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Human Rights Placement - LAW00066M

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  • Department: The York Law School
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Martin Jones
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module summary

The module provides students with an opportunity to put into practice their understanding of international human rights law and advocacy through group-based project placements with partner organisations, in particular human rights non-governmental organisations in the UK and Malaysia.  This is co-requisite module with ‘The Practice of Fieldwork’. This is a core module for the LLM in International Human Rights Law and Practice. The placements will take place in Weeks 10 and 11 of Term 1.

Professional requirements


Related modules

Pre-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2022-23 to Spring Term 2022-23

Module aims

This module gives students the opportunity to apply and gain new knowledge, skills and abilities
through the implementation of a human rights project for a human rights organisation in Malaysia
or the UK. Students gain invaluable insights into some of the constraints, challenges and opportunities
that human rights organisations face. Students are encouraged to reflect on the theoretical content of
the programme, and critically evaluate this against their experience on the ground. They should think
critically about how their experience and the issues they dealt with on their project reflects and
addresses the significant political, ethical, logistical, and methodological challenges to human rights

Module learning outcomes

Subject content

At the end of the module, students should:

  • Be able to critically reflect on the political, logistical, ethical, and methodological complexities of conducting a project related to human rights
  • Be able to comprehensively explain the political, social, and economic challenges related to human rights practice
  • Be able to convey a comprehensive and in-depth knowledge of a human rights case study

Academic and graduate skills
At the end of the module, students should:

  • Be able to conduct safe, ethical, and effective primary research in the field
  • Be able to engage in critical and reflective practice and exercise reflexivity
  • Be able to think critically about complex subjects
  • Be able to communicate effectively in both verbal and written forms
  • Be able to present complex concepts and topics confidently
  • Be able to work effectively in teams by acknowledging competing approaches and the value and challenges of collaborative and participatory approaches to problem-solving


Task Length % of module mark
Project Output 9000 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Effective group work is a learning outcome of the module and the module is key to meeting our group work programme learning outcome (PLO 5: 5 Work effectively in teams by acknowledging competing interpretations of human rights law and legal issues, and by recognising the value of collaborative and participatory approaches to problem-solving and the shaping of human rights interventions.)  Working in groups and the management of larger team-based projects are important skills for students to develop seeking to pursue careers in human rights.  The co-requisite module (The Practice of Fieldwork) precedes this module and provides students with an opportunity, in advance of the placement, to problematise group work and organisational dynamics; supervisory meetings throughout the module monitor and provide an opportunity to reflect upon group dynamics. 


Task Length % of module mark
Project Output 9000 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

The supervisory meetings in advance of and during the placement will provide students with ongoing feedback from their academic supervisor; students will get daily feedback and supervision from the project partner during the placement.  The overall project (activities) and specific project output(s) will be negotiated with the project partner and will be summarised in a memo drafted and agreed between the students, project partner and academic supervisor during the placement (Weeks 10 and 11 of the Autumn term).  

Student groups will subsequently draft project outputs and circulate them for feedback (orally and/or written) from their project partner and academic supervisor (deadline of Week 4 of Spring term).  The final project output will be submitted in Week 6 of Spring term.

Indicative reading

Indicative readings for students by way of preparation for the placement include the following:

Finlay, L. (2002) “Outing” the Researcher: The Provenance, Process, and Practice of Reflexivity, Qualitative Health Research, 12(4); 531-545.

Front Line Defenders (2011) Workbook on Security: Practical Steps for Human Rights Defenders at Risk. Dublin: Front Line, pp. 48-60 (Chapter 5: Ceating Security Plans). Available at: [Accessed 26 September 2014] 

L. Gosling, and M. Edwards, Toolkits: A Practical Guide to Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation, and Impact Assessment, 2nd ed. (Save the Children, 2003).

Mertus, J. (2009) Maintenance of Personal Security: Ethical and Operational Issues. In C. Sriram et al. (Eds) Surviving Field Research: Working in Violent and Difficult Situations. London: Routledge, pp. 165-176.

O’Flaherty, M. and Ulrich, G. (2010) The Professional Identity and Development of Human Rights Field Officers. In M. O’Flaherty and G. Ulrich (Eds) The Professional Identity of the Human Rights Field Officer, Surrey: Ashgate, pp. 7-32.

Wenger, Etienne (2011) Communities of Practice: A Brief Introduction, STEP Leadership Workshop University of Oregon, available at

West, M.A. (2012) Effective Teamwork: Practical Lessons from Organizational Research, Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 172-198.

Wheelan, S.A. (2013) Creating Effective Teams: A Guide for Members and Leaders, London: Sage Publications, pp. 58-67. 

The majority of readings in the module will be developed in relation to specific projects.


The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.