Programs » Master of Human Rights – M.H.R.

The University of Manitoba launched Canada's first interdisciplinary Master of Human Rights program in September 2019.

Students will complete 18 course credits plus a thesis or a practicum and major research project.

  • required courses (9 credits) include human rights theory, research methods and law.
  • the other 9 credits of graduate-­level, Law or post-­baccalaureate courses may be selected from an approved list that will include courses from multiple faculties, including Arts, Education and Social Work.

Thesis stream: 16 to 24 months full-time.
Practicum stream: 16 months full-time, including a practicum of at least three months.

In addition to the Faculty of Graduate Studies minimum requirements, additional requirements for the MHR are:

  • Normally, a four-year bachelor’s degree with at least a B average (3.0 GPA) in the last 60 credit hours of study, or equivalent, to be completed before admission. Applicants who expect to complete their undergraduate degree before September may be conditionally accepted into the program. Note that, due to the competitive nature of the admissions process, students with a higher GPA may have a greater chance of acceptance.
  • English language proficiency: a high school diploma or minimum of three year university degree from Canada or from an exempted country or acceptable TOFEL, IELTS or CanTEST score.
  • Normally, at least one undergraduate-level course in human rights or equivalent field experience is preferred.
  • Two letters of reference (can be professional and/or academic).
  • Statement of interest (maximum two pages) that includes reasons for seeking admission, an outline of the applicant’s relevant background, a tentative indication of whether the student is likely to pursue a practicum or thesis, and a potential research question for those selecting the thesis option.

MHR students whose original language is English will be required to demonstrate working knowledge of a second language by the time of graduation. Note that American Sign Language will be among the languages recognized by the program. To satisfy the language requirement, students must either:

  • pass a language competency test approved by the MHR program; or
  • pass a program-approved language course. This course will be taken in addition to the 18 required course credits. Students who hope to work internationally should consider selecting one of the official languages of the United Nations (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish) or another world language such as German.
  • The program director may waive this requirement in appropriate circumstances, including where a student provides other evidence of competence in a second language, such as a high school graduation certificate or transcript in that language, confirmation of work experience in the second language or a transcript of advanced education in the second language.

This Program Chart summarizes the requirements to complete the MHR program.

HMRT 7100 (3 credit hours)
HMRT 7200 (3 credit hours)
HMRT 7300 (3 credit hours)
Practicum stream:
GRAD 7030 (Fall, Winter or Summer Term)
Electives: 9 other approved credit hours Thesis stream:
GRAD 7000 (fall and possibly winter and summer terms)
Thesis stream: GRAD 7000 or finish coursework
Practicum stream: GRAD 7030

HMRT 7100: Theory and Practice of Human Rights: Critical Perspectives (3 credit hours). 
This course critically analyzes, from an interdisciplinary perspective, the theory and practice of human rights as a framework for social justice. The course examines historical and current human rights struggles to better understand the potential, politics, challenges and limitations of the international human rights framework. Students who have already completed SOC 7160 prior to enrolling in the MHR program will be required, in consultation with the MHR program director or Dean of Law, to take an alternative graduate-level course to achieve the 18 required credits.

HMRT 7200: Selected Topics in Human Rights Research and Methods (3 credit hours).
This seminar course will explore multidisciplinary approaches to qualitative, quantitative, legal, and/or community-based research methods, as applicable to academic human rights research and projects overseen by governmental and nongovernmental organizations. Particular attention will be paid to the intricacies of ethically, politically and culturally sensitive research.

HMRT 7300: Human Rights Law (3 credit hours).
Critical and constructive study, at an advanced level, of a significant major subject or set of topics in Human Rights Law. Students are not required to take this course if they have already completed a JD or LLB that included a human rights law course. In that case, they will be required, in consultation with the MHR program director or Dean or Law, to take an alternative graduate-level course to achieve the 18 required credits.

GRAD 7300: Research Integrity Tutorial

GRAD 7500: Academic Integrity Tutorial 

Professional seminars (non-credit):
These seminars are intended to provide grounding in the skills required to undertake human rights work and will include such topics as non-academic writing (reports, funding applications, policy briefs, legislation etc.) social media, cross-cultural communication, budgeting, negotiation, professional ethics, working with journalists, presentation skills, human rights curation, and career paths. Tours will also be arranged of local archives and museums and relevant historical sites.


