Undergraduate Concentration in Civil & Human Rights

Undergraduate programming at the Keough School includes a range of majors and minors in various fields of interest. The centerpiece of these programs is the Supplementary Major in Global Affairs, which offers a broad-based experience designed to develop the global perspective needed to enable critical, interdisciplinary thinking. The Supplementary Major complements the student's primary major, and requires 30 credit hours to complete.

The Klau Center sponsors a concentration in civil and human rights within the Supplementary Major, serving students who wish to engage in an integrated study of both domestic civil rights and international human rights. The program allows a student to focus their studies on the rights of individuals in the United States and abroad to full and equal participation in civil and political life, without discrimination or repression. Like the Keough major in which the program is located, the concentration is interdisciplinary by design, so that students have an opportunity to place issues of civil and human rights in a global and local historical, political, and human context.

Two core courses provide the necessary frameworks; two electives allow student-oriented specialization; studies culminate in a capstone project. 

In the introduction to international human rights, students explore the general system of modern international law with an eye toward understanding five watershed moments in international human rights: (1) the global abolition of slavery, (2) the move from colonialism to self-determination and sovereignty, (3) the outlawing of the use of aggressive force to resolve territorial disputes, (4) the establishment of accountability structures for human rights violations, and, (5) most recently, the global regulation for sustainability of shared natural resources. 

In the introduction to domestic civil rights, students explore the original context of domestic civil rights in the United States: racial justice.  Through a study of twelve historical events from 17th century through the 20th century, the course examines the politics of confrontation and civil disobedience, polarization of arts, transformation of race relations, the tragedies and triumphs of Reconstruction, interracial violence, black political and institutional responses to racism and violence, the Harlem Renaissance, jazz, blues, and the civil rights and black power movements.

Review curriculum and course requirements


Concentration in Civil and Human Rights: Representative Elective Courses

  • Human Rights and the Global Economy

  • Human Rights, Sustainability, and the Global Commons

  • Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

  • Paradoxes of Human Rights

  • History of American Education: Race, Class, Gender and Politics

  • US Civil War and Reconstruction

  • The History of American Feminist Thought

  • The Cultural Politics of Religion and Women's Human Rights

  • Social Movements, Conflict and Peacebuilding

  • Race and Ethnicity: Constructing Identity and Difference

  • Latinos in the Future of America: Building Transformative Leadership

  • International Humanitarian Law in Civil Wars

  • Women and Politics

  • Genocide in the Modern World

  • Catholic Social Teaching

  • Theology of Human Dignity

  • International Migration & Human Rights