Why study International Human Rights?

The International Human Rights certificate (IHRC) is an interdisciplinary program that focuses on the wide array of issues – both past and present – concerning the protection of human dignity. Approaching the study of human rights as an international phenomenon with local dimensions, the IHRC urges students to think critically about human rights while preparing them for potential future roles in the field of human rights advocacy. The IHRC curriculum concentrates especially on international norms, laws, institutions, politics and social movements that have developed primarily since World War II to address such issues as genocide, poverty, torture, racism, refugees, political disenfranchisement, forced labor, oppression based on gender or sexual orientation, human trafficking and other gross violations of human rights.

In partnership with the Morgan Institute for Human Rights at the UC College of Law, the IHRC curriculum includes dozens of courses taught by faculty members from a broad range of departments and programs in A&S and across UC.

Admission Requirements

Candidates must apply for admission to the certificate program using the appropriate form found online. Students should enroll in the program before their senior year, but the program director will consider exceptions for applicants six months prior to graduation.

Non-matriculated students may take UC classes and earn the IHRC without being enrolled in a degree program by following the online directions.

Success as a student requires effective communication skills, both oral and written, and the ability to engage in critical thinking, self-discipline, maturity, people skills and information technology literacy. Competing human rights values pose ethical and policy dilemmas that must be resolved by clear moral reasoning. The most effective human rights advocates also have a strong commitment to the rule of law, a clear sense of justice, empathy for the oppressed, a solid grasp of history and commitment to public service.

IHRC recipients have pursued graduate degrees in preparation for careers in law, education and public service.  

Full time opportunities for human rights work may be found in:

  • Government agencies, including the Justice Department and Department of State
  • International intergovernmental organizations such as the U.N.
  • Non-governmental organizations and institutions, such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Freedom House, that address issues of forced labor, genocide, racism, torture, trafficking, violence against women and other gross violations of human rights
  • Private firms that specialize in representing victims of human rights

In addition many graduates with other employers may find their careers involve human rights issues that arise in the workplace and/or in their volunteer community service activities and religious communities.

A certificate in international human rights is an interdisciplinary credential comparable to a minor in an academic discipline, but UC does not offer either a major or a minor in human rights.

Contact the program director, whose name and information appear on this page.


Students in the UC College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) enjoy many benefits afforded through study at a research-intensive institution ranked among the nation's top 25 public research universities. UC's urban, Tristate location offers exciting opportunities for global education, research and service learning, while its student-centered focus includes an 11:1 student-faculty ratio, a nationally recognized Center for Exploratory Studies and a highly successful First Year Experience program that teaches critical skills for first-year students and provides connections with important campus resources.

Certificate candidates are invited to special events sponsored by the College of Law’s Morgan Institute for Human Rights, including special dinners with distinguished visitors. Selected individuals have worked on the Human Rights Quarterly, a journal edited by the Morgan Institute. Others have had a range of study abroad and intern experiences as part of the program.

Make sure that you have declared the certificate program online. Next, make sure that the certificate program director is aware of when you are finishing the program. If you are pursuing another bachelor's degree, then your certificate will be reviewed at the time that you submit your separate degree application.

Admission for this certificate program is limited to those that are currently in the United States, as this program is not available to pursue on a full time basis.  No visas can be provided for this educational opportunity.  The UC Admissions website provides information for international applicants.

The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Contact Information

Dr. Stephen Porter
310C Arts & Sciences Hall
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0373
(513) 556-2463

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Program Code: 15CRT-IHR-C2