The Human Rights Scholars program offers currently enrolled NYU Law students the opportunity to be a part of the Center community through close interaction with CHRGJ faculty and staff. Human Rights Scholars contribute to the Center’s activities as research assistants and can undertake independent writing projects under the guidance of CHRGJ faculty and staff.


Research Assistance
Human Rights Scholars work with CHRGJ faculty and staff to further the Center’s research agenda and to support the design and implementation of the Center’s projects, conferences, workshops, and other programs. Each Human Rights Scholar will be assigned a primary supervisor from among CHRGJ faculty or senior staff. Research for the Center is compensated or undertaken for RA academic credit. Work is assigned on an as-needed basis. Workloads vary by supervisor, but scholars should be prepared to contribute a minimum of 60 hours per semester of RA assistance.

Legal Director Nikki Reisch speaking witha student

Legal Director Nikki Reisch with 2016-2017 Human Rights Scholar Katerina Wright, JD ’19

The Center houses the Global Justice Clinic, Just Security, and two UN experts and their research staff: the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights and the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation, and guarantees of non-recurrence.

Center faculty and staff work across a diverse range of issues, including:

  • Legal empowerment
  • Transitional justice
  • Climate change
  • Business and human rights
  • Economic and social rights
  • Poverty and inequality
  • Privatization of basic services, including water, healthcare and education
  • Emerging mining industry and international actor accountability in Haiti
  • Accountability for the US rendition and torture program
  • Indigenous rights and community monitoring in Guyana
  • Mental health and resilience of human rights defenders
  • Digital welfare state and human rights

Human Rights Scholars have access to work space at the Center and are integrated into CHRGJ’s community of staff, faculty, and visiting scholars through invitations to its social events, workshops, and expert convenings.


Independent Writing
Students also interested in working on their own academic research projects are strongly encouraged to consider the program. Human Rights Scholars will benefit from guidance and feedback from CHRGJ faculty and staff. At the discretion of the supervisor, earning academic credit may be an option through NYU’s Directed Research program or through enrollment in a course with a writing component taught by CHRGJ faculty. Scholars writing papers are encouraged to submit papers to the annual Emerging Human Rights Scholarship Conference, a forum that provides students with the unique opportunity to receive detailed feedback from experts and peers in order to prepare work of publishable quality.

In a way quite unique from other aspects of law school, the Human Rights Scholars program has allowed me to engage with individuals using the law and rights-based frameworks in innovative, dynamic, and creative ways


Nora Christiani, JD ’19

Applications Open
CHRGJ is accepting applications for the 2021-22 Human Rights Scholars Program through September 15, 2021. To learn more about, read the call for applications.


Other Research Assistant Positions
Professors Alston, Goodman, and Satterthwaite often advertise for additional RA positions throughout the academic year and summer. These openings will be posted on our Employment page and on The Docket when available.


Read more about working as a research assistant for a NYU School of Law Professor.