Universidade Católica de Petrópolis

Master's of Laws

The Course





The Master of Laws program of UCP intends to assume the role of fomenter of an academic policy of teacher and researcher training to cover the demand for quality of teaching and scientific production in the country, and particularly in Rio de Janeiro, in view of the growing number of undergraduate courses in Law. The program was designed, among other reasons, to meet a set of demands for training and qualification in the legal area, especially taking into account the absence of such a course in the city of Petrópolis and the surrounding mountainous region.
Since it is a graduate program focused on discussions and subjects related to human rights, we must emphasize that the course is expected to meet the hopes of students and professionals from related areas, especially human and social sciences. Indeed, the specificity of this Program, due to its area of concentration, maintains a strong relationship with the other human and social sciences, which would meet the growing demand for teaching and research with a multidisciplinary character and a close relationship between human rights.
With the primary role of producing studies and research aimed at generating a commitment to the concretion of human rights, the Program hopes to receive candidates not only from the city of Petrópolis and the surrounding mountainous region but also from other cities in Rio de Janeiro. These candidates would come to UCP in the pursuit of a differentiated space of study, and academic and professional qualification.

With the proposed differential of including the point of view of justice and human rights in the approach of international law, constitutional and infra-constitutional law, the course aims to achieve a progressive academic maturity in teaching, research, and extension that favors the training and qualification of its candidates. In this regard, the course should supplant a lack of academic training in human rights for the legal practitioner in the city of Petrópolis, in the mountain region and, perhaps, in the State of Rio de Janeiro.

In accordance with the mission and objectives of the Catholic University of Petropolis, the Master of Laws Program preserved the same objectives and purposes of its proposal to CAPES:

  • Promote the legal training of its students, academically qualified for undergraduate teaching, research, and specialization in the area of Law, in the perspective of a humanistic worldview of defense of justice and human rights;
  • Develop teaching, research and extension activities on relevant issues and problems, both theoretically and praxeologically, within the scope of justice, process, and human rights, in a level of academic excellence and in cooperation and integration with the Law degree and related courses of the UCP;
  • Contribute to leverage institutional growth and consolidate the vocation of the Higher Education Institution as a University;
  • Contribute to the full and responsible professional practice of legal practitioners, committed to justice and human rights;
  • Democratize the knowledge and production of new knowledge about justice, process and human rights, relevant at the national and regional level, promoting a critical and evaluative reflection on the current legal reality and the possibilities of its transformation, bearing in mind the effective realization of justice and human rights in legal institutions and in Brazilian society;
  • Encourage the creation and diffusion of legal culture, establishing means of cooperation and exchange with other institutions committed to the reflection and the realization of justice and human rights.

The classes are face-to-face (traditional) and take place during the week in the morning, the afternoon, and the evening. As many students are not from Petropolis, we try to concentrate the classes in one or two days of the week.

Concentration Area:

Justice, Process and Human Rights

Research Line 01: Fundamentals of justice and human rights
The studies carried out in this line aim to provide theoretical support for the foundation of justice and human rights through a careful analysis of the historical-philosophical evolution of these notions, from their classic origins to contemporaneity. Moreover, they have the objective of adopting, where possible, a multidisciplinary approach to human rights, combining legal research with extralegal ones.

Research Line 02: Process and implementation of justice and human rights
In this area, the program seeks to contemplate contemporary demands for reflection and an in-depth debate on the construction of fair means for the concretion of rights and justice. We propose an examination of the various legal and administrative procedures in the light of the constitutional guarantees of the process, in a perspective of human rights realization.


The curricular structure of the Master of Laws Program was elaborated around a single thematic axis, defined by its area of concentration and subdivided according to the two lines of research of the program. For this reason, the curricular subjects were organized and divided into three groups.

The first group, called the Common Core, is composed of three compulsory subjects of the concentration area with the mission of preparing the student for the specificity of research in Law and teaching in the undergraduate program. In addition to the compulsory subjects of the Common Core, the curricular structure covers all other elective subjects of the Program in two Specific Cores.

The second group, called the Specific Core of Line 1, consists of elective subjects, of which the student must necessarily take at least five subjects, according to his supervisor and his course plan. The same occurs with respect to Line 2, constituted by elective subjects.

