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Internship Programme

Why an internship at the Max Planck Institute (MPIL)?

The Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law is a leading institution in the fields of international law, comparative public law, and European law and represents one of the most vibrant intellectual communities on the European and global scene. Its directors as well as doctoral and postdoctoral researchers carry out top-notch research in all areas of public law, ranging from the use of force to global constitutionalism, from international human rights law to European constitutional law. Research might take the form of cooperative, multi-year projects involving many researchers, or individual theses and articles. In addition, every year the MPIL hosts numerous guests from many different countries, who significantly enrich the academic discourse and life of the Institute.

What does the MPIL internship programme offer?

The MPIL internship programme offers the opportunity to get acquainted with research and academic legal skills in the major fields of comparative public, European, and international law to a limited number of highly motivated undergraduate and graduate students. It offers a stimulating and international working environment and the possibility of improving professional skills and networking capacities for future career paths.

How is the internship programme organized?

The Institute offers internships that can be taken on a voluntary basis, or as part of a degree requirement (including bar exam traineeships, e.g. Referendariat). In the latter case, it is entirely the responsibility of the intern to make sure that all requirements of the respective degree programmes are met.

Duration: Internships usually do not last less than 4 weeks and may not exceed 12 weeks. Preference is given to applications proposing longer internship periods (between 8 and 12 weeks).

Reimbursement: Interns enrolled in a degree programme at a university will normally be reimbursed € 450 per month.

The reimbursement received is subject to income tax and social insurance (Sozialversicherung) regulations. Both conditions apply to residents and non-residents of Germany.

Important advice for law students at German universities

Das Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht weist darauf hin, dass nach bisheriger Verwaltungspraxis der Landesjustizprüfungsämter Praktika in unserem Haus im Rahmen der Ersten Juristischen Prüfung nicht anerkannt werden. Unser Haus betreibt rechtswissenschaftliche Forschung und bietet grundsätzlich keine praktische Studienzeit im Sinne der Ausbildungsordnungen. Zur Rechtslage in Baden-Württemberg wird auf das entsprechende Merkblatt des Landesjustizprüfungsamtes verwiesen. 
Studierende der Rechtswissenschaft (Erste Juristische Prüfung) sollten daher eine Bewerbung nur erwägen, wenn sie das Praktikum außerhalb der Prüfungsordnung aufgrund eigener Neigungen oder Interessen absolvieren möchten; oder sie sich im Fall eines Pflichtpraktikums im Rahmen der Staatsprüfung der Rechtslage in ihrem Land versichert haben und ggf. die Anerkennung des Praktikums mit dem zuständigen Prüfungsamt abgesprochen wurde.

Auch für Studierende anderer Studiengänge, namentlich der Rechtswissenschaft im Nebenfach und bei Studium im Ausland, raten wir immer zur vorherigen Klärung mit den zuständigen Prüfungsämtern.
Das Max-Planck-Institut kann bei Nichtanerkennung des Praktikums durch das zuständige Prüfungsamt keine Verantwortung übernehmen und auch nicht auf eine Anerkennung hinwirken.

Visa Issues:

Citizens of countries which require special Visa to enter Germany need approval by the German Labor Agency prior to entrance. Approval by the German Labor Agency is discretionary and requires additional information and application.

Further information regarding Visa

What are the interns' responsibilities and tasks?

Interns will be assigned to a MPIL research fellow who will be their tutor during the entirety of their stay. They will be involved in the tutor’s specific research projects as well as in the academic life of the Institute. At the beginning of the internship, the intern and the tutor will set up an education plan.

Interns' tasks and responsibilities typically include:

  • Conducting research activities in the areas of international law, comparative public law and EU law;
  • Assisting in the preparation of contributions to academic meetings of the Institute;
  • Writing legal summaries (cases and texts);
  • Participating in the organization of workshops and conferences;
  • Carrying out specifically tailored research activities (independently or jointly with their tutor);
  • Assisting in research projects carried out at the Institute.

Interns are encouraged to participate in the Institute’s activities and intellectual life, which include weekly research meetings as well as thematic discussion fora and international conferences.

Please note that interns are not student assistants (“studentische Hilfskräfte”). An internship is an educational experience.

The Internship programme is full-time (39.5 hrs per week).

To be eligible for this programme applicants must

  • be enrolled in a full-time undergraduate or graduate university level course during their proposed period of internship, preferably in law or related disciplines (e.g. international relations, European affairs, philosophy, social and political sciences), PhD candidates are not eligible for the MPIL internship programme, please visit the site Visiting Scholars
  • be among the top students of their degree programme, with demonstrated research and drafting skills;
  • be fluent in written and oral English (C1 Level); knowledge of other EU languages, and German in particular, will be an asset;
  • be computer literate.

Application and Selection Process:

Have we sparked your interest? Please submit your application using exclusively the online application system on our website. Please send your application documents until 1st June 2024.

Please send the following documents:

  • a CV and a cover letter explaining your motivation and specific interest for applying to the Max Planck Institute, along with the suggested time and duration of your stay;
  • a copy of your high school diploma (e.g. Abitur with English translation; an unofficial translation will do);
  • a copy of your academic transcripts (with an English translation including a brief explanation of the university grading system).

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

The application deadline for the term May to October 2024 was 1st December 2023.

The application deadline for the term November 2024 to April 2025 is 1st June 2024.

Please note that the MPIL does NOT participate in the Erasmus Placement Programme. Please do not apply for the above-mentioned programme through the MPIL internship programme.


For Applications see below