GRAD 7030: Master’s Practicum (pass/fail)
The student, working with an advisor and under the supervision of a site supervisor, will accrue at least 300 hours at a practicum site, usually during the summer. Students will meet with their faculty advisor on a regular basis to discuss related topics, experiences, and to problem-solve issues that may arise at the sites. Students are responsible for maintaining a Log of Practicum Hours and Project Notes. This log is to be signed by the site supervisor and submitted at the end of the semester to the faculty advisor supervising the practicum. The Practicum Agencies that participate in the practicum course will be selected because of the potential opportunities for student learning, unique program focus, and direct application of human rights skills and knowledge. Every agency must have staff members who apply human rights analysis in their professional work. Students will be asked to make a specific positive contribution to the operation of their host organizations in the form of a report, curriculum module, work of art, documentary film, workshop, website, strategic plan, or other such project. Prior to the start of this field experience, students will spend two to three weeks orienting themselves regarding the organization. Following completion of the practicum placement, students are required to write a major research paper of between 7,500 and 10,000 words.


GRAD 7000: Master’s Thesis
The MHR thesis is an independently written research document on a topic of relevance to human rights. The thesis would normally range from 80 to 100 pages of double-spaced typescript, including notes and bibliography. The thesis should demonstrate that the student has mastery of the specific field of human rights research under investigation, and is fully conversant with the relevant literature. The thesis should also demonstrate that the candidate has made an original contribution to knowledge in the field of human rights research. The thesis may entail co-operation with other faculties at the University of Manitoba, and agencies in the local and wider global community. In general, the overall goal of the thesis is to build or apply theory through disciplined and focused independent study. Consequently, the thesis should be based on scholarly study and research that encompasses both theoretical and empirical aspects of human rights research.

Program-approved graduate-level elective courses are available through various faculties supporting the interdisciplinary MHR program (Arts, Education, Law, Social Work, Health Sciences, Environment and others), as well as through the Peace and Conflict Studies and Disability Studies programs. Courses such as the following may be open to MHR students with permission of the instructor/department and as space allows. Please visit the Aurora course catalogue to view full course descriptions.

ANTH 4780 - Museums, Memory, and Witnessing
ANTH 7900 – Topics Course:

  • Problems in Ethnological Research
  • Environmental Conflict, Rights and Justice
  • Anthropology of Human Rights

Architecture Interdisciplinary
ARCG 7102 – Studio Topics in Environmental Processes (topic is Service Learning in the Global Community)

Community Health Sciences
CHSC 7490 – Empirical Perspectives on Social Organization and Health
CHSC 7870 – Health Survey Research Methods

Disability Studies
DS 7010 – Disability Studies
DS 7020 – History of Disability
DS 7040 – Selected Topics in Disability Studies when topic is any one of the following:

  • Environment and Disability
  • Global Disability Studies
  • Disability and the Media
  • Women and Disability

EDUA 7100 – Summer Institute on Fostering Leadership Capacity to Support First Nations, Metis and Inuit Learners (Topics in Educational Administration)
EDUA 5080 & EDUB 5220 – Summer Institute on Human Rights Education: A Partnership with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights
EDUA 7250 – Comparative Education
EDUA 7270 – Seminar in Cross-Cultural Education 1
EDUA 7280 – Seminar in Cross-Cultural Education 2
EDUA 7330 – Cross-Cultural Teaching and Learning in Ethiopia 2 (Topics in Educational Foundations)
EDUA 7560 – Cross-Cultural and Diversity Counselling
EDUA 7600 – Action Research in Education
EDUB 7212 – Critical Applied Linguistics in a Global Context
EDUB 7270 – Culture, Citizenship and Curriculum
EDUB 7340 – Writing Workshop: Writing for/as Human Rights (Seminar in Educational Thought)
EDUB 7350 – Curriculum Development: Writing for/as Human Rights (Independent Studies in Curriculum)
EDUB 7990 – Seminar in Environmental Education


ENGL 7030 - Studies in American Literature
ENGL 7140 - Studies in International Literature
ENGL 7860 – Topics in Cultural Studies (when topic is An Introduction to Genocide Studies)
ENGL 7XXX – Other human-rights-related graduate courses


GEOG 7010 - Political Ecology, Discourse and Power: Understanding Contemporary Environmentalism

GRMN 7360: Representations of the Holocaust in English Translation
GRMN 7330: Sex, Gender, and Cultural Politics in the German-Speaking World in English Translation

HIST 7392 – Selected Topics in Archival Studies (when topic is Archives, Public Affairs, and Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada)
HIST 7772 - Imperialism, Revolution, Democracy: Latin American History since the Cuban Revolution

Human Rights
HMRT 7510 - Special Topics in Human Rights: Critical and constructive study, at an advanced level, of a significant major subject or set of topics in Human Rights. Students may earn multiple credits for this course only when the topic subtitle is different.

