Non-Academic Requirements

Students in the Multidisciplinary Academic Program in Human Rights are expected to attend weekly dinners in their sophomore spring and junior fall, unless they have a conflict with a prior and inflexible commitment. In their sophomore spring, students are required to attend three events sponsored by the Schell Center (or other approved human rights events) and write short reflections, to be submitted by the end of the semester. In the rest of their time in the Program, students are required to write and submit one event reflection each semester. Juniors and seniors should send their event reflection to

More information about weekly dinners and other non-academic aspects of the Human Rights Program can be found under the Student Life tab.

Academic Requirements

There are six required courses in the Multidisciplinary Academic Program in Human Rights: a gateway lecture course, four electives, and a senior colloquium. In their senior year, Scholars complete a capstone project informed by their coursework, extracurricular activities, and summer internships or research.

Gateway Course

HMRT 100/PLSC 148 “Human Rights Theory and Politics,” offered each spring, introduces students to the core ideas, issues, practices, and controversies regarding human rights. In doing so, its objective is to map the complex terrain that human rights and their study occupy, rather than (merely) to justify the concept’s existence.

Human Rights Scholars are required to take the course in spring of their sophomore year, unless they are studying abroad or receive permission from the Program Director for other extenuating circumstances.

Capstone Project

Each Human Rights Scholar will undertake a capstone project in the fall of senior year, to be informed by the student’s extracurricular experience and developed in consultation with the Program Director. In order to complete the project, scholars will enroll in a weekly seminar (HMRT 400, ‘Advanced Human Rights Colloquium’) in which they will receive guidance from the Program Director, share progress reports, and provide each other with feedback. 

Please note that University policy requires that all student research projects involving human subjects be reviewed by an institutional review board (IRB) prior to the start of the study, to ensure that the project meets University requirements and any applicable regulations.


Marwan Safar Jalani ’20 presents his Capstone Project, which analyzed the intentional use of sectarianism by the Syrian government to inflame conflict and solidify power.

Elective Courses

Each Human Rights Scholar is required to take four electives, drawn from existing Yale courses. Each Scholar’s elective courses should reflect the interdisciplinary nature of human rights study, including a diversity of perspectives and methodologies across departments and disciplines. For example, Scholars are encouraged to select courses that explore different geographic or thematic areas and that introduce them to both theoretical and practical concerns. Our formal criterion for a Program elective is that a course “engage with the language, ideas, and methods of human rights.” We ask that you distinguish this from courses that address issues that affect people’s human rights, would be susceptible to a human rights analysis, or would simply be useful for understanding a human rights issue in which you are interested. Rather, with the Program’s goal of enabling a coherent study of human rights and with only four electives required, we expect your electives to focus on courses that will engage directly with and enhance your knowledge of and facility with the concepts, institutions, and development of human rights discourse.

Generally, MAPHR students may take one of their electives on a Cr/D/F basis. If students wish to count more than one Cr/D/F course as one of their MAPHR electives, they should request approval from the MAPHR director.

Resources for Scholars

General Academic Requirements

Review the Program’s academic requirements.

Petitioning Electives

As of Spring 2021, Scholars must petition all courses that they wish to count as electives, unless the course was identified as an eligible elective in a previous semester.

Remember, you may count a maximum of two courses from your major as electives. Please note that only courses taken following the student’s admission to the Program will satisfy the elective requirement.

Event Requirements

In your sophomore spring semester, you must attend three Schell Center-sponsored events or other approved human rights events and write a short reflection paper on each of the events. In your junior year, you must submit an event reflection paper for one Schell Center-sponsored event or approved human rights event each semester. Reflection essays should be 300-400 words. Seniors are not required to submit event reflection papers.

Please send your reflection papers as an attachment to (cc’ing Shannon) with the subject “Name – Reflection – Event Title and Date” within one week of having attended the event (for sophomores) or by the end of classes (for juniors).