Student Pages
Postgraduate course

Business and Human Rights

  • ECTS credits15
  • Teaching semesterAutumn
  • Course codeSAMPOL610
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Resources

Level of Study


Teaching semester


Objectives and Content

Business has significant impacts on human rights. Companies create jobs and pay taxes that provide governments with resources to create the infrastructure needed for people to realize and assert their human rights. However, corporate conduct can also adversely affect the rights of workers, consumers and communities.

This course provides a better appreciation of the nature of human rights violations that can be linked to corporate activity, regardless of corporate intent. The course does this by examining the ethical and legal standards, duties, and expectations of companies. Focus will be on the dilemmas of operating in a space where local standards and rules may vary from and sometimes contradict global standards or policies. Furthermore, the course will explore emerging initiatives in order to deal with human rights and business, and assess the effectiveness of voluntary corporate codes of conduct.

The course will enable students to develop strategies consistent with international human rights standards and to identify policies and practices that do not undermine human rights.

Learning Outcomes

A candidate who has completed his or her qualification should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


  • Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of human rights standards and of how they apply to companies.
  • Demonstrate a specialised understanding of the human rights challenges facing companies.
  • Understand how to identify if practises are consistent with human rights standards.


  • Analyse why corporate conduct arouses suspicion in many parts of the world.
  • Discuss and assess possible solutions regarding the human rights challenges facing companies.
  • Develop strong, sophisticated approaches based on assessment methods and tools companies use in order to ensure respect for human rights.

General competence

  • Understand the human rights challenges companies face.
  • Communicate and evaluate these challenges on a detailed and sophisticated level.
  • Explore various options of engagement with human rights, including with organisations that may be hostile to companies

Required Previous Knowledge

Bachelor degree or the equivalent.

Access to the Course

Open for students fulfilling the admission criteria.

Teaching and learning methods

A mixture of lectures, seminars, group presentations and role play.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Participation in working on and presenting a group presentation.

Forms of Assessment

Take-home exam of maximum 4500 words, submitted within a month after it has been handed out.

Grading Scale

Grading scale A-F

Course Evaluation

Regular evaluation


Department of comparative politics


Contact Information

UiB Videre

Tlf 55 58 20 40, post@videre.uib.no

Exam information

  • Type of assessment: Take-home examination

    Submission deadline
    21.12.2020, 14:00
    Withdrawal deadline
    Examination system
    Digital exam