The compulsory subjects of the Common Core, of legal and methodological nature, provide the initial unit to the Program, preparing the student for effective and adherent research in the area and in one of the research lines of the Program. On the other hand, the specific subjects, which are elective, of the Specific Core of Lines 1 and 2 were elaborated according to the lines of research of the Program in order to sustain the research and the plan of studies of its students with the proper theoretical basis. All subjects are half-yearly and consist of three credits, corresponding to 45 hours of lessons, according to the Internal Regulation of the Program.

Each student must attend and be approved:


creditis in the compulsory
subjects of the Common Core


creditis in theelecive
subjects of the Specific Core

Therefore, to complete the Master of Laws Program the student must be approved in subjects that total 24 credits, i.e., three hundred and sixty hours of lessons.

The deadline to complete the course is twenty-four months, according to the Internal Regulation, which contains other relevant information about the proposal.


All Subjects are half-yearly and consists fo three credits, corresponding to 45 hours/class, acoording to the Internal Regulations of the Program.

Common Core (Compulsory Subjects)

Syllabus: Modern philosophical thinking. Positivism. The paradigm of scientificity. Falsifiability. Legal positivism. The variety of positivism. Main theses of legal positivism and the relations between Law, State, and Society: the formalist [Hans Kelsen and John Austin], systemic-operational [Herbert L.H. Hart], and realist [Scandinavian and American realism] models. Systematic thinking open to values: the relevance of principles and their constitutionalisation. Law as a system of rules and principles. The relationship between law and morality: the theses of binding and conceptual separation. The H.L.H.Hart vs R.Dworkin debate. Neo-constitutionalism. Exclusive positivism and inclusive positivism: opposition. The internal debate on inclusive positivism.

Syllabus: Structure of the Master of Laws Program of UCP: area of concentration, lines of research and research projects. The exercises of deconstruction and relativization in legal research. Methods of knowledge transfer. Academic socialization. Research and scientific knowledge. Legal knowledge as a scientific knowledge. Research in Law: objects of legal interest in PMILP-UCP. The adequacy between the object and method used in the research. Fundamental steps of research projects. The elaboration of the research project and the Master’s dissertation. Systematization of information and academic project according to ABNT standards.

Syllabus: The pacification of social conflicts and the realization of Justice. The rule of law, the monopoly of the judicial function and the indispensability of the process. Epistemology and phenomenology of the process. Instrumental character of the process. Judicialization of social relations. The process as an instrument for the protection of citizenship. Relevant aspects of the historical evolution of procedural law. Ethical values in the legal-procedural relationship: rights and duties of the parties and their patrons, loyalty and objective good faith, abuse and misuse of procedural guarantees. Economic aspects of the procedural relationship. The challenges of new technologies in procedural relations.

Specific Core of Line 01: Fundamentals of justice and human rights (Elective Subjects)

Syllabus: Concept and characterization of Human Rights. The role of education for human rights in the formation of legal awareness. Human Rights as a cross-cutting theme. The delimitation of the field of practical philosophy to Human Rights as a means of improving legal praxis. The role of human rights in law and politics: citizenship and democracy. The legal culture and the challenges of Human Rights in Brazil. Education in Human Rights aimed at the cultivation of humanity. Moral responsibility as a guarantee of the exercise of Human Rights. Decent society and its enemies: a dialogue with Rawls and Margalit. Education in and for human rights: pedagogical practices.

Syllabus: Ethics, morals, politics, and human rights: preliminary definitions. Teleological and deontological theories. The dignity of the human person. The human person as a capable subject. Ethical intent and moral standard. Judgment and practical wisdom. From the capable subject to the subject of the law. Capabilities, rights, and responsibility. The political paradox. The liberal-communitarian debate. Human rights policy. The politics of recognition.

Syllabus: Introduction to the Philosophy of Human Rights. The basis of Human Rights in a philosophical perspective. The paradoxes of Human Rights. Criticism of the philosophical foundation of Human Rights. Anti-foundationalist currents of Human Rights. Human Rights in a relativistic and nihilistic perspective. Fundamentalist currents of Human Rights. Human Rights in phenomenological and ontological perspective. From the capable subject to the subject of human rights.

