Human Rights

Single Mid-Year Programme | 3 USA Credits / 6 ECTS Credits


Human rights play an important role in our modern globalised world and are recognised as integral to social change. They affect individuals and societies alike and raise a number of issues that are neither simple nor clear.

On Rocks

This programme introduces students to human rights related discourses in a social science context. The universal and cultural specific dimensions of human rights will be explored through exploration of human rights in relation to social and cultural diversity and their local and global contexts, with an emphasis on Africa. Students will learn to apply various human rights perspectives to selected human rights issues.

This programme examines the theoretical foundations of Human Rights from a social science & constitutional/legal perspective, and aims to guide the student through the exploration and analysis of a selection of issues and aspects of human rights and the economic, social, cultural and political contexts in which they arise.

The primary goal of this programme is to examine human rights from social science perspectives in order to develop an insight and understanding of how human rights, human rights practices and human rights institutions are socially created and recreated by human beings.

Lectures are taught by NMMU academics and are scheduled daily from Monday - Thursday. Friday’s are reserved for self-study or programme related activities.

Lectures consist of a theoretical and interactive section. Thorough lecture preparation and active participation will ensure an optimum learning experience.

This programme is open to students with a GPA of 2.5 (and above) who are in good standing at their home university.

On completion of this programme students will have:
  • An understanding that human rights practices and institutions are the result of historical processes of social transformation
  • A critical insight into the theoretical grounding of human rights and the human rights discourse in the 20th century
  • An critical understanding of how the theoretical underpinnings of human rights translate into practice
  • The ability to identify and critically analyse key human right issues and debates and clarify fundamental human rights debates through critical thinking and reasoning.
  • Enable students to contribute to the development of a human rights culture and make justifiable decisions in ambiguous situations

The value of the programme is enhanced by practical visits and field trips to places of interest that complement the programme. It also includes a longer overnight field trip to a rural area where students have the opportunity to experience first-hand the history and local culture with knowledgeable hosts.

Recommended readings:

Prior to the programme students are expected to familiarise themselves with important human rights documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human Rights.

  • 1. Visual presentation (30% of overall mark)
  • 5-6 page paper on a topic or issue covered in class. Students are required to do research on the topic chosen for the paper (60% of overall mark)
  • Attendance (10% of overall mark)

Transcripts will be issued by Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University for the appropriate academic credit.

Programme Cost: $3500.00

The cost of the programme includes tuition, housing, programme-sponsored excursions, selected meals and programme related transportation in South Africa.

Cost does not include application fees, some meals, airfare, personal spending money, international health insurance, or passport fees.


Applications Close:

29 April 2017

Programme Academic /

Ms Francky Herbst

Ms Francky Herbst obtained a MA in history from the Rijks Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands.

She is currently lecturing sociology and history at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Her teaching and research interests focus on human rights, gender and heritage. She has published in the fields of cultural and environmental history.

Where is Nelson Mandela Bay & NMMU?

Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela Bay is the beautiful coastal town where the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University lays its foundation.

With a total of 6 campuses the NMMU is the largest international university in the Southern Cape with our main campus in the heart if a nature reserve.

Offering blazing orange sunsets, tranquil sandy-white beaches and thick, lush green forests where the ghosts of past inhabitants still linger, the Eastern Cape, South Africa is where people with friendly smiles greet you with a "good morning", "goeie more"’ or "molo"... we want you to experience this Africa!

Find out more about staying in South Africa