Washington, D.C. Internships and Beyond

Finding an InternshipHousingGetting AroundAttirePrograms at Other InstitutionsOther Useful Links

Finding an Internship


We’re looking for the next generation of leaders who dare to create a more perfect union. At the ACLU, we’ve been dedicated to expanding our fight for civil liberties and civil rights for nearly 100 years. Join us in building a better future for everyone in America for the next 100 years.

AL Media

AL Media’s award-winning team is in search of Interns who are ready to work to advance progressive causes across account management, marketing, media buying, or production. The best fit for our internship program is an individual who loves deadlines, is detail-oriented, and has strong written and verbal communication skills. Interns will be actively engaged in work across the firm, such as, TV and digital ad script writing, research, competitive tracking, digital ad buying, and strategy. AL Media is committed to helping our interns gain real-world political experience to jumpstart their careers. Candidates should be able to commit to at least 20 hours of work per week for 10+ weeks.

APAICS – Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies

The Congressional Internship is designed for AA & NH/PI undergraduate aged students looking to increase their experience in public policy and service. The paid, eight-week long program places interns in congressional offices and provides them with the opportunity to develop their leadership and professional skills, encourages political engagement, and fosters interests in public service careers.

Atlantic Council

The Young Global Professionals Program is a springboard for a more diverse generation of international affairs professionals. This prestigious paid internship program offers hands-on experience working at the forefront of global engagement and is designed to harness the potential of rising young leaders.


Ballotpedia hosts interns at a variety of times throughout the year. As the encyclopedia of American politics, we look for students who are passionate about connecting people to information about elections, candidates, and more. All internships with Ballotpedia are paid opportunities.

Bipartisan Policy Center

BPC offers full-time summer, and part-time fall and spring internships each academic semester. Qualified candidates will be highly motivated and energetic self-starters. Interns will assist individual projects and departments in several capacities and should be enthusiastic about working on a variety of tasks. Candidates must be team players and express an interest in one of the BPC’s various policy projects or functional areas.


The mission of the Internship program is to provide students and recent graduates with a pre-professional, meaningful, and practical work experience related to the student’s field of study or career interest.  Interns may work with Brookings’s staff in research areas - Economic Studies, Foreign Policy, Global Economy and Development, Governance Studies, and Metropolitan Policy.

Brennan Center for Justice

We hire legal interns to work alongside staff in our New York and DC offices on the Brennan Center’s policy advocacy, research, and litigation initiatives. Activities may include legal and policy analysis; legislative drafting at federal, state, and local levels; administrative and legislative advocacy; public education and scholarship; and litigation in trial and appellate courts.

We also hire undergraduate student interns to provide administrative and programmatic support to staff in our Communications, Democracy, Development, Events, Finance, Human Resources, Justice, Liberty & National Security, and Operations Departments.

Center for Strategic & International Studies

CSIS offers full-time and part-time internships for undergraduates, advanced students, and recent graduates who are interested in gaining practical experience in public policy. Interns participate in a variety of activities that support individual programs, including research, writing and project development. In addition, interns will participate in programs offered by the the Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy (AILA), the in-house leadership development program at CSIS. The Academy’s programming supplements the substantive work of CSIS interns with practical discussions on leadership in international affairs and training in key policy skills. Unique among Washington think tanks, AILA helps CSIS to foster the next generation of foreign policy leaders.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI)

The Competitive Enterprise Institute internship program provides interested students and recent graduates the opportunity to learn about and promote the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty. A CEI internship gives applicants the opportunity to work alongside some of the most prominent regulatory affairs scholars and policy specialists.

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation

CBCF’s internship programs prepare college students and young professionals to become principled leaders, skilled policy analysts, and informed advocates by exposing them to the processes that develop national policies and implement them – from Capitol Hill to federal field offices.

Program participants receive housing, a stipend, office placements, and opportunities to meet and interact with professional legislators and leaders working in all branches of government.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

A twelve-week, paid summer internship program for students to assist in a variety of operational and mission-oriented projects. Students receive on-the-job training in the technical aspects of the organization’s work. The students’ interests, knowledge, and academic background play a large role in determining assignments.

