MASTER OF LAWS
IN HUMAN RIGHTS
The Master of Laws (LL.M) in Human Rights Programme was established in 1999 in response to the growing demand for knowledge about human rights in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Programme focuses on human rights issues of global concern, including in the Asia-Pacific region, and aims to foster an active learning environment. The diverse range of courses enables students to 1) understand the international human rights legal framework, 2) reflect on key human rights challenges from global, regional, and domestic perspectives, and 3) apply their knowledge to advocate for real change. The curriculum covers human rights law but draws on other disciplines such as history, politics, philosophy, and sociology to ensure the law is understood in context. It also has a clinical Capstone option so students can apply what they learn in practice.
Application is now open for the 2021/22 academic year. Click to learn more!
The Pam Baker scholarships in Human Rights (for local applicants) and the Wong Family Scholarships (for applicants from outside Hong Kong, especially the Asian region) are available. Please click the links to the application forms for more information.
The scholarships’ application deadline is the same as the Programme’s application deadline.
In addition, the University administers a multitude of scholarships and prizes which are primarily merit-based. For more information on HKU Scholarships and financial assistance, please click below.
Our commitment to top quality teaching requires flexibility and imagination. Classes consist of lectures, seminars and mixed formats including group work. All classes require active student participation and students often take part in simulated exercises.
Our teaching staff and visitors include renowned experts in their field from around the world. The learning experience is greatly enhanced by the contribution of a rich variety of visiting experts which have included former judges of the European Court of Human Rights, independent experts serving as special rapporteurs appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, and other distinguished scholars and practitioners.
CURRICULUM DESIGN & COURSES
◦LLAW6072 International and Regional Protection of Human Rights
◦LLAW6068 Human Rights History, Theory and Politics
◦LLAW6075 National Protection of Human Rights
◦LLAW6242 Human Rights in Practice (Human Rights Clinics); OR
◦LLAW6054/6014 Supervised Dissertation (10,000/20,000 words)
We offer a range of electives on particular human rights topics, taught by experts in the field. The selection changes yearly and the current list is available on our website. Click below to find out more.
Students will be regularly informed of various local and international internship opportunities or fellowship schemes. Past experiences include:
The European Court of Human Rights
The Open Society Foundations
International Organisation for Migration
International Committee of the Red Cross
HELP for Domestic Workers
the Equal Opportunities Commission
Recipient of the ECtHR Internship 2019
The HKU Faculty of Law, in cooperation with the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), offers a six-month internship with the ECtHR situated in Strasbourg, France. I am Yvonne Leung, a BSS(GL), LLB and PCLL graduate at HKU. It is my utmost honour to have been chosen as the study visitor sent to the ECtHR for the first year of this programme. During these six months, I have the opportunity to work with lawyers and personnel from all over the world in the ECtHR. Assigned to the Research Division, I am under the supervision of a criminal law expert from Croatia. At the same time, I am meeting with experts of all around the world. I am entrusted with projects that fall exactly into my areas of interest, for example, to develop a guide on European Convention of Human Rights articles and case laws in relation to mass protests, as well as formulating comparative law reports for superior courts of member states of the Council of Europe. This experience of working in a leading human rights judicial institution is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for widening my horizon. I can be emerged in an environment sharpening both my practical skills and academic knowledge for six months. There are no better ways to equip myself to become a capable legal practitioner in the area of public law in the near future when I return to Hong Kong.
(Extract, at p 26)
//This programme gave me the opportunity to spend six months at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), a leading international human rights judicial institution. I am grateful to the Faculty of Law for this opportunity to work with inspiring and promising human rights lawyers. During the six months at Strasbourg,
I widened my horizon both professionally and socially. ECHR is an institution where human rights law enthusiasts dream to work at. Personally, it was an once-in-a-lifetime experience...//
梁麗幗 (2019) 。〈五年〉 (Chinese only)
這些對香港處境深表同情的人，都不能馬上用實際的行動來救援香港，其中也難免有些人本來連港中之別也說不清，包括在國際機構中位高權重的一些人。可是，這種人與人之間的交流，以自身的魄力來印證「香港人對自由的嚮往」，最起碼能讓他們不會囿於書本媒體上讀到的有關香港的訊息，從而判定香港人只是一群幼稚的異見者，也不會簡化香港的問題成經濟問題。// (emphasis added)
The Programme has attracted students from a broad range of backgrounds. Our students include legal practitioners, judges, advocates working for national human rights institutions and civil society organisations, journalists, doctors, scholars, government officials, and many others. This diversity has enriched the learning experience and contributed to a vibrant international alumni network.
Students tend to form strong bonds and continue to share information after they graduate. To download the brochure for international students, click below.
Students have come from over twenty countries and have included government officials, journalists, human rights lawyers, the staff of national human rights institutions and NGOs and academics among others. Graduates have gone on to work effectively at the forefront of the promotion and protection of human rights and they are part of the growing community working to improve the quality of human life within and outside Asia.
The University of Hong Kong has academic links with more than 400 overseas universities and hosts over 10,000 international students. About 67% of its academic staff come from overseas.
COMMENTS FROM EXTERNAL EXAMINERS & REVIEW PANELS
"Since its establishment in 1999, the LL.M in Human Rights Programme has been attracting outstanding local and overseas students...Interactions between people from different countries and cultural background have enriched the knowledge and experiences of students and have thus broadened their international outlook."
"There is a diverse range of elective courses being offered which do not only enable students to understand the international human rights legal framework and to reflect on key human rights challenges nowadays from a hybrid of global, regional and domestic perspectives, but also seek to train students to apply their knowledge and to implement real-life changes...the excellent experiential learning opportunities...equip students with multi-disciplinary skills for working with people with different background."
"The required courses provide students with the core concepts and an understanding of the important debates in the field. The electives give students an opportunity to develop expertise in their chosen subfields. There are ample opportunities for students to develop their research, writing, and practice skills."
"Hong Kong is probably one of the most exciting places to study human rights, particularly because human rights treaties have been incorporated into the local constitutional instrument but also because of the high level of public discourse on human rights issues."
" As a graduate who has not received any prior formal legal training this Programme equipped me with not only the technical know-how in the field of public law, but more important, the perspectives and ethical principles to tackle complex human rights issues. I believe these are mostly needed for me who work in the field of equality and minority rights, but also everyone else in this turbulent age.＂
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
— James Chan (2019 Graduate)
Learning decades of Hong Kong’s constitutional case laws and the first-hand stories behind; Engaging in heated classroom discussions regarding multiculturalism, liberalism and ethnocentrism; Participating in simulation exercise as an UNHCR officer for the Syrian refugee crisis