Admissions Information

The HRAP application is now open. We will be accepting applications through 5:00 pm/ 17:00 ET on Friday, July 12th, 2024.


The 2014 HRAP cohort.
The 2014 HRAP cohort represented a total of nine countries. Photo by Alan Orling.

Selection of Participants

The Program is designed for human rights activists working with NGOs on issues including sexual and gender-based violence, minority rights, LGBTQI+ rights, labor rights, indigenous peoples' rights, migration, health, social exclusion, environmental justice, disability rights, and corporate social accountability.

Participants are selected on the basis of their work experience in human rights, commitment to the human rights field, and demonstrated ability to pursue graduate-level studies. Full-time students, academics, or government officials will not be considered. Applicants holding full-time jobs pursuing their advocacy efforts are preferred.


2013 Advocate Sylvester Uhaa.
2013 Advocate Sylvester Uhaa works for prisoners' rights in Nigeria. Photo by Alan Orling.

Advocates must work at the grassroots level. Applicants from high-income countries will not be considered except for those representing marginalized communities. (See the Frequently Asked Questions for more information about this requirement). Fluency in English is required. Preference is given to those who have not previously had opportunities to travel and study internationally. A bachelor’s degree is preferred but not required.

Advocates must provide proof of institutional endorsement in English from their organizations for their participation in the Program and must commit to returning to that organization upon completion of the Program. 


We welcome applications from qualified human rights advocates from all regions of the world. 
After ISHR conducts its stringent selection process, it makes every effort to secure funding for shortlisted Advocates to attend the program. In certain cases where ISHR cannot secure funding, shortlisted Advocates may be asked to secure the funds needed for them to be admitted to the program. 
The generosity of funders will enable us to admit qualified Advocates working on LGBT and/or disability and/or SRHR rights in Latin America and/or Africa in the 2026 program. Additional donors will be identified to support outstanding applicants working on other human rights issues at the grassroots level around the globe.
The generosity of the Harriman Institute at Columbia University will allow us to admit one advocate from Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern Europe.

The advocates learn about oral history at StoryCorps in Brooklyn.jpg

The advocates learn about oral history at StoryCorps in Brooklyn



Applicants are asked to complete the application in its entirety. The entire application including attachments must be in English. 

In order to access the application, applicants must register an account on the ISHR website and log in. Once logged in, applicants can begin a new application by choosing Start/Resume A HRAP Application from the menu. Please follow all instructions, including those sent to your email address.

After beginning an application, the applicant can either choose to save the form as a draft, or submit a completed application. If you choose to save the form as a draft, you can return to this page to complete it.  Upon submission of a completed application, a confirmation will be sent to the applicant. Applicants may login to the online application to view or edit their submitted applications until the deadline. 

To edit or complete submitted applications, log in to the ISHR website and choose Manage HRAP Submission.

Columbia University aims to make all websites fully accessible to users with disabilities. If you experience difficulty using this page, please contact


At the time of the release of this application, we are planning to offer the next HRAP on campus from mid-January 2026 to mid-May 2026 with an online component in November and December 2025. Please note that the aforementioned is subject to change. Please revisit this section for any updates.


The HRAP application is now open. We will be accepting applications through 5:00 pm/ 17:00 ET on Friday, July 12th, 2024. 

If you are unable to apply by the deadline, please join the ISHR newsletter here which we suggest you follow to learn when the following application will open.

Supporting Documentation

Two signed letters of recommendation are required. Unsigned letters will not be accepted and your entire application will be removed from consideration. Electronic signatures are accepted. The recommenders must provide their contact information (phone number and email address). You cannot submit the proof of institutional endorsement as one of the recommendation letters. All supporting documentation must be in English. They must be from those who can attest to your work as a human rights advocate. If you have external funding, it is strongly recommended that you obtain at least one letter from one of your donors. Your letters of recommendation weigh heavily on our consideration. Please reach out to potential recommenders in a timely fashion. Most recommenders require at least a few weeks to prepare a solid recommendation letter.

You must also upload a copy of your university diploma and/or transcript. (If you hold multiple degrees, please upload the highest one.)

Due Diligence

A stringent and thorough due diligence process is conducted to choose participants. Shortlisted applicants will be asked to interview with HRAP alumni from their own countries and/or regions. Finalists will interview with ISHR’s Director of Capacity Building. 

Status Notification

All applicants will be notified of their status before November 30, 2025. Please be patient as the selection and funding processes are lengthy.

Technical Questions & Assistance

Due to the number of applications we receive, we are not able to answer application questions personally. A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page is available with answers to commonly asked questions. Please email further questions to Please note we will only answer questions that are not addressed in the application instructions or FAQ. We will not tell you whether you are eligible or not at this stage. You need to read the instructions and FAQ to determine if you are eligible. Answers to technical questions will be added as updates to the FAQ page. ISHR strongly recommends completing your application well in advance of the application deadline. We will not accept late applications, even in the event of technical problems on your end.