man with facing border fence with hands on it

Certificate in Human Rights

Human rights represents a central principle in the missions of many international and non-governmental organizations, and informs the social responsibility mandates adopted by many private sector organizations.

Students in any major will find this certificate enhances their credentials.  The certificate provides distinctive interdisciplinary training and knowledge in preparation for an ever-competitive job market, in which organizations in both the public and private sectors are increasingly concerned with the human rights impact of their activities. 

Gain recognition from this specialized training whether you are pursuing a career in human rights, law, international business, the nonprofit sector, or any other field.  

The certificate curriculum reflects the expertise of CAL faculty working on topics that address historical as well as contemporary human rights issues. Benefit from this collective knowledge through courses that expose you to a range of disciplinary perspectives and topics. 

The courses in this certificate program address the complex challenges of advancing human rights in a range of evolving social and regional contexts. Acquire critical skills and insights by analyzing the multiple dimensions of human rights issues in order to discern the impact of different practices, policies, and structural conditions.

Students share their insights on how the Interdisciplinary Human Rights Certificate Program inspires forward thinking.  Read the story.

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Describe human rights as defined in international human rights conventions
  • Discuss how human rights has been invoked in support of different causes
  • Identify when individuals and/or communities are deprived of their human rights
  • Explain the human rights dimensions of various issues 
  • Examine the struggle for human rights in various contexts

A total of 15 units is required to complete this certificate.

Required Course (3 units)

  • Political Science 380:  Human Rights in a Global Perspective

Select Courses (12 units)

  • Africana Studies 322:  African American Political Thought
  • Africana Studies 380:  Blacks in the American Justice System
  • Africana Studies 422:  Modern Civil Rights Movement
  • Chicana and Chicano Studies 405:  Performing Transnational Citizenship 
  • European Studies 440:  Human Trafficking in Europe 
  • Geography 440 [or Political Science 440]:  Food Justice 
  • History 404: History of Human Rights
  • History 440:  History of the Holocaust
  • History 557:  Dictatorships and Human Rights in Latin America
  • International Security and Conflict Resolution 324:  Politics of Global Resistance and Solidarity
  • Latin American Studies 350:  Globalization and the Americas
  • Latin American Studies 430 [or Political Science 430]:  Immigration and Border Politics
  • LGBT Studies 321:  LGBT Identities from a Social Science Perspective 
  • Philosophy 340:  Morality of War and Peace
  • Philosophy 344:  Global Justice
  • Philosophy  510:  Philosophy of Law
  • Philosophy  512:  Political Philosophy 
  • Political Science 104:  Global Politics
  • Political Science 347B:  American Constitutional Law: Civil RIghts and Civil Liberties [GE-AI]) 
  • Sociology 355: Sociology of Race and Ethnicity
  • Sociology 531: Work and Society
  • Women's Studies 520:  Reproductive Rights and Justice
  • Women's Studies 530:  Women’s Movements and Activism 

Other Details

  • Students may take no more than 6 units in any program area listed in the courses above.
  • Students must obtain a grade of “C” (2.0) or better in each of the certificate courses. 
  • Courses taken for a major or minor may apply to the certificate. 
  • Students may obtain the Certificate in Human Rights without majoring in political science or another major in the College of Arts and Letters. 
  • See the Certificate in Human Rights Homeroom for information and the form to complete for the Certificate in Human Rights.


Dr. Grace Cheng
Email: [email protected]

Important Links:  Certificate Flyer |  General Catalog |  Class Schedule