Student experience

IT facilities and support

During the summer sessions, word processing and computing facilities are provided in New College and are accessible 24 hours a day. Facilities are also available in the Bodleian Law Library. For the distance-taught parts of the course students use an interactive website for discussions. IT support is available.


As a student of Oxford University you will be entitled to use the resources of the University’s main reference library, the Bodleian, which includes the Bodleian Law Library and the Continuing Education library where dissertations not available online are archived and available in hard copy. You also will have access to your college library. Extensive electronic resources are available online when you are away from Oxford.

Pastoral and welfare support

All graduates are assigned a ‘college advisor’, usually a fellow of the college, to whom you can turn if you feel you need to discuss your progress, or anything else pertinent to your study. As far as possible you will be assigned a fellow who works closest to your field, if there is one available. 

In addition to the pastoral support provided by college advisors, the programme has dedicated administrative support and the administrators will be able to help and advise students on a range of matters relating to their studies, or point them towards dedicated sources of support elsewhere in the University. Academic supervisors and the Course Director, Dr Nazila Ghanea, can also serve as a source of support.

Student testimonials

Below is a selection of comments that our students have made about the course.

Ifran Hossein Mollah: "This course is one of its kind which has enabled me to pursue a world class degree without relinquishing my professional as well as personal obligations. The perfect combination of friendly cohort, brilliant tutors and the efficient administration has made this course of study an unforgettable journey. Right after coming back to Bangladesh, I have been assigned by my faculty to teach International Human Rights Law at the graduate level. The study program has substantially helped me to find out prospective research topic for my future academic endeavor. Most importantly, the program has ushered a new horizon of human rights knowledge which I was completely unaware of before taking the course."

Kathryn Hampton: “This course was the most diverse program that I have ever been a part of. […]The structure enabled that diversity – that people could continue to work in the field, in other countries or in their own country, while studying. As a woman, it meant so much to me to see the number of pregnant classmates and classmates with small children – also directly possible because of this flexible structure which strongly supports promotion of women in human rights. […] The structure of the program is what makes it stand out, the perfect mix of rigor and flexibility – we had our magical Oxford summers, but we didn’t have to quit our jobs. […] For me, being able to work part-time made this master’s possible to afford. […] I feel empowered to read and think and write and publish, to ask my own research questions and to find an answer!.”

Paola Gomez: “This course was a unique life-time opportunity to be taught by experts in human rights work internationally. Having the academic experience of being lectured by Special Rapporteurs, human rights defenders recognized in their field was the most wonderful experience. Also, I will always cherish my classmates, courageous men and women pursuing human rights implementation from different countries and perspectives. The MSt has strengthened not only my academic skills but also opened my eyes and opportunities to pursue an international career path in human rights.”

Miho Lee: “I wanted to gain a solid philosophical and theoretical foundation to combine with action, towards sophisticated praxis for advancing human rights — and the IHRL Master’s in its interdisciplinary approach grounded in a normative vision of dignity for all, taught by the world’s foremost thinkers and visionaries in the field, could not have been a better match for someone of my social change goal and social science and organizing background. The cohort is diverse not only demographically but in terms of perspectives and experiences, and seminar-style instruction ensured much cross-pollination of critical thinking one could only dream of! I also found all faculty to be of exceptional caliber, whether teaching, or advising. They were accessible throughout the course and I felt supported in what otherwise could have been a frightening fast-paced learning journey.”

Jake Okechukwu Effoduh: “Prior to Oxford, I was a vibrant human rights activist but with very little knowledge on the international dimension of human rights. I found the course highly illuminating and very beneficial for advocacy. I gained skills on how to dissect problems and proffer practical solutions to human rights issues in my part of the world. More importantly, I gained comprehensive knowledge in both novel and traditional perspectives of international human rights law through a hybrid-learning model. The classes were small and highly interactive; there was always expertise in the room, from both students and professors alike. The learning environment in Oxford is a unique world of its own, and the Oxford tradition is one that every academic deserves to experience. Above all I have made great friends; formed lifelong partnerships and I am still in active communication with my supervisor and professors who taught and mentored me”.

Richard Lappin: “The course fully met my expectations and the professors and content were truly outstanding. But what I think really sets the programme apart is the overall concept and structure of the course and the wonderful learning environment that is instilled throughout the two years. The part-time format allowed me to pursue my studies alongside my work commitments, while the residential sessions provided unique exposure to some of the world’s leading human rights experts”

Dirdeiry Ahmed: The course had indeed been a life changer in my case. It left an indelible mark in my career and energized me to write analytically trying to discern lessons from what I have been doing in peace-making. I look forward to yet another opportunity for expressing my gratitude and to link up once again with the distinguished Oxford IHRL Master Programme”.

Tarek Hamam: “My dissertation supervisor prosecuted war criminals as a senior trial attorney in The Hague. My professors were leading experts in their respective fields. My accomplished classmates came from a diverse range of personal and professional backgrounds. I was regularly reminded what a privilege it is to be a part of this community.  While at Oxford, I was offered a position with the United Nations in Lebanon. Competing with many highly qualified individuals, I believe that the knowledge and experience gained at Oxford was instrumental in helping me to secure this opportunity and move closer to my goals.”

Jo-Ann Ding: “I am a writer based in Malaysia and I have written articles and reports on human rights issues, with a focus on freedom of expression and the media […….] The course has been very useful for my writing – giving me a deeper understanding of human rights issues as well as providing me with a structural framework to work with. The discussions in class with the professors and my fellow students were enjoyable and thought-provoking. I would highly recommend this course to anyone involved in the field of human rights and hoping to deepen their knowledge in this area.”

