Human Rights Minor


The Human Rights Minor is a multidisciplinary, 15-unit minor at San José State University. Students in the Minor will have the opportunity to explore the history and structure of formal human rights and international law, study historical and contemporary human rights struggles, meet and work with Bay Area human rights organizations, and gain experience in a seminar capstone symposium course.

In order to graduate with Human Rights Minor, students are required to complete 15 units, comprised of one required course and five elective courses.

Students must take one course from a separate department for each of the five disciplinary areas listed above in order to ensure a broad and interdisciplinary education.

Students are responsible for meeting (or getting waived by instructor) any prerequisite courses. Proper planning and advising will ensure that students graduate when intended. Students are highly encouraged to meet with a department advisor during posted office hours.

Curriculum and Requirements

Required Lower Division Coursework

Students must have completed their lower division coursework to enroll in many of the courses in the Human Rights Minor. There may also be prerequisites that must be taken before students will be able to enroll in substantive elective courses.

Students interested in the minor should register for JS 025, complete their lower division coursework, and complete their major's 100W requirement. 

Advantages to the Minor

The courses within the Human Rights Minor may overlap with major course requirements, reducing time to completion. Many of the Minor courses also fulfill SJSU Studies Course Requirements (Area R, S, and V). Proper planning and advising will ensure that students graduate when intended.

Students will receive exposure to Bay Area human rights organizations though the capstone (JS 179) course.

Students will find the Human Rights Minor fulfilling if they are interested in careers or scholarship (graduate or professional school) related to:

  • crimes against
    • community organizing
    • humanity
    • social movement networks
    • social problems
  • forensic reporting on war crimes
  • genocide
  • human rights advocacy/reporting
  • international law/relations
  • policy studies

Our faculty in the Department of Justice Studies hold advanced degrees in:

  • Criminology, Law, and Justice
  • Jurisprudence and Social Policy
  • Justice Studies
  • Journalism
  • Law, Policy, and Society
  • Political Science
  • Sociology

Students will also receive the highest quality instruction across disciplines in the Colleges of Applied Sciences and Arts, Business, Humanities and the Arts, Science, and/or Social Sciences. Faculty in other departments contributing courses to the curriculum hold degrees in fields ranging from Anthropology, to Economics, to Social Work, and more.

Careers Related to the Minor

  • Law
  • International Relations
  • Public Policy
  • Social justice advocacy/reporting/organization or diplomacy

Steps to Complete the Minor

  1. Declare the Human Rights Minor
    • Submit the appropriate Request for Addition/Change of Major or Minor petition form (less than 90 units or more than 90 units) to a Justice Studies advisor, along with other required documentation listed on the form. Visit the Office of Registrar website to download the petition form.
  2. Take the Classes
    • Enroll in courses as specified by the Human Rights Minor Form [pdf] and log course completions on form.
    • When selecting substantive elective courses in the minor, we encourage students to choose courses that also fulfill other university requirements.
  3. Apply for Graduation

Meet with an Advisor

The Human Rights Coordinator, Dr. Grace Howard, is the Department of Justice Studies' designee to lead advising for the Human Rights Minor. Contact Dr. Howard if you are interested in declaring a Human Rights Minor or if you have additional questions.