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Student Opportunities

The University of Minnesota Law School is a vibrant, world-class institution of higher learning. The Human Rights Center's presence and accomplishments help to make the Law School an internationally recognized focus of human rights legal scholarship and practice. Law students have prime access to the opportunities and resources offered by the Human Rights Center, including fellowships; internships; research opportunities; and access to a vast local, national, and international network of human rights scholars and practitioners.

Human Rights Fellowships

The Human Rights Fellowship Program is designed to promote social justice by providing practical training in the various aspects of human rights work worldwide. The fellowship placement should provide both training for the individual and assistance to the host organization.

Human Rights Concentration

The University of Minnesota Law School's concentration in human rights takes advantage of the co-located Human Rights Center to help prepare students to work worldwide in this field. The internationally renowned center works locally, nationally and internationally to provide training, educational materials and assistance for the promotion and protection of human rights.

J.D. and LL.M. law students concentrating in human rights immerse themselves in international human rights, choosing from a wide variety of courses, including American Indian law, civil rights, immigration, and the death penalty.

Graduate Minor/Concentration in Human Rights

The Graduate Minor/Concentration provides graduate and professional students an opportunity to gain interdisciplinary expertise in the study of human rights laws and mechanisms. The program includes both classroom and field experience in international human rights issues and advocacy.

Our students come from a diverse field of disciplines including: curriculum & instruction, design, housing & apparel, education & human development, educational policy & administration, French, geography, history, law, philosophy, political science, public health, public policy, social work, sociology, and Spanish & Portuguese. The interdisciplinary cohort results in rich discussions of human rights theory and advocacy.

Since 2003, more than 50 students have completed the requirements of the minor and 30 more are currently working toward completion. Graduates of the program have found positions in academics, community health, international development, government accountability, human rights education, poverty alleviation, public policy and women's rights.

Human Rights Litigation and International Legal Advocacy Clinic

The Human Rights Litigation and International Legal Advocacy Clinic gives students experience in human rights advocacy through direct participation in supervised clinical projects in a cross-section of settings, such as the United Nations, the Inter-American human rights system, federal and state courts, and coalitions of nongovernmental organizations doing human rights legal advocacy.

Immigration and Human Rights Law Clinic

The Immigration and Human Rights Law Clinic handles immigration law matters, primarily applications for political asylum, withholding of removal, and Article 3 claims under the Convention Against Torture. Students interview clients, research country conditions, write legal memoranda on asylum issues, and prepare and present claims to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Immigration Court, and the Board of Immigration Appeals under the student practice rule.

Annual Human Rights Law Award

The Law School's Annual Human Rights Law Award is a cash award and certificate given to graduating law students who have made outstanding contributions, in scholarship and/or service, to the field of human rights.

Past award winners are:
2015: Yaima Couso, Brittany Mitchell, Ethan Scrivner
2014: Anna Bishop, Rachel Dorann Blackhurst, Julia Lee DiBartolomeo Decker,
          Laura M. Matson, Eric N. Peffley
2013: Justin Erickson, Kelsey Kelley, Gordon Knoblach, Samuel Manning, Kristen Rau
2012: Heather Abraham, Michael Divine, Willy Madeira
2011: Nate Nesbitt, Jordan Shepherd, Leo Twiggs, Matthew Webster
2010: Tatewin Means, Brianna Mooty
2009: Karen Anderson
2008: Sonia Gill, Jared Shepherd, Eissa Villaseñior

Matthew Webster

"The University of Minnesota Law School has one of the best international and comparative law programs in the country. Besides a faculty of leading experts and a large selection of courses, it offers clinics and student organizations to meet the needs of students, from those who want an overview of international law to those who want to immerse themselves in human rights advocacy."

  Judicial Clerk, U.S. District
  Court - District of Minnesota

Human Rights Students

2015 Human Rights Law Award winners Yaima Couso, Brittany Mitchell, and Ethan Scrivner.

Human Rights-Related
Student Organizations

The University of Minnesota Law School has a rich student life, and many law student organizations address human rights issues.