HUMR5191 – Human Rights Methodology: Research, Analysis and Thesis

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course will give you insight into research methodologies in legal and social sciences relevant for writing a thesis in the field of human rights. It will discuss basic issues and controversies in the conduct of scholarly research, and will offer you necessary tools and guidelines for researching and writing a good scholarly thesis based on independent thinking and sound argument.
Students writing their thesis in the field of social sciences should also be given insight in legal methods, and students writing their thesis in the field of law should also be given insight into social science.

The course will further allow you to develop and discuss your thesis topic.

Learning outcome

This course provides insight into research methodologies in the legal and the social sciences as well as the humanities relevant for writing a thesis in the field of human rights. It will also assist the student in refining the thesis project.



  • The basic features of legal method and method in international law and how to apply it on human rights problems
  • The basic features of the methodological approaches that can be employed by scholars in the various disciplines of humanistic and social scientific research and how to apply them
  • The basic issues and controversies surrounding scholarly theory and method in international law, the humanities and the social sciences
  • How to write a scholarly thesis


  • Frame a human rights concern and formulate it in the manner of a research question
  • Choose a research strategy that is relevant to and useful for investigating and understanding a human rights issue
  • Carry out a piece of academic research in the form of a legal analysis or analysing a human rights problem with the tools offered in the social sciences and the humanities
  • Refine a research question and transform the answer into a scholarly thesis

General competence

  • Carry out an academic investigation of a human rights issue
  • Determine the legal aspects of a human rights violation
  • Contribute to improved understanding of human rights violations in their legal as well as social and political aspects
  • Elaborate a strategy for redressing human rights violations and overcoming human rights problems


Admission is limited to students undergoing the programme Theory and Practice of Human Rights (master's two years).


Lectures and seminars

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


The examination consists of a written assignment (semester essay). Maximum length of the assignment is 3,000 words, assignments with text exceeding the word limit will not be sent to grading

Use of sources and rules for citing

Be sure that you are familiar with the use of sources and the rules for citing/quoting from others’ work
UiO uses a plagiarism checking tool as one of several instruments for detecting suspicion of cheating and attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Marking criteria 

This  guide is used by examiners for grading this course.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

If a student has submitted a written assignment a second time in the same course s/he can only submit it in a new version. This means that there must be another title and theme, or that the new version must be considerably changed from the first version.

Students who wish to retake the exam in a later semester are not guaranteed that the course is ever repeated with a similar reading list, nor that the exam arrangement will be the same.

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take this exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

There are special rules for resitting a passed examination in the master's programme in Law.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Every autumn

Every autumn starting 2020


Every autumn

Every autumn starting 2020

Teaching language