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Free Online Course on Human Rights Theory and Philosophy

Curtin University is offering free online course on Human Rights Theory and Philosophy. This course is part of the CurtinX Human Rights MicroMasters program.

In this course, applicants will explore what is meant by human rights through learning about the development of the conventional understanding of universal human rights as well as some of the major critiques of the concept.  The course will start on January 31, 2017.

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Course At A Glance

Length: 12 weeks
Effort: 8-10 hours per week
Subject: Social Sciences
Institution: Curtin University and edX
Languages: English
Price: Free
Certificate Available: Yes. Verified Certificate for $300
Session: Course starts on January 31, 2017

Providers’ Details

Curtin University is Western Australia’s largest and most culturally diverse university, with more than 53,000 students from over 130 countries. As a world-class, internationally focused institution, Curtin’s mission is to change minds, lives and the world through leadership, innovation and excellence in teaching and research.

About This Course

The course commences through exploring the development of the conventional understanding of universal human rights and then moves to critiquing this concept from cultural relativist, postmodern, postcolonial and feminist perspectives. It also examines understandings of human rights from a range of cultural and religious perspectives as well as other contemporary rights issues.

Developing an awareness of contemporary issues in human rights is important in professions such as education, health, law, social work and development work, both in the public and private sector. You can also benefit from human rights knowledge in a voluntary capacity, advocating social justice, peace or building a sustainable future.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Describe and critique human rights theories and philosophies
  • Critically analyse political, policy and moral issues using


Dr. Caroline Fleay

Caroline Fleay has been with the Centre for Human Rights Education since 2007. In addition to teaching in universities in Australia, the United Kingdom and France, she has been involved with a range of community groups providing support and advocacy for human rights issues including women’s rights and the rights of people seeking asylum.

Course Syllabus

Week 1: What do we mean by human rights?
Week 2: Modern perspectives on human rights
Week 3: Modern perspectives on human rights (continued)
Week 4: Constructing human rights: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Week 5: Human rights and the cultural relativist and postmodern critiques
Week 6: Human rights and the postcolonial critiques
Week 7: Feminist critiques and rights in the private domain
Week 8: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Human Rights
Week 9: Disability and human rights
Week 10: Human rights and the ethics of the use of force
Week 11: Human rights, the environment and the Anthropocene
Week 12: Human rights regimes, norms and socialisation



How To Join This Course

  • Go to the course website link
  • Create an edX account to SignUp
  • Choose “Register Now” to get started.
  • EdX offers honor code certificates of achievement, verified certificates of achievement, and XSeries certificates of achievement. Currently, verified certificates are only available in some courses.
  • Once you sign up for a course and activate your account, click on the Log In button on the edx.org homepage and type in your email address and edX password. This will take you to your dashboard, with access to each of your active courses. (Before a course begins, it will be listed on your dashboard but will not yet have a “view course” option.)

Apply Now