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:
The Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law would like to point out that, according to the administrative practice of the State Judicial Examination Offices to date, internships at our Institute are not recognized as part of the First Law Examination. Our law school conducts legal research and does not offer any practical study time in the sense of the training regulations. For the legal situation in Baden-Württemberg, please refer to the relevant leaflet of the Landesjustizprüfungsamt.

Students of law (First Legal Examination) should therefore only consider applying if they wish to complete the internship outside the examination regulations on the basis of their own inclinations or interests; or, in the case of a compulsory internship as part of the state examination, they have ascertained the legal situation in their state and, if applicable, the recognition of the internship has been agreed with the relevant examination office.

Also for students of other courses of study, namely law as a minor subject and studying abroad, we always advise prior clarification with the responsible examination offices.

The Max Planck Institute cannot assume any responsibility if the internship is not recognized by the responsible examination office, nor can it work towards recognition.

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 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


Have we sparked your interest? Please submit your application using exclusively the online application system on our website. Please send your application documents until June 1, 2024. The application deadline for the term November 2024 to April 2025 is 1st June 2024. For questions about the position, please contact Ms. Emrich (telephone number +49 6221 482 224) or Ms. Brassat (telephone number +49 6221 482 342).

Please send the following documents:

  • 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.

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.

The Max Planck Society has set itself the goal of employing more severely disabled people. Applications from severely disabled persons are expressly encouraged. The Max Planck Society strives for gender equity and diversity. We welcome applications from all backgrounds. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society aims to increase the proportion of women in areas where they are underrepresented. Women are therefore explicitly encouraged to apply.

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