Financial Resources

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Financing Your Education

The Institute for the Study of Human Rights strives to maximize financial support to our students. ISHR provides tuition fellowships, along with funding for research, conference participation, and unpaid internships in human rights. Some of these awards are also matched by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Students can access additional information, including deadlines and relevant application forms for the following ISHR funding opportunities, on the HRSMA Courseworks page. Calls for applications are also sent out to current students via email.

Current and prospective students are also encouraged to explore external funding opportunities well in advance of the academic year, as scholarship and fellowship deadlines can sometimes be 6-12 months earlier than the start of an academic term. 

Tuition Awards

The Institute for the Study of Human Rights together with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences are aiming to provide substantial fellowships for a few of the most promising applicants. Selected incoming students are awarded up to 20% of first-year tuition. Up to 25% of the incoming class may receive this award in a given year. 

Decisions are based on merit. Prospective students do not need to submit a separate application, as decisions are based upon a review of general admissions applications. Recipients of the tuition award will be notified in their admissions decision letter. 

After they have completed their first semester of study, all students may also apply for a fellowship in the amount of $6,000. This fellowship is awarded based on merit and academic diversity. To apply, students should send this application form and supporting documentation to humanrightsma@columbia.edu with the subject line “Tuition Reduction Fellowship.” The call for applications is sent to students directly after the first semester. 

Up to 40% percent of students receive one these two merit-based fellowships over the course of their studies. 

Students may also be eligible to apply for the GSAS Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) award and Fulbright opportunities. In addition to these internal awards, current and prospective students are strongly encouraged to explore external funding opportunities. For more information, please refer to the GSAS External Fellowships page.

For information on the cost of attendance, loans, and student employment, please refer to the Financing Your Education on the Graduate School of Arts and Science (GSAS) website. Please note that tuition for the HRSMA program is charged based on the Residence Unit model. Please refer to the Cost of Attendance page for tuition rates and other fees.

Research Stipend

The graduate research stipend is awarded to select HRSMA students in order to help offset travel costs associated with research they choose to undertake for their thesis. Students can also apply to receive matching funds up to $250 from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Students are also encouraged to explore research funding opportunities available through other Columbia University Center's and Institutes engaged in related research.

To apply, students should send this application form and supporting documentation to humanrightsma@columbia.edu with the subject line “HRSMA research stipend.” Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Conference Stipends

Students who are invited to present their research at academic conferences may apply for a HRSMA conference travel stipend. Students may also be eligible to receive an award from the GSAS Conference Matching Travel Fund or a GSAC travel grant.

Summer Internship Stipends

The graduate summer internship stipend provides support to select HRSMA students to undertake an unpaid summer internship that is related to their concentration and research interests. To apply, students should send this application form and supporting documentation to humanrightsma@columbia.edu with the subject line “HRSMA conference stipend.” Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

In addition to this stipend, HRSMA students are also eligible to apply to the Student Volunteer Program.

Student Volunteers Program

Through the Student Volunteers Program (SVP), human rights students can apply for eight-week funded summer internships with alumni of the Human Rights Advocates Program (HRAP) and the Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability (AHDA) program. These internships provide students the opportunity to gain field experience and engage in the work of grassroots human rights advocacy efforts while enabling HRAP to support its alumni's advocacy work around the globe.

Essay Contest

Each spring, ISHR sponsors the Human Rights Essay Contest and Colloquium. The contest aims to encourage and acknowledge students who have written exceptional academic papers that address issues related to human rights. Cash prizes are awarded and contest winners are invited to present their papers during the human rights student colloquium.

Papers may be written in any discipline or be interdisciplinary. All students currently enrolled in a Columbia University degree program are eligible to apply.

Click here to read more about the Essay Contest.