Join the Investigations Lab

The Human Rights Center Investigations Lab trains students in using social media and other publicly available, internet-based sources to develop evidence for advocacy, media, and legal accountability. Students have the opportunity to collect and authenticate information on war crimes and human rights abuses and will have an opportunity to engage in one or more real-world investigations. 

To learn more about the Human Rights Investigations Lab, please visit our program page. For media requests about the Lab, please write to mandresen@berkeley.edu & communications.hrc@berkeley.edu.


For Students


The HRC Lab is a collaborative, innovative, student-driven space that conducts investigations on human rights violations, violence, and injustice around the globe using open source information. In the Lab, members work in student-led teams to help discover, document and verify social media content and open source information to assist a wide range of external partners in legal, journalistic, and fact-finding efforts.

We expect students to dedicate 6–8hrs/week to working on project-centered investigations with real-world partners with their team to advance the project and support their partner’s goals.

The information provided below explains the enrollment pathways to join the Investigations Lab. The graphic provides a visual representation and includes the academic courses offered by the Human Rights Center that have digital investigation skills training. All other students who join the Lab will attend a foundational digital investigations skill training offered twice a year to students accepted to the Investigations Lab. Advanced skills trainings in specific areas are offered throughout the year.

Please fill out this interest form to indicate your interest in the Investigations Lab. We are not currently taking undergraduate students, but encourage you to stay informed about other ways to get involved with the Human Rights Center, such as enrolling in a credit-bearing investigations course. Please refer to our current list of academic courses to decide on the best way to connect with the Human Rights Center's research and investigations, including classes offered at the Journalism School, Law School, and investigations led by the Technology, Law and Policy program. 



Undergraduate students


There are opportunities to apply to the Investigations Lab at the beginning of Fall and Spring semester (dependent on space). As an undergraduate student, you can apply through the URAP application as the application becomes available. If accepted, you will enroll in 2-units sponsored by the HRC to compensate for your research. We are temporarily not currently accepting undergraduate students, but encourage you to fill out this interest form to stay informed about upcoming opportunities. 


Graduate students


Graduate students who join the Investigations Lab gain valuable hands-on skills not always offered in their program, and the opportunity to engage with real-world partner organizations prior to graduation. The Investigations Lab takes on a limited number of students each year. Please note that you must apply to the Investigations Lab before enrolling in a credit-bearing course. Berkeley Law Registrar’s Forms provide instructions for graduate students on how to enroll in credits to conduct research with the Investigations Lab. All graduate students, whether law or non-law, enroll in an independent research project via Berkeley Law.


Non-law graduate students


Non-law graduate students submit an interdepartmental application “Law School Course Enrollment Application for UC Berkeley Graduate Students”. The Interdepartmental Application is available to only non-Law graduates as an Interdepartmental eForm (preferred). NB: You will require prior approval from your Home Department and the Investigations Lab before submitting an application.


Law students


Law graduate students submit an application “LL.M. Traditional Track 297-299 Add Petition”. The L297 Petition is available to Law graduates via DocuSign. NB: You will require prior approval from the Investigations Lab before submitting an application.


Graduate student researcher positions


The Lab accepts a limited number of paid graduate student research (GSR) positions each year. These roles usually require prior experience in digital investigations and are offered to students who are in the Lab or have completed a relevant course. Please reach out to the Lab Director if you have questions about GSR positions.


Volunteers or alumni


Please get in touch with the Lab Director or appropriate staff members to inquire about volunteer or alumni opportunities.