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Master in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action

Section #objectives

General objectives

The Master in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action at PSIA offers innovative training by taking an approach that intertwines human rights and humanitarian action.

Section #eligibility

Main orientations and specific features

This program provides students with a unique blend of core social science theoretical and practical approaches (including philosophy, history, sociology and anthropology) to humanitarianism and human rights intended to deconstruct the intuitive familiarity between the two fields.

The teaching and learning objective is to give students the tools for strong analytical contextualisation that gives both depth and breadth to the challenges, dilemmas and stakes in the fields of human rights and humanitarian action.

This intensive two-year program is divided into three academic semesters and one semester away from our campus (dedicated to either a professional internship, an exchange study program at a partner university, or a master thesis).

Each academic semester, students study Master core courses addressing major themes of the Human Rights and Humanitarian fields. The program offers indispensable courses in international law, global/regional institutional frameworks and actors, gender and human security. It also offers students the opportunity to develop their strategic skills for their future career that include advocacy, negotiation, or project management and evaluation. 

PSIA’s Pedagogical Committee approved an amended degree structure for students starting PSIA degree programs in September 2020. Further details regarding PSIA’s general program structure.

Here is the new degree structure for the Master in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action:

Programme structure of the Master in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action

Download the Program structure (PDF, 62 Kb).

If you choose the Enhanced Master option in place of a second concentration, you have to choose one course from a specific list in semester 1, and choose one course in one of the three optional blocks in semesters 2 and 4.

The Enhanced Master option is particularly relevant if:

  • you are interested in taking additional courses from those offered within your master core curriculum courses. Our core curriculum offer courses focusing on gender, migration, diplomacy, law & security, with a human rights perspective. 
  • you are interested in developing skills particularly relevant to careers in the human rights and humanitarian action sector such as advocacy, negotiation, documentation, investigation/fact finding, project management, monitoring and evaluation. 
  • you plan to apply to the Advanced Certification in Gender Studies or the Law School Clinic, or are interested to take the year-long Capstone course International Law in Action.

The degree structure for students in the following programs can be found at: Dual Degree program, Joint Master program and One-Year Master program.

Section #programs
Section #career

Career Opportunities

Master of Human Rights and Humanitarian Action graduates may consider a variety of careers: NGOs, the diplomatic corps/national administrations, international organizations, journalism, and with a prior qualifying course of study, law (practicing lawyer, international and regional courts of justice).

Scientific co-advisors

Antoine Bernard

A human rights, international justice and NGOs renowned expert and practitioner, Antoine Bernard is Reporters Without Borders (RSF)'s Director for Advocacy and Strategic Litigation and a Senior Fellow with the Institute on Advanced Judicial Studies (IHEJ). He holds leadership positions with the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression and La Maison des Femmes de Saint Denis, and serves as a jury member of the French Republic Simone Veil Prize for Gender Equality. He previously led the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) as its CEO and Reporters Without Borders as its deputy Director General. He served as a World Movement for Democracy' Steering Committee member from 2010 to 2021 and was a member of the French National Consultative Commission on Human Rights from 2005 to 2017. He joined SciencesPo's Paris School of International Affairs from its launch in 2010 and teaches especially on the Role of NGOs in human rights protection and strategic litigation for international crimes. In 2013 he was made Chevalier de l'Ordre national du Mérite. He is fluent in French, English and Spanish.

Bruno Stagno Ugarte

Deputy Executive Director at Human Rights Watch since September 2014, Bruno Stagno Ugarte was previously Executive Director of Security Council Report from 2011-2014, Foreign Minister of Costa Rica from 2006-2010, Ambassador to the United Nations from 2002-2006 and Chief of Staff of the Foreign Ministry from 1998-2000, among other foreign service postings. He also served as the President of the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court from 2005-2008 and Co-President of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Article 14 Conferences from 2007-2009. He is a graduate of the School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University, the Sorbonne and the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University and author or editor of several books, chapters and articles. In 2011 he was made Officier de la Légion d'Honneur. He is fluent in English, French and Spanish.

Section #testimonials
Section #contacts


Scientific Co-Advisors: Antoine Bernard - Bruno Stagno Ugarte

Academic Advisor: Anastasia Apukhtina

Office hours (by appointment only).

Academic AssistantLi Demarthon Xu

Secretariat open:

  • Monday/Tuesday/Thursday 9:30-12:45 and 2:15-4:45;
  • Wednesday/Friday 9:30-12:45.

Key information about the application process (requirements, documents, deadlines and calendar, etc) can only be found on Sciences Po’s Admissions website.

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