The University of Oxford invites prospective candidates from developing African and South Asian Commonwealth countries to apply for the 2014 Commonwealth Kellogg Alistair Berkley Scholarship study for the part-time Master’s in International Human Rights Law.

The scholarships are funded by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, the Alistair Berkley Charitable Trust (African awards only) and Kellogg College, Oxford. Subject to satisfactory progress, the scholarships lead to the award of a Master of Studies (MSt) in International Human Rights Law.

Programme Descrption

  •  The Master’s degree in International Human Rights Law (IHRL) is offered jointly by the Department for Continuing Education and the Faculty of Law. It is taught over 22 months and consists of two periods of distance learning and two residential sessions in Oxford.
  • The degree program is designed in particular for lawyers and other human rights advocates who wish to pursue advanced studies in international human rights law but may need to do so alongside work responsibilities.
  • The aim of the degree program is to train and support future leaders in the field of international human rights law. A central objective of the course is to ensure that participants not only know but can also use human rights law. The curriculum places roughly equal emphasis on the substance of human rights law, its implementation, and the development of human rights advocacy skills.

 Worth of Award

  •  The scholarships provide fully funded opportunities for candidates from developing African and South Asian Commonwealth countries to study for the part-time Master’s in International Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford, starting September 2014.
  • Three awards are available for African candidates and four awards for South Asian candidates.
  • Each scholarship provides course and college fees at the University of Oxford over two years, return air travel from the scholar’s home country for each residential session and a stipend to cover reading materials.
  • Recipients of these awards will become members of Kellogg College1 since Kellogg is one of the donors to the scheme. However, scholars would still have the option to be housed at New College during the summer residential sessions so they can work and socialise with other students on the course2.


In order to apply, you will need to meet the eligibility criteria for both the course and the scholarship scheme. The requirements are set out below:

 Course eligibility criteria

Within equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of a candidate’s ability to meet a number of criteria.

  • Have a first-class (1) or an upper second class (2:1) undergraduate degree (or equivalent international qualifications) in order to apply for this course. For applicants with a degree from the USA, they normally seek a GPA of 3.5, or higher, out of 4.0. Applicants with a lower second class (2.2) degree or a GPA lower than 3.0 are unlikely to be admitted. This is the case even if you took your degree long ago, have extensive experience or hold a senior position.
  • The degree is designed primarily for early and mid-career lawyers and the majority of admitted students have a legal background and experience of international human rights law. However, in certain circumstances, applications from persons with degrees in other subjects who have extensive human rights experience will be considered.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to human rights based on work experience, volunteer activities or concentration on human rights and international law at university, have access to computing facilities sufficient to take an online course,
  • Meet the minimum requirements for English proficiency as set out by the University for graduate study at (please note that the level of English competence required for this course is the higher level).
  • They welcome applications from a variety of backgrounds including international, governmental and non-governmental agencies, private and corporate practice, academia, medicine, journalism and the armed forces. The program seeks the widest possible diversity in both its students and faculty. Most human rights work is done within a national and local context and you need not have international experience to be eligible.

 Scholarship eligibility criteria

  •  In addition, applicants  must be Commonwealth citizens of a developing African/South Asian Commonwealth country, refugees or British protected persons and be permanent residents of, and currently resident in, a developing African/South Asian Commonwealth country at the time of application and throughout the program;
  • are expected to remain resident in a developing African/South Asian Commonwealth on completion of their studies;
  • must not already have received or be currently receiving financial benefit from a previous Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarship.

List of qualifying countries (Africa and South Asia)

  • Botswana
  • Cameroon
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mauritius
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Africa
  • Swaziland
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka

How to Apply

If you wish to apply for the September 2014 course, please check that you meet both the eligibility requirements for the course and for the scholarship (see above). If you are satisfied that you meet both sets of criteria, please follow the instructions below:

Stage 1 – submit an application to the University of Oxford

  • When you are ready to start your application, go online (see link below) where you can start to complete your online application and upload your supporting materials.

Please note:

  • The course code for the Masters in International Human Rights Law, which is required for the ‘Program of Study’ section of the application form, is 000160.
  • In the ‘Proposed Funding Arrangements’, list your primary funding source as ‘Commonwealth Kellogg Alistair Berkley Scholarships’.
  • The code required for the ‘Departmental Studentship’ field in the ‘Proposed Funding

Arrangements’ section is 2014/OUDCE/IHRL/CW.

  • Please note that it is very important you include this code to indicate that you are applying for this course through the Commonwealth Scholarship scheme otherwise your application may not be identified as such.
  • All completed applications submitted to Oxford by the given deadline will be assessed by a panel of academics from the Department for Continuing Education and the Law Faculty at the University of Oxford. Please note that incomplete applications (i.e. those missing information or required supporting materials) will not be considered.
  • The panel will produce a shortlist (plus a small number of reserves) and these candidates will be invited to go on to the next stage of the application process (see below). Candidates will be informed of the outcome of this first stage of the process by mid-May 2014. If you are not shortlisted, your application for both the scholarships and the course will not be taken any further (and you will not, at this stage, be able to apply for the course independently of this scholarship scheme as standard admissions have already closed).

Stage 2 –shortlisted applicants only

  •  The shortlisted and reserve applicants will be invited to submit an application to the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission for consideration. Further details will be provided at the time but it is likely you will simply need to re-submit some of the documents you submitted for the Oxford application.
  • Applicants will be informed of the outcome of this final stage of the process in July 2014. A small number of candidates may be offered reserve places for scholarships, which means that there is a possibility that they will be given a scholarship, if one of the successful candidates withdraws from the program.
  • If the above websites do not answer your questions please contact the Administrator for this course at Oxford University on [email protected].

 Deadline: Admissions for the course through this scholarship scheme opens on Monday March 10, 2014 for the course starting in September 2014. The application period is short and your completed application must be submitted through Oxford University’s online application system by Wednesday April 23, 2014. Please note also that there is a £50 application fee.

  • If you are unable to submit a completed application by this deadline, you may wish to consider applying in September 2014 for studies commencing September 2015. In this case, your application will automatically be considered for these scholarships, in the event that funding is secured again.

Click here to learn more about the specific admission requirements

Click here for information on how to complete the various sections of the admission form.

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