Bonavero Institute Student Fellowships

Applications for 2024 have now closed.

Please note that there will be an information event at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights once applications open for 2025, date TBC. Further details will be released in due course on this page as well as on the Bonavero Events page.

The Bonavero Institute seeks to enrich the human rights experience of Oxford students, and to assist them to develop careers in the broad field of human rights. Its “Gateways to Human Rights Research and Practice” initiative aims to deepen student engagement with the institute’s research projects and to provide insights into human rights practice. Several programmes form part of this initiative: Non-credit Courses on Human Rights Strategy and Research Training, various opportunities for Human Rights Mooting, the Collaborative Legal Aid Clinics at HMP Huntercombe and on immigration law for foreign national women prisoners in UK prisons, and our Student Fellowships Programme.

The aim of the Bonavero Student Fellowships programme is to provide opportunities for students to apply and improve their knowledge of human rights law and to obtain a valuable platform to develop careers in this field. Students will have the opportunity to work with a range of organisations working in the field of human rights law, including the rule of law. These, among others, include senior appellate courts, world-leading NGOs and research institutions. The Student Fellowships Programme gives our students a chance to explore their professional options in a variety of placements, both within the UK and across the world. 

Although each Fellowship is unique, we try to ensure that all provide the following common outcomes:

- Experience of working with the chosen partner on a defined project(s) or programme of work, which creates real value for the host organisation and a valuable learning experience for the student;

- Interaction with an assigned supervisor or mentor within the host organisation;

- An award to assist with travel, accommodation, living and other reasonable expenses (this is not payment for work, and may not cover all costs associated with the placements).

The fellowships will provide financial assistance to Oxford graduates seeking practical experience in human rights law and related fields. The programme will provide support to graduate students within the Faculty of Law and at other departments with a previous law degree, as well as to final year undergraduate students about to graduate from the BA (Jurisprudence). Please note that the Samuel Pisar Travelling Fellowship and the OPBP Internship Schemes have more limited criteria.

Most student fellowships are full time, allowing some flexibility if required (and as pre-arranged with the Bonavero Institute and host organisation). The exception to this is the Turpin and Miller scheme which is on a 3 days per week basis.

Read about our partners here, and some recent Student Fellow's experiences here and here.


The fellowships are open to students currently pursuing a research degree or a taught graduate course in the Oxford Law Faculty (BCL/MJur/MSc/MSt/MPhil/DPhil). It is also open to graduate students in other faculties or departments of the University of Oxford with a previous law degree.

In addition, the programme is open to students currently in the final year of the BA (Jurisprudence) programme or those who have graduated from Oxford Law Faculty (including the BA programme) within the last twelve months. Please note that the Samuel Pisar Travelling Fellowship and the OPBP Internship Schemes have more limited criteria, whilst International IDEA accepts applications from a broader range including applicants enrolled in courses at Oxford with different specialities such as political and social science.

Applicants may be about to complete their graduate degrees in Oxford or, in appropriate cases and after consulting their supervisor, may be seeking to intermit their studies in order to undertake the internship.

Applicants may apply for up to two placements under the scheme. Where applications are made for more than one placement, applicants should indicate their order of preference with regard to the different fellowships.

Applicants should demonstrate from their qualifications, especially their studies in Oxford, that they have sufficient knowledge of human rights law, public law, international law and/or constitutional law to make an effective contribution. Usually, applicants will have taken at least one of these law subjects in an Oxford taught programme, will have engaged in research in one or more of these subjects as part of their studies in Oxford and/or will have had practical experience working with human rights organisations.

Application Process

Applications for 2024 have now closed.

The application process consists of a written application, followed by an interview.

  1. Written application

If you wish to apply for any of these schemes, please read the individual scheme details and submit your application electronically to

Please include the following documentation:

  • completed application form .
  • Your CV (max 2 pages) which should indicate what previous work you have undertaken, relevant to your application, including whether you have been an active member of any of the organisations or groups linked with the schemes you are applying for.
  • Two letters of reference, preferably from individuals able to speak to your abilities in the field of international law and/or human rights law. In the case of current research students, one of the referees should be the applicant’s supervisor. Please note, references can either be submitted by the applicant or sent directly to by the referees. These need to be sent through as pdf attachments.
  • Official transcripts (scanned copies)
  • A letter (max 2 pages, no addressee required) explaining the following:
  1. Explain your own reasons for wishing to undertake the internship (approx. 200 words).
  2. Explain how your area of study is relevant to the chosen placement (approx. 200 words).
  3. In case you wish to apply for more than one placement, please clarify your order of preference and explain your different motivations in one letter (which may be slightly longer).  
  4. If you are proposing an organisation to work with or a travel grant (e.g. for the Samuel Pisar Fellowship), please explain your proposed project (approx. 300 words). Please clarify whether this project is already confirmed, e.g. whether you are already in touch with the organisation.
  5. Please include a budget/ overview of planned expenditure for the proposed placement (Travel, Accommodation, Subsistence, Other, TOTAL).
  6. Please list other (potential) sources of funding (e.g. scholarship stipends, personal funds or college grants that have been granted to you in respect of this internship or for which you have applied) – please include the amount.

Please make sure that all files (with the exception of letters of reference that your referees opt to send directly to us) are sent in a SINGLE (combined) pdf file and that the file name includes your name.

All applications should be sent electronically to, by the deadline date as set out above. Any applications received after this deadline or in the incorrect format, will not be submitted for review.

  1. Interviews will take place in person at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights.
View the Information Evening Presentations:  2020 and 2019