Human Rights Studies

Program director: James Silk, L39 SLB, 432-1729;

Human Rights Studies Multidisciplinary Academic Program

The Multidisciplinary Academic Program in Human Rights Studies presents human rights as a rich and interdisciplinary field of study. The program provides students with the analytical, conceptual, and practical skills necessary for human rights study; connects students to affiliate faculty and peers; supports student research projects and internships; and offers guidance for post-graduate careers and studies related to human rights. Students apply to the Multidisciplinary Academic Program in Human Rights Studies during the fall term of the sophomore year. Students in the program also complete the requirements of a Yale College major. Yale College does not offer a major in human rights.

To fulfill the requirements of the program, students complete a gateway course (HMRT 100), four electives, and a capstone seminar (HMRT 400), which entails completion of a final capstone project. The gateway course equips students with the theoretical tools necessary for studying human rights, their evolution, and their justification. It introduces a number of contemporary issues such as gender disparities, racial discrimination, climate change, global health, human trafficking, refugees, world poverty, and humanitarian intervention. Students select four electives from a list of eligible courses provided at the start of each term. In the capstone seminar, students explore selected advanced issues in international human rights law and advocacy and complete a supervised capstone project that is informed by extracurricular experience and developed in consultation with the program director and other program advisers. Students’ capstone projects may draw on ideas and methods of a wide variety of disciplines.

Students are also expected to submit three reflections on Schell Center human rights events during the spring term of their sophomore year and one event reflection each term thereafter. They also attend program events and gatherings, including weekly dinners during the sophomore spring term and junior fall term. Additional information is available at the Human Rights program website.


Prerequisite None

Number of courses 6 courses (incl senior req)

Specific courses required HMRT 100

Other requirements  4 electives and event reflections as described

Senior requirement HMRT 400


Amity Doolittle (School of the Environment, Environmental Studies), Crystal Feimster (African American Studies, American Studies), Moira Fradinger (Comparative Literature), Paul Linden-Retek (Law School, Political Science), Talya Lockman-Fine (Law School), Louisa Lombard (Anthropology), Hope Metcalf (Law School), Alice Miller (Law School, Public Health), Samuel Moyn (Law School, History), Jill Richards (English), James Silk (Law School), David Simon (Political Science), Quan Tran (Ethnicity, Race, and Migration, American Studies), Elisabeth Wood (Political Science)