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Research and Academic Work for a Law School Professor

Lecture hall building Van't-Hoff-Str. 8

Lecture hall building Van't-Hoff-Str. 8
Image Credit: Grit Rother

Type of Work

Most applicants wish to do research for their Master's thesis or for their PhD thesis under the Erasmus Traineeship program. However, from the perspective of Freie Universität Berlin, a pure research stay is not possible under this program which is meant to provide the student with practical experience in a professional environment.

The only way to combine research with the Erasmus Traineeship program is therefore to do part-time research for oneself and part-time office work for a professor.

As an intern in a professor's team, you will prepare course materials, do research for the professor, organize conferences, and assist with administrative tasks.

Time Frame for an Internship

Every professor will have their own preferred time frames for internships. Before you apply, please take into account that German universities have academic holidays from mid-February to mid-April and from mid-July to mid-October. During these periods, professors often work remotely from home.

Your chances of being accepted will increase the longer you can stay at Freie Universität Berlin.

Personal Requirements

The skills that professors expect from their interns vary a lot.

Some will only accept you if you have German language skills, others will be happy with English language skills only.

Interns working for professors need to be law students at their home university. Knowledge about the German legal system will be a strong asset.

Computer literacy will be expected (and taken for granted).

Please make sure that you mention these points either in your letter of motivation or on your CV.

Administrative Requirements

Under the Erasmus Traineeship program, an intern's home university does not have to be a partner university of Freie Universität Berlin.

Please ask at your home university, well in advance of your internship, which certificates will be required after the completion of this internship (traineeship period confirmation, verbal assessment of your skills, grade for your internship, ECTS-credits for your internship, etc.).

It is crucial that you ask the Erasmus coordinator at your home university what the FU professor needs to do with regard to your personal research. Please enquire, whether the FU professor will be supposed to guide your research content-wise, or if he or she simply needs to confirm that you spent time in the library.

When you send your application, please mention these requirements in your letter of motivation so that the professor knows what will be expected.

Application

You can apply on a rolling basis.

First, please choose a professor whom you will work for and whom you will ask to supervise your research. You will find a list of our Law professors under "Related Links" at the bottom of this page.

Then send an e-mail with

  • a letter of motivation
  • your CV
  • a proof of foreign language skills
  • a recent transcript of records
  • an abstract of your research project
  • certificates showing your professional work experience (a former internship, voluntary work, etc.)
to this professor as one single pdf file.

After Being Accepted by a Professor

Please make sure that you contact the International Office at the Law Department, once you have been accepted as an intern. The staff at the International Office will refer you to the Personnel Department of Freie Universität Berlin where you will get an internship contract.

Should you need the signature of an administrative contact person under your Learning or Traineeship Agreement, you will get it from the International Office at the Law School.

Logistics

Interns are not being enrolled as students at Freie Universität Berlin. As a consequence, they

  • do not get the semester ticket for public transportation
  • are not being insured by Freie Universität Berlin
  • cannot reserve a room in a student residence