Research Assistant Internships
Please Note: Because of the large number of applicants, only those selected for an interview will be contacted directly.
Research assistant interns are talented undergraduate or graduate students who combine part-time hours at the Center with their studies and other activities. Students in this role typically provide 12-15 hours of research assistance each week per scholar (the number of hours can be adjusted accordingly to fulfill academic requirements). 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. Most research assistants complete an internship for academic credit. Students are encouraged to apply for independent grants or scholarships through their schools or outside sources to financially support them during their internship appointment. Depending on funding and eligibility, a modest monthly stipend may be available if the student is not receiving academic credit for the internship. The list of scholars currently open for research assistance is attached.
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 undergraduate and 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 U.S. 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 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 U.S. 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 consistently 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.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, so applying early is strongly encouraged.
Internship start date (Priority deadline for application)
Spring (October 31) *Deadline for Spring 2021 pushed to November 22 due to COVID-19
Summer (March 31)
Fall (July 15)
*Most scholars arrive 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.
Incomplete applications will not be considered.
To apply, applicants will need to submit one complete application package in a single PDF to our Internship Coordinator via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. (This email address is only for Research Assistant internship applications and NOT for staff internship applications). Application materials include:
- Completed WWICS 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
- Transcript(s) (unofficial copies are acceptable)