Students Staff

PhD Human Rights

AHRC funding

PhD student in library

Applicants for doctoral study can apply through us for one of over 375 fully-funded PhD studentships from the AHRC and CHASE (Consortium for Humanities and the Arts South-East England), which will be awarded over the next five years.

Our PhD programme draws upon the expertise of over 80 Human Rights Centre members from different academic disciplines and areas of human rights interest. Our research community encompasses internationally renowned scholars whose work ranges from research into the philosophical and normative bases of human rights, through to more practically-oriented interests in the legal, political and sociological application of human rights.

Our broad range of human rights expertise is reflected in our research clusters, which address both contemporary and enduring human rights issues.

PhD routes

PhD Human Rights

Read the full course description on our Coursefinder:


You have the option of being supervised by Human Rights Centre members, who offer an unrivalled range of expertise in the research and practice of human rights, covering an extensive number of research areas.

Doctoral research opportunities

  • PhD Triangle

    The Human Rights PhD Triangle offers you the opportunity to present, disseminate and discuss your research among fellow doctoral students. The Triangle is a collaborative venture between three of the world’s leading human rights centres and universities: the University of Cambridge, the London School of Economics and the Essex Human Rights Centre.

    This ongoing series was initiated by the Essex Human Rights Centre in 2011. One-day research forums are held at least twice a year at each of the partner institutions with the most recent taking place at Essex in November 2014. The Triangle aims to promote the development of inter and multi-disciplinary doctoral research in a way that encourages new perspectives upon existing scholarship. Membership of the Triangle is open to PhD candidates undertaking research in any related area of human rights interest.

  • Doctoral Affiliates Network

    Our Doctoral Associates Network is a community of Essex-based PhD students who are engaged in some related aspect of human rights research and who wish to benefit from sharing ideas and research within a more multi and inter-disciplinary environment than would typically be possible within a single department or discipline. Membership of the Network is open to any Essex-registered PhD student from any academic department or discipline. The Network meets regularly throughout the year.

    Events include the presentation and discussion of on-going research, career development seminars and workshops, as well as occasional social events.

  • Research Students' Conference

    Each year we host a Postgraduate Research Students’ conference aimed at students working within the broad interdisciplinary field of human rights and social justice. The conference aims to stimulate research on contemporary human rights issues, problems, challenges and policies, and to facilitate the dissemination of such research.


As a member of the Consortium of Arts and Humanities South East (CHASE) we offer PhD Studentships jointly funded by CHASE and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Your eligibility for particular funding routes depends on your proposed area of research and fees status. Contact us to discuss your funding options or visit our fees and scholarships pages to see the full range of available research funding.

HRBDT icon

PhD studentships

The Human Rights, Big Data and Technology Project, housed at the Human Rights Centre, has two funded doctoral studentships available.

Professional skills development

Our University’s Proficio scheme develops your skills and knowledge, and increases your employability potential for careers in academia and industry by providing funding for specialist training across a range of areas, including researching and managing your PhD, presenting your work and getting published. For example, each year we run the Essex Summer School in Human Rights Research Methods, and you can use your Proficio credit to participate in this course at a reduced cost.

Contact us

If you have any further questions please contact us. Enquiries can also be made to Centre Members working in the research area you are interested in.

HRC blog

Human Rights Centre Clinic

The Human Rights Centre blog is a platform for interdisciplinary discussion on the theory and practice of human rights. We encourage lively debate on all human rights issues from as many different perspectives as possible.

PG events

Book a place at a postgraduate event to find out about studying at a top 20 UK research university. Staff will be available to answer your questions and you can speak to students about life at Essex.

Doctoral training


Proficio is our innovative doctoral training scheme. Our University gives you funding to spend on a variety of courses, from research skills to personal development and career management.

Research clusters

Research projects

Our ground-breaking research clusters address issues from children and armed conflict, freedom of expression, and indigenous peoples to trafficking and prisoners' rights. Our clusters reflect our world-class reputation for human rights research and practice.