Council on Foreign Relations

In an ever-changing world, CFR’s work as a leading nonpartisan resource for information and ideas about foreign policy is more important than ever. At CFR, interns do work that matters alongside smart and dedicated staff in a diverse and inclusive environment. Interns are paid a competitive hourly wage while gaining valuable experience through exposure to leading foreign policy experts. They are also offered professional development training as a foundation for future work in the field of foreign policy and international affairs.

Direct Action & Research Training Center (DART)

If hired as a community organizer within the DART network, you will learn how to organize large numbers of people to take action on significant community problems. You will start a career working with people who share your values of fairness and equality. You will be part of a locally-led organization doing justice.

EMILY’s List

Gain valuable political experience and help elect Democratic pro-choice women up and down the ballot! We offer internships spring, summer, and fall semesters in all of our departments. The EMILY’s List Internship program is designed for people who have little to no professional political/campaign experience and who are interested in a career in politics.


As the nation’s top law enforcement organization, we offer valuable work experience for students at various education levels. With a variety of programs, internships, and entry-level career options, we seek post-secondary students and recent graduates who will bring their knowledge and skills to our diverse workforce.

The Fund for American Studies (TFAS)

The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) hosts Washington, D.C.-based and Academic Internship Programs for undergraduate students each summer, fall and spring.

TFAS programs include academic credit from George Mason University, an internship placement and furnished housing in the heart of Washington, D.C. Students participate in a variety of exclusive guest lectures, site briefings as well as professional development and networking events.

TFAS students leave Washington with 250+ hours of professional experience, an expanded network of contacts, and a greater understanding of the variety of career opportunities. 

Human Rights Watch

We are looking for candidates that are passionate about human rights, who are determined to make an impact on people’s lives around the world. Joining Human Rights Watch means being a part of a dedicated and diverse team committed to the protection and preservation of international human rights.

International Center for Religion & Diplomacy

Are you looking for a career in peacebuilding and conflict resolution? Do you believe that commonly shared religious values can be a driving force for peace?

ICRD is looking for driven professionals with a passion for international affairs, religious studies, peacebuilding, conflict resolution, and the like.


The Landesa Internship and Fellowship Program seeks to build a network of land rights champions who have the interest and capacity to promote land rights for women and men around the world. Landesa’s Internship and Fellowship Program provides educational opportunities to learn more about our work through first-hand experience, informational interviews with Landesa staff, and participation in daily office activities such as meetings. Landesa hosts a robust 10-week summer internship cohort out of its Seattle office (internships are predominantly virtual).

Mercy Corps

Every year, some of the most talented individuals from around the world set out on internships with Mercy Corps with particularly demanding terms of reference — to change the world. They are a chance to apply your education and experience to hands-on projects that contribute to our efforts to help people turn the crises they confront into the opportunities they deserve.

National Museum of American History

Are you interested in learning about museum work and practicing professional skills? The NMAH Internship Program supports and shapes the future of museums and museum leadership.

How do we do this? We provide meaningful, supportive professional learning experiences and ensure equitable and inclusive access to the museum and the museum field!

National Public Radio (NPR)

From Day 1, interns at NPR are given real-world, hands-on responsibilities. Working alongside top professionals in the field, interns do meaningful work across a variety of departments at NPR. Find out how you can contribute your diverse talents to gain invaluable experience at the heart of a thriving multimedia organization.

The National Women’s Law Center

NWLC’s internship program provides students the opportunity to work on meaningful projects and to gain valuable hands-on experience. Additional benefits of participating in the NWLC internship program include:

  • Substantive project work for students interested in women’s rights and gender justice;
  • Networking opportunities for students both internally and externally through brown bag meetings and other forums;
  • Creating a pipeline for fellowship and other employment opportunities

South Carolina Internships

Includes a variety of internships available at State Departments & Agencies.

Supreme Court Internship Program

For more than 40 years, the Supreme Court Internship Program has provided students with a unique opportunity to build a substantial working knowledge of the role, functions, and history of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Program offers a compelling study experience and valuable exposure to work in a professional environment. Special enrichment opportunities include attending Court sessions as well as seminars organized by the Supreme Court Fellows.

United States House of Representatives

Sign up for their weekly bulletin too!

United States Senate

Office needs inside the United States Senate. 


