About the Wilson Center
Internships with the Visiting Scholars - Research Assistants
Please Note: Because of the large number of applicants, only those selected for an interview will be contacted directly. The Intern Coordinator can conduct domestic and international phone interviews.
Please do not contact to confirm the receipt of your application materials. If you would like to confirm the receipt of your application materials, please send it with a tracking number, delivery confirmation, or email read receipt. However, it is unnecessary to mail your application through an expensive courier for overnight or express shipping. The postmark is the important shipping criteria.
Interviewed candidates will be contacted directly within approximately 4-6 weeks or so of the prescribed deadline. Research assistant positions are open until filled so apply early. However, we may receive last minute intern requests from scholars.
The majority of the interns at the Woodrow Wilson Center serve as research assistants or scholar interns for visiting scholars. Research assistants are talented college students from universities around the country who combine part-time hours at the Center with their studies and with other activities. A research assistant typically works 12-15 hours a week per scholar. (The number of hours can be adjusted accordingly to fulfill academic requirements).
A position as a research assistant is particularly appropriate for a college student planning to move on to graduate studies, or for college students wishing to develop a deeper understanding of their field of study. In addition to assisting with research, interns have the opportunity to network with experts in their chosen fields.
The Center has at least 60 research interns at any one time, many of whom are replaced at the end of each academic term. Internship appointments are generally consistent with academic semesters (i.e. Fall, Spring, Summer) and last approximately nine to twelve weeks. The start and end dates are flexible in order to accommodate varying school schedules. No internship will exceed one year in duration.
Most research assistants do an internship for academic credit and do not receive a stipend. The Center is willing to coordinate with each student and school in filling out the necessary paperwork. Students are encouraged to apply for independent grants or scholarships through their schools or outside sources to financially support them during their internship appointment. A modest stipend may be available if the student is not receiving academic credit for the internship.
Most scholars who come to the Wilson Center spend their time carrying out research, writing books, and making public presentations. Research assistants have the unique opportunity to work directly with these experts, as they examine issues of contemporary public policy or explore topics that provide the historical context behind today’s public policy debates. Most research assistants at the Center work with university professors who are scholars at the Wilson Center while on leave from their home institutions. Other assistants may be assigned to journalists, present and former government officials (such as diplomats and ambassadors) or, occasionally, to scholars from the private sector.
In support of the scholars, research assistants spend much of their time searching for information, using online academic databases or other publications. They often perform other duties, as well, such as proofreading; editing; critiquing; checking references; compiling bibliographies; writing literature reviews; summarizing research materials; locating inter-library loan materials; and helping with software or presentational tasks. There may be some administrative tasks involved like copying or filing, but such tasks will be limited. Consequently, a strong sense of responsibility and the ability to work with a minimum of supervision are strong assets. Foreign language skills are sometimes useful, but are not required.
While at the Center, all interns are encouraged to go beyond their particular internship responsibilities and to attend our many panel discussions, conferences, symposia, and other meetings. Interns are also welcome to join staff and scholars during some social events.
Applicants must have at least a cumulative GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) or equivalent from a non-U.S. institution. Furthermore, applicants must be current students, recent graduates (within one calendar year), and/or have been accepted to enter an advanced degree program (within the next year). Non-degree seeking students are ineligible. Most interns are at least seniors in the undergraduate level, though strongly qualified juniors (at the time of application) will be considered. Graduate students are also eligible to apply.
International students are eligible, but they must hold a valid F-1 or J-1 visa and appropriate work authorization especially if they are receiving compensation for the internships. All international students must obtain written permission from their Designated School Official or Responsible Visa Officer at their university stating that they are in valid immigration status and eligible to do an internship at the Center.
The Wilson Center is unable to sponsor visas for interns. If you are an international student not already studying in the U.S. on a F-1 or J-1 visa, then you have to go through an outside organization (internship placement agency) that will sponsor your visa.
Typical research assistants are students of political science; U.S. government/politics; international relations; history (including US history); foreign languages; international affairs; regional studies; economics; public policy; security studies; journalism and similar disciplines, though students of many other fields of study have sometimes been selected. New scholars are constantly arriving at the Wilson Center, and it can be difficult to predict what specific projects will be carried out in the future. For that reason, all interested students are encouraged to apply.
This web page will reflect the most current or official deadlines:
Internship start date (priority deadline for application)
January (October 15)
June (March 15)
September (July 1)
*Most scholars arrive at the beginning of a semester (January, June, and September). However, the Intern Coordinator can work individually with students or schools on a quarter system schedule. New scholars arrive every month.
Incomplete applications will not be considered.
To apply, applicants will need to submit ONE COMPLETE application package to our Internship Coordinator by mail or email. Mailed applications are preferred. A hard copy will ensure that there are no technical difficulties when opening electronic files. The application materials include:
- a completed WWICS Internship Application Form
- Cover Letter (indicating academic interests or areas of interest)
- Current Resume (indicating relevant coursework); if you are mailing your application, please send 2 copies of your resume
- 3-5 page Writing Sample or excerpt of a recent research paper with separate Works Cited page
- 2 letters of recommendation (do not have to be sealed by referees/recommenders); if they prefer to seal the letter, then they can sign across the seal and give the letter to the applicant to include in his or her application package; highlighting the applicant’s writing, research, and/or language skills would be useful
- Transcripts (unofficial copies are acceptable); transcripts will be used to determine if the applicant has taken relevant course work so applicants should submit transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions (if applicable)
If you are submitting your application by email, attached files should be in Word 2010 compatible or PDF formats. One comprehensive file is encouraged while multiple emails with separate attachments are unacceptable. As much as possible, please direct your complete application materials to our Internship Coordinator in one email with your name in the subject line: firstname.lastname@example.org. (This email address is only for research assistant internship applications and NOT for staff internship applications).
If your university prefers to send official recommendations or transcripts separately, then the school may mail, fax, or email them to:
Ms. Krishna Aniel
Intern Coordinator and Education Program Specialist
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
One Woodrow Wilson Plaza
1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC. 20004-3027
Fax: (202) 691-4001
(please no telephone, letter, fax, or inquiries)
If your recommendations are arriving separately from the rest of your application materials, then please make note of it in your cover letter. Indicate the names of your referees/recommenders and whether the letters of recommendation will be sent by mail, fax, or email.