Syllabus: Conceptions and scope of the term “hermeneutics”. Evolution of its concept. The importance of philosophical hermeneutics for law and legal hermeneutics. Main antecedents of contemporary hermeneutics: Schleiermacher, Wilhelm Dilthey, and Heidegger. The philosophical hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer. The legal hermeneutics of Robert Alexy. Right as interpretation and as integrity according to Ronald Dworkin and the origins of legal pragmatism by John Dewey. Hermeneutics of “human dignity” in discourses on human rights. Hermeneutical analysis of decisions of the Federal Supreme Court on fundamental rights and human rights.

Syllabus: The problem of justice: idea and justification. The Greek conception of Justice: the original notion (Justice as proportion and reciprocity), and Platonic (Universal Virtue) and Aristotelian theorizations of Justice (General and Particular Justice, Distributive and Retributive Justice).Historical analysis of Justice as retribution. The Theory of Justice of John Rawls: a political and non-metaphysical conception of Justice; contractual and interdisciplinary approach. Nozick’s neoliberal critique of Rawls: a historical theory with no standard of justice. The neoliberalism of F.A. Hayek: the Mirage of Social Justice. Communitarian Theories of Justice and Criticism of Liberalism: M. Sandel’s Communitarian Critique of Rawls; Spheres of Justice and Theories of the Goods by Michael Walzer; Tradition and Justice by Alasdair MacIntyre.

Syllabus: Contemporary philosophical perspectives and objections to human rights. The philosophical foundation (s) of human rights. The philosophical problem of the subject of human rights. Universality and historicity of human rights. Cultural diversity and universality of human rights. Immanence, transcendence, and human rights.

Syllabus: Analyze legislation and principles used in respect for human rights and the preservation of public order; Present contents that allow a critical analysis of historical, cultural and political aspects related to the development of public security institutions; Analyze the convergences and divergences of police practices to the constitutional guarantees; Provide a critical reflection on the knowledge produced in the field of Human Sciences regarding violence and discriminatory practices existing in Brazilian society.

Specific Core of Line 02: Process and Implementation of Justice and Human Rights (Elective Subjects)

Syllabus: The affirmation of the right of access to justice in international declarations of human rights. Access to the just legal order and the Democratic State of Law. Obstacles to access to justice and overcoming such obstacles. Access to legal education and information. The issue of access to justice for disadvantaged parties. Judicial reforms and procedural reforms and their repercussion on the effectiveness of access to justice. Alternative means of dispute resolution and conflict resolution. Use of technological resources to expand the channels of access to justice. Discussion of topical issues on access to justice that are of interest and relevance to the research of graduate students enrolled in the subject.

Syllabus: Main legal traditions. Due process as a fundamental right. Due Process in the criminal process. Citizenship and the position of the process as an inherent guarantee of Fundamental Rights. Legal equality and process. Matrices of the Brazilian criminal procedural system. Logics of Production of Judicial Truth. The comparative method applied to the understanding of legal systems.

Syllabus: Notions of Public International Law and the autonomy of the IHRL: historical and political aspects, formation, legislative phase and implementation phase. Characteristics of Human Rights. The international normative instruments fundamental to the discipline and its specificities. Relations between HR, Democracy, and Development. Convergence between HR, Humanitarian Law, and Refugee Law. The question of Drittwirkung. Protection of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights: current state and perspectives. The interaction between international law and domestic law in the protection of human rights: the incorporation of international norms for the protection of human rights in the internal law of states, their position in the domestic legal system and possible conflict with other sources of law. The obligation of the States to give effective protection to the HR by their internal organs. The HR hermeneutics, its application and the primacy of the norm more favorable to the victims. The exhaustion of internal resources and the intervention of international organizations to protect HR. The execution of judgments of the International Courts of HR and the reparations to the victims. The global system and the regional systems of international protection for HR: the European system, the inter-American system, the African system, their characteristics, institutional and jurisdictional bodies, appeals procedures, and jurisprudential construction in advisory, protective, and contentious matters and its influence on the development of the defense of the HR. Relevant case studies of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights. The human being as Subject of the IHRL and with postulatory capacity. The universality of HR and cultural particularisms in general.

