Study Plan

Course Title 
Course Code
Credit Hours

First Semester​ ​

Research Methods in Human Rights


​3 Credit Hours 
Human Rights: The Broader Picture
​3 Credit Hours 
Public International Law: A Rights Perspective
3 Credit Hours 
​Issues in the Study of Social Sciences and Humanities  

3 Credit Hours 

Semester​ ​

Human Rights and Islamic Law 
3 Credit Hours
International Law and Colonialism 
3 Credit Hours
Comparative Constitutional Law
3 Credit Hours
Palestine, Law, Human Rights 
3 Credit Hours

​Third Semester 

Human Rights in the Arab World: Theory and and Practice
3 Credit Hours
Elective  Course
3 Credit Hours
​Interdisciplinary Course 
3 Credit Hours
Free Elective  Course

3 Credit Hours

Fourth Semester



​ 6 Credit Hours 
Total Credit Hours 

​ 42 Credit Hours

 Elective Courses

Non-restricted Elective

Students may choose one course of 3 credit hours from any program in any of the Schools/centres in the Doha Institute.

MHR615 Critical Approaches to Rights

This is an advanced theory course that provides the students with the foundations to engage in sophisticated debates concerning the idea of rights and the relation of law to society. It requires the students to closely read primary texts of a diverse tradition of critical thought, and to understand the genealogy of this tradition as different critical scholar build on and revise previous scholarly interventions. Thus, the course equips the students with rigorous methodological and analytical foundations that will be valuable for their future legal studies. It seeks to showcase the applicability of these critiques to real-world dilemmas that social agents face in practice. The course starts with alternative histories to human rights in which scholars challenge the linear progressive evolution narrative of human rights. It then familiarizes the students with foundational texts in the critical tradition. Among other issues, these texts question the existence of natural rights; the coherence of rights discourse; the efficacy of rights in delivering their promises; the ideological effects of rights discourse, specifically the political and social arrangements that rights discourse justifies; the proliferation of rights; the individualism of rights; the universality of rights; and the imprudent or unintended effects of human rights activism.

MHR620 Human Rights Clinic

This course aims to equip students with the necessary practical skills to complement their theoretical skills in the human rights field. Students will put the theoretical knowledge acquired during their studies in the master’s program into practice serving the community. Students will be distributed amongst many pioneering human rights institutions. Working under the supervision of the course coordinator, students will be given the opportunity to hone their skills in advocacy and lobbying, NGO report writing, state and shadow reports drafting, working with the UN treaty-based and charter-based human rights mechanisms as well as the mechanisms of national human rights institutions. To fulfil the requirements of the course, students must be committed to make a tangible contribution in the work of the hosting institutions. During training, students will be dealing with different human rights issues especially in the areas of women and children rights, trafficking, labour rights and migration.

MHR621 Contemporary Issues in Human Rights

This course aims to address current global human rights issues as well as ongoing political and legal debates affecting the theory and practice of human rights. Among the topics that can be addressed in this course are the protection of social, economic and cultural rights, business and human rights, the right to development and sustainable development, the application of human rights in armed conflicts, human rights obligations of non-state actors, gender and human rights, Children’s rights and human rights and counter-terrorism measures.

MHR623 International Criminal Law

This course aims to introduce students with the foundation of international criminal law and procedures. It addresses the evolution of individual criminal liability under international law and international crimes, the question of immunities in international criminal justice and main institutions of international justice. It will explore the relevance of international criminal law in the Middle East and Africa through an assessment of the increasing trends of internationalisation of accountability and justice. The course will also tackle the rise of universal jurisdiction and its limits and theories of justice in transitional and post-conflict societies.

MHR624 International Protection of Refugees and Displaced Persons

This course focuses on the protection of refugees and displaced persons in international law and how it intersects with international human rights law and international humanitarian law. Students will be introduced to key concepts and legal definitions in this field and will be familiar with the work of relevant international and regional agencies. The course will also address the ongoing debates on the protection and politics of refugees and displaced persons in the Middle East and North Africa through a critical engagement with regional instruments and domestic legal practices.

 Core Courses

MHR699 Dissertation

Students will need to write a dissertation of 12,000-18,000 words, on a topic relevant to the themes discussed in the Human Rights Program. The dissertation will demonstrate the students' ability to pursue an independent research project, utilising the skills acquired in the Program. The proposed topic of the dissertation will need to be approved by the potential supervisor, prior to commencing the research, who will assess its feasibility and make suggestions concerning structure, scope, or readings. A faculty member will supervise the dissertation. Two faculty members will mark it: the supervisor as a first marker and a second faculty member as second marker. The markers will comprise a panel in which the student will defend the dissertation orally. The oral defence will assess the student's ability to defend his or her ideas and will be satisfied that the dissertation is the student's own work.

MHR 619 Research Methods in Human Rights

This is a foundational course designed to furnish students with a strong understanding of the main mechanisms of the two different municipal legal systems (Common Law and Civil Law). The knowledge gained from this course will serve as a tool enabling students to understand the dynamics of their own domestic legal systems. This will allow them to efficiently deal with domestic issues surrounding human rights from an international legal perspective when they study international law and human rights law courses. The second element of this course is designed to introduce students to necessary theoretical and practical skills for conducting research in the field of human rights. It begins by providing students with the necessary skills of research design. This includes conducting literature review, identifying the research problem and the questions it raises, forming a theoretical framework, and conducting the causal analysis of collected data. The course also aims to equip students with the primary skills of qualitative and quantitative research methods. The outcome of this class is to enhance students’ capacity to complete their final thesis projects efficiently and to a high standard.

