Law - International Human Rights Law

Internationally recognised postgraduate diploma allowing specialisation in International Human Rights Law.
The Postgraduate Diploma in Arts in International Human Rights Law is available on a full-time basis over a one year period. Lectures are held in the evening time to allow those who are working or have other daytime commitments.

Please note: The Postgraduate Diploma in Arts? in International Human Rights Law is a cognitive masters. In order to be eligible for the course you will need to possess the following: 2.2 degree in Law or a related discipline (that has a 50% legal component to the degree) or a foreign equivalent.

Relative work experience may also be taken into consideration.

Why Study International Human Rights Law at Griffith?
The Postgraduate Diploma in Arts in International Human Rights Law offers students the opportunity to specialise in International Human Rights Law, to facilitate enhanced career opportunities and/ or to lay the foundations for PhD study.
• Graduates of this programme will receive an internationally recognised Postgraduate Diploma in law.
• Students will gain a firm understanding of the key principles of International Human Rights Law, for example, International Humanitarian Law, International Children's Rights Law and International Asylum and Immigration Law.
• Students will acquire highly transferable skills attractive to a wide range of sectors outside law including in the civil or foreign service, or in the NGO sector.
• A strong international focus gives students a key advantage when building a career in today's globalised legal landscape
• All of our lecturers are experienced academics who are specialists in their field.

Course Highlights
• Unique Human Rights international law focus
• Experienced lecturers - experts in their field
• Small class sizes - more individual attention to help you reach your personal potential
• Evening time lectures - it is possible to obtain a Postgraduate Diploma with work or other daytime commitments.

Subjects taught

The Postgraduate Diploma is one year in duration. The student will complete six subjects. In the first semester, the student will complete three mandatory subjects and in the second semester, they will choose three electives. (Electives run subject to demand and at the discretion of the faculty.)

Semester One
Public International Law
Public International Law is concerned with both the relations between States and with the relationship between individuals, international organisations and States. This module enables the learner to understand and evaluate Public International Law and its role, potential and limitations in International affairs. It enables learners to identify the sources of Public International Law and develop their ability to apply these appropriately to a range of actual and theoretical situations. The module examines the operation of international organisations such as the United Nations and their impact on the wider principles of International Law. Learners gain an understanding of the formation and formalisation of international treaties and an awareness of the principles of State sovereignty. The module addresses a number of current legal issues in the development of international law and Learners become familiarised with the treaties on which International Law is based, the rules of Customary International Law and a knowledge of the institutions which apply International Law.

Advanced Legal Research and Writing
The aim of this module is to inculcate in the learner advanced legal research and writing skills. The module initially focusses on the development of online research skills and search operators. The learner develops an understanding of various research methodologies which can be employed when conducting research; doctrinal, comparative, socio-legal etc. Furthermore, the module fosters within learners the ability to write excellent legal prose with style, precision and accuracy. Learners master a legal house style; the Oxford University Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA).

International and European Human Rights Law
This module examines the development of International Human Rights Law with specific reference to its expansion in the 20th and 21st centuries. The evolution of the protection of Human Rights from purely a national concern to a global concern is a central theme and involves analysis of the birth of international enforcement mechanisms. The divisions between civil and political rights and socio-economic and cultural rights are discussed with particular focus on the relationship between both sets of rights. Current International Human Rights issues form the final part of this module with learners looking at specific concerns of the international community.

Semester Two - Electives
International Humanitarian Law
This module extensively examines the development of the laws of armed conflict derived from the 1863 Lieber Code and the 1868 St Petersburg Declaration and its application to the theatre of hostilities. Far-reaching advances in the categorisation of conflicts, the dynamics of warfare, weapons and aerial bombardment have resulted in an international struggle to apply a dated international Humanitarian Law framework to altered realities on the ground. In parallel, developing Human Rights norms now extend to armed conflict but the relationship and interpretation of the competing sets of norms is open to dispute. This module examines the categorisation of armed conflicts, the status of parties to the conflict, PoW’s, civilians, belligerent occupation, methods and means of warfare, and self determination and armed conflict. Accordingly, the module analyses the application of the laws of armed conflict in contemporary battle grounds through case studies examining inter alia Iraq, Palestine and Syria.

