Career Path

Learn more about what you can do with an M.A. or Graduate Certificate in Human Rights Practice.

Do Your Research

We recommend that you peruse NGO and the U.N. websites in your area of interest (refugees, economic justice, LGTB rights, indigenous rights, for example) to look at the jobs they list.  For example, if you are interested in working toward peace, against war, and respectful management of refugee and IDP issues, take a look at the website of the International Crisis Group.

You will see on these organizations’ websites…listings of jobs and even internships of various kinds:  analyst, editor/policy advisor, research associate, volunteer intern, online communications associate, etc.  We recommend that you click on several job descriptions and see what kinds of skills and experience they are looking for.

Analyze Your Skills

Think of what you can bring to the human rights field—your talents, interests, propensities, work habits—as well as the knowledge and skills gained, and your portfolio of work completed in your UA human rights practice courses.  Human rights work is interdisciplinary and requires many different skills, some that might not be considered directly related to the field, but are essential for advancing rights for everyone. 

Think About Your Interests 

Human rights organizations need accountants, marketers, graphics artists, event planners, writers, and community organizers.  If you are interested in development and human rights, some important skills and knowledge might be construction, hydrology, soil sciences, GIS, etc.  If you are worried about human rights and climate change, some important skills may be horticulture, agroecology, or landscape design.

Ask Yourself Some Questions 

Think carefully about how your days would be spent doing the tasks of that job.  What are the tasks?  What is required of you to actually do, physically and mentally?  Do you like high volume and deadlines? Do you like project work where you work very hard for a period and then celebrate the successful close of a project?  With whom would you interact on the job?  Are you located at your desk, on a computer, at all times?  Who will your colleagues be, actually?  Look at an organization’s completed work products…are these services delivered?  Papers?  News briefs?  Press releases?  Databases they have built?  Community events?  Do you like figuring out work and administrative systems—operations and how things get done in a large organization?  Do you like working with budgets and figures?

Can you imagine yourself in these jobs?  Are you more introverted or extroverted?  Do you like working alone, thinking things through, or do you like promoting an organization to donors?  Do you like doing PR?  Working with volunteers?  Do you thrive in getting work done on teams?  Do you prefer to spend your days thinking up social media campaigns?  Do you like analyzing quantitative data?  Or qualitative?  Do you like interviewing in the field?  Do you like designing studies and evaluation methods?

How much travel do you want to do on the job?  Are there possibilities for job advancement?  Or organizational development tasks?

Take a look at Glassdoor under company reviews, and see what employees have said about the company.

Job Posting Websites

Some job posting websites to check are:

Idealist

Peace Collaborative Development Network

Funds for NGOs (jobs at foundations who fund NGOs and other human rights work)

And you can google others…

Networking

Next, think about the contacts and networks you have grown through the courses you have taken.  Who can you contact for an introduction?  Who can tell you about opportunities and employers in that geographic location?  We ask students to write thank you notes to the guest speakers from around the world in our courses…it is a polite thing to do; it helps the speaker know how their talk was received; and, it puts your interests in front of that speaker.  So make contact!  And stay in touch with other students in the classes.  They will remember you and help you when they can.

Forge Your Own Path

Finally, if you need a vehicle to do what you love in human rights, create one. We have two classes about NGOs where you will learn important skills on organizational design, development, grant-writing, logic models and frameworks, project management, sustainability, governance, and vision/mission setting and strategic planning.