Human Rights Advocacy

Earn an Experiential Certificate in: Human Rights Advocacy


The Gerald R. Ford Institute offers an Experiential Certificate in Human Rights Advocacy. Graduates of this certificate will prepare to become the next generation of human rights professionals as they discover how to identify injustice, analyze its causes, and undertake strategic advocacy to promote equity and defend the dignity and fundamental rights of all persons.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this certificate, students will be able to:

  • Apply the international human rights framework to rights and justice problems.
  • Analyze the causes and consequences of human rights violations.
  • Develop the research, policy, and advocacy skills that human rights professionals use.
  • Explore the variety of human rights and social justice careers.


Purpose Courses

Students will take 3 purpose courses, including PLSC 256: Human Rights. These courses should be drawn from at least 2 different departments and will be selected based on student interest in consultation with their certificate advisor. 


  • PLSC 256: Human Rights

For ease of advising, eligible courses are organized into 3 areas: advocacy and tools of social change; justice and accountability; and equity, inequality, and rights. Students may select any 2 courses from among these lists. Students may not select more than 2 courses from the same department.

Courses for Advocacy and Tools of Social Change

  • ARTH 311: Art as Political Action
  • ETHN 270: Hip Hop and Social Change
  • ETHN 300: Social Movements

Courses for Justice and Accountability

  • PLSC 207: Transitional Justice 
  • PLSC 322: Crime, Politics & Punishment
  • PLSC 324: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
  • PLSC 357: International Law and Politics

Courses for Equity, Inequality and Rights

  • ANTH 256: Native North America
  • ANTH 320 Indigenous Peoples of Latin America
  • ETHN 280: Children of Immigrants
  • HIST 243: African American History from 1865-present
  • HIST/INTN 310: Power & Culture in the Asia-Pacific
  • PLSC 372: Gender, Sex & International Politics
  • SOC  280 Children of Immigrants
  • SOC 228: Cities & Urban Life
  • SOC 333: The Sociology of Sex and Gender
  • SOC 345: Race and Ethnicity
  • SOC 370: Social Mobility and Inequity
  • WGS 250: Gender and the Global Garden

Honors courses and special topics courses that match the purpose of the human rights certificate also may be approved. 


Professional Development


  • Professional speaker lecture series
  • Mandatory workshops  
  • Community Leadership Innovation Badge
  • Advocacy Strategies & Tactics Innovation Badge 
  • Human Rights Advocacy Innovation Badge

Professional development hours can be fulfilled through any relevant Albion College training including workshops and innovation badges offered through the School for Public Purpose and Professional Advancement, the Institutes, and college programs. External certifications and professional training offered by third party providers may also be approved. Below is a sample list of relevant workshops and skill development: 

  • Human Rights Basics
  • The Empowerment Model of Human Rights & Social Justice
  • Intercultural communication skills
  • Project management
  • Best Practices of Advocacy Badge
  • Best Practices of Community Engagement 
  • Communicating with Decision-Makers 
  • Effective Lobbying simulation
  • Anti-racism training
  • Green Dot training
  • Title IX training
  • Grant writing badge
  • Human rights advocacy badge
  • Leadership badge
  • Public leadership badge
  • Beyond Government: Leadership from Citizens and Groups
  • United Nations Simulation 

Experiential Learning

Students will design or select the appropriate number of experiential learning hours, including community engaged experiential learning hours, for their catalog year.


  • Community Service (80 hours)
  • Internship (150 hours)

Examples of  experiential learning opportunities related to this pathway include:

  • Participation in the Albion College Human Rights Lab
  • Collaborating with community-based organizations and non-profits on issue advocacy
  • Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program course (60 hours)
  • Holocaust Studies Service Learning Project (60 hours)
  • Nwagni Project
  • Approved Off Campus study at the Philadelphia Center, the Washington Center, or study abroad programs through the Center for International Experience
  • Clinical experience as part of the Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Minor
  • Related undergraduate research including through FURSCA 
  • Writing an undergraduate thesis on a human rights or social justice topic 
  • Leadership within a campus Umbrella organization or justice-oriented student organization
  • Sleight Leadership Project (45 experiential hours + 24 professional development hours for grant writing)
  • Work experience with a justice oriented non-governmental organization or a government or corporate entity that specifically addresses human rights or justice issues.

Interested in earning this Experiential Certificate? Please contact Edward Visco by email at [email protected].