Critical Perspectives On Human Rights POLITIC5004

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

The purpose of the course is to introduce key theories of human rights and analyse how human rights are addressed in practice. The course draws on a range of critical perspectives of human rights as well as regional case study examples. 


Two hours in a seminar format once a week

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory course for students undertaking MSc in Human Rights and International Politics; optional course for students in other MSc programme


One group project (2,500-3,000) words, to be submitted in November) (15%)

Participation mark for course (10%)

One 3000-3,500 word research essay on topic agreed with course lecturer to be submitted in January (75%)

Course Aims

The aim of the course is to offer a challenging forum in which fundamental aspects of human rights can be investigated and analysed critically. In particular, the course aims to:


■ Explore in-depth some of the core theoretical underpinnings of human rights;

■ Develop powers of critical analysis and the adoption of a more critical and reflective approach to conceptual and practical questions relating to human rights;

■ Provide experience of working in groups and foster group discussion;

■ Encourage independent reading skills

■ Develop research skills

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Have a critical understanding of fundamental concepts of human rights;

■ Be able to identify and critically assess the implications of those concepts in the substantive exposition of human rights;

■ Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of particular contemporary substantive international human rights instruments and their application in different political contexts;

■ Apply the knowledge obtained to a range of practical problems;

■ Engage in reflective learning.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Completions of formative and summative assessment components