LL.M. Human Rights

Universität Wien
Full-time and Part-Time
Master of Laws (LL.M.)
2 semester(s)
City, country:
Vienna, Vienna, Austria
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The master program “Human Rights” will provide theoretical knowledge as well as practical skills required for a career in the field of human rights. Based on the academic excellence of the University of Vienna and on the high reputation of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights for doing applied research, the program can best be described with: "Where Science meets Practice!"

The master program addresses the multi-layered field of human rights and reflects the different relevant legal frameworks as well as the corresponding protection mechanisms. Topics covered by the program will be, i.a., legal human rights know-how including theoretical foundations of international human rights law including its protection mechanisms; methodology; as well as necessary competences for people striving to work in a human rights-related environment.

For non-lawyers, an introduction to legal studies will be provided. Besides including practical courses, such as strategic litigation, human rights education, campaigning and advocacy, as well as project acquisition and management into the syllabus, another chance to combine theoretical knowledge with practical abilities is offered by the opportunity to participate in a court trial simulation (‘moot court’).

Target audience

The postgraduate program is aimed at graduates who wish to specialize in human rights, including law graduates, as well as graduates of economic, natural, social sciences or humanities. The program is open for those who recently graduated, but shall also – due to its extra occupational format including virtual learning – enable employed persons, for example in national administration, academia, the education sector, NGOs and civil society, as well as the private sector (corporate lawyers, attorneys, legal trainees, consultants), to participate.

Graduates of this master program will have acquired in-depth theoretical knowledge and practical skills in the field of fundamental and human rights. Completing the human rights master will ensure that participants can adequately address and integrate human rights into their future work.


Module 1a:  Introduction to Legal Studies for Non-Lawyers*
  • Introduction to Legal Studies for Non-Lawyers
  • Introduction to Legal Studies for Non-Lawyers - Application and Exercises
Module 1b:  Moot Court Competition*
  • Moot Court
Module 2: Human Rights - General Theory and Legal Approaches
  • Definition, History, Justification and Dimensions of Human Rights
  • Human Rights and the Law, Legal Sources, Methodology and Interpretation
  • Human Rights: Monitoring and Enforcement Mechanisms
  • Assessing Human Rights Violations, Filing Human Rights Complaints and Strategic Litigation
Module 3:  Human Rights as a Multi-Level Approach (Human Rights Systems)
  • The Nation-State as Basic Unit for the Protection of Human Rights and the Principle of Subsidiarity
  • UN Human Rights Systems and Mechanisms
  • Regional Human Rights Systems
Module 4:  Specific Human Rights and Special Human Rights Challenges
  • Human Rights Generations and Dimensions
  • Persons in Vulnerable Situations, Equality and Diversity
  • New Challenges for Human Rights
Module 5:  Practical Aspects of Human Rights
  • Human Rights Practice, Approaches and Human Rights Education
  • Human Rights in an Organizational Context, Monitoring and Advocacy
  • Human Rights Litigation, Legal Mediation and Advice
Master’s Thesis and Defense

*Depending on the educational background of participants there are two alternative compulsory modules from which one has to be completed. For non-lawyers an introduction to legal studies will be offered. To elaborate on the combination of theoretical knowledge with practical skills, the opportunity to participate in a trial simulation (“Moot Court”) is offered for lawyers. Should participants have prior knowledge in both or in none of the two areas, the decision which of the two alternative compulsory modules to attend is subject to prior permission by the scientific director.

Practical relevance

The program provides students with thorough theoretical knowledge combined with a tool box of practical skills in the field of fundamental and human rights including strategic litigation, human rights campaigning and human rights education. The program's interdisciplinary approach, although with a jurisprudential focus grants a detailed examination of the multi-layered and highly topical field of human rights.

Graduates will be able to make use of their skills and knowledge in a broad variety of contexts, ranging from private business to public service as well as academia. By participating in a ‘human rights moot court’, participants will gain practical experience enabling them to solve human rights problems with legal knowledge as well as strengthen their skills in a court-like, competitive simulation.

Admission/Entrance requirements

Costs: see Website

Admission requirements are:

  • University degree in Legal Studies or University degree in Economic, Natural, Social Sciences or Humanities
  • Sufficient English skills to follow and participate in lectures (B2)
  • Complete application via online application platform
Please submit the following documents:
  • Filled and signed application form
  • Curriculum Vitae (2 pages)
  • Letter of motivation (1-2 pages)
  • Copy of your University diploma 
  • Proof of your English language proficiency (minimum B2 level)
  • Copy of your passport


Language(s) of instruction: English
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The University of Vienna is one of the oldest and largest universities in Europe. Staffed with about 10,000 employees, the University of Vienna fuels innovation in Vienna and its surroundings. Around 90,000 national and international students foster intellectual exchange in the university city of Vienna.

The Postgraduate Center is the competence center for professional continuing education and lifelong learning at the University of Vienna. Our aim is to support people on their personal educational and career paths. We offer a wide range of master programs, continuing education programs, and certificate courses as well as cutting-edge open continuing education and training formats. We offer research-based, interdisciplinary, top quality, international and practice-oriented programs. This serves as a contribution of the University of Vienna to our knowledge society, the university‘s third mission and successful lifelong learning.


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