Why you should study International Law and Human Rights

There are several questions that I have received since the beginning of my journey with regards to the International Law and Human Rights master’s programme at the University of Tartu. Hence, I decided to highlight some of the important aspects that help me answer. The questions can be basically divided into three groups which are related to studying and living in Estonia, content of the courses and the value of studying in the programme called International Law and Human Rights, and the future career opportunities. The following chapters will be a humble try to answer those questions.

The first important type of questions is about how it feels to study and live in Estonia. There are numerous reasons to come and study in Estonia that I could not lay down in this brief writing. However, there are some points that I want to make that have affected me to a large extent when I came to Estonia and started to study and live here. The first one is the location of this programme. It is exceptional as it is taught at the very centre of Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia. Tallinn is the greenest, the tidiest, the most crime-free and the least air-polluted city that I have ever seen. It does not have traffic or overcrowding problems. Because of the successful e-governance projects, it is very easy to handle administrative works. People are so polite to each other, everyone is highly respectful of others’ rights. All in all, I can guarantee that living and studying in Tallinn, Estonia will definitely decrease your stress level tremendously.

The second type of questions is mostly about the structure of the programme and the content of the courses. When I first started to search for a master’s programme regarding human rights throughout Europe, I realised that international law and human rights are mostly taught via separate programmes. With the acceptance of the logical background of this kind of division, it should be underlined why the united programme – like the International Law and Human Rights master’s programme at the University of Tartu – is much more efficient and promising. International law and human rights are undeniably related and one cannot be fully taught without the other. This feature of the programme is very important because this way, you can learn several and necessary aspects and subsequently, you may pursue a career in one or both of these areas. Most students have personal interests in either human rights or international law but at the same time there are some areas that can be considered as a combination of both subjects that may draw your attention. With this unique structure, the programme will support you to develop yourself in different areas.

The main building of the University of Tartu.
The main building of the University of Tartu

Because of this unique structure, the courses are very rich in content and divided as per subjects. There are numerous options. It can be said that some of the courses in the curricula are more related with human rights while others are mostly concerning international law. Mandatory courses such as History and Theory of International Law, Human Rights Law, Public International Law, International Settlement of Disputes and some others not mentioned here, give theoretical and practical aspects of international law and human rights. Furthermore, you will be able to choose elective courses in accordance with your interests. In terms of elective courses, we can say that as per content they are also very rich and give you the opportunity to improve yourself in specific areas from European Union Law to Data Protection Law, from Intellectual Property to Cyberspace, Technology and International Law and from Human Rights and Education to International Criminal Law.

Lastly, there are some questions regarding the future opportunities this program will open up for you after graduation. In answer to this kind of questions, the structure of the program should be underscored again. Because of the united structure of the programme, you can improve yourself and make a career in both international law and human rights. Additionally, you can develop yourself in specific subjects that meet your interests. With the substantial knowledge gained in the course of the studies, you will be able to work in various government departments, almost all nongovernmental organisations or legal firms/offices. Moreover, you can work in law departments in companies. All in all, the sky is the limit for your desire and the capabilities of this programme.

Aykut Özgürsoy
Aykut Özgürsoy. Photo from a private collection

This entry was posted in Estonia, General, Studies and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.