Student Guide to HR 250: Human Rights Internship

Welcome to the Human Rights Internship course, HR 250! This guide should answer some of your questions regarding internship hours and other course requirements. Please reach out to the Human Rights Program (HRP) staff and/or refer to the Student Guide to HR 250 for information about how to find an internship and a list of organizations to get your search started.


Jessica Neuwirth
Director, Human Rights Program

JoAnne Vellardita
Program Manager, Human Rights Program

Basic Info

The Human Rights Program offers students two academic tracks: a 15-credit Minor in Human Rights and a 24-credit Certificate. Both the Minor and Certificate include a requirement that students undertake a 3-credit internship with a nongovernmental organization or governmental agency working in the field of human rights.

A multitude of organizations and agencies in New York are engaged in human rights work (including organizations working on such issues as immigration, women’s rights, workers’ rights, homelessness, etc.). These groups may not always self-identify as human rights organizations but may nevertheless be working to advance the fulfillment of human rights, including through policy and advocacy work, factfinding and awareness raising, or through building the capacity of individuals and communities to claim their rights. Internships focusing solely on direct service provision will likely not be considered a human rights internship. Students are encouraged to reach out to program staff with any questions they may have about whether an internship meets the requirements of the Human Rights Program. The list of organizations included in the Guide to Human Rights Internships in NYC can also serve as a helpful guide.

The internship, which lasts one semester, can be undertaken during the Fall, Winter, Spring, or Summer semesters.

Students should begin thinking about the internship requirement upon enrollment in the Human Rights Program, and are encouraged to meet with HRP staff no later than their junior year to discuss HR 250 (if they have not yet completed the course by that time).

A note for Certificate students: HR 250 is a pre- or co-requisite for the HR 260 Human Rights Internship Seminar, offered in the Fall only. Certificate students must also complete HR 350 Human Rights Capstone, offered in the Spring only. Students are encouraged to plan ahead to ensure all program requirements can be met.

Before the Semester Starts

Students should ideally start the process of seeking an internship at the beginning of the semester prior to the semester in which they plan to carry out the internship. In other words, if a student plans to do an internship in the Fall, they should begin to put their resume and cover letter together in June. (Please see the Guide to Human Rights Internships in NYC for more information about finding an internship.) Students should obtain a commitment from an organization to host their internship before the semester starts. As soon as a student finds an internship, they must reach out to the Human Rights Program for the Program Director’s approval, and for permission to enroll in the course. Students must include the following information: the organization’s name, website, a brief description of the work they will be engaged in (such as a job description, if applicable), as well as the name and contact information of the student’s supervisor.

Internship Hours

During the school year (Fall or Spring semesters), students should perform approximately 8-10 hours per week of supervised work for their internship for 15 weeks. Depending on the student’s and the organization’s schedule, that may mean coming into the office one full day a week, or two afternoons a week, or some other combination of hours. Summer internships are more condensed, generally amounting to at least 30 hours per week. Regardless of the weekly schedule, students must work a minimum of 120 hours over the course of the semester in order to receive credit.

Internship Agreement Form

Students and their internship supervisors should fill out an internship contract, which they can obtain here. A copy of the signed form must be returned to the Human Rights Program at the start of the semester.

During the Internship

Students must maintain a typed daily timekeeping and activities log to both document the hours that they have worked and to describe the work that they are doing. Students are asked to use the log template provided. The log should be signed by the student’s supervisor at the end of each week and submitted to HRP staff via email every four weeks.

In addition, students are required to keep a weekly typed journal, a minimum of one page in length, single-spaced (may be longer, if necessary), wherein they can reflect on the work they are doing. The typed journal pages, which should be submitted via email every four weeks to the Human Rights Program along with the timekeeping logs, will not be shared with the student’s supervisor so as to enable thoughtful and honest reflection of the work that students are engaged in during their internship. Students are asked to use the journal template provided.

During the term of the internship, students are required to check in periodically with the Human Rights Program staff, and are welcome to reach out at any time for support.

At the End of the Internship

At the conclusion of the internship, students must write a 3-4 page, single-spaced reflection paper describing the work of the organization with which they interned, explaining what they did to contribute to that work, and reflecting on the internship experience. Students should refer to the reflection paper guidelines appended to this document for information on what is expected (see Guidelines for Final Reflection Paper)

Together with the final reflection paper, students should submit their remaining log(s) and include the total hours worked over the course of the semester.

Once all materials are submitted, students will be asked to meet with Human Rights Program staff so that the program may learn more about the internship experience. Students should also make themselves available to discuss their experience with other students who may be interested in interning with their organization. With the permission of the student and the organization, the Human Rights Program may also feature the student’s work on its website.


The course is graded on a mandatory credit/no credit (CR/NC) basis. A Credit grade will only be entered after at least 120 hours of internship work has been completed and all the requirements above of HR 250 have been met

Human Rights Internship Presentation and Celebration

Students may be asked to share their internship experience at special events, such as the Human Rights Program Open House held during Dean’s Hour in the Fall semester. In addition to the chance to present their work, this gives students the opportunity to learn about the internship experiences of other students in their cohort, and to celebrate their achievements.

Happy Interning, from the Hunter Human Rights Program!