UMass Boston

Human Rights Certificate

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Become equipped to examine human rights frameworks that lead to the political, economic, and social inclusion of individuals and groups.

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

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Plan Your Education

How to Apply

Applicants must meet general graduate admission requirements in addition to the following program-specific requirements:

  • Statement of purpose - Please discuss in 1,200 words or less your reasons for pursuing a graduate certificate in human rights, and your academic, personal, and professional goals.
  • Transcripts - Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended. Applicants must possess a four-year bachelor’s degree or equivalent from an accredited college or university, and must have a GPA of 3.0 or above.
  • Letter of recommendation - This letter should come from someone who can speak to your academic and professional preparation for program success.
  • Résumé or curriculum vitae - Please make sure all educational background and professional history is current with degrees earned, institutions attended, majors, and GPAs.

Deadlines & Cost

Deadlines: December 1 for fall, November 1 for spring

Application Fee: The nonrefundable application fee is $75. UMass Boston alumni and current students that plan to complete degree requirements prior to graduate enrollment can submit the application without paying the application fee.

Program Cost Information: Bursar’s website


Required Courses (9 Credits)

  • GISD 624 - International Human Rights Law, Policy and Practice 3 Credit(s)
  • GISD 625 - Human Rights-Based Approaches to Social Justice 3 Credit(s)
  • GISD 626 - Global Health and Human Rights 3 Credit(s)

Independent Study (3 Credits)

  • GISD 696 - Independent Study 1-6 Credit(s)

Elective (3 Credits)

Select one elective course from among the courses offered at the University with the permission of your advisor and the Academic Affairs Committee.

Graduation Criteria

Complete 15 credits from five courses including three required courses, one independent study, and one elective.

Statute of limitations: Three years.


Graduate Program Director Kaitlyn Siner
kaitlyn.siner [@]
(617) 287-3070

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