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Gallatin Global Fellowship in Human Rights FAQs

See below for FAQs regarding eligibility, the required spring courses and faculty mentor, viable organizations, and financial matters.


Do I need prior knowledge of human rights to apply?

Prior knowledge of human rights is not required. Accepted fellows enter the program with varying degrees of knowledge of human rights. All fellows will have the chance to learn more about the subject in the required Spring seminar.

I'm unable to attend the info sessions, symposium, or other related events. Am I still eligible to apply, and if so, where can I get more information about the fellowship?

The related events, while highly encouraged, are not mandatory. If you are unable to attend, you may find more details about the program, along with videos of past symposia and blogs from the fellows, on the fellowship website. Please also review this FAQs page. You may contact the Gallatin Office of Global Programs at if you have further questions.

I am an NYU Shanghai or NYU Abu Dhabi student. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes! NYU Shanghai and NYU Abu Dhabi students are welcome to apply even if they are not studying at NYU Washington Square in the Fall, but they must be enrolled at NYU's Washington Square campus in the Spring to be eligible. IMPORTANT: you should verify your home school’s policies for independent study classes (e.g., an off-campus professor might not be allowed to supervise your work).

I plan to graduate in the Spring semester following the application deadline. May I still participate in the program?

No. For legal and liability reasons, the fellowship recipients must be matriculated at NYU while completing the summer fellowship component. Therefore, they must not graduate before September of the fellowship year. Undergraduate fellows must plan to be matriculated for the fall semester following the summer project as well.

The fellowship application deadline is in the Fall but I am studying away at that time. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes! Students studying away during the Fall may apply, but they must be enrolled at NYU's Washington Square campus in the Spring to be eligible.

I plan to study away in the Fall semester after the required summer fellowship component. Am I still eligible?

Yes, but you must agree to participate in the Fall symposium, either by sending materials such as a PowerPoint or video presentation, or by presenting during the symposium via a platform like Skype.

I found a great human rights opportunity that is only available outside the summer. May I receive fellowship funding for this?

No. The fellowship funds apply to the summer, during which fellows commit 9-12 weeks of full-time work.

Independent Study, Spring Seminar, and Faculty Mentor

My home school/department doesn't offer an independent study. What are my options?

In special cases, fellows may register for Gallatin's independent study; for guidelines and deadlines, see here for undergraduates and here for post-BA level. Note that Gallatin's independent study regulations stipulate that the faculty mentor must be at the NYU Washington Square campus.

Can the independent study faculty mentor be part-time/adjunct or located at any of NYU's global campuses?

Please see your home school/department's independent study guidelines to verify. If you are a Gallatin student or if you register for Gallatin's independent study (if your school does not have an independent study option), note that the professor may be part-time or full-time and must be located at the NYU Washington Square campus.

I don't know any NYU professors well. Can I use another professor who knows me to write my recommendation letter?

Early in the application process, you should briefly introduce yourself to NYU professors with whom you are considering working for your independent study, even if you don't know them. While it is preferable that the recommendation letter come from this professor, you may submit a supplemental letter from a faculty member who knows you and your academic background better, as long as the independent study professor submits a confirmation that s/he has agreed to work with you.

May I take either of the required Spring courses for 0 credits?

A 0-credit Pass/Fail option for the Spring seminar is available for accepted fellows; decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis. The Spring independent study, however, must be taken for credit.

Viable Organizations

My organization of interest doesn't mention "human rights" in its mission statement but addresses an issue I consider a human right. Does it qualify?

So many pressing issues could be considered a human right, but the fellowship is designed to 1) give students experience working in the human rights field with organizations that embed human rights into their efforts for social change and 2) designing a project that takes human rights seriously as a theory of change. This does not mean, however, that organizations must address specifically what is represented in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We are open to organizations that approach human rights in heterodox ways (in other words, they do not need to take the dominant approach to the human rights field).

A few examples:

*An organization that seeks to change the social structure, politics, or laws that are inhibiting people's access and right to health.

*A non-profit construction company that builds houses for the needy, addressing the right to housing; the Fellow's internship experience addresses changing the social structure, politics, or laws that are inhibiting access to housing.

*An organization that invokes human rights but is also critical of the framework, rethinking it through another perspective (e.g., class analysis, feminist framework, etc.).

Are for-profit organizations eligible?

No. Some for-profit organizations have non-profit/corporate social responsibility ventures that are beneficial, but these organizations are ultimately corporations and as such, do not qualify as "social change organizations" as envisioned for this fellowship.

I found an organization or program that has program fees (e.g., for housing placement, service work placement, etc.). May I use the fellowship funds to cover these expenses?

Programs that require fees are not eligible for consideration. Furthermore, the fellowship funds are not meant to cover costs of a program, nor are they meant to help with an organization’s operational costs.

I am operating my own human rights organization. May I use this as my host organization for fellowship consideration?

No. The fellowship is not available for applicants who plan to work with an organization they operate.

Financial Matters

The host organization is able to offer me a paid internship. Is that okay?

Yes! Most internships, though, tend to be unpaid.

I need more or less than the fellowship amount for my summer project. Am I still eligible?

Yes! The application requests a projected budget, but you are not committed to this, nor will you be disqualified if you estimate spending less than the fellowship amount, as we understand that unexpected costs might arise later. If you foresee going over the fellowship amount, however, you are advised to seriously reconsider your financial needs and seek additional funds elsewhere, as we cannot award extra funds.

How do accepted fellows receive the fellowship payment?

Payments are made by check in three installments, two in the Spring term and the final during late summer after project completion. Payments are contingent upon receipt of required travel documents and blog posts. Please note that the fellowship money is considered taxable income; for international students, the taxes might be withheld from the checks themselves.

I don't see the answer to my question here. Where can I get more information?

Please visit the fellowship website, and you may contact the Gallatin Office of Global Programs at if you have more questions.