How do cultural boundaries affect human rights? What are the challenges for human rights practitioners when dealing with radically different cultures? This course combines an anthropological approach to the study of society and social interaction whilst considering human rights issues in local contexts. You explore how human rights are applied across multiple cultures and the ways in which local communities can promote and protect human rights
Grow your understanding of both social anthropology and human rights, developing a wide array of practical research skills and exploring the broadest questions about our society. You investigate the many different social tensions, interactions and networks that make up everyday life, as well as the definition, development, and abuse of rights around the globe. You study a wide range of topics including:
- Multiculturalism and human rights
- The politics of indigeneity and indigenous human rights
- Anthropological approaches to gender and ethnicity
- How to analyse human rights in an international context
- Anthropological research methods
Our Department of Sociology was rated top 10 in the UK for research quality (REF 2014) and ranked 9th in the UK for Sociology in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021.
Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you extending your education through providing the option of an additional year. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year studying abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.
Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.
If you spend a full year abroad you’ll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won’t pay any tuition fees to your host university
On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. You’ll be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and our Employability and Careers Centre.
A Placement-Linked Project module is also available as an alternative to the dissertation module in your third year. You attend shorter placements (a minimum of 150 hours in total), and use your learning on placement to inform a research project; fantastic work experience for your CV.
If you complete a placement year you’ll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.
Our expert staff
Our world-leading academics conduct research on issues of the day around the world, whether it’s indigenous peoples in Latin America or female factory workers in Sri Lanka, we embed our innovative and sometimes controversial research into your course.
As well as publishing bestselling books, our academics have appeared in radio and television broadcasts such as Professor Andrew Canessa who in 2017 was recently featured on BBC news and in documentaries in Hong Kong and Singapore as well as radio broadcasts in the UK, Australia and the US.
Members of our Human Rights Centre work closely with our alumni and extensive practitioner network to ensure that our research is focused on priority issues that are of direct relevance to beneficiaries such as victims of human rights violations, governments, NGOs, and international organisations such as the UN.
Take advantage of our extensive learning resources to assist you in your studies:
- A unique Student Study Centre where you can get help with your studies, access examples of previous students’ work, and attend workshops on research skills
- The common room is open all day Monday-Friday, has a hot drinks vending machine, water cooler and microwave as well as a small number of lockers available
- Links with the Institute of Social and Economic Research, which conducts large-scale survey projects and has its own library, and the UK Data Archive, which stores national research data like the British Crime Survey
- Our students’ Sociology Society, a forum for the exchange of ideas, arranging talks by visiting speakers, introducing you to various career pathways, and organising debates
You also benefit from our human rights facilities
- Work on key human rights projects at our Human Rights Clinic
- Network at our student-run Law Society, Human Rights Society, Bar Society and Amnesty International Society, which provides legal advice to the Commonwealth Students’ Association (CSA)
- Volunteer at the Essex Law Clinic where you can work alongside practicing solicitors to offer legal advice to clients
- Join our Model United Nations society, which can improve your skills of argumentation, oral presentation and research
Our students are in demand from a wide range of employers in a host of occupations, including local and central government, NGOs, social work, market research, project management, fundraising, auditing, marketing, case-work, youth and community work, voluntary sector management and lobbying.
Our recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies including:
- The Institute of Public Finance
- Guardian Professional
- Home Office
- Synergy Healthcare Research
We also work with the University’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities. Take a look at our dedicated careers pages for Sociology and Human Rights.
Why we’re great
- You develop the critical and inventive thinking skills necessary for many graduate jobs.
- Our teaching is underpinned by research – new ideas and theories are tested in the classroom.
- Our lecturers work with the UN, the UK government, and with EU and foreign governments.
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.
Teaching and learning disclaimer
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.
On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree. Our Programme Specification gives more detail about modules on your year abroad.
- Teaching is arranged to allow a lot of freedom in how you organise your learning experience, with a focus on discussion and problem-solving
- Lab sessions to improve technical research skills
- Assessed through a combination of written coursework and end-of-year examinations
- Complete a supervised dissertation on the topic that most inspires you