Courses offered by the Center for Human Rights and International Justice are listed under the subject code HUMRTS n the Stanford Bulletin's ExploreCourses web site.

Stanford’s Minor in Human Rights is a flourishing interdisciplinary program, designed and run by the faculty and staff of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice. Housed within the Stanford Global Studies Division in the School of Humanities and Sciences, the Center strives to connect undergraduates with the full scope of human rights offerings on campus—academic, extracurricular, research, and professional pathways. Because the Minor is inherently interdisciplinary, there is no one department on campus that offers a majority of the courses that qualify for the degree. The Center has developed and supported around twenty new courses under the HUMRTS code, taught by the faculty leadership of the Center and core academic staff, but the Minor in Human Rights also leverages over 150 existing courses taught by faculty from programs and departments across the university. The program is designed to offer students a great deal of flexibility in course planning, while providing the structure and guidance undergraduates need to knit together a rich and coherent course of study in human rights theory and practice.

The Minor fits squarely within the Center's mission “[to equip] a new generation of leaders with the knowledge and skills necessary to protect and promote human rights and dignity for all." To this end, the Center collaborates with partners across Stanford University and beyond on innovative programs that foster critical inquiry in the classroom and in the world. Core staff and affiliates prioritize offering personalized advising to students, referring them along to faculty who teach about human rights across the university, connecting Minors and other interested students with professional development opportunities such as internships, and cultivating a generally vibrant intellectual community.

The Center is deeply engaged with well-established interdisciplinary, policy-oriented programs, undertaking research and capacity building initiatives with NGO and governmental partners domestically and internationally. These programs are geographically and substantively broader than is typical for some other human rights centers, and focus on a wide range of issues including judicial reform and capacity building, fair trial rights in domestic and international tribunals, human trafficking, trauma mental health, post-conflict justice and reconciliation, technology and human rights, anti-corruption work, human rights commissions and NGOs, and atrocity prevention and response. The Human Rights Minor brings faculty research into the undergraduate curriculum, bridges study in the classroom with real world application through internships and participation in ongoing Center projects, provides community engaged learning opportunities, and facilitates sustained cross-disciplinary collaboration.  

The Minor, requiring a minimum of 25 units of human rights-related course work, is structured around a gateway course, three streams reflecting core areas of the human rights landscape (Foundations, Contemporary Issues, and Practice) and a capstone project. The gateway course (HUMRTS 101: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on Human Rights Theory and Practice) provides both a broad overview of the fields and also introduces students to Stanford human rights faculty in various disciplines through weekly guest lectures. We encourage students to take the gateway class as early as possible in their Stanford career, but the class is designed to be engaging and accessible to freshmen and seniors alike.

The capstone project is designed to meet the unique needs and interests of students from a broad range of undergraduate majors, as students from any major department or program are welcome in the Human Rights Minor. A traditional capstone option would be for the student to propose and complete a 25-page research paper on a human rights topic. The paper may be an extension of a previous paper written for a related course, so long as the supervising faculty agrees that the workload involved in the revision and extension is commensurate with the credits to be received by the student. Other students may wish to explore a human rights topic of their choosing in other ways, perhaps drawing on the skills they have learned in their major discipline, or prototyping a tool with practical application for a human rights problem, or engaging in some sort of creative work in art, performance, or literature. Accordingly, students may elect to complete a capstone project that is some “alternative culminating work requiring equivalent effort” to a 25-page research paper.

To pursue the Minor in Human Rights, students must follow the instructions at to submit a preliminary declaration of interest, complete a draft course plan, meet with the Center's student services specialist, and once approved by the Faculty Director, formally declare the Minor in Axess.