Human Rights Law

JD x Graduate Certificate in Human Rights Law

As a lawyer, you need to understand the needs and goals of your clients and the context for the legal work you are doing.

To provide you with the big picture in a specific area of expertise, Northeastern University School of Law offers a range of certificates that are interdisciplinary, bringing together the unique strengths of our law school and global university, and our leadership in experience-based education.

With a JD x Graduate Certificate in Human Rights Law, you’ll multiply the options open to you as a lawyer and develop real expertise. 

If your goal is to work in field of human rights,  you need to understand the complexities of international human rights norms and practices; international human rights institutions such as the United Nations and the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights; and domestic institutions, including federal, state and local courts. Human rights law intersects with, but is distinct from, other bodies of law. Separate study is therefore required to master the principles and processes that animate it.

The interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Human Rights Law encompasses a wide range of courses, including courses in international human rights, domestic human rights, international law, health law, intellectual property law, environmental law and corporate social responsibility. You will have access to the expertise and practical insights of your law professors and their colleagues across our global university. By engaging with courses, co-ops and clinics — and writing a substantial research paper — you will acquire a strong foundation in human rights law.

Whether your goal is to promote human rights through advocacy, scholarship, responsible corporate practices or government service, the Graduate Certificate in Human Rights Law offers an opportunity to develop the expertise you need for a rewarding career.

Sample Courses
Comparative Family Law
Contemporary Issues in Third World Development
Disability Law
Energy Democracy and  Climate Resilience: Technology, Policy and Social Change
Global AIDS Policy  Seminar
Global Criminology
Global Governance
Global Health
Global Justice
Globalization, Development and Social Justice
Human Rights in the United States
Human Rights, IP and Access to Medicines
Human Rights, the Environment, Development and Community Resilience
International Environmental Law
International Environmental Policy
International Human Rights and the Global Economy
International Law
Law and Economic Development
Reproductive and Sexual Rights and Health
Social Movements in Health

Related Clinics
Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Clinic
Domestic Violence Clinic
Immigrant Justice Clinic
Poverty Law and Practice Clinic
Prisoners’ Rights Clinic
Public Health Legal Clinic

Sample Co-ops
Brady United, Washington, DC
Center for Constitutional Rights, New York, New York
Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, San Francisco
Center for Reproductive Rights, International Legal Program, New York, New York
Centre for Disability Law and Policy,  National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
Community Justice Project, Miami, Florida
Corporate Accountability, Boston, Massachusetts
Disability Rights International, Washington, DC
Due Diligence Initiative, Newton, Massachusetts
Freedom Now, Washington, DC
Global Justice Center, New York, New York
Global Rights, Washington, DC
Hebrew Immigration Aid Society, Silver Spring, Maryland
Human Rights Law Network, New Delhi, India
Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, Boston, Massachusetts
International Association of Women Judges, Washington, DC
International Bridges to Justice, Geneva, Switzerland
International Rescue Committee, New York, New York
Justice in Motion, Brooklyn, New York
MADRE, New York, New York
MMIS, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Namati Global, Washington, DC
National Homelessness Law Center, Washington, DC
Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration, Berlin, Germany
Organization of American States, Washington, DC
Oxfam America, Boston, Massachusetts
Partners in Health, Boston, Massachusetts
PASE Legal Services Office, Chinandega, Nicaragua
Perseus Strategies, Washington, DC
Project South, Atlanta, Georgia
Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Lund, Sweden
Social Justice  Collaborative, Oakland, California
Supreme Court of Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica
The Rich Coast Project, Boston, Massachusetts
The Sex  Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center, New Orleans, Louisiana
UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Washington, DC
US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Albany, New York
US Human Rights Network, Atlanta, Georgia
Water Projector Legal Collective, Mandan, North Dakota

>> Requirements

Additional Human Rights Opportunities

  • The Center for Health Policy and Law provides a rich context for students and researchers interested in public health law, health and human rights, health governance, health care financing, drug law, intellectual property, bioethics, health care delivery law and the regulation of our health care systems.
  • The Public Health Advocacy Institute is renowned for its leadership and commitment to research and advocacy in public health law, to public health policy development, to legal technical assistance and to collaborative work at the intersection of law and public health.
  • The Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE) was founded in 2005 and has a threefold mission: (1) to promote human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, within the Northeastern community; (2) to support cutting-edge scholarship on human rights with a particular focus on economic, social, and cultural rights; and (3) to work to implement human rights norms and sound economic development approaches worldwide.
  • The Health in Justice Action Lab is guided by a vision of a healthier, more just society, and advances criminal justice reform through a public health lens. Engaging with academic, community, public and private partners, it informs responses to today’s most critical community challenges.
  • The Human Rights Caucus (HRC) was founded by Northeastern University School of Law students on December 10, 2008, the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Human Rights Caucus serves as the hub for human rights issues not currently addressed by other student organizations, reinforces the ongoing work of existing student groups through the utilization of a legal human rights framework and connects law students to individuals/groups conducting current human rights work.
  • The Health Law Society (HLS) of NUSL is a student group committed to raising the visibility of health law at Northeastern and our broader community, with a particular emphasis on traditional public health concerns.
  • The International Law Society (ILS) is an association of law students, faculty and staff who have an interest in international law and issues as they relate to the academic, professional and cooperative education spheres.
  • Law Students for Indigenous Liberation (LSIL) works to advance the human rights of native populations ill-affected by settler-colonialism. Our goal is to raise awareness of the oppression of indigenous peoples and work for their empowerment through legal avenues.
  • The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) student chapter has been active since 1974. Northeastern student Guild members work closely with NLG attorneys: volunteering as facilitators for street law clinics, legal observers at demonstrations and civil disobedience actions, working on the Guild’s Immigrant Detainee Project and other ongoing campaigns.
  • Students for Immigrant Justice (NSIJ) is a student-run organization committed to serving all immigrant communities, advocating for a just immigration system, and working to abolish ICE and immigrant detention centers.
  • The Socially Conscious Investing Club’s mission is to engage students in substantive legal work in a sustainable investment sector focused on generating a positive social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.

Additional Degrees

  • JD/MPH with Bouvé College of Health Sciences
  • JD/MPH with Tufts University School of Medicine
  • JD/MELP in Environmental Law with Vermont Law School
  • JD/MPP in Public Policy