Fellowship Program

The Human Rights Center offers competitive summer fellowships for students to take summer placements in the field of human rights and international law. The Program ensures students get hands-on training and experience in the field while also supporting high-impact organizations. 

Students can apply to the Program for funding to support unpaid human rights internships they have secured for themselves or they can apply for one of the funded placements arranged by the Human Rights Center. For 2017, the Center offered positions with the following partners:

Read more about our 2017 Fellows.

The Human Rights Center is grateful for the continued support of those who have made these opportunities possible for our students: Professor Laura Cooper and Mr. Benjamin Cooper; Mr. William Drake (’63); Mr. & Mrs. Alfred & Ingrid Lenz Harrison; Amb. & Mrs. Samuel Heins (’72) & Stacey Mills; Mr. Kraig Larson (1991 Human Rights Fellow); the funders of the George Ludcke/Class of ’78 Fellowship; the Albert & Anne Mansfield Foundation; Ms. Holly Newman; Mr. & Mrs. Allen (‘56) & Linda Saeks; and the Law School Career Center Public Interest Program.

Apply to be a Human Rights Fellow

The 2018 application packet will be available in early fall 2017.

Download the 2017 PDF iconinformation and 2017 Fileapplication form.

We encourage interested students to reach out to Human Rights Center faculty and staff, as well as past fellows, to discuss possible placements related to your qualifications and interests. To receive our bi-weekly mailing with opportunities in the human rights and international law field, including many posts for summer internships, send a request to humanrts@umn.edu.

2018 Application Deadlines

February 15, 2018
Deadling to apply for the HRC-arranged placements

March 23, 2018
Final deadline to apply for a fellowship award to support an independent placement.


Where have other students in past years worked?

Below is a selection of organizations that have hosted Human Rights Center Fellows in the past. A full list is available PDF iconhere.

  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • American Refugee Committee
  • Amnesty International
  • Anti-Slavery International
  • Center for Constitutional Rights
  • Center for International Environmental Law
  • Center for Justice and Accountability
  • Center for Justice and International Law
  • Center for Victims of Torture
  • Danish Center for Human Rights
  • Food and Agriculture Organization
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Indian Law Resource Center
  • Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
  • Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
  • International Center for Transitional Justice
  • International Commission of Jurists
  • International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
  • International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
  • International Labour Organization
  • International Organization for Migration
  • International Service for Human Rights
  • National Immigrant Justice Center
  • Office of International Affairs, Department of Justice
  • Oxfam
  • Sierra Club Environmental Law Program
  • South African Constitutional Court
  • Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Special Court for Sierra Leone
  • The Advocates for Human Rights
  • The Centre for Housing Rights and Evictions
  • Transitional Justice Institute
  • Tribal Law and Policy Institute
  • United Nations Development Project
  • United Nations Headquarters
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • United Nations Human Rights Committee
  • United Nations Independent Expert on the Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation
  • United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women
  • United Nations Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery
  • United Nations Women

Who is eligible to apply?

These fellowship awards are available for University of Minnesota Law Students that are in their first, second, or third year of study. For exceptionally strong candidates, funds may be available for Law Students from other nearby Law Schools or undergraduate or graduate students from other disciplines at the University of Minnesota. Please feel free to contact the Human Rights Center if you would like to discuss your eligibility.

What counts as a “human rights placement”?

The Human Rights Center aims to support those internship experiences that will contribute to preparing future lawyers with the commitment and skills to defend human rights in the course of their professional trajectory. Past Fellows have worked at local, national and international organizations and have engaged in a wide range of human-rights related work, including work with: UN bodies, with national and sub-national courts and governmental agencies in the US and other countries, legal and advocacy support to grassroots organizations and campaigns, applied research with academic institutions, positions with US or foreign human-rights NGOs working at the national and international levels, and clerkships with organizations focused on client-based services as well as those doing strategic litigation aimed at impact for systemic change.

The Fellowship Program has supported students and organizations working on a broad range of issues—prisons, immigration and asylum, poverty, environment, indigenous peoples’ rights, rights of women, transitional justice, rights of children, food and water, housing, torture, corporate accountability, rights of LGBTI persons, and much more.

How do I apply?

Are there any special considerations for international posts?

All Human Rights Fellowship awards for international travel are contingent on compliance with the University of Minnesota’s health insurance requirements.

You are responsible for coordinating with your host organization to ensure that you comply with all necessary immigration and visa requirements of the country. 

If you are a University of Minnesota student traveling to a country on the State Department’s travel warning list, your award will be contingent on your receiving permission to travel from the University of Minnesota. Please do not apply for permission until you have received confirmation of your award.

  • Rosalyn Park (’02)

    Rosalyn Park (J.D. ’03)

    Unique Opportunities

    “The Human Rights Center’s Summer Fellowship was a key factor in helping me understand firsthand human rights advocacy in the international setting. It expanded my book and classroom learning to the practical setting where I could apply my skills for a full 12 weeks with full financial support. ”
    2001 Human Rights Fellow, Director, Women’s Human Rights Program, Advocates for Human Rights
600+ Human Rights Center Fellows

Contact Information

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P: 612-625-1000

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