Graduate Certificate in Human Rights

The Graduate School of Arts and Science (GSAS) and ISHR certificate is designed to complement the disciplinary training of the student's graduate degree program and is appropriate for graduate students currently enrolled in a degree program at Columbia University, who bear substantive human rights questions in their academic and professional careers.


Students must complete 24 qualifying credit points (generally 8 courses) to receive the certificate. Graduate students may apply courses taken to fulfill their degree requirements toward the human rights certificate, provided the following requirements are met:

All courses must be graduate level (4000 higher). Up to two of the courses (six credit points) may be taken for R credit. All other courses must be completed with a grade of B or better to be counted for the certificate.

Students may not apply courses taken for the ISHR/GSAS certificate towards another degree, concentration, certificate, or other form of qualification in human rights offered by another school or department.

All courses must be approved by the program in order to be counted towards the certificate requirements and students are advised to confirm that courses of interest will fulfill certificate requirements prior to each registration period.

Each semester, ISHR publishes a course list for students engaged in human rights studies. While certificate courses are not determined by their inclusion on or exclusion from this list, it can serve as a useful reference tool for students. However, all graduate-level courses that are listed as pre-approved on the human rights course list will automatically count towards the certificate.

Students can track their certificate progress with the certificate worksheet.

Research Support

PhD students completing the human rights certificate are eligible to apply for a research stipend. To apply, students should send this application form and all supporting documentation to with the subject line “ISHR Graduate Research Funding.” In addition, the student's research adviser should submit this reference form to the department. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Please email with any questions.

Register & Apply

Eligible students who would like to pursue the certificate should contact the program by emailing and submit a registration form. Your participation in the certificate program will be registered and indicated on your SSOL record.


Students who have completed the requirements must complete and submit two forms:

1. Final Certificate Worksheet

Students must submit a completed certificate worksheet to their faculty adviser. If the student has completed all necessary requirements and submits the application for to the registrar (see below), he or she will be awarded the certificate.

2. Application for Degree or Certificate

In order to graduate with the human rights certificate, students must submit an application to

Deadlines for completing certificate applications are September 1st for October graduation; December 1st for February graduation; and March 1st for May graduation.

Click here for the Columbia University registrar.