International Externships

Program Description:

JD, AJD, and JD-LLM in International Human Rights (JD-LLM IHR) students may earn academic credit through International Externships with designated international and hybrid criminal tribunals, foreign courts, international organizations, national entities, and non-governmental organizations.  The International Externship program is supervised by Professor David Scheffer, Director of the Center for International Human Rights. 

The approved institutions are as follows:

  • International Criminal Court (The Hague, Netherlands)
  • International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (The Hague, Netherlands)
  • International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (The Hague, Netherlands, and Arusha, Tanzania)
  • Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (The Hague, Netherlands, and Arusha, Tanzania)
  • Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)
  • Special Tribunal for Lebanon (The Hague, Netherlands)
  • War Crimes and Organized Crimes Chambers of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (Geneva, Switzerland)
  • Supreme Court of Israel (Jerusalem, Israel)
  • International Court of Justice (The Hague, Netherlands)
  • European Court of Human Rights (Strasbourg, France)
  • Inter-American Court of Human Rights (San Jose, Costa Rica)
  • Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (Washington, D.C.)
  • African Court on Human and People’s Rights (Arusha, Tanzania)
  • International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (Hamburg, Germany)
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (Geneva, Switzerland)
  • United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) (New York, NY)
  • High Commissioner on National Minorities, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) (The Hague, Netherlands)
  • Open Society Justice Initiative (New York, global offices)
  • American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (Washington, D.C.)
  • U.S. Department of State Legal Adviser’s Office (Washington, D.C.)
  • United Nations Global Compact (New York)
  • United Nations Office of Legal Affairs (New York)
  • Malawi Human Rights Commission (Malawi)
  • Paralegal Advisory Service Institute (Malawi)
  • Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice, and Assistance (CHREAA) (Blantyre, Malawi)
  • Human Rights Watch (New York, Washington, D.C., global offices)

Students need to apply directly to the designated institution for what is typically described by the institution as an internship for the relevant time period.  The Law School does not prepare or file the application, which is solely the student’s responsibility and at the student’s initiative.  The application procedures typically can be found online for the relevant institution.  A memorandum listing the web sites or other pertinent information can be accessed here.

Course Requirements

JD and AJD students may earn a total of 12 credits (four graded, eight non-graded) for a four to six month fall or spring term externship during the third, fourth, fifth, or sixth term of schooling, and may do so only once during their law school education.  JD-LLM IHR students may earn such credit during their third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, or eighth term of schooling.  International Externships require submission of a three-draft, 40-page research paper, a bi-weekly reflective journal, and faculty supervision. The research paper must not pertain to the direct assignment of the student at the host institution, but can focus on related issues.  The supervising faculty member must approve the paper topic.  Full tuition for the relevant term (fall or spring) is required to earn credit for the International Externship.

JD, AJD, and JD/LLM IHR students may earn a total of four credits (two graded, two non-graded) for a minimum 10-week summer externship. JD students may do so during either of their law school summers. AJD students may do so during their second law school summer.  JD-LLM IHR students may do so during their first, second, and/or third law school summers. Summer externships require submission of a two-draft, 25-page paper, a bi-weekly reflective journal, and faculty supervision.  The research paper must not pertain to the direct assignment of the student at the host institution, but can focus on related issues.  The supervising faculty member must approve the paper topic.  No additional tuition is required to earn credit for the summer term International Externship. 

Application Procedures

Students must be accepted by the relevant institution before being considered for an International Externship for credit, which will entail at the Law School of an evaluation of the student’s overall academic performance to date (including grade point average) and whether, in the judgment of the Law School, the student is well positioned to take advantage of the International Externship and perform well both at the institution and in drafting the research paper.

Any application for an International Externship should be submitted to Professor David Scheffer after the student has been accepted for an internship by one of the designated institutions. The application should be an email communication to Professor Scheffer confirming acceptance for an internship, seeking permission to apply for academic credit for an International Externship, and attaching the student’s law school transcript, CV, and successful application to the relevant institution.  Professor Scheffer will arrange a date for an interview with the student to discuss the requirements for the International Externship and for academic credit.  Professor Scheffer will work with students to identify a professor to supervise the work required for the International Externship.

If Professor Scheffer approves the International Externship, he will authorize the Registrar to enroll the student in the International Externship course for the relevant term.

Enrollment Limitations

JD and AJD students may enroll in only one summer International Externship.  JD/LLM IHR students may enroll in a maximum of two summer International Externships.  All students may enroll in only one fall or spring term International Externship.

No JD or AJD student who is earning or has earned credit in a practicum, senior research project, or study abroad program may enroll for credit for a fall or spring term International Externship, and no JD or AJD student who is earning or has earned credit in a fall or spring term International Externship may enroll for credit in a practicum, senior research project, or study abroad program after earning credit for the International Externship.

JD/LLM IHR students may enroll for credit in a practicum or senior research project (but not study abroad program) provided, as required for the joint degree, that they also enroll in the International Externship and take 20 credit hours of designated courses in the field of international human rights on campus during their four years of study.

The graded credits for the International Externship course will count as distance credits; a student may earn no more than 12 distance credits towards their JD degree.

The non-graded credits for the International Externship course will count as credits earned outside the law school classroom; students may not earn more than 20 credits outside the classroom towards their JD degree.

All students must comply with the requirement that the total number of credit hours granted for law school clinical courses, field placement programs and externships, including classroom components, may not exceed 30 of the 85 credit hours required for JD graduation.  International Externships fall within this restriction.

Grants, Fellowships, and Financial Aid

The Law School prohibits students from earning credit for a paid externship.  Thus, if you are receiving grant or fellowship money for your internship/externship, you must determine whether such money constitutes “pay” for purposes of this limitation.  The Registrar’s Office can address questions regarding the relationship between academic credit and grants, fellowships, and other scholarships.

Financial aid to cover your travel and living expenses is not considered “pay” for purposes of this limitation. The Office of Financial Aid can address questions regarding the availability of Financial Aid to cover additional expenses occurred while living abroad.