Internship Process

The internship is a crucial part of the Washington Program experience. Starting the internship search process on the right foot is essential. It's important to have a clear understanding of your career goals, where to find internships in your field of interest, and how your experiences align with your interests.

Washington, D.C. is a hub for interns from all over the country, with thousands of interns coming to the city each year. UC Davis students have had internships at over 1,000 organizations in the D.C. metro area, extending beyond Capitol Hill. These organizations span various sectors, including international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), scientific and medical institutions, museums, regulatory agencies, and more.

While the program doesn't directly provide internships, it offers valuable resources to support participants in their search.

How does the internship search work?

Students who apply and are accepted into the Washington Program can begin their internship search immediately.

The internship search process typically involves several steps. Here's an overview of how it works:

  • Workshops: Attend related workshops to gain the skills needed for the internship search.
  • Research: Begin by researching available internships that align with your educational goals and interests. You can use search engines below to find opportunities. Sometimes, you may need to contact the organization for further details.
  • Assistance from Program Staff: The program staff will provide guidance and support throughout the internship search process. They can help you find suitable internships and provide advice on applications and interviews. The program staff will also send you available internship opportunities that you can apply to. Additionally, you will get access to a database where organizations post internship opportunities.
  • Application Preparation: Once you've identified interesting internships, you'll need to prepare your applications. This may involve writing a cover letter, updating your resume, and filling out any required forms. Make sure to tailor your application materials to highlight your relevant skills and experiences.
  • Interview Preparation: If your application is successful, you may be invited for an interview. It's important to prepare for the interview by researching the organization, practicing common interview questions, and developing thoughtful answers that showcase your enthusiasm and qualifications for the role.
  • Acceptance: If you receive an internship offer, carefully consider the opportunity and evaluate whether it aligns with your goals. Once you've made a decision, accept the offer formally and communicate your acceptance to the internship supervisor or hiring manager.

It's worth noting that internships have varying time commitments, ranging from three to four days a week during the academic year to four to five days a week during the summer. While many internships are unpaid, some organizations may offer stipends or other financial arrangements, which you can discuss with the internship supervisor.

Keep in mind that certain internship programs, like those with early deadlines, such as the CIA, Department of State, White House, and Supreme Court, may have specific application timelines due to criteria like security clearance and background checks.

I hope this information provides you with a general understanding of the internship search process. If you have any more specific questions or need further assistance, feel free to ask!

Search Engines

Most research can be completed using Google, internship search engines, and organization websites, though you may have to call or email the organization to learn more about the internship.


Internship Responsibilities

Interns carry a variety of responsibilities, including researching, writing, attending, and reporting on congressional hearings. Furthermore, students may be responsible for general office organization and upkeep, database management, meeting attendance, and note-taking, and much more. The most successful interns are competent at working individually or in group settings, and are committed to learning as much as possible from the experience.


During the academic year (Fall, Winter, Spring), students are required to earn academic credit by interning at an organization for three to four days a week (24-32 hours). In addition to the internship, students are expected to complete academic and research obligations in the form of the required 4 credit research seminar during the Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters

During the summer, students can choose to earn academic credit by interning at an organization 3 to 5 days a week (18-40 hours). They can also choose to do the internship for NO academic credit, but the time commitment remains the same.

Most internships are unpaid. Any stipend or other financial agreements are the responsibility of the student to negotiate with the internship supervisor.

Internship Programs with Early Deadlines

Because of criteria such as security clearance and background checks, some internship deadlines occur before the Washington Program deadlines. These organizations include the Department of State, Department of Defense, and the White House.

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) – 12 months in advance of start date
U.S. Department of State – Jan-Feb (Fall), May-June (Spring)
The White House – April-May (Fall), July-August (Spring)
The Supreme Court – June 15 (Fall), October 15 (Spring)