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The Master of Laws Program

Concentration in Human Rights & Comparative Constitutional Law

This new and innovative concentration will provide students with a robust, critical, and comparative foundation in both human rights and constitutional law. It will also offer students a comprehensive understanding of contemporary human rights practices, including uses of constitutional law, in both domestic and international settings.

The concentration is offered in cooperation with the law school's Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice. The concentration builds on two strengths of UT Law — its constitutional law faculty, often considered to be among the best in the country, and the internationally recognized Rapoport Center, which serves as a focal point at the University for critical, interdisciplinary analysis and practice of human rights and social justice. The Rapoport Center includes more than100 affiliated faculty members from across campus and collaborates closely with a number of other acclaimed centers.

Each student may design an individual course of study tailored to his or her academic and professional interests, taking advantage of extensive curricular and clinical offerings, devoted inter-disciplinary faculty, and ongoing research projects and working groups at the Rapoport Center. This concentration is open to students with a foreign law degree and students with a J.D.

General Requirements (must complete a total of 24 credits)

  • A three-credit writing seminar or a two-credit directed research project (with a 30-page paper involving research and analysis).
  • Introduction to U.S. Law, 279M (This fall course is required for students with a foreign law degree. Foreign students with a background of common law study may request a waiver of this requirement.)

Concentration Requirements (must complete at least 14 credits in approved courses, as indicated below)

Area #1 International Human Rights: At least 3 credits must be completed in international human rights law, including one course we have deemed to offer a basic background in the subject. Below are examples of recently offered courses in this area (with asterisks indicating basic background courses):

  • Human Rights in Latin America*
  • Human Rights, Law & Democracy*
  • International Criminal Law
  • International Human Rights Law*
  • International Humanitarian Law
  • International Human Rights Litigation*
  • International Human Rights & Justice Workshop*
  • Public International Law
  • Refugee Law & Policy
  • Terror & Consent: Constitutional & International Law
  • War, Trauma & Law

Area #2 Comparative Constitutional Law: At least 3 credits must be completed in comparative constitutional law, including one course we have deemed to offer a basic background in the subject. Below are examples of recently offered courses in this area (with asterisks indicating basic background courses):

  • Colloquium on Constitutional Courts*
  • Comparative Constitutional Law*
  • Comparative Constitutionalism*
  • Comparative Judicial Politics*
  • Comparative Law
  • Comparative Law of Latin America
  • Con Law II: Constitutional Design*
  • Globalization: Legal and Philosophical Aspects

Area #3 U.S. Human Rights, U.S. Constitutional Law and Clinics: The remaining required credits for the concentration may come from any international human rights or comparative constitutional law course such as those listed above, or from courses in U.S. human rights or constitutional law, such as the recently offered courses listed below:

U.S. Human Rights

  • Americans with Disabilities
  • Civil Rights Litigation
  • Economic Justice & Identity: Gender & Race
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Equal Opportunity Law
  • Federal Indian Law
  • Immigration/ Immigration and Citizenship
  • Law & Social Movements
  • National Security Law
  • Policing the Police
  • Reproductive Rights & Justice

U.S. Constitutional Law

  • Capital Punishment
  • Colloquium in Constitutional Law and Legal Theory
  • Con Law II: Constitutional History
  • Con Law II: 1st Amendment
  • Con Law II: 1st & 2nd Amendments
  • Con Law II: Civil Liberties
  • Con Law II: Due Process & Equal Protection
  • Con Law II: Election Law
  • Con Law II: Federalism
  • Con Law II: Free Speech
  • Con Law II: From Brown to Bakke
  • Con Law II: Gender & the Constitution
  • Con Law II: Race & Sex Discrimination
  • Con Law II: Religious Liberty
  • Originalism and Its Critics

Clinics

  • Civil Rights Clinic
  • Capital Punishment Clinic
  • Human Rights Clinic
  • Immigration Clinic
  • Transnational Worker Rights Clinic

Writing Requirement:

The LLM writing requirement must be on a topic involving international human rights or comparative constitutional law. It may be met through directed research or through any writing seminar, regardless whether it is in the list of approved courses for the concentration. If the seminar is not listed in the approved courses, students may petition for the credits to count toward the concentration.

Notes:

Students are eligible to take a small number of courses outside the Law School for credit toward concentration or toward the degree more generally. Non-law courses must be approved in advance by the director of the LL.M. program and the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. All course listings are tentative until the semester in question begins. Some courses may have prerequisites, so careful planning is necessary.