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Human Rights Summer Fellowships

Human Rights Fellow Sofia Singer.
The Human Right Summer Fellowships support highly motivated student looking to make a valuable contribution and learn more about a specific issue in the field of human rights or international justice.

The Handa Center is pleased to offer Human Rights Summer Fellowships for students to work in partnership with a relevant organization or through community-based research, with the guidance and supervision of Stanford faculty. Stipends of up to $6,000 are available to undergraduates who commit to working full-time (35 hours/week) for a minimum of nine weeks either in the United States or abroad during the summer quarter.


The Handa Center intends these fellowships to be open-ended so that students may choose the summer experience that best fits their needs—either connecting with an organization to gain work experience relevant to a profession the student hopes to pursue, or spending the summer engaging in community-based research aimed at addressing a pressing local challenge or effecting positive social change. Students may partner directly with a governmental, multilateral, or non-profit organization, or the corporate social responsibility wing of a for-profit business to work on promotion, monitoring, evaluation, or implementation of a discrete human rights or international justice project. Those interested in the research route would identify community members with whom they can work collaboratively to address their particular interest. Interested students are encouraged to use this form to help brainstorm ideas. 

Academic Advisor

All applicants must identify a full-time Stanford faculty member to act as their advisor on the project. The faculty advisor must read and sign off on the student’s research proposal, and mentor the student through pre-departure preparation and post-return reflection on the summer learning experiences. Handa Center staff and the Haas Center for Public Service can also assist with these processes. For applicants pursuing work with a specific organization, they must be in direct contact, before applying for the fellowship, with someone at the organization willing to host and support the student’s research or work placement. Past projects have included community-based research in Southeast Asia to better understand the root causes of migrant trafficking, the development of human rights education curriculum in India, and implementing data visualization of human rights reports with an NGO in Jordan.

Application Process

Applicants must submit all of the following:

  • Online application form, including a full proposal for the applicant’s research goals or learning objectives through a work placement, information about the partner organization (if applicable) or a preliminary plan for research (proposed interview subjects, sources for data gathering, etc.)
  • A letter from a full-time Stanford faculty member from any relevant discipline who will act as your project advisor indicating their support of your fellowship
  • A letter of support from the primary organizational partner for the student’s research or work placement
  • A list of relevant Stanford undergraduate courses the applicant has taken that focused on human rights and/or international justice, including instructor, quarter of enrollment, and official course description (must have taken at least two courses)
  • An unofficial transcript
  • A tentative budget

The deadline to apply is February 9, 2018.

Apply here

Other Information

Students are encouraged to visit the the Haas Center for Public Service, in addition to the Handa Center, for guidance on how to find a partner organization. Here is a helpful link to get started. 

For more information, students can contact Associate Director Penelope Van Tuyl at or 650-723-5411.

If you need a disability-related accommodation and/or need to receive any internship information/application in alternate format, please contact the Diversity & Access Office at, at phone: (650) 725-0326 or email: