A comprehensive interdisciplinary degree
The innovative, interdisciplinary Master of Arts curriculum will draw upon diverse academic offerings throughout The Catholic University of America. Its courses come not only from departments within Arts and Sciences but from the Schools of Philosophy, Canon Law, Theology and Religious Studies, Business, and Law. Full-time students form a strong cohort under the direction of Prof. William Saunders to support one another in their commitment to study human rights. In addition to the required coursework, students meet regularly with leaders from a wide variety of human rights organizations including those led by members of the program’s Advisory Board. Examples of these meetings can be found here.
Following an introductory orientation week before the semester begins, the program consists of 30 semester hours of post-baccalaureate coursework, including a capstone course designed to bring together the insights from the other courses and which looks at the Church’s work at the United Nations and other international bodies. The capstone course consists of a seminar and requires completion of a research paper. The degree, which is completed in one year (if taken full-time), may occasionally include the option to take a summer course.
Students will have the privilege of taking a class and doing an internship under the supervision of former Ambassador Samuel Brownback. These internships will be in connection with established human rights organizations, giving students a wealth of options to choose from.
Students form a cohort and take courses together. Students must maintain a minimum of a B average in order to graduate. Students will fulfill the normal requirements for a Master of Arts degree in the School of Arts and Sciences.
Of the ten courses the student will take, ordinarily nine will come from the following list, as selected by the Program Director. (Note that offerings each semester may vary due to a variety of factors, such as whether a professor is on sabbatical; thus, the precise menu of core courses selected for each year will vary.)
CL 716 Religious Liberty
LAW 611 Public International Law
LAW 478C International Religious Liberty Advocacy
LAW 419 Human Trafficking Seminar
LAW 410 International Human Rights
LAW 685 Catholic Social Teaching and the Law
LAW 272/604 Constitutional Law II
PHIL 633 Philosophy of Natural Right and Natural Law
POL 5XX/405A Constitutional Democracy
POL643 Foundations of Christian Political Thought (Bible to Middle Ages)
POL 529 Liberalism and Its Critics
POL 644 Modern Christian Political Thought
POL 595C Washington Internship
POL 559A Capstone course
SRES 508 Evolution of Business, Human Rights, and ESG
TRS 632A Christian Social Ethics
TRS 630A Foundations of the Christian Moral Life
TRS 661 Christian Anthropology
TRS 632D Biomedical Ethics
An elective can be chosen by each student in consultation with the Director of the Program in Human Rights; he will advise students on electives that prepare them for their career goals.