Studying for a human rights master's degree in Norway

Photo of students Cherine og Marianthi
STUDYING HUMAN RIGHTS AND MULTICULTURALISM: From left: Cherine Randi Sellami and Marianthi Antoniou have become very aware of the close connection between human rights and multiculturalism. (Photo: Jan-Henrik Kulberg / USN)

"The combination of human rights and multiculturalism makes this master unique" say students Cherine and Marianthi .

They both have a background with a lot of voluntary idealistic work, but slightly different starting points for choosing a master's in human rights and multiculturalism.

Contribute to human rights education

Marianthi Antoniou has studied Educational Sciences in her home country, Greece, along with Leadership and Management. There she also taught children from low-income families and was an active member of WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts).

Although this is not a master in education, teachers qualify and can use it as a post graduate degree. 

Marianthi wants to contribute to human rights education receiving greater attention in schools.

"I have studied elsewhere in Europe before, but wanted to do something new. That is why I chose to study in Scandinavia. In addition, the combination between human rights and multiculturalism was quite unique" she says.

Critical to the concept of human rights

Cherine Randi Sellami from Oslo has a social science background and wants to become a diplomat. She says there are many opportunities to gain relevant experience alongside the master's.

"I work actively with refugee aid alongside my studies, and I am also the leader of the Migration Committee in the Joint Council for Africa. I am deputy chairman of the Campus Board in Drammen, and I am standing for election to become chairman of the Campus Board in Drammen."

Cherine wants to work with human rights after her master's degree.

She was quite critical of the whole concept of human rights before she started her studies.

"When I read about human rights, everything seemed so obvious, but then I experienced that people did not get the protection they were entitled to. I became concerned with understanding how that could happen".

Cherine says this master's degree helps her to gain a more objective view of human rights, and to gain a better theoretical understanding of why different countries practice them differently.

Picture of the two students

"Our society is multicultural"

Both Cherine and Marianthi have become very aware of the close connection between human rights and multiculturalism.

"Much of what we have learned in school has been based on a Western view of the world. It gives great value to be able to learn about human rights from perspectives other than just the Western ones. In other parts of the world, the concept of human rights will be interpreted completely differently than we are used to. The society we live in is multicultural. Just think about how different cultural backgrounds the students in a school class will have."

The same applies to the class they are part of. There are students from large parts of the world. This creates many good discussions, in which both students and lecturers get involved.

"It is very nice to see how committed our professors are to human rights and multiculturalism. They have a lot of experience and have carried out a lot of research, and they pass on all their knowledge to us. In addition, they are also multicultural, just like us students. There is a lot of good energy in the classroom when we are together. Everyone is very engaged and it is an energetic study environment" say Cherine and Marianthi .

International experiences

Already in the first year of the master's several of the students have had exciting experiences abroad.

Both Cherine and Marianthi were among the USN students who participated in the annual simulation of Padova Model UPR (Universal Periodic Review) in Italy as one of the mechanisms for Human Rights of the UN.

Next semester, Cherine has also been given a six-month internship at the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). There, she will, among other things, work with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) - a mechanism in the UN Human Rights Council. The internship will be incorporated into her Master's degree.

Although both are currently first-year students, they have started thinking about their dream job.

Marianthi would like to work for the EU on projects for human rights that can also be implemented in schools, and does not completely disregard continuing with a PhD later, while Cherine's ambition is working in diplomacy and to become an ambassador.

MSc in Human Rights and Multiculturalism

  • In combining the areas of human rights and multiculturalism, this MSc is unique in Europe.
  • This is an interdisciplinary programme focusing on human rights and culture at local, national, regional and international levels.
  • The programme is designed to accommodate students with degrees in different academic disciplines.
  • It is also a post graduate degree course in teacher education.
  • Because human rights knowledge and awareness of the public issues are crucial elements in the realization of human rights, the study of human rights education and human rights in professional practice are important elements in the programme.