MHR610 Human Rights: The Broader Picture

This introductory course aims to provide students with an overview of the field of human rights, its history, pertinent debates, and the global and local contexts in which it is situated. As such, the topics discussed range from methodologies, basic human rights documents, the four primary debates and distinctions (universality versus relativism, state sovereignty versus human rights intervention, political rights versus social rights, individual rights versus collective rights), and international and regional mechanisms of enforcement of these rights. It enables the students to identify and engage in debates concerning the primary challenges that face the protection of human rights and the factors the shape their evolution.

MHR612 Public International Law: A Rights Perspective

This course provides the students with knowledge of the main issues, concepts, instruments, and contemporary debates within the field of international law, including the conceptual question whether it is a law in the first place. It introduces the students to the history of international legal order, the sources that generate international legal norms, the entities that are subject to these legal norms, the primary sub-disciplines of international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international criminal law, with some focus the law of armed conflict and the legal doctrine of responsibility to protect. In discussing these issues, the course focuses not only on the textual level but also on the institutional level (by discussing a range of tribunals that are entrusted with applying and developing international legal norms). The course also assesses the interactions between different legal domains (international law and national law, international humanitarian law and international human rights law). Finally, it elaborates on these themes within specific and contemporary debates to showcase their relevance and significance to real-world events.

SOSH601 Issues in the Study of Social Sciences and Humanities

All SOSH students must successfully complete this core compulsory course offered at the School.

MHR613 Human Rights and Islamic Law

This course explores the debates and institutional arrangements that relate to the interaction between Islamic law and international human rights law and potential tensions that could arise between both traditions in theory and practice. It covers the conceptual and theoretical issues in the relationship between Islamic law and human rights in major Islamic school of thoughts and the constitutional and legal practices of Muslim-majority stat and understand their socio-political backgrounds. It also addresses Muslim’s states responses to international and regional human rights mechanisms. The course introduces the students to the primary concepts of Islamic law, its relation to the modern state and constitutionalism, its interaction with international legal norms, and major human rights themes facing Muslim-majority states such as women’s rights, religious freedom, right of religious minorities, freedom of expression and rights of children.

MHR616 International Law and Colonialism

This course introduces students to sophisticated critiques of international law, its history, and its practice. The critics deploy both structuralist and historical arguments to foreground questions of power relations and domination in international law that are often concealed by legal technicalities and nomenclature. In particular, they highlight international law’s substantive indeterminacy, even if it seems formally coherent (the intertwinement of law and politics); revisit its history to challenge the universality of international law’s evolution; foreground and centralise the colonial encounter to doctrinal debates in international law; and highlight the continuity between former forms of domination and current international political and economic uneven developments of political weakness and economic dependency of states in the Global South. In particular, this course focuses on writings by critical legal studies and TWAIL (Third World Critiques of International Law): whether the first generation of proto-TWAIL which focused mainly on questions of sources, to the second generation (1990s-2000s) which expanded the critiques to a wide range of issues, to a current generation that highlights the limitations of previous TWAIL perspectives.

MHR618 Comparative Constitutional Law

This course introduces students to constitutional law from a comparative perspective to identify best practices. Which constitutional regimes should one seek guidance from? How can one solve the dilemma between identity and difference, universal rationalism and cultural relativism? How can foreign constitutional arrangements influence one’s thinking regarding one’s own local arrangements? This course is divided into four parts. The first part examines the comparative method; the meaning of constitutions, constitutional law, constitutionalism and their importance to the political system; and provides an overview of the plurality of constitutions. The second part focuses on questions of constitutional design such rigidity, entrenchment, amendment, as well as different models of constitutional courts, separation of powers, emergency powers, and power sharing mechanisms. The third part focuses on bills of rights, their origins, and judicial enforcement. It focuses in particular on the right to equality and social and economic rights. The last part of the course zeros in on the history of Arab constitutions and constitution-making before and after the Arab Spring. It thus provides the students to employ the comparative knowledge acquired in the context of the legal and political history of the Arab World.

MHR617 Palestine, Law, Human Rights

This course takes the question of Palestine as an exemplary case study to examine the potentialities and limitations of human rights and international law. It thus examines the question of Palestine from the perspective of international law and rights discourse, and—simultaneously—examines international law from the perspective of the question of Palestine. The course is divided into five parts. The first part provides a historical introduction to the question of Palestine, namely: the 1948 ethnic cleansing, the creation of the refugees, and the role of international law in the creation of Israel. The second part focuses on the role of law in the establishment of settler colonialism and exclusionary constitutionalism inside “Israel proper”. The third part focuses on the role of law in the 1967 borders and legally assesses Palestinian resistance and Israeli violence. The fourth part examines two pertinent questions and debates within international law (regarding Jerusalem, and the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland). The final part examines the role of the Palestinian Authority since the Oslo Accords and its violation of human rights. The course concludes with a discussion of the potentialities and limitations of the role of international law and rights discourse in the context of Palestine.

MHR614 Human Rights in the Arab World: Theory and Practice

This course introduces students to key debates on human rights thought and practice in the context of Arab states. In particular, it examines the limitations of domestic and regional enforcement mechanisms, limitations of local human rights work, and the dynamics between the local and global, and the trajectories of human rights before and after the Arab revolution. The course provides an overview of the history of rights discourses in modern and post-colonial Arab states. It then focuses on the institutional history and reality of the actors and institutions that carry the banner of human rights and its related idea of democracy and rule of law including political parties, lawyers, judges, human rights organisations, culminating with the potentialities and limitations of the regional system of the Arab League. The course also provides a thematic focus on few pertinent issues such as torture and prisoners’ rights, justice and accountability, citizenship and minorities rights, social rights; and migrants and refugees rights.