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What types of internships are available in Washington D.C.?

Washington D.C. is the ideal place to find a professional internship.  There are abundant opportunities to work inside top nonprofit organizations, think tanks, Federal government agencies, arts and cultural organizations, and leading companies.  Whatever your field of study is, there is sure to be an ideal internship opportunity for you in the nation’s capital.  Examples of possible internship placements are: Voice of America, the Department of State, kGlobal, the White House, Congressman Cory Gardener’s office, Congressman Jared Polis’ office, the U.S. Institute for Peace, the Department of Defense, Meet the Press/NBC, the International Trade Commission, Human Rights First, WJLA Radio, the Environmental Law Institute, the Smithsonian Institution, the International Labor Organization, the U.S. Department of Education, CNN/The Situation Room, the Red Cross, Senator Michael Bennet’s office, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, etc.  This is just a sampling.  The possibilities are endless!  To see a list of even more possibilities, check out our Internship Experience page.


How many days a week do I intern with an organization?

It depends.  Students typically intern five days per week, for about 20-40 hours per week.  Most students intern full-time, but the work days and hours really depend on the needs and requirements of the specific office.  Students should discuss the weekly schedule with their supervisors and confirm which days and hours they’ll be needed.  It is fine for students to negotiate their schedule so that they have some breathing room to balance work with evening classes.  The employer will likely tell the intern what days and hours they are needed for work, and the intern should communicate her/his availability to the employer.  Students should also let their supervisors know that they are participating in a comprehensive academic program, one that involves taking classes and getting to class at a certain time in the evening.  Employers are usually flexible and understanding when it comes to creating schedules that are manageable for students.


What do interns do on a day-to-day basis?

Your daily work will depend on the nature of your internship organization, agency, or company.  An internship will likely have a combination of substantive and administrative duties.  Your daily internship responsibilities might include: research, report writing, attending and reporting on Congressional hearings, planning activities, policy analysis, general administrative tasks, and attending meetings.  We encourage students to be proactive about seeking out work assignments that interest them, and to not be shy about communicating their interests and desire to be involved in specific projects.  We want students to maximize their learning while in D.C. and to get as much exposure and experience as they can.


Do I get paid for my internship work?

You will probably not be paid for your internship work.  Paid internships are rare in Washington D.C., although some organizations may offer a small stipend, such as payment for a Metro card that covers your transportation to and from work.  What you do earn for internship work is college credit and invaluable hands-on professional experience.  Some internships, about 10%, are paid, but these are typically internships in the technology and science sectors.  If you get lucky and secure a paid internship opportunity, you can also earn academic simultaneously (the two are not mutually exclusive).


Can I change my internship if I don’t like it and I’ve already started it?

You should approach your internship with the same seriousness and commitment that you would approach a paid professional job.  Hopefully, through careful research and consideration, you will identify an internship that is a great match for your professional interests, academic pursuits, and personality.  And once you commit to working for a particular organization, you should honor your commitment and complete your service to that organization.  If, however, you find yourself in an unexpectedly difficult situation and you believe it is not in your best interest to continue interning in a particular workplace, then the CU in D.C. team will do everything we can to support you, remove you from the environment, and to identify an alternate internship placement for you.  We expect you to be committed, but we also support you and encourage you to speak up if you are experiencing any serious challenges.


I heard that there is a special CU in D.C. program for CMCI (College of Media, Communication, and Information) majors.  What is that all about?

Yes, CU in D.C. has a special internship and coursework track that is specially designed for CMCI majors!  Click here to learn more about the CU in D.C. Media-track for CU students with CMCI majors: Media-Track, WMI, CMCI, CU in D.C., information flyer.


If I take the Maymester Science Policy course, do I need to get an internship?

No.  The Maymester is a short, condensed coursework-only experience.  For more information about the Maymester offering, see our Maymester flyer: Science Policy Maymester Course, Flyer, or read through the information on the Course Information page:

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