Human Rights

Human rights are codified laws that government is obligated to provide and protect. The study of Human Rights is about training individuals in law concerning the broader field of rights in Canada and around the world.  

 

For human rights to be codified into law, there’s often a period where the fight for those rights takes place—this is accomplished through education and activism.  
 

Human Rights at STU 

The Human Rights program a St. Thomas is the only one of its kind in Atlantic Canada, and the only stand-alone Human Rights program in the country where you can also complete an honours thesis. STU boasts the only for-credit undergraduate Moot Court program in Canada, which allows students to compete against law schools.  

 

Dr. Amanda DiPaolo in front of George Martin Hall


We’re living in a time where governments seem to have forgotten their obligations to protect our guaranteed rights—this is why the study of human rights is essential.

 

– Dr. Amanda DiPaolo, Chair of Human Rights

What sets STU’s Human Rights Program Apart? 

  • STU Human Rights has its own internship program that provides students with academic credit while they gain professional experience.  
     
  • Lectures and seminars are always taught by professors—not teaching assistants—which means students learn from experts in the field.  
     
  • The for-credit Moot Court program is unique in Canada. Students taking Moot Court courses earn academic credit and gain courtroom experience, as well as practical skills in legal research, brief writing, and oral advocacy. 
     
  • Students benefit from faculty expertise in Canadian human rights, international human rights, child rights, international criminal law, 2SLGTBQIA+ rights, and environmental rights. 

Where the Study of Human Rights can Take You 

Students in Human Rights can identify issues and have the capacity to work toward meaningful, reasonable solutions. They develop practical skills in grant writing and legal research, while refining their ability to analyze texts, think critically, write clearly, and communicate effectively.  
 

This prepares graduates for meaningful careers in fields like: 

 

  • Law 
  • Social Work 
  • Non-Governmental Organizations 
  • Public Policy 
  • Government 
  • Business 
  • Journalism 

“Moot Court is what you’re doing in law school. You’re reading cases, you’re understanding how legal precedents work, and then you’re extrapolating them on a new set of facts and creating your own arguments. Knowing how to look at facts or a situation, synthesize it, and create something new is something I learned at STU." 
 
Emma Walsh,  BA ’19, Human Rights and Political Science 
McGill Law student, clerking at the Ontario Court of Appeals 

Gain Experience and Build Your Resume 

STU’s Internship Program connects the study of Human Rights with professional experience through opportunities with organizations like: 
 

  • Autism Connections Fredericton 
  • Capital Region Mental Health and Addictions Association 
  • Child and Youth Advocate Office of New Brunswick 
  • United Way 
  • Multicultural Association of Fredericton 
  • Out of the Cold – Community Action Group on Homelessness 

 

The Human Rights department has a for-credit internship program that pairs students with agencies and non-governmental organizations to gain practical, hands-on experience. Students earn academic credit for the internship.  Some of our internship partners include:

  • New Brunswick Human Rights Commission
  • Department of Post Secondary Education and Labour
  • Atlantic Council for International Cooperation
  • Fredericton Homeless Shelters
  • New Brunswick Tenants' Rights Council
  • Imprint Youth Association

Moot Court is a credited course that gives students the opportunity and support to flourish as they act as legal counsel in fictitious cases based on real legal precedent. The course is dedicated to mastering oral advocacy and brief writing, while deepening students’ understanding of different types of law including Canadian law, American law, international human rights law, and environmental law.

You might be interested in studying Human Rights if… 

  • You want to go to law school, pursue a career in social work or law enforcement 
  • You are interested in being an activist in your community pursuing social justice at the grass roots level 
  • You want to better understand your rights and the rights of those who are most vulnerable 

Featured Courses 

Human Rights in Theory and Practice 
Discrimination and the Law in Canada 
Activism and Social Justice 
Human Rights of the Child

Fields that Enhance Your Learning in Human Rights 

The study of Human Rights pairs well with Criminology, Political Science, International Relations, Law, Politics, and Society, Great Books, Women’s Studies and Gender Studies, Environment and Society, and Sociology. These fields, like Human Rights, explore themes that deal with human nature, ethics, reasoning, behaviour, and the influences of history and government on societies and the individual.