*This elective runs subject to demand and discretion of the Faculty of Law.

Social and Economic Rights
This module examines the protection of Social and Economic Rights within International Law. It seeks to locate social and economic rights within the wider scope of International Human Rights Law protection and addresses the theoretical debates over the method of protection that these rights should be given. Learners study the operation of the UNESCR and assess its effectiveness. The UNESCR is compared to a range of regional instruments and the contrasts between the various methods of protection discussed. Case studies are undertaken focusing on the protection of specific rights within developing and developed nations.

*This elective runs subject to demand and discretion of the Faculty of Law.

International Asylum and Immigration Law
This module provides a detailed and comprehensive understanding of International Asylum and Immigration Law. The learner studies the principles, doctrines and rules underpinning International Asylum and Immigration law, along with relevant international legal instruments. The module addresses the political, social and philosophical issues raised by asylum seeking, while also providing learners with the tools to solve technical asylum problems.

*This elective runs subject to demand and discretion of the Faculty of Law.

International Criminal Law
The module in International Criminal Law examines selected issues and current problems involving the criminal law aspects of International Law. The module looks at the origin and purpose of International Criminal Law and it examines the duty to prosecute those who commit international crimes. It also focuses on the application of domestic and international law to the question of jurisdiction over international criminal activities. The course further examines the substantive international criminal law as contained in multi-lateral treaties concerning, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Lastly, the course covers the International Criminal Tribunals for Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the permanent International Criminal Court.

*This elective runs subject to demand and discretion of the Faculty of Law.

Gender, Sexuality and Human Rights
This module combines analysis of current law with a critical exploration of the structures, potential, and limits of law and legal reform. The focus of the module is human rights, both as a legal regime with specific application to gender and sexuality issues, and as a political sphere within which issues relating to gender and sexuality are negotiated. The module includes discussions of domestic, European, and international developments. As such, this module provides grounding in the key issues of gender, sexuality and human rights discourse whilst ensuring that learners will gain an understanding and appreciation of those issues which are at the cutting edge of these discussions.

*This elective runs subject to demand and discretion of the Faculty of Law.

International Privacy and Data Protection Law
This module provides an explanatory overview to data protection and privacy law, taking an international perspective that encompasses Irish and EU law. The module will consider theoretical and practical approaches in understanding the power and significance of handling personal information securely.

Transitional Justice and Human Rights
The module aims to provide a conceptual and analytical framework with which to understand the link between peace building and human rights in post-conflict contexts, primarily through developing a critical understanding of transitional justice, while applying critical approaches to international law, such as Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL), Critical Race Theory (CRT), Feminist Theories on International Law (FTIL) Law et al.

Entry requirements

2.2 degree in Law or a related discipline (that has a 50% legal component to the degree) or foreign equivalent or relevant work experience.

English Language
Griffith College is accepting the online Duolingo English Test (DET) as valid proof of English proficiency.

Application dates

How to Apply
All applicants must apply online here uploading a copy of the following:
• Photo I.D. (driving licence or passport)
• Degree transcripts from previous studies
• Module descriptors from previous studies where the degree is not of a cognate discipline.


1 year. Full-Time.

Enrolment dates

Intake Dates:
We run two intakes for this course, commencing as follows:
Autumn: September*
Spring: February*

*subject to sufficient numbers.

Post Course Info

Academic Progression
Students who successfully complete the Postgraduate Diploma in Arts in International Human Rights Law can progress onto the LL.M. programme through the completion of a 20,000 word dissertation in a relevant area.

Career Progression
Students who wish to specialise in an area of law within a legal firm or practice at the Bar often choose the postgraduate diploma to give themselves sufficient knowledge in that area. Increasingly, companies are dealing with the international markets and for this reason, the Postgraduate Diploma in International Commercial Law is very popular amongst lawyers in this area.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Daytime

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    Course provider