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Mail Code: 94305-6045
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Courses offered by the WSD Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice are listed under the subject code HUMRTS on the Stanford Bulletin's ExploreCourses web site.

WSD Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice is the newest addition to the Stanford Global Studies Division. Originally founded in 2000 at the University of California Berkeley by Professor David Cohen, the Handa Center relocated to Stanford in May 2014.

The Handa Center is dedicated to promoting the rule of law, accountability, and human rights around the world through education, critical scholarship, and policy advocacy. Working within the School of Humanities and Sciences, the Handa Center supports academic and professional development opportunities for undergraduates and graduate students interested in pursuing work in human rights or international justice. The Center offers career and academic advising, research opportunities, campus events, and student fellowship funding.

The Center also invites student participation in a diverse portfolio of well-established international programs. These include innovative human rights-related digital archival resource development efforts, justice-sector capacity-building programs, community-engaged learning initiatives, and international criminal trial monitoring opportunities. 

The Handa Center’s interdisciplinary Human Rights Minor ensures students receive invaluable mentorship from experienced human rights scholars and practitioners, while lending academic rigor to the scholastic experience of the undergraduates who choose this path. The minor provides structure to diverse academic offerings on human rights-related topics, encouraging students from across the University to understand how human rights are interconnected across seemingly disparate disciplines. 

The Human Rights Minor is open to students in any major.

To declare the Human Rights Minor, students must:

1. Contact Handa Center Program Manager Jessie Brunner ( to state your interest in the Human Rights Minor.

2. You will receive a personalized human rights minor declaration form to complete.

3. Once you have completed the form, schedule an appointment to review your preliminary academic plan with Handa Center staff. All plans will be reviewed by Faculty Director, David Cohen.

4. Once the Faculty Director has approved your academic plan, you may declare Human Rights as your minor in Axess.


  1. Completion of a minimum of 25 units of Human Rights-related course work. Students may not double-count courses for completing major and minor requirements.
  2. Gateway: HUMRTS 101: Crossdisciplinary Perspective on Human Rights Theory and Practice (4 units)
  3. At least one course across each of three streams:
    1.  Foundations
    2. Contemporary issues
    3. Practice
  4. Capstone: HUMRTS 199 Human Rights Capstone (3-5 units)
  5. Under the supervision of an Academic Council member, students propose and complete a capstone project. This  should either include:
    1. a 25-page research paper on a human rights topic approved by the supervising faculty; or
    2. an alternative culminating work requiring equivalent effort such as an original short film produced by the student, an annotated digital human rights database, a curated exhibit, or a software application designed to address human rights challenges, approved in advance by the supervising faculty. 
  6. Participation in at least one of the Human Rights Career Advisory Workshops offered by the Handa Center in conjunction with BEAM in the Autumn and Spring terms each year. 
  7. At least 10 of the 25 units must be completed on Stanford’s campus.
  8. All courses to be counted toward the minor must be taken for a letter grade, except where letter grades are not offered, as required by University policy.
  9. All students must maintain a GPA of no less than 3.0 in the classes counting toward the minor.

Director: David Cohen

Associate Director: Penelope Van Tuyl

Faculty Advisory Board: JP Daughton (History), Larry Diamond (Political Science, Faculty Director of the Haas Center for Public Service), James Fearon (Political Science, Frank Fukuyama (Political Science, Director of CDDRL), Katherine Jolluck (History), Margaret Levi (Political Science, Director of CASBS), Tanya Luhrmann (Anthropology), Anne Firth Murray (Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies), Norman Naimark (History, Director of SGS), Josh Ober (Classics and Philosophy), David Palumbo-Liu (English and Comparative Literature), Richard Roberts (History, Co-Director of the Center for African Studies), Beth Van Schaack (Law, International Policy Studies), Jeremy Weinstein (Political Science), Paul Wise (Medicine)


HUMRTS 101. Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on Human Rights Theory and Practice. 4 Units.

In this survey human rights course, students will learn about how the distinct methodologies, assumptions, and vocabulary of particular disciplinary communities affect the way scholars and practitioners trained in these fields approach, understand, and employ human rights concepts. We will discuss the principal historical and philosophical bases for the modern concept of human rights, as well as the international legal frameworks meant to protect and promote these rights. Class sessions will include a mix of seminar discussions and guest lectures by distinguished Stanford faculty from across the university. This course fulfills the gateway course requirement for the minor in Human Rights. HUMRTS 101 was previously listed as GLOBAL 105.