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Research Assistant Internships

Applications for the Summer 2024 term are now CLOSED. All applications should have been submitted by the deadline of April 15.

Internship timelines are generally as follows:
Spring: Applications open in November, internships run January through May
Summer: Applications open in March, internships run June through August
Fall: Applications open in July, internships run September through December

Research Assistant interns are talented undergraduates, recent graduates, or graduate students who combine part-time hours at the Center with their studies and other activities. Students in this role provide 12-15 hours of research assistance each week to their assigned scholar (the number of hours can be adjusted accordingly to fulfill academic requirements). Students work one-on-one with an expert in their field of study to conduct in-depth, academic analysis of today's most pressing issues. This experience is invaluable for students wishing to develop a deeper understanding of their field of study. In addition to assisting with their scholars' research projects, interns have the opportunity to network with experts in their chosen fields, attend events on relevant topics, and explore how research and public policy intertwine in Washington.

Research Assistant internship opportunities are offered year-round, and are generally consistent with academic semesters. Research Assistants are paid a monthly stipend of $500, and may also complete an internship for academic credit. Students are also encouraged to apply for independent grants or scholarships through their schools or outside sources to financially support them during their internship appointment. In-person, remote, and hybrid opportunities are available, with the specific arrangement determined by the scholar. 


Most scholars who come to the Wilson Center spend their time carrying out research, writing books, and making public presentations. Research Assistant interns 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 pressing policy debates. The Wilson Center hosts a diverse cohort of scholars each year, including distinguished university professors, journalists, current and former government officials (such as diplomats and ambassadors) or occasionally executives from the private sector. 

In support of the scholars, Research Assistants spend much of their time searching for information using the Wilson Center Library's resources. Other duties include proofreading, editing, compiling bibliographies, writing literature reviews, summarizing research materials, etc. Less than 20% of these tasks are administrative. Consequently, a strong sense of responsibility and the ability to work with a minimum of supervision are strong assets. Foreign language skills are oftentimes useful, and should be noted in the application.

While at the Center, all interns are encouraged to fully assimilate into the Wilson Center's community, and go beyond their particular internship responsibilities and to attend our many panel discussions, conferences, symposia, and social events.


This opportunity is open to highly qualified undergraduates, recent graduates, or graduate students. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA (or equivalent). Applicants must be current students, recent graduates (within one calendar year), and/or have been accepted to enter an advanced degree program. Non-degree seeking students are ineligible.

International students studying in the US are eligible, but they must hold a valid F-1 or J-1 visa and appropriate work authorization. All international students must obtain written permission (or CPT/OPT) from their Designated School Official or Responsible Officer for visas at their university stating that they are in valid immigration status and eligible to do an internship at the Center.

The Wilson Center does NOT sponsor visas for interns. International students that are not already studying in the US on a F-1/J-1 visa must go through a university exchange program or an outside organization (internship placement agency) that will sponsor their visa.

New scholars are always 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.

Important Dates

Applications for the Summer 2024 term will open on March 15. Please complete the Research Assistant Internship application NO LATER THAN APRIL 15. Incomplete applications or applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

March 15, 2024: Applications for the Summer term open

April 15, 2024: Applications for the Summer term close

June 3, 2024: Start date for Summer internships

Most scholars arrive and interns start their internships at the beginning of a semester (January, June, September). However, the Intern Coordinator can work individually with students or schools on a quarter system schedule.

Summer 2024 Scholars

  • Natalia Antelava, Journalist and Editor in Chief, Coda Mediam former BBC Correspondent. "How Big Tech is Helping Authoritarians Win and What to Do About It?" (Science and Technology Innovation Program)
  • Ruth Greenspan Bell, Public Policy Scholar, Wilson Center. "Chasing Climate Change: How humans and good intentions get in the way of solutions to an existential challenge." (Environmental Change and Security Program) 
  • Jana Morgan, Professor of Political Science, University of Tennessee. "Exclusionary Democracy: How Ethnoracial Hierarchies Threaten Democratic Citizenship." (Latin America Program)
  • Alyssa Park, Professor of History, University of Iowa. “Homeward: Korean Refugees and the Politics of Occupation, Division, and War, 1945-50.” (History and Public Policy Program /Asia Program) *Applicants with Russian or Japanese language skills encouraged to apply
  • Ajay Verghese, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Middlebury College. "Secularization in the Hindu Tradition." (Asia Program)
  • Robin Wright, a joint USIP-Wilson Center Distinguished Fellow, is one of the country’s foremost authorities on the Middle East, including Iran, Arab-Israeli conflict, Islamic extremism, and political and military dynamics in the Muslim world. She runs two website projects—the largest resource in the world on Iran, and a separate site on more than 50 Islamist groups and militias for the Middle East program.

Application Process

To apply, applicants will need to submit the Research Assistant Internship Application form and required documents, listed below.

Application materials include:

  • Completed Wilson Center Internship Application Form 
  • Cover Letter (indicating academic interests or areas of interest)
  • Current Resume (indicating relevant coursework)
  • 3-5 page Writing Sample (excerpts of a research paper are acceptable) with bibliography
  • 2 letters of recommendation, or a brief list of references
    • Recommenders may send their letters directly to if they would prefer not to share them with applicants. Please indicate the applicant's name in the subject line of the email. 
  • Transcript(s) (unofficial copies are acceptable)
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered.

For questions, contact