The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University is accepting applications for undergraduate interns for the Fall 2021 semester. We want creative, motivated, and committed students to join us in the defense of the freedoms of speech and the press. You’ll get to contribute to ground-breaking First Amendment research and litigation and to help us in the early stages of building an exciting new free-speech advocacy and research organization.

About us

The Knight First Amendment Institute defends the freedoms of speech and the press in the digital age through strategic litigation, research, and public education. We aim to promote a system of free expression that is open and inclusive, that broadens and elevates public discourse, and that fosters creativity, accountability, and effective self-government.

Since its establishment in 2016, the Institute has filed precedent-setting litigation, undertaken major interdisciplinary research initiatives, and become an influential voice in debates about the freedoms of speech and the press in the digital age. Its active litigation docket includes cutting-edge cases relating to transparency, surveillance, and social media. Through its research program, the Institute has published a series of influential essays focused on emerging threats to the system of free expression. It has also hosted public events on new technology and public discourse, data journalism and the law, the First Amendment and inequality, whistleblowers, leaks, and national-security journalism.

What you’ll do

Your primary responsibility as an undergraduate intern will be to support our litigation, research, and public education programs. You’ll work alongside the Institute’s staff and legal interns on all aspects of our programs, including research, data management, document preparation, and communications.


The undergraduate internship is open to Columbia University or Barnard College students who have completed the first year of their undergraduate degree before the internship begins. (While we anticipate expanding the program in the future to include students from other institutions, we are currently accepting applications only from Columbia University students.)

Applicants should possess excellent research, writing, and communication skills, and have a strong interest in human rights principles and the freedoms of speech and the press in particular.

The internship is for up to 20 hours/week and pays $15/hour. (For students who have outside funding, the Institute will pay $15/hour offset by the amount of external funding.)

How to apply

Send the following to by September 20, 2021:

  • a brief cover letter explaining your interest in the internship, including a description of any relevant work or personal experience,
  • a resume,
  • the contact information for two references,
  • an official or unofficial transcript, and
  • one or two writing samples, including one research paper, if possible