analyse different, often conflicting accounts of postcolonial continuities and transformations.

      Topics include introductions to theoretical discussion of:

      • the postcolonial state and forms of local governance
      • nationalism and ethnicity
      • conflict
      • borders
      • the politics of land and natural resources
      • processes of urbanization and reshaping of city spaces
      • mobility
      • new forms of transnational connection between Africa, Europe and China.

      Each session is oriented around a different theoretical debate, but is also explored through a particular case study.
      Therefore, you gain an overview of cutting edge theory, while at the same time appreciating the extent of diversity across the continent, and having the opportunity to explore primary and secondary sources on specific and topical issues.

    • Poverty, Vulnerability and the Global Economy

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module examines the processes of impoverishment and marginalisation of children, youth and adults in development contexts. A principle focus in on what anthropology can tell us about processes of impoverishment and marginality in development contexts – a complex and highly contextual field. By considering detailed ethnographic accounts of peoples’ everyday lives, you will also interrogate how local preferences, priorities and values can be incorporated into development policy. Throughout the module you will explore these topics with reference to the development policies and practices that have been aimed at `the poor’, as well as the wider political economies of economic transformation in the contemporary world. Focussing upon local contexts, a central premise is that people’s everyday experiences of poverty and marginality have to be situated historically, as well as in terms of the micro-dynamics of economic, social and political relations.

    • Refugees, Displacement and Humanitarian Responses

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The aim of this module is to gain knowledge and understanding of the complexity of forced migration issues in developing countries, and of the range of ideological and practical perspectives which inform policy concerning the reception and settlement of refugees, and the resolution of conflicts which give rise to forced migration flows. At the end of the course, you will be expected to have a conceptual and intellectual grasp of the principle components of the growing literature on forced migration and development, and specific understanding of the practical experience of, and lessons learnt from refugee assistance programmes over the past 50 years.

    • Religion, Culture and Identity

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

    • Sex and Violence

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      Sex and Death in Global Politics  explores the multiple connections between gender and violence in contemporary international politics in historical and theoretical perspective. War and other forms of collective violence seem to be everywhere in world affairs, but it has often been commented that the many manifestations of gender are less visible. At times aspects of gender violence (such as war rape) seem to enter into the realm of academic International
      Relations, whilst other questions (such as the inclusion of homosexuals in the military) have relevance for public policy and national culture. But many other issues (such as media representations of gender violence, the continuum between 'peace' and 'war' violence, or the connection between armies and prostitution) are more commonly discussed within sociology, political theory and history. This module will examine a broad range of such questions from an inter-disciplinary angle, with a particular stress on theoretical perspectives and academicpolitical controversies.

      Topics will include:

      gender in war and society; the intersection of race, class, and gender in collective violence; military masculinity; women at war and the question of the 'feminine' in the perpetration of violence; wartime sexual violence; genocide and 'gendercide'; sex industries and violence; homosexuality and military culture (including queer theory perspectives and recent debates about 'pink-washing' and 'homonationalism'); feminism, anti-feminism and gender studies in the academy; gender and the ethics of war; and gender violence in popular culture.

    • Transnationalism, Diaspora and Migrants' Lives

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

    • Women and Human Rights

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module is divided into two halves. The first half consists of core topics providing a theoretical framework for the study of women's human rights. You will draw on feminist legal theory, human rights theory, anthropological and historical materials and international and national rights instruments and documentation. The second half focuses on the conception, implementation, adherence and breach of a specific right or related rights. 

    • Dissertation with Placement (Global Studies)

      45 credits
      Summer Teaching, Year 1

      This module is designed to allow you to apply theories and concepts, as well as practical and research skills learned during the MA programme, to a work context in the UK or internationally. It takes the form of a 12-week work placement with an organisation working in a field relevant to the degree programme, normally undertaken from May-July after assessments on other courses are completed.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class (2.1) undergraduate honours degree or above in politics, international relations, philosophy, law, history, sociology, anthropology, development studies or a related field

English language requirements

Standard level (IELTS 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each section)

Find out about other English language qualifications we accept.

English language support

Don’t have the English language level for your course? Find out more about our pre-sessional courses.

Additional information for international students

We welcome applications from all over the world. Find out about international qualifications suitable for our Masters courses.

Visas and immigration

Find out how to apply for a student visa

Fees and scholarships

How much does it cost?


Home: £7,700 per year

EU: £7,700 per year

Channel Islands and Isle of Man: £7,700 per year

Overseas: £15,100 per year

Note that your fees may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

How can I fund my course?

Postgraduate Masters loans

Borrow up to £10,280 to contribute to your postgraduate study.

Find out more about Postgraduate Masters Loans


Our aim is to ensure that every student who wants to study with us is able to despite financial barriers, so that we continue to attract talented and unique individuals.

