Externships offer an exciting opportunity to augment classroom study with real-world work experience. Under the guidance of Michigan faculty and a field placement supervisor, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in legal work with nonprofit organizations across the country and around the world.

Domestic Externships Offer Real-World Legal Experience

While our externship program is perhaps best known for overseas experiences in Geneva and South Africa, domestic externships allow students to work for a nonprofit organization, government agency, or court within the United States… 

State of Michigan Capitol Building
Geneva Externship Student Speaks to UNHRC

A mere two months into his externship in Geneva, 2L Collin Christner found himself on the world stage as he made a statement at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). 

Collin Christner
My externship “always gets the most attention on my resume”

“I always tell people the Geneva Externship program is why I decided to attend the University of Michigan Law School,” starts Christian Husby, ’17, as he describes his externship with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva…. 

A suited man stands on a rock overlooking Lac Léman in Geneva, Switzerland.

Which Externship is Right for Me?

Students, before you proceed, be sure to read the policies and regulations governing Michigan Law externships. 

Externship Program Policies

  • First of all, am I eligible?

    Students are responsible for submitting a complete externship application by the publicized deadline, whether or not they have obtained a field placement position. Students may list as many possible placements as they would like. Failure to do so may result in being unable to participate in an externship for the desired semester.

    Only students who have completed all first-year requirements may participate in an externship.

    Students may not take a part-time externship and a seven-credit clinic in the same semester. 

    Students who propose a full-time externship for their final semester of law school must provide a completed Registrar Checklist, showing that, at the end of the externship, they will have completed all requirements for the degree.

    Only students in good academic standing are eligible to participate in an externship. In deciding whether to approve an externship, the Externship Director may take into account the student’s academic performance at the Law School.

  • Established externships vs. create-your-own

    Geneva, South Africa, and India placements are based on existing relationships with Michigan Law—you can choose from a list of options, Michigan Law applies on your behalf.. 

    For all other externships—international or domestic—externships, you apply directly.

    Geneva, South Africa, and India are only offered in the winter semester, while other full-time externships are offered in both fall and winter.


  • What are the costs?

    There is no fee for any of these programs. Rather, you pay regular tuition, and any financial aid that you already receive (loans, grants, scholarships) applies to the externship credits just like taking classes in Ann Arbor.

    There is a $3,000 fellowship award for the Geneva Program, to defray expenses in that city, for those participating at in-person placements.

    For all programs, you can speak with the Financial Aid Office and request a higher budget to cover additional costs you anticipate incurring, such as your flights, vaccinations, and other paperwork.

  • Can I apply to more than one externship program?

    Yes, you are welcome to apply to more than one.

    However, remember that you can only participate in one full-time externship or study abroad semester during your time at Michigan Law.

    To avoid wasted time and effort, schedule a chat with us, and we can help you sort out which program would be the best fit for your interests and goals.

    Make an Appointment

  • Can I do a clinic and a full-time externship?

    You can do a clinic and a full-time externship, but not in the same semester.

    For example, while the fieldwork of an externship does not count toward the 64-credit rule, clinics fully count toward that rule. Similarly, as to Honors requirements of 63-graded credits, while portions of externships are ungraded, most clinics are fully graded or partially graded. 

    You can also do the Geneva, South Africa, or India Externship and a part-time externship; you just cannot do more than one full-time externship or study abroad program during your six semesters.

  • Am I committed to participating by applying?

    You are not committing to a program simply by applying. Each program has different rules for when we need a final commitment from you. 

    • For Geneva, we will give you the date by which we need a commitment, which will be after Professors Nicols and Sankaran have a chance to meet with you to discuss your application, usually in late March. 
    • For India and South Africa, the timing is different, but we will not send your materials anywhere until we have a 100-percent commitment from you. 
    • For other part-time and full-time externships, your commitment will be determined by the individual application process (since you apply directly).

    However, for all international externship programs, once we have asked for your commitment, we take that very, very seriously. 

    We are putting your application in front of an organization we have worked very hard to build a relationship with, and we are putting your application forward instead of someone else who might have wanted that spot. 

    Your commitment is what helps us maintain our special relationships with these competitive, outstanding organizations. Without it, our partners cannot trust us and will find other sources for externs.

  • What if my externship takes place during my last semester?

    If you will be away during your last semester, please refer to the Registrar’s instructions on how to check your progress toward your degree to help ensure that you will graduate on time. (It’s best to know what is required before you leave the country!) If you have any questions about your progress, please contact the Registrar.

    Track Your Progress Toward Your Degree