Bachelor of Arts

Human Rights Practice

Earn a B.A. not only in the theory but in the applied practice of Human Rights to help you address the most urgent problems facing today’s world.

About the Online Program

Human right challenges – and opportunities – abound around the world. The B.A. in Human Rights Practice will provide you with the knowledge, insights and skills needed to contribute to a more just and equal world.

Coursework in the Human Rights Practice major will enable you to gain a broad understanding of human rights issues around the globe while also offering opportunities to focus on the topics, groups, and locations that concern you the most. The curriculum emphasizes acquiring the practical capabilities that will enable you to work with an organization aligned with the principles of human rights and your own personal and professional commitments to social justice.


Earning the B.A. in Human Rights Practice will build core capabilities including:

  • foundational knowledge
  • critical perspectives  
  • writing competencies
  • advocacy skills
  • analytical abilities
  • grant writing
  • testimony gathering
  • documentary production
  • experience in “real-world” contexts


Graduates with a BA in Human Rights Practice will be prepared for careers in local, national, and international governmental and non-governmental organizations working on human rights and social justice issues. The program also prepares students for enrollment in law schools or graduate programs that focus on human rights issues, as well as other public and private sector jobs engaged with social issues and vulnerable populations. Human Rights Practice students have access to all of the University of Arizona's career development resources. Key career fields related to Human Rights Practice include:

  • Government
  • Human rights projects
  • Civil rights organizations
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Research consultancies
  • Issue advocacy
  • Social justice campaigns
  • Political affairs
  • Diplomacy and international affairs
  • Legal services
  • Policy programs
  • Media


Courses in the B.A. in Human Rights Practice offer extensive interaction between students and leading practitioners from around the globe through several video conferences in each course. Project-based learning enables students to complete real-world projects alongside work with community members through independent studies, internships, and the Capstone course.  The curriculum includes the courses listed below. For further information, please see the page on the Human Rights BA Major and Minor Requirements. Note that Human Rights Practice undergraduate students may also be eligible to apply their coursework towards participation in the University of Arizona's Peace Corps Prep Certificate Program. Some HRTS undergrad courses may also be applied towards the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) and Bachelor of Global Studies (GLS) degrees.

The course will open with an overview of the key structures, institutions, and processes of human rights system at the international, regional, and national levels. It will then proceed to a focus on major actors in human rights and how they interact with, and can be influenced by, NGOs, community-based organizations, and other elements of civil society. Next, there will be a focus on such civil and political issues as free expression, due process, and political participation. The following section of the course will review economic, social, and cultural rights in areas including health, housing, education, social security, and employment, as well as the right to development. During the course, students will interact with human rights practitioners who will discuss their applied work.
This course delves into four or five current human rights issues examining the social, political, cultural, and historical causes. It also examines social movements and other means for addressing the human rights issue. Students will also have the opportunity to explore other current issues of their interest.
This course examines historical and current issues in the US through a human rights lens. Will examine efforts historically and in the present to improve the human rights conditions in the US. Will also consider the relationship between the US and the UN and regional human rights treaty bodies as well as prospects for future change.
This course exposes students to the pivotal roles that stories play in human rights work, including conveying testimonies, education, and marketing human rights abuses. The course looks at fictional and non-fictional stories told through a variety of media and analyze important ethical and political issues associated with human rights testimonies.
An introduction to gender-based violence topics, including nature and scope, prevention and response, and anti-violence activism. Using intersectional and feminist frameworks, students will work on projects aimed at increasing awareness about gender violence and/or supporting survivors.
The course integrates experiential opportunities for students, so they integrate theory and practice, and connect more effectively with their community. Emphasis is on developing skills and an ethos for working with marginalized community.
Course topics will vary, but each will cover a specific skill that is important for doing contemporary human rights work. Topics might include: grant writing and fundraising, specific statistical techniques or research methods, forensics and human rights, interviewing of marginalized communities, creating documentary media, or the optimum use of social media.
Focuses on how to implement community-based action research projects relevant to protecting and advancing human rights in local communities. Community ownership and/or access to data as an empowerment tool will be examined. Students will learn how community members participate in developing research questions, choosing and implementing data collection methods, interpreting findings, and sharing/presenting of results. Case studies of community research that resulted in empowerment and enfranchisement will be presented. Students will work hand-in-hand with faculty and community members in designing and running two community-based action research projects.
Will cover a topic and how it plays out in several locations across the globe. A typical topic would be the #MeToo movement in several places or the rise of authoritarianism in different countries. This class will emphasize review of case studies on the topic and will engage practitioners and researchers who worked on the cases under study.
These courses engage students in short, real-time examinations of a human rights emergency or crisis around the globe. Students learn from local activists and scholars what the issues are, how they emerged, and what activists are doing to try to incorporate human rights protections into crisis intervention and problem solving. It is recommended that students take at least two of these classes during their time in the program. Examples of crises that could be the subject of such a class include: the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya from Burma; the recent crackdowns on the LGBTQ population in Chechnya; or the widespread abuses perpetrated against African migrants as they attempt to journey to Europe.
A theme-based course in which students “complete” 2 or 3 virtual field trips dedicated to a chosen human rights topic or issue as experienced/understood in different parts of the world. An activist or scholar in a relevant location will host the field trip (along with the UA instructor) and arrange for video or audio interviews with key stakeholders, guest lectures, and a video tour of the location. Assigned readings and course discussions will tie together the disparate experiences. Example themes might be environmental changes or natural disasters and their aftermath, refugee and migrant reception and governance, or governmental action against NGOs.
A culminating experience for majors involving a substantive project that demonstrates a synthesis of learning accumulated in the major, including broadly comprehensive knowledge of the discipline and its methodologies. Senior standing required.