Master of Human Rights Postgraduate Coursework 2012

Frequently Asked Questions for Organisations

Why does the Master of Human Rights offer an internship program?
Scholarship in human rights is most meaningful when it is part of a dialogue between human rights academia and organisations that are active in the field. Our Internship Program is a strategy to develop partnerships between human rights scholars and practitioners, and between the academy and the field.

What skills do our students gain from participation in the internship program?
The Internship Program aims to equip our students with the skills and understanding required to make a meaningful contribution to the human rights field. It allows them to apply and develop the skills learned through the undergraduate and postgraduate studies in a real life situation.

What benefits do organisations gain from the internship program?
The Internship program is structured to be mutually beneficial for the student and the organisation. Participating organisations gain another staff member for the duration of the internship. Through participation in the Internship Program, organisations working in human rights also become active players in training future Human Rights practitioners, and are able to get the first look at some outstanding students looking for employment. Through on going participation in the Internship Program and the Degree, Organisations are able to make a contribution to human rights scholarship at a post-graduate level. Such partnerships can also foster broader opportunities for industry and University engagements, such as through research collaborations, guest lectures and joint-events. We would be very happy to discuss such opportunities with you.

What kind of organisations can participate?
Organisations that work in human rights can host an intern. This includes organisations involved directly with human rights issues, including areas such as women’s rights, the environment, health, youth and development. These could be government organisations, NGOs, networks or coalitions. See our Case Studies of some of the organisations that have participated in the program.

What sort of work can our interns do?
We expect our Interns to work at a professional level, undertaking the kinds of tasks normally expected in your workplace. Past Interns have undertaken research; developed educational toolkits; drafted strategy papers; drafted policy; undertaken refugee casework; and program planning and evaluation. See our Case Studies for detailed examples of projects that our Interns have worked on.

What skills do our students bring to their internship placements?
Our students – your interns are highly skilled and dedicated to gaining hands on practical experience in an organisation working in human rights. To be accepted into the Master of Human Rights, students must have an undergraduate degree in the humanities, law, social sciences, or equivalent. Many also have relevant work experience. In addition, the internship program is now open to students from the Master of Development Studies. For organisations with a focus on development, students from this degree offer specialised skills and knowledge.

Both the Masters of Human Rights and the Master of Development Studies offer intensive one-year programs, full-time (or equivalent part-time). By the time an internship commences, students have successfully completed half of their degree requirements, honing their understanding of human rights issues and developing key communication skills.

What do organisations need to do to participate in the program?
Host organisations are asked to commit to a defined ‘internship project’, which has a human rights focus and which the prospective intern can oversee from beginning to end during their placement (often host organisations like to nominate 2-3 key tasks, which the student will work on). Organisations will also need to provide a desk with a computer and workplace supervision.

What if you need an intern with special skills?
If you have special requirements from an intern (e.g. a law degree, particular experience or knowledge), please let us know and we will try and match you to the best possible student.

How long is the internship and when is it offered?
The Internship is a minimum of 20 working days of approximately 7 hours per day. It can be done full or part-time. The Internship is typically offered mid year or at the end/beginning of the year (over the semester break and at the beginning of semester) to fit in with a students timetable. The timeframe is 2 – 4 months depending on the length of the winter break (approximately 1 month) and the summer break (approximately 3 months). Some students can accommodate a longer placement and at different times of the year. We will provide organisations with further details on the dates available at the beginning of a student’s application process.

What supervision is needed?
The interns are expected to work independently under the guidance of a staff member, nominated by the host organisation as a suitable internship supervisor. However, for some interns it may be their first experience of working in the field of human rights, and they may require active supervision. At all times, our team is available to support the placement experience for both students and the organisation.

What kind of support can the University provide during a students placement?
Our team, Claire Havey and Elisabeth Riedl, are available to work with participating organisations to resolve any problems that may emerge during the Internship. We will check in with organisations to ensure that the placement is going well, but a host organisation should also contact us at any time if they are experiencing any difficulties.

What are the reporting requirements?

  • A one page offer form outlining the student’s internship project and the skills they would learn in the execution of this project.
  • A two-page completion form at the end of the placement.


What about insurance?
All interns are fully covered by the University of Sydney policies for students on work experience/placement for: Public Liability, Professional Indemnity and Personal Accident. Please see the University of Sydney Insurance Policy