HMRT 7800 - Research paper in Human Rights: An independent reading and/or research course on a selected topic in human rights, undertaken and arranged in consultation with the prospective instructor, upon the approval of the program director, the course content may vary. Students may earn multiple credits for this course only when the topic subtitle is different.

LAW 3070 – Gender and the Law*
LAW 3090 – Children, Youth, and the Law*
LAW 3212 – Immigration Law*
LAW 3230 – Aboriginal Peoples and Land Claims*
LAW 3310 – Aboriginal Peoples and the Law*
LAW 3364 – Law and Resistance
LAW 3380 – Issues in Law and Bio Ethics*
LAW 3740 – Public International Law*
LAW 3940 – Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms*
LAW 3980 – Current Legal Problems B* when topic is any one of the following:

  • Aboriginal Law- Criminal Justice and Family Law
  • Advocating for the Rights of Indigenous People in International Law
  • International Criminal Justice
  • Language Rights
  • Metis Peoples and Canadian Law
  • Indigenous People and Oral History
  • Philanthropy and the Law
  • Poverty Law
  • Reproductive and Sexual Rights
  • Transitional Justice

Native Studies
NATV 7240 – Issues in Colonization

Natural Resource Institute
NRI 7200 – The Role of Information Management in Sustainable Resource Use
NRI 7222 – Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and Environmental Management
NRI 7340 – Environmental Justice and Ecosystem Health
NRI 7370 –Sustainable Livelihoods, Food Resources and Community Food Security

Peace and Conflict Studies
PEAC 7030 – International Conflict Resolution and Peace-building
PEAC 7040 – Violence Intervention and Prevention
PEAC 7050 – Intercultural Conflict Resolution and Peace-building
PEAC 7110 – International Human Rights and Human Security
PEAC 7120 – Peacebuilding and Social Justice
PEAC 7124 – Gender, Conflict and Peacemaking
PEAC 7126 – Ethnic Conflict Analysis and Resolution
PEAC 7128 – Storytelling: Identity, Power and Transformation
PEAC 7300 – Special Topics in Peace and Conflict Studies when the topic is:

  • Children and War
  • Critical and Emancipatory Peacebuilding

Political Science
POLS 7790 – International Relations Theory
POLS 7850 – Contemporary Strategic and Security Studies

PSYC 7660 – Intergroup Relations

RLGN 7300 – Seminar on Religion and Culture

SOC 7160 – Topics Course:

  • The Power of Social Movements

SOC 7310 - Seminar in Intergroup Relations
SOC 7320 - Political Sociology
SOC 7450 – Selected Topics in Criminology (may include Crime and the Camps, Genocide and War Crimes, Restorative Justice, and Truth and Reconciliation)

Social Work
SWRK 7440 – Policy Analysis in Social Work Practice 3
SWRK 7600 – Critical Perspectives and Social Work

Woman’s Studies
WOMN 7270 – Advanced Topics in Women’s Studies
WOMN 7170 – Directed Readings in Women’s Studies
WOMN 4200 (7XXX) - Mother Load: Analyzing Mothers and Mothering as Transformative Agents

Selected topics courses related to human rights or social justice in other departments.

These courses will not necessarily be offered every year, the decision being up to individual departments. We expect the list to be supplemented with new course offerings, including International Human Rights, to be offered overseas, perhaps initially in Latin America by Dr. Annette Desmarais.

*Courses below the 7000 level will only be approved as electives if students normally take them after completion of a prior university degree.

The following professors have agreed to act as potential supervisors to students in the Master of Human Rights program. Please note that it is not necessary to secure a supervisor prior to submitting your application. However, if you have a sense of the professor you would like to work with, please identify them in the ‘Preferred Supervisor’ box on your application form.