USAID offers paid and unpaid internships and fellowship opportunities to qualified, talented students and recent graduates.

We draw enthusiastic and forward-thinking interns from a wide variety of fields of study.

Interns and Fellows generally work in one of USAID’s offices in Washington, D.C., supporting program work in economic growth, agriculture, education, health, environment, democracy and governance, conflict prevention, and humanitarian assistance. Internships and Fellowships allow students the opportunity to explore Federal careers and offer valuable work experience.

U.S. Department of State: U.S. Foreign Service

Spend two summers in an experiential-learning program designed to expose undergraduate students to U.S. diplomacy and the work of the Department of State. Established in 2014, this merit and needs-based opportunity is available to undergraduate sophomore and junior students with a 3.2 GPA or higher, who are available to participate in two consecutive summer internships as rising juniors and seniors.

Vera Institute of Justice

We are bold. We are innovative. We are urgent. We are agents of change, fighting for transformation of the criminal legal and immigration systems during a pivotal moment in American history. At the Vera Institute of Justice, our commitment to securing equal justice is what drives every task, every meeting, every initiative we take on. And critical to our success are our people—a diverse, talented pool of employees who share that vision and passion.

Victory Institute

Be part of the team working to train and support openly LGBTQ leaders who are moving equality forward for our community.

White House Internship Program (Summer internship info due out in December)

The White House Internship Program (WHIP) is a public service leadership and development program that provides emerging leaders with an opportunity to gain valuable skills while supporting the work of the White House Office and furthering the priorities of the Biden-Harris Administration.


Popular Database Listings

The Fund for American Studies (TFAS)
TFAS was founded to help instill in young people an appreciation for the American Form of government and the free enterprise system. TFAS sponsors Institutes that teach college students about the principles and values which the United States was founded.

Provides information on internships on the Hill (bi-partisan).

Provides information about hundreds of internships, volunteer and job opportunities in the DC area, the U.S. and around the world.

The Internship Series Online 
Comprehensive source of internship information on the web with full, up to date information on over 2,800 organizations offering internships and summer jobs for students. Internship listings that may be of interest include the following sectors: Community and Social Agencies, International Affairs, Women's Rights, Congressional, Human Rights, Washington Internships about Law and Policy. (username:Charleston; password: GoCougars)

Pathways for students and recent graduates to federal careers. The Pathways program offers federal internships and employment opportunities for current students, recent grads, and those with advanced degrees.

The Washington Center
The Washington Center provides a diverse selection of world-class internship programs and seminars in the heart of Washington, D.C. Completing a TWC program will equip you with the skills and confidence to thrive in a competitive global marketplace.

Washington Internship Institute
Will provide hands-on assistance helping you find the perfect DC internship for YOU!


Housing is usually the most expensive item for a Washington intern and it pays to apply early. Intern housing options vary widely with regard to price—from $450 to more than $3,000 per month—and some of the lower priced options are in the best locations and offer the nicest amenities and best locations.

American University
4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, D.C., 20016-8142
Tenleytown/AU Metro Stop
Dormitory housing and meal plans for summer interns in the lovely Spring Valley neighborhood of upper Northwest D.C. Free shuttle to the Metro, shopping, restaurants.

Catholic University of America
Housing and Residential Services
Saint Bonaventure Hall
Washington, D.C., 20064
Brookland/CUA Metro Stop
Located on the Red Line just two stops north of Union Station (closest stop to the Senate side of Capitol Hill). Wide variety of dormitory housing (be warned: not all rooms are air conditioned).

Gallaudet University
1101 14th Street NW, Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20005-5601
Free shuttle to/from Union Station Metro Stop
Gallaudet University is the world leader in liberal education and career development for deaf and hard of hearing students. It offers dormitory housing for interns in a variety of room configurations and occupancies.

George Washington University
2121 I Street NW, Rice Hall, Suite 402
Washington, D.C., 20052
(202) 994-6688
Foggy Bottom/GWU Metro Stop
Offers dormitory housing as well as housing with fraternities and sororities for summer interns in the distinguished Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Northwest D.C. On campus a la carte dining options. Walking distance to the Metro, monuments, shopping, restaurants, Georgetown.

