Internship opportunities abound in our nation’s capital. From legislative internships on Capitol Hill to positions with think tanks and advocacy groups, there is truly something for everyone. You don’t have to be interested in government work to land a great internship in Washington, DC. Our staff is here to assist with placement, but students are strongly encouraged to do background research on their own. What’s great about the Washington Academic Internship Program is that we don’t have a pre-arranged set of internships that use each quarter. Rather, we work hard to match students with internships sites that are aligned with their respective policy and career interests.

Internship Preparation

Before You Apply:

It is never too early to start thinking about where you might like to intern! Internships should reflect the student’s upper-division coursework, skills and achievements, and extra-curricular involvement. WAIP is designed to allow students to apply what they have learned on campus to a substantive field placement in Washington. To get started:

  • Review the list of past internship placements, but be aware that this is not an exhaustive list of internship placements in the Washington area; it is a good starting place as students begin to think about internship options.
  • Talk with faculty members and an advisor regarding internship suggestions. Ask them to suggest organizations that might align with preparation, skills, and interests.
  • Look into possible internships using organizations’ websites, idealist, the WAIP Instagram (@WeTheWAIPers), or other job/internship search engines.
  • Meet with your Career Advisor to perfect your resume and explore DC internships in your field.

After Acceptance:

Once you are accepted, WAIP Staff will work with you individually to understand your interests, connect you to WAIP alumni, and help you perfect your internship application materials.
While there are near-limitless internship possibilities in Washington, feel free to use these examples of past internships to help get you started with your search process.

Things to remember:

  1. Summer is the most competitive time to secure an internship in Washington, due to the large number of students looking to obtain an internship. To secure an internship at a more competitive or prestigious organization students should consider participating during fall or spring semesters.
  2. Many government agencies require a large amount of lead time: if you are interested in working in a federal agency, you should begin applying 6 to 9 months in advance (be sure to notify program staff).
  3. In the past, the program has been unable to accommodate students interested in interning with the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Defense. Both organizations require a large amount of lead time in submitting applications (approx. 9 months-1 year), in addition to a security clearance requirements. Most students are required to work a full 5-day week, as well. If you are interested in pursuing an internship at one of these agencies instead of participating in the WAIP, visit and search for internships (or the Dept. of State student internship page).
For more information on student jobs and internships in the federal government, visit: (note: not all of these opportunities will align with the requirements for the WAIP).

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