3 avenues in human rights, as explored by students

Does a career spent working for the rights of those around you set your heart ablaze? You might be cut out for a course in human rights. Shiree, Debbie and Alice studied related fields.  

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Whether it be arguing for abortion rights, aligning with Black Lives Matter, or advocating for the LGBTQ+ community, chances are you’ve found yourself at the heart of recent human rights discussions.  

But what happens when you can’t stop thinking about these issues late at night? Study human rights, and you can turn your passion for rights into a career. These three women studied related fields, taking three very different approaches to their careers.  

Shiree helped mothers in need 

After graduating through Open Universities Australia, Shiree landed a dream role as project manager of Barnados Australia’s program Beyond Barbed Wire, where she works to support incarcerated mothers while in custody and post-release.  

Shiree’s own experiences as a young mother informed her passion—driving her to help women raising children in the most challenging of circumstances.  

Watch Shiree’s story here 

Alice furthered research in the field  

For Alice, the idea of furthering research in the field drove her to enrol in a Masters of Human Rights through Open Universities Australia. Curtin University’s Centre for Human Rights was the ultimate draw card—their name and credibility irresistible to this justice warrior.  

Throughout her dissertation, Alice was able to form a close professional bond with her supervisor, who guided her research in the field.  

Watch Alice’s story here 

Debbie achieved a lifelong goal 

Born in South Africa, Debbie’s interest in human rights and social justice began in the playground. It was there that she first saw the injustice of how some human beings are treated. After Debbie’s family relocated to Australia, the need for advocacy stayed with her. 

After homeschooling her children and finding a continued interest in her community, Debbie decided that a Bachelor of Arts (Community Development) and Bachelor of Arts (Sustainable Development) were natural next steps for her caring nature.  

Watch Debbie’s story here  

How to study human rights 

There are a number of avenues you can take to fight for the livelihoods of those around you. Through Open Universities Australia, you can earn your qualification online—affording you the ultimate flexibility to gain experience in the field while you study. 

Related human rights courses include: 

Graduate Certificate in Human Rights – Curtin University 

Master of Human Rights – Curtin University 

Bachelor of Arts – Macquarie University 

Bachelor of Laws - Southern Cross University

Noteworthy human rights activists 

While Shiree, Alice and Debbie are paving their own way in human rights and related fields, there are many noteworthy figures who have come before them. So, who might you aspire to be like, should you pursue a future in the field?  

There’s Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela, of course. Arguably, you could say that Greta Thunberg is a human rights activist in her own right, because she's fighting for the rights of future generations to live in a world free from irreversible environmental damage.  

Human rights jobs 

Careers in the human rights field are wide and varied, greatly dependent on the amount of study you’re willing to do, and your unique areas of interest. You may find yourself working towards the following positions: 

  • Human rights lawyer 
  • Human rights campaigner 
  • Human rights educator 
  • Human rights researcher 
  • Human rights advocacy officer 
  • Human rights activism coordinator 


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