Certificate in Human Rights

Program Overview

Students in the UMass Boston School for Global Inclusion and Social Development (SGISD) examine key issues that lead to the political, economic, and social inclusion of individuals and groups of people worldwide in their societies. In response to growing national and international interest in human rights education, we are offering a human rights certificate through SGISD.

Human rights is an increasingly important field of study in the United States and around the world. On every level, from local to international, people are using human rights to mobilize grassroots movements, organize coalitions, and analyze policies and procedures. Studying this discipline also empowers us to advocate for social justice, measure progress in advancing human well-being, and, as a last resort, litigate to advance the rights to health, education, and decent work for all.

Human rights provides a legal and ethical framework for changing our societies and organizations to make them more inclusive of everyone, including people who are marginalized and disadvantaged.

Human rights involves scholarly work in law, applied ethics, international relations, economics, social policy, and international development. Our students may also choose to focus on a specialized area, such as religious minorities, children, workers, women, or people living in poverty.

Our faculty has expertise in:

  • Economic, social, and cultural rights
  • The rights to education, health, and decent work
  • Indigenous rights
  • Gender and women's rights
  • Human security and development
  • International disability rights advocacy
  • United Nations human rights mechanisms
  • Human rights impact assessment and indicators


June 1 for fall admission
November 1 for spring admission


The human rights certificate is comprised of five courses, totaling 15 credits. The courses are as follows:

  1. GISD 624: International Human Rights Law, Policy and Practice
  2. GISD 625: Human Rights-Based Approaches to Social Justice
  3. GISD 626: Global Health and Human Rights
  4. Elective chosen with consent of graduate program director
  5. Independent study on human rights

Careers for Graduates

Students will be prepared to work in inter-governmental organizations, governments, and nongovernmental organizations that are addressing human rights concerns at the local, national, and international levels.

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School for Global Inclusion and Social Development
in the College of Education and Human Development