Howard University
2401 4th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20059
Shaw/Howard University Metro Stop
Founded in 1867, Howard University is a Historically Black College with a rich and distinguished academic history. Howard offers dormitory housing for interns working in the DC area.

The International Student House
1825 R Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
Dupont Circle Metro Stop
Dormitory style housing includes breakfast and dinner. Also includes educational, cultural and recreational activities for its residents. Residents represent a variety of political, religious, and cultural backgrounds and are carefully screened for security purposes.

Trinity College
125 Michigan Avenue, NE
Washington, D.C. 20017
Brookland/CUA Metro Stop
Trinity is a fully-accredited liberal arts university located on a wooded campus in northeast Washington, offering programs for men and women of all faiths and ages. It is affiliated with the Catholic Church. Trinity offers a variety of dormitory housing in various styles that can be rented as a single or a double.

Thompson Markwood Hall – Women Only
235 Second Street, NE
Washington DC, 20002
Union Station or Capitol South Metro Stops
Chartered by Congress as the Young Women’s Christian Home in 1887, Thompson-Markwood Hall is a residence hall for women located on Capitol Hill, across the street from the Hart Senate Office Building. It offers single, air-conditioned rooms with telephones and limited weekly maid service, with two multi-unit bathrooms located on each floor. Laundry facilities, a TV lounge, living room, library, and garden are also available to residents. There are rules, however: the home prohibits alcohol and drugs on the premise, as well as male guests above the lobby level. Rental rates are low and include utilities, internet access, local telephone with voicemail, plus breakfast and dinner Monday through Saturday and Sunday brunch. This is a highly recommended housing option for women and books up quickly.

Washington Intern Housing Network
This company owns a network of condos and townhomes near Capitol Hill, from the Eastern Market area to the Convention Center neighborhood. Condos include a pool, business center, movie theater, secure access. Room configurations range from singles to quads with kitchens and common areas.

Getting Around

Don’t even think about bringing a car to D.C.  Traffic is awful. Parking is rare and even if you can find it, it’s incredibly expensive—up to $35 per day in some places in the city.  No worries, there are numerous ways to get around D.C. that are affordable, safe, and reliable:

Metro. The Metro system is D.C.’s public subway and bus system. It works beautifully and will provide safe and affordable transportation to just about anywhere an intern would want or need to go. The first thing a D.C. intern needs is a SmarTrip Card, which will save you $1.00 on every trip you take. It’s good for the subway or buses. You can add funds to it as needed and you can register it so if it’s lost or stolen, you can report it to Metro for replacement. Then use the handy Trip Planner to plan your route, find out the fare, and how long it will take at the time of day you’ll be traveling.  Caution: check schedules for Metro. Trains and buses are more prevalent during weekdays and rush hours; Metro does not run all night, so for late nights out, you’ll want an alternative game plan.

D.C. Circulator Bus. In addition to the Metro subway and buses, the District offers a D.C. Circulator bus system.  At just $1.00 per trip, the Circulator bus is a bargain for short trips around the city and reaches a lot of places that Metro doesn’t, such as Georgetown.  The buses accept SmarTrip cards or cash ($1.00) and a mobile app is available for planning your trip.

Capital Bikeshare. D.C. is a bike-crazy town, with bike lanes throughout the city, bike paths through many parks, and a public bike share system with over 200 locations around the city and Arlington and Alexandria. Anyone can join and memberships are available from one-day to one-year. The first 30 minutes of any ride is free. Or, bring your own bike. The Metro and D.C. Circulator systems allow bikes as well. Bike Washington and About.com offer plenty of info on biking in D.C.

Uber. Uber is extremely handy and reliable in D.C., particularly for late nights after the Metro has closed and taxis are nowhere in sight. The cost will be lower or comparable to a taxi, but the ride will be 100 percent more pleasant and convenient. Sign up using the CofC Alumni code and get $20 off your first ride, plus Uber will give the Alumni Association $2 for scholarships.

MyTaxi, the D.C. Taxi App. Taxis are plentiful in Washington, and they finally have meters instead of that vector map no one understood (including the drivers). There is usually a cab stand at larger hotels and taxi drivers also troll through major streets looking for fares. Download the Hailo app to your smartphone to hail a cab from anywhere in the city.

