Human Rights and Humanitarianism

Work for better humanity.

To study human rights and humanitarianism, you need an interdisciplinary perspective.

Pair a major with our five-course concentration to get an in-depth focus on human rights and humanitarian issues. Through the concentration—which includes classes in social sciences, humanities, and even fine arts—our students gain a nuanced understanding of the history of human rights and humanitarianism, and the institutional frameworks that govern them, as well as the theoretical and philosophical debates over the meanings of human rights and humanitarianism. Students grapple with a range of current and past global human rights problems and evaluate debates over the methods, motivations, and consequences of human rights and humanitarian action.

You’ll learn from your classmates and faculty, who infuse classroom discussions with a wide range of academic perspectives. You’ll see how a complex global challenge doesn’t fit neatly into one academic department. And thanks to our location, you can partner with world-class human rights and humanitarian organizations well before you graduate, without even leaving the Twin Cities.

Recent courses include

  • Literature and Human Rights
  • Transitional Justice
  • Humanitarianism in World Politics
  • War Crimes and Memory in East Asia

Life after Macalester

Learning in the Cities

Frequent guest speakers visit class from global human rights organizations, located right in the Twin Cities


Number of internship sites within 8 miles of campus

Students regularly intern at Advocates for Human Rights, Center for Victims of Torture, and Alight (formerly the American Refugee Committee)