Double Degree in Human Rights and Law (University of Waterloo and University of Essex, UK)


United College and the University of Waterloo have partnered with the University of Essex (UK) to offer students at UW an exciting opportunity to pursue a BA-LLB double-degree. Students completing this five-year program will graduate with an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Waterloo and an LLB with a Human Rights Law specialization from the University of Essex.

This program offers students a unique opportunity to customize their path to a career in human rights, combining a BA in their own interest area and a minor in Human Rights with a legal education. By studying at Essex, students will have the opportunity to experience university education overseas and attend a University that has a global reputation as a leader in the field of human rights research, practice, and education, and houses one of the oldest academic human rights centres in the world.

In only five years, students will graduate with two degrees and a wealth of knowledge and experience, ready to pursue a career in human rights in Canada or abroad.   

This program has been designed to provide students with a multidisciplinary education that will prepare them for a career in human rights. Such a career could include working for a non-governmental or community-based organization (such as Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch), for an inter-governmental organization such as the United Nations, or even for the government.

Required Courses

  • HRTS 101, Introduction to Human Rights
  • HRTS 201, Foundations and Critiques of Human Rights (formerly Human Rights Theory I)
  • HRTS 203, The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • HRTS 204, Discrimination, Rights, and Canadian Law (formerly HRTS 102, Human Rights Codes, Commissions, and Policies)
  • More Information


  • CI 250, Truth-Reconciliation-Story
  • GSJ 102, Introduction to Gender and Social Justice: The Global South
  • GSJ 206/LS 201, Women and the Law
  • HIST 221, Racism and Response in Canadian History
  • HIST 271, Global Indigenous Issues
  • HIST 321/LS 331, Human Rights in Historical Perspective
  • HIST 314, The American Civil Rights Movement
  • HRTS 301, Human Rights and the United Nations
  • HRTS 302, Critical Approaches to Contemporary Human Rights Issues
  • HRTS 305/INDG305, Indigenous Rights in a Global Context
  • HRTS 390, Special Topics in Human Rights
  • HRTS 490, Advanced Topics in Human Rights
  • INDG 201/CDNST 201, The Indigenous Experience in Canada
  • PACS 318, Peacebuilding in Divided Societies
  • PACS 324, Human Rights, Peace, and Business
  • PACS 325, Refugees and Forced Migration
  • PHIL 328/LS 352, Human Rights
  • PSCI 421/LS 464, Justice and Gender
  • PSCI 463/LS 463, Rights and Public Policy
  • SDS 210R/LS 273, Children’s Rights in Canada
  • SDS 449R, Prejudice & Discrimination
  • SPAN 400, Memory, Human Rights, and Reconciliation
  • Information about individual courses 

Program schedule and options 

  • The first three years (or four, depending on your choice of major) of your studies will be spent at the University of Waterloo 

  • The next two years of your studies will be spent at the University of Essex completing your LLB

Admission requirements when applying to Essex 

  • Complete the first three years of study in an Honours BA degree program at Waterloo in a major of your choice and a minor in Human Rights
  • Achieve an overall average of at least 77% with no fails or incompletes in any courses
  • Meet the University of Essex English language entry requirements


Pre-Year 1: 

  • Apply to an Honours Arts program at the University of Waterloo 

Year 1, semester 1: 

  • Location: University of Waterloo
  • Complete the Human Rights (HR) 101 course
  • Connect with Anna Purkey, Program Director, to express your interest and learn more about your individual pathway (which courses you need to be taking, which electives will benefit you, and learn more about your minor) 

Year 1-3: 

  • Work with academic advisors to ensure that you will have completed all required courses prior to leaving for Essex 
  • Note: if you choose a major other than Liberal Studies or Legal Studies, you will likely be required to complete 4 years at UW

Year 3: 

Year 4-5: 

  • Complete LLB at the University of Essex 
  • Upon completion, send proof of completion to UW Registrar
  • Graduate with 2 degrees