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International studies program announces new focus in human rights

The new focus addresses the moral, political and conceptual aspects of human rights.

One of the pivotal events of the 21st century was the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations, which became global standard for all nations and impacts international and domestic policy to this day. The international studies major at the University of Utah will use this document as the foundation in the new human rights focus beginning fall 2019.

“This is a great topic of study for anyone interested in human rights law, advocacy or national and international policy,” said Hugh Cagle, director of the international studies program and assistant professor of history. “Students who select this focus area may be interested in pursuing a career in law, non-profits, government work, research, refugee assistance, and much more.”

The new focus draws on multiple perspectives to discuss and address the moral, political and conceptual aspects of human rights, alongside studies of specific issues such as immigration, equality and access to education. As the only human rights track on campus, students have the option to choose from a list of 55 interdisciplinary courses from across colleges.

The international studies program uses the wide-ranging resources at the U to prepare students to live and work in the increasingly global world of the 21st century. Established in 2003, the major has rapidly become one of the most popular undergraduate programs at the university. The interdisciplinary methods, language study and direct international experience make it an inviting major alone or in combination with other programs of study. Students are encouraged to pursue an additional major or minor especially in a foreign language. Linguistic and cultural competence that is acquired through language study is essential to the international studies major.

The degree grounds students in different disciplines, such as human rights and permits them to explore the international scope of these disciplines. The main aim of this degree is to provide students with a greater understanding of global and international issues, and to guide them toward incorporating their awareness, knowledge and skills into their career goals.

Last Updated: 6/1/21