Syllabus: Citizenship and social rights. The historicity of social rights. Social rights at the international level. Social rights regarding conditions of freedom. Social rights as a means of effecting justice. Social rights and the right to an existential minimum. Shortage and reserve for contingencies. The problem of social rights regarding material limits to the Power of Constitutional Reform. Public policies as a means of effecting social rights.

Syllabus: The legal guarantee in the constitutional and international perspectives, and its reflexes in the civil judicial protection. Fundamental Procedural Guarantees: Due Process of Law, Fair Hearing and Fair Trial, Principle of Contradiction, and Principle of Judicial Cooperation. Controversial aspects related to probative law: limits and possibilities for the demonstration of truth. Appealability of judicial decisions because of the guarantee of due process of law. Controversial aspects related to the accomplishment of jurisdictional procedures: compliance with the judgment. The civil jurisdiction and the different executive tutelage. Procedural Reforms: the new configuration of Brazilian Civil Procedure and future perspectives.

Syllabus: Constitutionalism: Rule of Law and Supremacy of the Constitution. Separation of Powers and Control of Constitutionality. Law and Politics: political representation, democracy, active citizenship and the question of legitimacy in the constitutional jurisdiction. Constitutional interpretation: subjective, procedural and participatory dimensions. Constitutional Justice, judicialization of politics and contemporary debates regarding the implementation of the Constitution. Comparative perspectives: models of constitutionality control and the contemporary Brazilian system of constitutional jurisdiction. Relevant procedural issues in the current Brazilian model of judicial control of constitutionality.

Syllabus: Conceptualization and characterization of Justice and Human Rights. The relationship between Justice and Human Rights as a standard set of values for a legitimate law. The reserve of critical power inherent in the articulation of Justice and Human Rights. Organized Society and Human Rights. Multiculturalism, diversity, and human rights. Solidarism and human rights. Secularism, religiosity and human rights.

Syllabus: Conceptual delimitation of human rights and fundamental rights. The dimensions of human rights and stages of positivation in the international and constitutional sphere. Major themes in the international protection of human rights: bio-justice, life, health, and death; democracy and peace; foreigners, asylum seekers and refugees; trafficking in human beings; woman; child; racial discrimination; cultural and religious tolerance. Globalization and human rights: universalism, relativism, and regionalism. Economic globalization and the impact of the international and national economic order on the realization of human and fundamental rights. International economic organizations, transnational corporations, regional political and economic blocs, economic integration and respect for human rights. International economic-commercial law and consumer law: a necessary dialogue. International human rights law, international economic law, international trade law, international commercial law, and private international law in the progressive construction of a cosmopolitan right. Right to existential minimum and right to development. Human rights and public safety in the national and international environment. The environment as a theme of globality in the protection of human rights: the issue in the economic and commercial order; the problem of access to water and food distribution, as well as the impact of environmental issues on the preservation of the first generation of human rights.

Syllabus: Study of procedural law in the light of procedural guarantees. The fundamental guarantees of the process in Brazil and in alien law, and in the Civil and Criminal Procedure. Special aspects of Procedural Law: the fundamental rights and guarantees of the process; the right to evidence as a fundamental right; the question of precautionary incarceration and the search for truth.

Syllabus: The subject Forensic Science integrates contents related to different sciences applied to the examination of material evidences of interest to the various branches of law (criminal, civil, administrative, labor, canonical); historical, methodological, and legal foundations of Forensic Science; expertise and experts; criminal interest expertise and the technical-scientific police structure; crime scene examination; chain of custody of evidence; legal chemistry; ballistics forensics; computer forensics and forensic phonetics; applied forensic medicine and dentistry; documentoscopy and graphoscopy; forensic accounting; forensic anthropology and human identification by DNA; biology and environmental expertise.

(*) A tradução desta página para a língua inglesa foi contratada e realizada com recursos da Fundação Carlos Ghagas Filho de Amparo à Pesquisa no Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ), no âmbito do Programa Jovem Cientista do Nosso Estado, em projeto de pesquisa coordenado pelo Prof. Dr. Rodrigo Garrido.

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