Human rights

About human rights

We explore human rights law, practice and activism, which are among the most widely accepted approaches to addressing harms suffered by humans worldwide. We look at issues such as torture, hunger, military aggression, ethnic violence, political corruption and discrimination.

Why study human rights?

You’ll examine the nature and legitimacy of human rights’ claims and the role of human rights in the broader context of international affairs. You’ll investigate critical issues: Is torture ever justified? What are the rights of asylum seekers? Does the world have a responsibility for misplaced peoples? Can human rights violations justify interfering in the domestic affairs of the violating nation?

What will you study?

You’ll examine the history and the nature of human rights and address basic issues such as:

  • What are human rights?
  • Are human rights culturally relative?
  • How can human rights be justified?

What careers will you be ready for?

Studying human rights will open up opportunities to pursue a career in:

  • Politics
  • Advocacy
  • Law
  • Non-government organisations
  • Government bodies
  • Journalism and much more.

Who will be teaching you?

The human rights major is taught by a team of internationally- renowned researchers. Our areas of research expertise include disability rights, multiculturalism, feminist theory, poverty, climate change, international justice, indigenous justice, war and civil conflict, democratic theory, Holocaust and genocide studies, children’s rights, and an array of other topics in applied ethics and applied political philosophy. Majoring in human rights will develop your analytic abilities and communication skills, and empower you to acquire expertise in areas that are of relevance to employers.

Global study

With Monash’s impressive international links, you’ll get the opportunity to venture into contexts where you can apply your expertise.

Short term programs:

  • In the footsteps of refugees – Vietnam and Indonesia
  • Seeking justice – South Africa and Rwanda
  • State sovereignty, human rights, and the responsibility to protect – Italy

Exchange programs include:

  • University of Essex – England
  • University College Utrecht – The Netherlands.
Major Focus by location
Focus Locations
MajorNote Caulfield, Clayton
MinorNote Caulfield, Clayton

This area of study is offered in the following courses or can be taken where you have 8 free electives. To see if you can take this area of study within a double degree select from the course offering below.

Career options

  • Politics
  • Advocacy
  • Law
  • Non-government organisations (NGOs)
  • Journalism
  • Diplomacy

Overseas opportunities

As a Monash student you have the option to make your course an international one. One option is studying at a Monash campus abroad, and you'll have Malaysia, India, China or Prato (Italy) to choose from.

"Approaching the third year [of study], I felt it was important to expand my learning beyond academic papers and lectures. Arts internships offered me this opportunity to enhance my degree and embrace a  practical approach to learning."

- Tess Vermeer,  Bachelor of Arts majoring in Human Rights