JD International Human Rights Summer Internship Program
Through its JD-IHR Summer Program, the University of Chicago Law School coordinates with international human rights organizations to host University of Chicago JD students for summer fellowships. Students participating in the IHR Program work abroad during the summer at international NGOs on human rights and other public interest law related issues and are eligible for guaranteed public interest funding. The Law School has a network of more than 25 IHR host organizations in 18 countries which together provide more than 30 summer positions in a wide range of human rights issues, including children’s rights, right to education, right to health, minority rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, environment protection, and more.
These positions are competitive and each potential host organization operates with distinct eligibility criteria. Many of the programs are research-based and will involve a considerable amount of comparative legal research. Students selected for the program will be known as International Human Rights Summer Fellows. All international programs are subject to change due to the security situation in host countries.
To apply for the Program, submit the application materials (an application form, supporting essays, a current resume, and a Law School transcript) to International Programs Director Aican Nguyen via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The application form and program description are available on Symplicity.
While the Law School has a large network of hosts working on human rights legal issues, students are welcome to search outside of this network for summer international placement opportunities on their own through PSJD.org, Symplicity, State Department’s website, ASIL’s website, or use other resources.
Application for Funding
Students participating in the Program will be eligible for guaranteed public interest funding. To be eligible for this funding, students must commit 8 full-time weeks to the host organization. In addition, all students participating in the Program will be eligible to apply for an international public service travel stipend.
IHR positions are open until filled. The Law School’s IHR Committee will conduct applicant interviews during the months of January through February. At the conclusion of the interviewing process, students will be notified if they have been nominated for a position as an International Human Rights Fellow. Students will have two weeks to accept or reject the nomination.
Students accepted into the Program must attend mandatory preparatory training sessions conducted by the Law School, including human rights law training sessions and research sessions conducted by the Law Library. Prior to their trips, the IHR Summer Internship Program Fellows are expected to sign The University of Chicago Travel Waiver, Release and Indemnification Agreement, buy travel insurance, and get immunization shots and obtain entry visas as required by the host countries. In addition to the mandatory training programs, by the end of the summer, each IHR Fellow must submit a statement about their summer work as well as three follow-up memoranda on 1) the trip logistics (one page), 2) research (half page), and 3) work experience (two pages). IHR Summer Internship Program Fellows are also expected to participate in debriefing and other informational programs as determined by the IHR Program Committee.
There are no course requirements to participate in the Program. However, constitutional law and international law classes would provide a beneficial foundation. In addition, you should be aware that there are several courses relating to human rights that we would urge you to consider taking, should you be selected to participate in the Program. At the Law School, Professor Ginsburg and Professor Parrin teach courses in International Human Rights. On main campus, the Human Rights Program offers courses, such as Human Rights II: History and Theory, and Human Rights III: Contemporary Issues in Human Rights. Updated information on international human rights issues is available at http://ihrclinic.uchicago.edu/
IHR Fellow reports are available in the Symplicity Document Library.
The IHR Summer Internship Program Information Session will be held in November-December of each year. Check the Symplicity Events page. For 2023-2024, there will be an in-person information session on 30th November 2023 in Room V followed by a series of weekly virtual information chats that take place at lunchtime every Friday from Jan 5th - March 8th, 2024. Register to join https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJctdOihpzsqHtUQGsEv7JXAxEwvH18LQCIT