Embrey Human Rights Program

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EHRP occupies a distinctive niche in the national landscape of higher education. While the discipline of human rights is paid little more than lip service at most colleges and universities, SMU remains one of only seven institutions in the country, and the only institution south and west of Missouri, to offer an undergraduate major.

Likewise, the program has quickly established itself as a flagship offering of Dedman College. The number of human rights majors and minors has equaled or surpassed fields like women and gender studies, public policy, international studies, and even the venerable stalwart political science - and participation continues to grow. More than 100 distinct human rights courses are currently offered through 18 disciplines spanning the university. EHRP is especially proud to encourage the scholarly development of young women, who constitute approximately 80 percent of its student body.

Through its major and minor offerings, EHRP provides an enriching setting for the study of human rights. Each student receives close mentorship in developing an individualized and interdisciplinary degree path that integrates opportunities for engaged learning, community service, and artistic expression. Virtually any local or global issue related to human rights can be explored: militarism; political violence and repression; social, gender and racial equality; sexuality; human rights violations and conflict resolution; environmental justice; art and human rights; poverty and hunger, etc.

EHRP offers students access to many unique resources, including:


The major in human rights prepares students to serve as leaders and changemakers in a variety of pursuits. Students in the major have the choice of two interdisciplinary tracks: Gender and Human Rights, or Public Policy and Human Rights. The minor, which serves as an excellent complement to all majors, teaches students on how to promote, defend, and extend human rights in their chosen career fields. Recent graduates have pursued careers in the arts, business, education, engineering, environmental science, government, humanitarian aid, journalism, law enforcement, medicine, the nonprofit sector, and political science. The program also boasts an exceptional placement rate for students seeking to continue their education in graduate or law school.

EHRP houses the largest collection of student human rights artwork in the world. A few samples from this collection can be seen below.