Embrey Human Rights Program

Getting a Major or Minor

SMU is the first university in the South, and only the fifth in the country, to offer an academic major in human rights.  Approved September 9, 2011 by the SMU Board of Trustees, the Bachelor of Arts in human rights degree comes five years after creation of the Embrey Human Rights Program at SMU.

Requirements for the B.A. Degree

The Human Rights major consists of thirty hours of coursework, a second major or a minor, and at least eleven hours in any one foreign language. At least twelve hours in addition to the core courses must be taken at the advanced level (3000 or above).

  • Core Courses (12 hours)
  • Human Rights Track (9 hours)
    Three courses from either the Gender and Human Rights Track or the Public Policy and Human Rights Track. [A student must take courses from at least two departments within the chosen track to fulfill this requirement.)
  • Electives (9 hours)
    Three elective courses from the Approved Elective List (or other courses as approved by the Director). These must include courses from at least two departments and at least one advanced level course.
  • Second Major or a Minor in a related Field
    Given the interdisciplinary nature of the study of Human Rights, students are required to take a second major or minor in a related field.
  • Language
    Students must successfully complete at least eleven hours in any one foreign language or demonstrate proficiency through testing or other approved means.

Requirements for the Minor

A Human Rights minor consists of a minimum of eighteen hours of coursework, including the required course Human Rights: American's Dilemma (HRTS 3301/HIST 3301). The remaining fifteen hours must been taken from the Approved Elective List; nine hours of these must be at the advanced level (3000 or above). In addition to HRTS/HIST 3301, no more than two courses from any one department may be taken as electives unless pre-approval is given by the Director.

The minor also requires a commitment of students' effort, time and talent in defense of or in advocacy for human rights.  Students will complete either a twenty-hour sevice-learning placement with a human rights community-based agency (as a component of HRTS/HIST 3301) or will receive independent credit (HIST 4398, 4399) by participating in an Embrey Human Rights Program sponsored journey to a location where recent human rights violations have occurred or are occurring (e.g., Cambodia, Rwanda, Poland, Argentina, the U.S.-Mexico border) and completing a research paper on a human rights topic related to the site.