Professor Kathleen Buddle
Professor Anna Fournier
Professor Derek Johnson
Distinguished Professor Ellen Judd
Professor Fabiana Li

Disability Studies
Dr. Nancy Hansen

Professor Charlotte Enns
Professor Michelle Honeyford
Professor Melanie Janzen
Professor Sandra Kouritzin
Professor Priya Mani
Professor Robert Mizzi
Professor Bruno de Oliveira Jayme
Professor Nathalie Piquemal
Professor Wayne Serebrin
Professor Grace Ukasoanya

English, Film, and Theatre
Professor Jonah Corne
Professor Mark Libin
Professor Adam Muller
Professor Struan Sinclair

Professor Dominique Laporte 

Professor Stephan Jaeger

Labour Studies
Professor David Camfield

Professor Karen Busby
Professor Amar Khoday
Professor David Ireland
Professor Lorna Turnbull 

Native Studies
Dr. Christopher Trott

Peace and Conflict Studies
Dr. Sean Byrne
Professor Joan Durrant
Dr. Jessica Senehi

Political Studies
Professor Tami Jacoby
Professor Kiera Ladner
Professor Bryan Peeler

Dr. Danielle Gaucher
Dr. Katherine Starzyk

Professor Kenneth MacKendrick

Slavic Studies
Professor Myroslav Shkandrij

Social Work
Professor Maria Cheung
Professor Sid Frankel
Professor Eveline Milliken
Professor Jim Mulvale
Professor Cathy Rocke
Dr. Ashley Stewart-Tufescu

Sociology and Criminology
Professor Elizabeth Comack
Professor Frank Cormier
Professor Annette Desmarais
Professor Jason Edgerton
Professor Christopher Fries
Professor Laura Funk
Professor Rick Linden
Professor Gregg Olsen
Professor Tracey Peter
Professor Susan Prentice
Professor Lance Roberts
Professor Russell Smandych
Professor Lori Wilkinson
Professor Andrew Woolford

Professor María Inés Martínez

Women’s and Gender Studies
Dr. Janice Ristock
Professor Jocelyn Thorpe

Co-advisors from other departments:

Agriculture & Food Sciences
Dr. Annemieke Farenhorst

Community Health Sciences
Dr. Brenda Elias

Environment and Geography
Dr. Bruce Erickson

Kinesiology and Recreation Management
Dr. Sarah Teetzel

Natural Resources Institute
Dr. Shirley Thompson

Professor Benita Cohen

Those students in the Practicum Stream undertake work placements with leading local and international human rights organizations to gain practical, hands-on experience doing human rights work. Several of our students have been offered paid employment with their practicum organization following the completion of their hours. The following is a list of our student work placements for 2020:

Past MHR Practicum Placements
The Manitoba Human Rights Commission (3 placements)
North Atlantic Treaty Organization Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (NATO CCDCOE)
La Via Campesina (International Peasants' Movement)
KLINIC Community Health
Legal Aid
The Ribbon Rouge Foundation
Oral History Centre, University of Winnipeg
Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth (MACY)
Centre for Policy Alternatives
West Central Women's Resource Centre
Hugh O'Brien Youth Leadership (HOBY Canada)
Community Engagement Office, University of Manitoba

We endeavor to place students with organizations that best match their interests and professional aspirations. Beyond the list above, the following organizations have expressed interest in hosting MHR students in 2021 (we will also gladly work with students to identify other potential placements):

Potential Future Placements
Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Office of Conflict Management (Human Rights) University of Manitoba
Manitoba Council for International Cooperation
Winnipeg Harvest
Mediation Services
Rady Faculty of Medicine Office of Diversity and Inclusion
University of Manitoba Sexual Violence Resource Centre
Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Manitoba

We expect more international placements in future and have funding available to students to defray the costs associated with practicums or thesis research outside of Manitoba.

Four helpful guides with information about the Master of Human Rights Practicum:

Apply for the Master of Human Rights Program

Available awards will include:

  • All students admitted into the program are considered for funding opportunities; no separate application is required.
  • Travel awards for some students with demonstrated financial need, to conduct research or participate in a practicum or field course related to their human rights studies.


The Master of Human Rights will be led by a director and a new tenure-track assistant professor, who will serve as the Mauro Chair in Human Rights and Social Justice. The new program director is Dr. Kjell Anderson, and the Mauro Chair is now in the process of being hired. Interested candidates can apply here:
Mauro Chair in Human Rights and Social Justice and Assistant/Associate Professor, Tenure Track Position