Chancellor’s Masters Scholarship (2017)

Open to students with a 1st class from a UK university or excellent grades from an EU university and offered a F/T place on a Sussex Masters in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Chancellor’s Masters Scholarship

Sussex Graduate Scholarship (2017)

Open to Sussex students who graduate with a first or upper second-class degree and offered a full-time place on a Sussex Masters course in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Graduate Scholarship

Sussex India Scholarships (2017)

Sussex India Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from India commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex India Scholarships

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Malaysia commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Malaysia Scholarships

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships are worth £3,500 or £5,000 and are for overseas fee paying students from Nigeria commencing a Masters in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Nigeria Scholarships

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Pakistan commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Pakistan Scholarships

How Masters scholarships make studying more affordable

Living costs

Find out typical living costs for studying at Sussex.


Within the School of Global Studies there is a close academic collaboration between departments and interdisciplinary research centres. Outside the School, we have particularly strong links with the School of Law, Politics and Sociology, where a number of human rights faculty are located. 

  • Faculty profiles

    Prof Rupert Brown
    Professor of Social Psychology

    Research interests: Acculturation, hate crime, Identity, Immigration, Intergroup relations, post-conflict reconciliation, Prejudice, Prejudice reduction, refugees, Social psychology, team-building in organisations

    View profile

    Dr Rachel Burr
    Senior Teaching Fellow in Education

    View profile

    Prof Jane Cowan
    Professor of Social Anthropology

    Research interests: anthropology of gender and masculinity, Balkans, Dance Performance, Diplomacy & International Relations, Ethnography And Anthropology, Feminist theory, Gender and Sexuality, Greece, Human Rights, International Organization, Minority Rights, Social and political theory, Social anthropology

    View profile

    Dr Elizabeth Craig
    Senior Lecturer

    Research interests: Bills of Rights, Constitutional Law, Culture, Identity, International human rights, Language rights, Minority Rights

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    Prof Stefan Elbe
    Professor of International Relations

    Research interests: Biosecurity, Bioterrorism, Global health, Infection, International security, Pandemic Preparedness

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    Dr Nigel Eltringham
    Senior Lecturer in Anthropology

    Research interests: Africa, Conflict and violence, ethnicity, Film, Genocide, Human Rights, international criminal court, International Criminal Law, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Political violence, Post conflict reconstruction, Rwanda, Transitional justice

    View profile

    Prof James Fairhead
    Professor of Social Anthropology

    Research interests: Ebola, Environmental Anthropology, Green Economy, Health, Historical Anthropology, International Development, New Guinea, West Africa

    View profile

    Dr James Hampshire
    Reader in Politics

    Research interests: british politics, citizenship, comparative politics, european union, governance, Immigration, immigration policy, liberalism, Migration, political theory, Politics of asylum and migration, race and racism

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    Dr David Karp
    Senior Lecturer In International Relations

    Research interests: Ethics, Human Rights, International Business and Human Rights, International human rights, International Political Theory, International theory, Law and Responsibility, non-state actors, Political Philosophy, political theory, Security studies, Transnational corporations

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    Mr Zdenek Kavan
    Associate Tutor

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    Dr Mark Leopold
    Lecturer in Social Anthropology

    Research interests: Anthropology and espionage, Anthropology and Literature, Biography, Borders, Conflict and violence, Embodiment, Forced migration, History, History of Anthropology, Masculinities, north east Africa, Peacemaking, Political anthropology, psychoanalysis, South Sudan, Uganda

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    Prof Jan Selby
    Professor of International Relations

    Research interests: environmental security, Israel-Palestine, Peace processes

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    Dr Charlotte Skeet
    Lecturer in Law

    Research interests: Post-colonial legal theory

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    Dr Anna Stavrianakis
    Senior Lecturer in International Relations

    Research interests: arms control, arms trade, militarisation, militarism, War and violence in international politics

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    Prof Maya Unnithan
    Professor Of Social And Medical Anthropology

    Research interests: caste and kinship, childbirth and infertility, gender and development, health and migration, human rights and reproductive health, maternal health inequalities, reproductive technologies, Social anthropology

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Graduate destinations

93% of students from the School of Global Studies were in work or further study six months after graduating. Recent Department of International Development students have gone on to roles including:

  • coffee research consultant, Fairtrade Foundation
  • civil servant, HM Government
  • human rights researcher, One World Research.

(HESA EPI, Destinations of Post Graduate Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015)

Your future career

Our teaching provides excellent training for those intending to work in professional advocacy in human rights agencies or pursue further postgraduate research. 

Our graduates have gone on to work for:

  • the Refugee Council
  • Age UK
  • the Home Office
  • ActionAid
  • Demos
  • Oxfam
  • Human Rights Watch
  • the International Organisation for Migration.

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work

Sussex gave me a vision of my career path and helped me set goals to achieve it. Once I finished my Masters I worked at the House of Commons, developing my skills even further.”Kelly Barber
Human Rights MA graduate

Contact us