Human Rights


This module sets out to overview and examine the significance of human rights in the world today. It is designed to give students a grounding in human rights from a social theoretical perspective, including current debates and trends in human rights.


The aim of this module is to provide the student with knowledge of the main concepts and legal definitions of human rights, an understanding of the human rights sector and an understanding of the importance of human rights in the contemporary world.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Demonstrate an appreciation of the significance of human rights within a social science context.

2.  Critically evaluate major human rights documents and human rights organisations.

3.  Demonstrate a critical understanding of theories of human rights.

4.  Critically analyse contemporary human rights issues and debates within the context of human rights theories.

Indicative Content

1 1. History and Theory of Human Rights

Classical Origins in Greece and Rome, Classical Liberal Thought, The French and American Revolutions, Marx, Critical Social Theory, Postcolonialism

2 2. Human Rights in Transition

Human Rights in Armed Conflict, Responsibility to Protect, Refugees and Asylum Seekers,Genocide and Torture,The International Criminal Court.

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

This advanced level module combines selected readings, lectures and class based workshops/discussions/seminars in order to advance the teaching and learning of students. Seminars are based around a focus upon student group presentations, case studies and completing group work exercises. Before the seminars students must undertake the readings and research the particular case studies for that seminar. They must be ready to take on different roles in the group exercises, participate in the group discussions, and then give feedback to the rest of the class. These seminars help students to develop important critical reasoning, presentation, communication and collaborative skills. The module has been purposefully designed to integrate with the designated Abertay Attributes and provides an important means for students to consolidate, enhance and develop these attributes as part of their learning on the module. The lectures provide students with a broad view of the sociology, history, organizational structures and also the legal framework for the study of issues regarding human rights. This helps students to understand this area of study and therefore to give them confidence to participate actively and fully in peer-led discussion, and also to be successful in their independent studies. A 2,500 word piece of coursework, which requires independent study and research in relation to a case study chosen by the student, and a 2-hour exam are used to assess student knowledge of what has been learned. As set out in the University's Teaching and Learning Strategy, enquiry-based learning (EBL) has a major role in this module, and comprises at least 60% of class contact time. All seminars are solely based around the use of enquiry- based learning and EBL is also used during the lecture slot in terms of team- based discussions and debates on certain topics and for revision purposes.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 24
Tutorial/Seminar 12
Supervised Practical Activity 0
Unsupervised Practical Activity 0
Assessment 20
Independent 144

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2019/10 , and may be subject to change for future years.