José Francisco Sieber Luz Filho: “Having focused my dissertation on Asylum and the Inter-American Human Rights System, the MSt. programme provided me with a unique and most fulfilling opportunity to critically reflect and write on challenges and concerns I was – and continue to be – confronted with in my career.”

Eduardo El Hage: “The Oxford Master’s in International Human Rights Law has helped me immensely, providing me a new and different perspective on various subjects which I will certainly incorporate into my work”

Rebecca Curtis: “For me professionally and personally, there is a big distinction between life pre and post Oxford. I’ve met some of the most inspiring teachers, colleagues and best friends I’ve ever had. I continue to be so very grateful for my ability to be able to contribute to human rights in my work at the Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

Aleksandra Ivankovic Tamamovic: “The time I spent studying at the Oxford University was certainly the best and the most exciting learning experience I have ever had.”

Smadar Ben-Natan: “Based on the research I did for my dissertation on the Israeli military courts in the Occupied Territories, I submitted two petitions to the High Court of Justice on behalf of the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners and individual lawyers who represent defendants in these courts. In the first petition we demanded the translation of all indictments and protocols from Hebrew to Arabic. In the second we demanded shorter periods of pre-trial detention. As a result, the state has agreed to translate all indictments and to amend the military law to oblige such translation. Regarding detention, the state had made major changes in the military legislation, shortening many of the longer periods, created distinctions between security offenses and non-security offenses; minimized the list of security offenses, and shortened detention for children.”

Jason Wright: “For me, the degree programme achieved its objective and now I feel that I can truly be an effective advocate in the field. This was best summarized by Professor Dembour when she said that she could define her personal and professional life as ‘Before Oxford and after Oxford’. I now understand her sentiment. I am a fully- fledged supporter of this amazing programme. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn and grow both personally and professionally”.

Heather Adams: “I have taken away a priceless experience; a handful of lifelong friends and an understanding of a subject that I intend to put to good use. Thank you.”

Ian Park: “The course has been outstanding in every respect and directly applicable to some of the operations the Royal Navy is currently involved in, particularly the legal implications of coalition efforts to combat piracy in the Gulf of Aden and operations in Afghanistan. I can also envisage an understanding of the importance of human rights law to future military operations becoming more significant in the years to come. From the outset Dr Andrew Shacknove has been extremely generous with his time and unstinting in his guidance and support. He is leading a first class course in which the quality of tuition, supervision and eminence of teaching staff have surpassed my very high expectations; both the on-line teaching and residential session have been exceptionally rewarding and have significantly furthered my understanding of international human rights law. I consider myself very fortunate indeed to be studying this course.”

Katrina Inkusa: “My experience while studying in Oxford could be described in two words – extremely useful (during this programme I have learned all the necessary things which I need to fulfil my professional duties at work) and interesting (I have gained so many friends from different parts of the world, met distinguished professors and human rights professionals).The fact that I was studying at the MSt programme in International Human Rights Law was one of the main reasons why I was recruited for the present post at the Office of the Latvian Government’s Representative before International Human Rights Organisations.”

Charles Gould: “I chose Oxford for the quality of the faculty, the reputation of the university, and the diversity of the students. I couldn’t be more pleased. It’s been one of the strongest academic programs I’ve had the privilege to participate in, and the broad and deep experience of the other students has enriched my learning, and my life.”

Roxanne Gallon: “The Master of Studies Program in International Human Rights Law is an incredible program that brings together people from across the world with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives on human rights. The Faculty are truly inspiring and the course content offers insights into many important aspects of human rights law. The program is extremely well organized and manages to bridge the distance gap by bringing people together as friends and colleagues. I would highly recommend this program!”

Boris Topic: “I can say that the course was excellently structured and organised. The faculty lecturers ensured that now my understanding of international human rights law and its promises as well as its limitations has been definitely improved. Without exaggeration, my “Oxford” experience made me richer on both professional and personal level.”

Borko Nikolic: “I graduated from the MSt in international human rights law in summer of 2006. This course has provided me with a genuine opportunity to reassess my own views and experience in human rights field and further my knowledge in this area. As far as my career is concerned, I expect that it will certainly equip me with new perspectives.”

Alison Gita Aggarwal: “This is one of the few courses available internationally, that focuses specifically on international human rights law, and I found it to be a course of the highest calibre. The standards for the course were rigorous, and the faculty members were among some of the leading experts of international human rights law in the world. It was a privilege to have the opportunity to learn from and share with experts with knowledge and experience in such a diverse range of human rights issues. In addition, my fellow students I found to be rich in experience from their own countries, which contributed to a stimulating and rewarding learning experience. I highly commend this course to those wanting to advance their knowledge and skills in international human rights law.”

Laura Nyirinkindi: “The course at Oxford was one of the most exciting and motivating multi-cultural learning opportunities I have experienced. It offered the chance to mingle with internationally renowned actors, scholars and course mates in the field of human rights protection and promotion in informal and enriching settings. The availability of a hitherto unimagined world of literary treasures in the various libraries and information technologies made the world of difference. My perspective of who l am, and my working methods and standards have been vitally enhanced as a result of my time at Oxford.”

Adelaide Ferguson: “I have nothing but praise for the Human Rights Program at Oxford. I attended because I wanted to systematically develop my knowledge of the law and to meet human rights scholar/activists who are involved in human rights practice. The faculty is simply superb: expert, accessible and committed. They infused their classes with a clear grasp of theory and practice. I learned just as much from my 18 classmates, who were involved in various forms of human rights practice. I remain in touch with several of the faculty and most of my classmates. It continues to be a rich experience for me.”

Andy Haas: “It was a complete joy to learn at Oxford. The long-distance modules were well organized; and the teachers and students were a wealth of information to assist us in our research.”