Introduction to graduate programs

Master of Human Rights and Democratisation, Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies

Programme Director Master of Human Rights and Democratisation,
Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, Mahidol University.
Dr. Michael George Hayes
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Dr. Michael George Hayes

Program Background

A program co-funded by the European Commission, the Master of Arts in Human Rights and Democratisation - Asia Pacific Region (APMA), is the region's premier degree in human rights and democratisation. Mahidol University has been involved in the program since 2010. The degree offers students the opportunity to study both at Mahidol University and one of four selected universities in the Asia Pacific, each with a particular expertise in human rights and democratisation. The four universities are:

  • Ateneo de Manila Law School (the Philippines)

  • Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

  • Kathmandu School of Law (Nepal)

  • The University of Colombo, Centre for the Study of Human Rights (Sri Lanka)

Program Highlights

The APMA Program is an interdisciplinary intensive one-year graduate degree that reflects the inseparable links between human rights, democracy, peace and development in the region. Designed for mid-career professionals and highly motivated undergraduates, the degree offers students an opportunity to engage first-hand with regional and international human rights issues, to work on the promotion of democracy in the region, and to interact with internationally renowned human rights academics, practitioners and experts. The program is one of seven regional programs supported by the European Commission, which allows for integrated activities with students, academics, and practitioners from Africa, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, former Soviet Republics, and the Balkans. Graduates of the program will: 1. Have an excellent knowledge of theory and practice of the promotion and protection of human rights and democratization. 2. Be able to undertake independent scholarly research on current issues in human rights and democratisation in the Asia Pacific 3. Have the capacity to put their academic understanding and practical experience to use in real situations

Academic Networks

The APMA is co-funded by the European Commission through European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC). Apart from Mahidol University as host university and the four selected partner universities in Indonesia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, as well as University of Sydney as associate university, we have collaboration with universities in Thailand in exchanging information and knowledge on human rights issues

Program Curriculum

All students in the degree will complete their first semester (from August to January), comprising four foundational courses, at the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies (IHRP), Mahidol University. At the beginning of the second Semester students will complete an Intensive at the IHRP, undertake an independent research project, before traveling to the partners in February.
First Semester at Mahidol University - These units are compulsory for all students and include the following:

  • HPRD 551 Human Rights Norms and Mechanisms Part 1

  • HPRD 541 Human Rights and Democratisation Research

  • HPRD 542 Dynamics of Human Rights Violations

  • HPRD 543 Democratisation

Second Semester at Mahidol University

  • HPRD 544 Human Rights and Democratisation Intensive - The Human Rights Intensive runs in mid-January. In this intensive, lecturers from all partners will be involved in the teaching, ensuring that students gain knowledge and experience from all the partners. Students are expected to defend their Thesis Proposal during the Intensive

  • HPRD 553 Applied Research in Human Rights and Democratisation

Second Semester Regional Partner University - Students will study the second semester at one of the four partner universities. The placement at the second semester will be made by the Selection Committee based on whether they are fee-paying or scholarship recipients. Once allocated, all students take two core compulsory units and the thesis

  • HPRD 552 Human Rights Norms and Mechanisms Part 2

  • HPRD 546 Critical and Emerging Issues in the Asia Pacific

  • HPRD 698 Thesis

Highlights / Recognitions

APMA program has produced many academic research papers in human rights and democratisation issues in the past years. The faculty staff and alumni have been well-known among human rights specialists and experts in Asia and Pacific region. Most of our students return to their home countries and work in renowned organisation, such as UNHCR, ASEAN Secretariat, Human Rights Watch, etc.

Scholarship and student benefits

APMA Program offers 20 scholarships every year for students from the Asia Pacific Region. The scholarship covers living allowances, tuition fees and transportation costs during one year of study. As a part of Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, APMA students can access IHRP library, which has more than ten thousand books and research papers available. The students can also use a common room 24 hours a day for their study and group discussion.

Interested People

The APMA Program accepts applicaitons every year from December to April every year for study which begins in August the following year. Announcements including application forms and deadlines are available from the IHRP. Please keep in touch through the IHRP websites: For any enquiries or requests for application forms, please contact the Program Secretary via the following: We welcome applicants from different background and applicants who are not a citizen of the Asia Pacific Region.

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