Student Pages
Postgraduate course

Business and Human Rights

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

Main content

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Teaching semester


Objectives and Content

Business has significant impacts on human rights. Companies create jobs and pay taxes that generate resources used to create the infrastructure needed for people to realise their human rights. However, corporate conduct can also adversely affect the rights of workers, consumers, and communities. The UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights provides a universal framework for companies to operate in a way that respects human rights.

This course provides a better appreciation of interplay between business and human rights, including business impacts, positive and adverse, regardless of corporate intent. The course does this by examining international human rights standards, ethical norms and legal principles, corporate duties, and expectations of companies. Focus will be on the dilemmas of operating in spaces where local standards and rules may vary from and sometimes contradict global standards or policies.

Senior company executives will speak about how they address dilemmas and conduct due diligence. The course will also explore initiatives designed to deal with human rights and business. The course deals with contemporary challenges of climate, transitions, conflict, technology, and concerns including discrimination. Details of the issues covered, and components included in the course will be determined and announced early summer.

The course will enable students to develop better understanding of what companies can and cannot do, developing corporate strategies consistent with international human rights standards, and to identify policies and practices that respect and 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 opposed to certain companies

Required Previous Knowledge

Bachelor degree or the equivalent. 2 years of relevant full time employment.

Access to the Course

Open for students fulfilling the admission criteria.

Teaching and learning methods

A mixture of lectures, seminars and group discussions. All lectures are streamed using Zoom. All lecture relevant materials, including lecture recordings, will be made available through the course pages at the student portal - MittUiB.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Attendance is not mandatory. It is mandatory to submit a draft of the the exam mid-semester. If you do not get a pass the first time around you will get an extension of one week to revise and submit your mandatory draft.

Forms of Assessment

Semester paper assigned at the beginning of the semester.

Grading Scale

Graded A-F

Assessment Semester

Assessment in teaching semester.

Course Evaluation

All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education.