Frequently Asked Questions

Specific questions

Student Fellowships questions

Specific answers

Student Fellowships answers

I know that requests for campus-specific applications and questions should be directed to the fellowship coordinator on my campus. Who is my fellowship coordinator?

Please direct all inquiries to Alexey Berlind at hrcfellowships@berkeley.edu. He will let you know whom to contact at other UC campuses.

The faculty members I asked to write my recommendations are on leave this semester. Can I turn in my recommendation letters late?

No. All materials—including recommendations—must be submitted by the deadline. Ask faculty for recommendation letters early, especially if they are on leave.

My proposed partner organization is not responding to my requests. Their phone, fax and e-mail are down. Do I need to submit a partner organization letter?

Yes. You must submit a letter of support from your proposed partner organization by the deadline. Ask the organization for this letter early, especially if their communications systems are not optimal.

How do I submit the recommendation and partner organization letters?

Confidential letters of recommendation should be submitted directly by the recommenders to hrcfellowships@berkeley.edu. You may want to check with your recommenders to make sure letters are sent by the deadline. Partner organization emails should be uploaded via the online application form.

For students at campuses other than UC Berkeley: Letters should be addressed to your campus fellowship coordinator, and they can tell you more about how to upload other materials. 

What should the faculty letter of recommendation include?
  • How does the faculty member know you?
  • For how long has he/she known you?
  • How did you perform in their class?
  • What does the faculty member know of your proposed fellowship project?
  • Given your work with the faculty member, what is his/her opinion of your abilities with regard to your proposed fellowship project?
What should the partner organization letter include?
  • The mission of the organization and how it works to achieve that mission.
  • Your project’s goals and how they relate to the overall objectives of the organization.
  • Your project’s contribution to the organization’s mission and the community it serves.
  • Your previous relationship with the organization, if applicable.
  • The broad work arrangement you've agreed on with the organization to avoid later confusion: amount of hours per week (or will it be variable), work location(s), approximate start/end dates or amount of days to be worked. If these questions will be determined later, that may be stated as well. 
What is a Curriculum Vitae (CV) and what should it contain?

A CV is a cumulative resumé summarizing your academic and professional experience. We request your CV to gauge your skills, assess your background, and outline how this fellowship will build on your past experience. Your CV should highlight any relevant experience in human rights, fieldwork, volunteering, research or language skills.

Who should write the two recommendation letters?

Of the two recommendation letters, at least one of these should be from a faculty member familiar with your academic record at your UC institution. The other can be from another academic or someone familiar with your professional or volunteer work.

What is the page limit for the statement of purpose?

Your statement of purpose should be no more than five pages. It is acceptable to put your references on a sixth page.

What if I cannot complete the application?

Incomplete applications will not be considered and will not be forwarded to the selection committee. Please plan ahead. Allow sufficient time to research and contact partner organizations and to obtain letters of recommendation from faculty.

I want to travel abroad during the Fall semester. Can I still apply?

Since the fellowship requires participation in the post-fieldwork gathering in September and presentation at the formal conference in early November on Berkeley campus, we recommend that students with plans to travel abroad during the Fall semester not apply. If you have questions about your specific circumstances, email Alexey Berlind at hrcfellowships@berkeley.edu

May I submit a paper application?

No, all applications should be submitted via our online application form (except for the letters of recommendation to be submitted separately to hrcfellowships@berkeley.edu). If you require a paper application for any reason, please contact Alexey Berlind at hrcfellowships@berkeley.edu.

Do I need to seek approval from the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects?

If you are conducting research, your project may require approval from CPHS.  For more information, please speak to your faculty advisor and visit the CPHS website (http://cphs.berkeley.edu). Fellowship awards are not contingent upon CPHS approval, and not all research requires CPHS approval. 

I am graduating; this is my last year as a UC student. Can I still apply?

If you are graduating in May of the year you apply for the fellowship, you can still apply. Unfortunately, we are not able to accept students graduating the December prior to applying for the fellowship. If you wish to apply as a graduating student, please confirm in your application that you will be able to complete all of the fellowship requirements, including in-person participation in the post-fieldwork gathering in September and presenting at the fellowship conference in October on the UC Berkeley campus.

When should I plan to carry out my fieldwork?

The fellowship is intended to support summer fieldwork conducted between May 15 and September 15. Fellows are expected to spend at least 8 weeks full-time or an equivalent amount of time (320 hours total) working on the project.

Can I apply if I am an undergraduate student?
How do I choose a partner organization? Does the partner organization have to be selected from the list on the website?

You are free to choose any partner organization you wish. Applicants must have made contact with their proposed partner organization and secured an organizational letter of support from them to apply. For more ideas on partner organizations, see the list of organizations previous fellows have partnered with on the HRC website in the "current fellows" and "alumni" pages. Applicants have also researched potential partner organizations at PSLawNet.org, Idealist.org, and ReliefWeb.int.

I’m not 100% sure I know what I want to do this summer. Can I develop one project proposal in my application and, if I get funded, use the stipend for a different project?
When will the fellowship awards be announced?

We announce the fellowship awards by mid-March.

Can I submit a proposal for a partnership project with another student?

Yes, understanding that you and your partner will share one fellowship stipend of $5,000.

Who is on the Selection Committee?

The selection committee is made up of faculty members and, when available, a former fellow, representing different disciplines from UC Berkeley, plus one staff member from the Human Rights Center. The Fellowship Coordinator does not sit on the selection committee.

Can I seek funding from other sources? Will it hurt my chances of getting the fellowship?

You may seek other funding. Other sources of funding will be one of many factors considered by the selection committee, and applicants should not feel discouraged to apply if they have other sources of funding. Berkeley Law students specifically are expected to apply for and receive and Edley grant, which HRC's stipend will supplement. Other applicants with existing funding may be offered modified stipend amounts to supplement their existing funding.