HRP Summer Fellowships

Summer fellowships for human rights internships are a central part of the Harvard Law School human rights experience and provide rich professional, personal, and intellectual opportunities. Many students and alumni who are committed to human rights were introduced to the field through an internship. Interns work for at least eight weeks with nongovernmental or intergovernmental organizations concerned with human rights and social justice. Students should contact the HRP for appropriate readjustments if travel is precluded as per HLS travel and Covid policy changes.

Summer Fellow D Dangaran speaks at a symposium on gender-based violence.
2018 Summer Fellow D Dangaran, JD’20, speaking at a symposium on gender-based violence in South Africa.

The Program encourages interns to work in organizations that are actively involved in monitoring and responding to human rights violations, grass roots mobilization, or similar activities. Students are free to seek out new organizations and design new internships. The aim of the fellowships is to provide students with an opportunity to learn about careers and research in human rights before they graduate. Many students have drawn on their experience to write articles published in the Harvard Human Rights Journal and reflections published on the HRP blog.

The selection of successful candidates is based on the strength of their proposals, the applicants’ interest in or commitment to human rights, as well as the availability of opportunities for learning and mentorship. Although HRP summer fellow are expected to travel internationally, exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis. Students proposing to work on international human rights while based in the U.S. should make a case for such an arrangement in their application. Students should contact the HRP for appropriate readjustments if travel is precluded as per HLS travel and Covid policy changes.


The fellowships are open to returning JD students and SJD students exclusively studying at Harvard Law School.

An application for HLS Summer Public Interest Funding (SPIF) is a necessary condition for participation in the HRP Summer Fellowships. For details, please consult the website of the Summer Public Interest Funding (SPIF) program.


Interested applicants can apply to the Human Rights Program summer fellowship by submitting a completed Human Rights Program Summer Fellowships Application Form together with a PDF copy of their resume. The deadline to submit a summer fellowship application to HRP is February 1, 2023. 

For an overview of the complete application process, please review the summer fellowship application timeline.


Students who have not already made an initial advising appointment with an OPIA adviser are strongly encouraged to do so before making an HRP Summer Fellowship application. HRP staff will be available to answer any questions regarding the fellowship application process and provide additional advising support.

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