Human Rights Internships

"As part of this placement initiative I undertook part-time voluntary work within the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), a pan-European network of refugee-assisting NGOs. Whilst volunteering at ECRE I worked within the integration programme and I represented ECRE at an international NGO conference in Vienna that explored issues surrounding the integration of refugees and immigrants. The London Secretariat of ECRE was an extremely inclusive environment: volunteers were given responsibility, encouraged to participate fully and treated as active and valuable staff members."
Laura Stock (Information Officer, Hammersmith and Fulham Refugee Forum)

As part of the MA in Human Rights, we assist students in finding internships with human rights organisations based in and around London during the academic year.

The commitment required will vary from one organisation to another but the usual requirement is two days per week for three months or one day per week for six months. Although this work is usually unpaid, it adds considerably to the understanding of human rights gained in lectures and may help you settle on a career path after graduation. (If you are a part-time student, there is an element of flexibility as to whether you do a placement in your first or second year, or both.)

Students seeking to obtain an extra 20 ECTS for this component are required to complete the equivalent of 25 working days to pass this module and will be required to submit a 1000 word assessment of their placement experience to the Programme Coordinator (see page 10 for the deadline).  Guidelines for the assessment are included in the Placement Handbook (issued on Registration Day).

The kind of work undertaken on these placements varies depending on the type of organisation: it may be research, fundraising, lobbying or some other challenging task, but it is likely to include some routine office work as well.

Upon registration you will receive a list of organisations that are offering internships. You are encouraged to go through the list as soon as possible as it gives essential information about options, activities and areas of interest.

We will also organise an internship panel with alumni in the first few weeks of term. If you are interested in doing an internship, you are strongly urged to attend this panel to increase your chances of finding an internship and making the most of the internships that you do. Alumni sit on the panel to offer their advice.

Some of the organisations listed in the Internship Handbook have taken MA students for several years. They include, but are not limited to, Anti-Slavery International, Save the Children, Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Liberty, Detention Action, Minority Rights International, Rights Watch, Childhope and Peace Brigades International.

In past years, all students who actively sought an internship have successfully secured one. However, please be aware that we are not in a position to guarantee a placement for everyone on the course. We are, however, more than happy to act as facilitators in your search for an internship and will assist you as much as possible. For this reason, a short informal interview with the internship coordinator, Dr Corinne Lennox, will take place during the first three weeks of the autumn term.

Students are welcome to investigate their own internships with human rights organisations before the course starts, and are free to contact Dr. Corinne Lennox for any advice. Students can also arrange their own internship at any point during the academic year (and over the summer in between years one and two for part-time students). The Human Rights Consortium also receives regular notification of paid and unpaid NGO opportunities throughout the year and these advertisements are circulated to our MA students by email.

In order to achieve a successful outcome for both interns and the organisation, students are encouraged to complete a self-assessment prior to commencing their internship.  The results can be shared with your supervisor at the internship organisation with the aim of establishing shared expectations and goals for the internship period. Students can also consult this self-assessment periodically during their internship to ensure that the experience is helping them to achieve the goals set for their own professional development. Guidelines for preparing a self-assessment are included in the Placement Handbook.

The Human Rights Consortium also offers several in-house internships each year, working with the innovative research projects led by the MA faculty.