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Internship FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions for Students

Should I do an internship or a dissertation for my Human Rights Project?

Students can undertake an internship or a dissertation as part of their Human Rights Project. Factors you might like to consider include your interests, strengths and future plans. Some students are keen to gain experience working with an organisation, or to build on previous work experiences. Other students may be more interested in writing and research, and may wish to pursue further research studies after the completion of their Master’s degree. Those interested in writing a dissertation should have obtained around 70% on average in their Masters of Human Rights units.

You are required to contact the Unit Coordinator of the Human Rights Project Units by the end of the semester before enrolment in the Human Rights Project Unit/s (full-time students should do so earlier) to let them know what you intend to complete and your initial ideas about your internship or dissertation topic.

What are the benefits of doing an internship?

A human rights internship aims to enhance the skills and understanding of students in relation to human rights practice. An internship will give you the opportunity to further reflect on, apply and develop the skills learned through your postgraduate studies in real life situations. It will help you to gain valuable work experience; develop connections within the human rights field; apply classroom knowledge; and gain confidence.

What are the pre-requisites for entry into the Human Rights Project Units?

Students should have successfully completed most, if not all, of the 8 units (excluding the human rights project units) in their Masters of Human Rights program. Please familiarise yourself with the course structure.

Does the internship get credited towards my studies?

Yes, the program comprises of two units of study: Human Rights Project Preparation 601/CHRE601, and Human Rights Project 691/CHRE691. Each unit is a double unit, that is, they are each worth 50 credit points, with a total of 100 credit points credited to your postgraduate studies.

Can I undertake an internship part-time?

Yes, you can enrol part-time but the amount of time spent at the internship organisation and over what period of time (e.g., how many days per week), needs to be first discussed between the student and the host organisation, and then approved by the Unit Coordinator.

Students on a part-time load will be enrolled in Human Rights Project Preparation 601/CHRE601 in one semester, and Human Rights Project 691/CHRE691 in the next semester. Students on a full-time load will be enrolled in Human Rights Project Preparation 601/CHRE601, and Human Rights Project 691/CHRE691 concurrently in one semester.

How long should the internship placement be?

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 usually starts mid-year or at the beginning of the year (over the semester break and at the beginning of semester) to fit in with study commitments (see Semester Dates at Curtin University). Some students can accommodate a longer placement and at different times of the year.

The timing and length of the internship should be negotiated between the student and the host organisation, and approved by the Unit Coordinator.

Are internships paid?

Internships are not paid. Unfortunately, students must cover all travel and accommodation expenses unless they are able to access funding elsewhere.

What steps do I need to take to arrange an internship?

Students are required to contact The Unit Coordinator by the end of the semester before enrolment in the Human Rights Project Unit/s (full-time students may wish to get in touch earlier) to let them know whether they intend to complete an internship or a dissertation.

Students should follow the below steps when arranging an internship:

  1. Before contacting any organisations, students must familiarise themselves with the Curtin University Fieldwork Manual.
  2. It is the students’ responsibility to undertake research into possible placement organisations. Students are also required to make initial contact with the organisation. Please keep the Unit Coordinator informed about organisations/internships you are considering so advice can be given on the appropriateness of the internship. Contact can be made via email, in person, phone or arranged via Skype.
  3. During the initial contact with an organisation, it is recommended that you include a cover letter with a brief overview of why you would like the opportunity to undertake the internship at their organisation as part of your Masters of Human Rights degree, and include your resume. You can also send the organisation the document entitled “Internship – Frequently Asked Questions for Organisations”. During your discussions, you might like to discuss key tasks you will perform during the placement.
  4. Students then need to liaise with the Unit Coordinator to ensure that the potential organisation meets the academic requirements for the Human Rights Project Units. At this stage, the Unit Coordinator will ask the host organisation to fill two documents: one page internship offer form outlining the student’s internship project and the skills they would learn in the execution of the project.
  5. Students will then need to complete the Fieldwork Preliminary Risk Identification Form. The Unit Coordinator will be able to answer questions in relation to this form.
  6. If your potential internship includes air travel, an overnight stay, or a high level of risk, students will also need to go through the Travel Approval Process – please look thoroughly at this link as it includes details relating to how to access travel procedures, travel approval, and travel insurance. This process can take some time to go through so please make sure you allow enough time to go through this process before your intended internship start date.

Once the internship has been approved by the Unit Coordinator and Curtin University, the Unit Coordinator will ask the internship organisation to complete the Curtin University CHRE Fieldwork Agreement Form.

I'm not sure what I would like to do for my internship. Where can I get some ideas?

While it is the students’ responsibility to undertake research into possible placement organisations, the Unit Coordinator is able to offer ideas and suggestions. Please make contact with the Unit Coordinator to arrange a time to talk through some ideas. You could also look at the Case Studies from previous students located here.

What kind of organisations can I approach?

Organisations that work in human rights can host a student. 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 for some of the organisations where students have undertaken their internship.

Can I do an Internship overseas?

Students interested in an internship overseas are advised that many of the overseas internships, such as those of the United Nations, have long application processes and often require a 3-month placement. This exceeds the requirements of our internship and may not be feasible for every student.

Students wishing to apply for overseas internships must have a valid visa – which they must secure themselves. They must also pay for the costs of the internship (e.g., flights, accommodation etc.).

Students interested in an overseas internship should familiarise themselves with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s smart traveller website for the travel ratings for different regions. Curtin University cannot approve students travelling for the purposes of undertaking their internship to areas ranked ‘reconsider your need for travel’ and ‘do not travel’.

Once students have completed the Fieldwork Preliminary Risk Identification form, they will need to go through the Travel Approval Process – please look thoroughly at this link as it includes details relating to how to access travel procedures, travel approval, and travel insurance. The Unit Coordinator is available to help the student through this process.

Finally, students will need to complete the Fieldwork Checklist for International Travel.

Does Curtin University provide insurance for my internship?

Yes. When fieldwork activity is a course requirement, as in the case of the Human Rights Project Units, students are automatically insured by Curtin University. There is no need to complete additional insurance forms.

For the host organisation, the Curtin University CHRE Fieldwork Agreement Form clarifies insurances and liability with the organisation.

For more details about insurance, please read the fieldwork @ Curtin website.

Can I do an Internship at my current workplace?

There is some flexibility around this but can be discussed with the Unit Coordinator. If a current workplace internship is approved, the student needs to demonstrate how the project being undertaken during the internship is significantly different from their usual work.

Who will supervise my internship?

A member of staff at the host organisation should be assigned as the internship supervisor. You will need to organise an appropriate supervisor when you contact the organisation.

The Unit Coordinator will be your academic supervisor to assist in the completion of the academic work associated with the units Human Rights Project Preparation 601/CHRE601, and Human Rights Project 691/CHRE691.

What are the assessments for the human rights project units?

The following assessments make up the two human rights project units:

Human Rights Project Preparation 601/CHRE601

  • Essay 2000 words (50%)
  • Essay 2000 words (50%)

Human Rights Project 691/CHRE691

  • Minimum 20 full time days at internship placement
  • Internship report completed by supervisor at host organisation
  • Internship Placement Report 5000 words (100%)

Where can I find information for host organisations about the internship program, should they request it?

You can find a Frequently Asked Questions sheet for potential host organisations should you require more information. You are also free to contact the Unit Coordinator should the organisation have further questions or queries.

Where can I find more information about the Human Rights Project Units?

Please also have a look through the Human Rights Project Units information unit on Blackboard that includes a short information iLecture. All students enrolled in the Masters course will be able to access this unit.