Zipcar and Car2Go are great options if you need to rent a car short-term. Zipcar has various sized cars stationed all over the city, so you can rent the size car you need for errands or short trips. Car2Go offers tiny Smart cars, which are easy to maneuver and park in D.C.


Attire depends on the culture of your office. D.C. is still pretty buttoned-down with regard to office attire, and that goes for interns as well. For interviews or on the first day, err on the business side.  Many D.C. offices have adopted a more relaxed “business casual” and/or “Friday casual” policy.  However, if no one tells you about the office attire policy, please ask your supervisor.

It never hurts to over-dress for your first day; someone will tell you if you can dress down. Here’s what NOT to wear to a D.C. office on your first day:

  • Flip flops
  • Jeans (It doesn’t matter how much they cost.)
  • Leggings/jeggings
  • Strapless, halter, or low-cut dresses/tops
  • Shorts/skorts
  • Athletic/tennis shoes (except for commuting to and from the office)
  • Sleeveless t-shirts (or any t-shirt, for that matter)
  • Anything tight/revealing

Men's Office Attire
Gentlemen, invest in an iron or find a nearby dry cleaners—Zips is located at the Van Ness Metro stop and charges $1.99 per item. Your Washington wardrobe should include a navy blazer, tie, dress shirts, golf shirts, khakis, belt (tuck in your shirt), loafers, bucks, or boat shoes.    

Women's Office Attire
Sundresses are fine with a cardigan.  This city eats cute shoes for breakfast, so if you must wear your Louboutins, please invest in a pair of flat “commuting” shoes to wear to and from work.  Your Washington wardrobe should include a little black dress (or two), dress/skirts (mid-thigh or longer), cardigans, shirts, blouses, slacks (not leggings), khakis, and closed-toe flats.

D.C. Internship Programs Offered at Other Institutions

Please note that this list is a compilation of resources and the College of Charleston is not affiliated with any of these programs. Before pursuing any of these options it is recommended to speak with your advisor.

Washington Semester at American University
Requirements: Minimum G.P.A. – 2.5
Housing: American University dorms
Contact Number: (800) 424-2600
Contact e-mail: washsem@american.edu

Boston University Washington Internship Program
Requirements: Juniors and Seniors with strong academic credentials
Housing: Apartments Supplied
Contact Number: (617) 353-9888
Contact e-mail: abroad@bu.edu

Cornell in Washington-- Summer Only
Requirements: First applications accepted-- no minimum G.P.A.
Housing: Apartments Supplied
Contact Number: (202) 466-2184
Contact e-mail: cwash@cornell.edu

Semester in Washington at GWU
Requirements: Writing Sample, Letter of Recommendation, Competitive G.P.A, Extracurricular Involvement, and Leadership
Housing: George Washington University dorms
Contact Number: (800) 367-4776
Contact e-mail: siw@gwu.edu

Public Leadership Education Network: Woman and Public Policy Internship Program
Requirements: Women only
Housing: Students choose housing, but reduced-fee options are available
Contact Number: (202) 872-1585
Contact e-mail: plen@plen.org

Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars
Requirements: Second semester sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors only; Maintain a grade point average of at least 2.75 on a 4.0 scale (Your application MAY be considered with a third letter of recommendation if your GPA is below 2.75); Receive the endorsement of your campus liaison, or, if your institution does not have a campus liaison, the endorsement of a faculty sponsor; Receive academic credit from your college or university for your participation in the Internship Program.
Housing: guaranteed housing to all students who complete a Housing Reservation Contract by the required deadline
Contact Number: (202) 336-7600
Contact e-mail: info@twc.edu

Washington Internship Institute: Institute for Experiential Learning
Requirements: Admission decisions are based on applicants’ academic records and recommendations.
Housing: Apartments supplied
Contact Number: (202) 833-8580
Contact e-mail: info@ielnet.org

Other Useful Links

Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress
Congressional Research Service
Democratic National Committee
Democratic Senate Resume Bank
The Department of State
Heritage Foundation
Leadership Institute
Partnership for Public Service
Public Policy & International Affairs Program
Republican National Committee
Republican Senate Policy Committee
Think Tanks and N.G.O.'s
U.S. Department of Energy, DOE Scholars Program