Welcome to the Yale Multidisciplinary Academic Program in Human Rights!

‘The idea of human rights and freedoms must be an integral part of any meaningful world order. Yet, I think it must be anchored in a different place, and in a different way, than has been the case so far. If it is to be more than just a slogan mocked by half the world, it cannot be expressed in the language of a departing era, and it must not be mere froth floating on the subsiding waters of faith in a purely scientific relationship to the world.’

Vaclav Havel, Independence Hall, Philadelphia, 4 July 1994

‘The paths by which people have the right to be protected by the rule of law, not persecuted by its wrongful application, have to be learned. It is in this that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is and shall remain the essential document, the touchstone, the creed of humanity that surely sums up all other creeds directing human behavior if we are to occupy this world together now and in the twenty-first century.’

Nadine Gordimer, ‘The Essential Document’, Living in Hope and History, 1997


The Multidisciplinary Academic Program in Human Rights offers Yale undergraduates the opportunity to explore human rights from an interdisciplinary perspective, providing students with the analytical and practical skills necessary for human rights study and human rights-related careers. The Program connects students to faculty and peers with similar interests, supports student research projects and internship opportunities, and offers coherent career guidance in the field.

The approval by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of a Multidisciplinary Academic Program in Human Rights reflects the fact that human rights today constitute a profoundly influential moral language and legal system through which to understand contemporary global affairs, not simply political but also cultural, social, and economic. In recent years, academia has recognized the salience of human rights, with a growing number of scholars producing significant work on the topic and universities across the country offering majors, minors, and other programs for undergraduates in human rights. Human rights, however, is inherently an inter- or cross-disciplinary field, and no program of study located within a single department can adequately capture the range and diversity of human rights materials. Anthropology, area studies, economics, history, law, literature, philosophy, political science, and many other fields have explored human rights issues from their own particular disciplinary perspectives and with their particular methodologies. The Multidisciplinary Academic Program in Human Rights is meant to recognize this complexity and to support a diverse community of scholars across the university. 

The Program is, therefore, intended for students from a wide range of majors, with Human Rights Scholars completing the requirements of a Yale College major alongside the Program’s six courses. The Program accepted its first class of Human Rights Scholars in fall 2014. 

The Schell Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School provides administrative, financial and programmatic support for the Human Rights Program, offering students additional academic, summer and post-graduate advising and opportunities to attend human rights-related talks, workshops, symposia and other events.

Browse the website for information about affiliated faculty, Program requirements, and how to apply, and email humanrights.program@yale.edu with any questions. Download an overview of the Program or the Information Session Presentation

If you would like to receive information about the program - such as dates for information sessions or special events - or receive other information about human rights events at Yale, go to groups.bulldogs.yale.edu and join the EliList humanrightsatyale.

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