Kirby Simon Summer Fellowships


The Schell Center’s Kirby Simon Summer Fellowships, supported by a generous grant from the Robina Foundation, provide funding for Yale students to undertake at least six weeks of human rights work during the summer. They honor Kirby Simon, the son of Professor John Simon, who was a foreign service officer and died in 1995 while serving in Taiwan. In recent years, as many as 20 percent of all first-year law students have received summer funding from the Schell Center for international human rights work.

Kirby Simon Fellowships cover both travel costs and living expenses. Law students interested in applying must complete Part I of the SPIF application (confirming eligibility) followed by the Kirby Simon application. Kirby Simon applicants do not need to apply to SPIF Part II. Law students and undergraduate students in the Multidisciplinary Academic Program in Human Rights are both eligible for Kirby Simon Fellowships, and applications from non-graduating Yale Law School students receive priority. Learn more about applying for the Kirby Simon Fellowship below.

Kirby Simon Fellows have worked on a wide variety of issues at non-governmental organizations, international organizations and agencies, and international and foreign courts throughout the world. To see the complete list of summer human rights fellowship placements since 1999, click here. YLS students may view summer fellows’ reports from 2010 to the present. If you would like to see earlier reports, they can be found in the binders in the sitting area outside Jim Silk’s office or you can email schell.law@yale.edu to ask to receive specific reports electronically.

Applying for the Kirby Simon Summer Fellowship


Applications for the Kirby Simon Fellowship are accepted on a rolling basis until March 13th, 2020. Applications may be amended between March 13th and April 20th, although funding may be delayed as a result of modifications to the application. The Schell Center cannot guarantee that applicants whose plans are finalized subsequent to March 13th will receive funding prior to leaving campus for the summer.

Application Instructions: Download the application instructions. Students must read the application instructions, which contain detailed information on eligibility, before applying for the Kirby Simon Fellowship.

Application: Download the Kirby Simon application. Applications must be submitted via Google Form. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but must be submitted by March 13th, 2020.

Before applying, students must meet with Jim Silk or Hope Metcalf. Please use the office hours application on the Inside Page to schedule appointments.

The Schell Center sponsors several panels, workshops, and meetings during the school year to assist students in finding summer projects and to explain the application process.