Searching for internships in the nonprofit or government sectors is very similar to searching in the private sector. For example, most positions are not advertised and personal referral is the single most effective method. Use the techniques described in the Cornell Career Services Career Guide under "Effective Job Search" and consider these points that are specific to public service:
- Almost any internship in the private sector can also be found in the public sector—great variety!
- There are nearly 200 related resources in the 103 Barnes Hall Career Library database on internships, careers, employers, and fellowship that can be located by key word.
- Cornell Career Services holds a large Nonprofit & Government Career Fair in late February of each year. You might also want to attend the ILR Social Justice Career Fair or the nonprofit fairs in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia.
- Cornell offers several special academically oriented internship programs:
CU Urban Semester Program - focus is on multicultural issues in urban affairs.
CU Urban Scholars Program - NYC; public service; children.
Cornell in Washington Program - Cornell credit with a public sector internship; especially good for public policy.
Capital Semester Program - a semester of Cornell credit with a paid legislative internship in Albany.
Cornell Abroad - can involve an internship in a field of your interest.
The following online resources should also help you in your research:
Click a link category to expand. | expand all
- Government and Public Policy
- Action for Change
Offers database of organizations run by students or focused on students with ways to become involved. It also contains general national organizations and initiatives.
Posts NYC jobs in both nonprofit and government.
Provides a directory of social enterprises searchable by keyword, type of organization, and state.
- Congressional Hispanic Caucus Public Policy Fellowship
Offers up to 20 talented Latinos from across the country the opportunity to gain hands-on experience at the national level in the public policy area of their choice with the General Public Policy Fellowship. Must be college or university graduates (with a BA/BS or graduate degree) within one year of application deadline, or be currently enrolled as graduate students.
- Cornell Summer Program in Washington, DC
The Summer in Washington, D.C. program, co-sponsored by the Cornell in Washington Program and the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions, is open to undergraduates at any college or university who have completed at least the freshman year.
- Cornell in Washington
Fall and spring programs are full-credit and have a major internship component. Summer program involves credit and an internship. Both are in Washington, DC.
- ECO Jobs
Nonprofit and Government career information, internships, and job postings in the environmental field. Great variety.
- Federal Agency Directory
An extensive list of agencies and links maintained by the LSU Libraries.
A database of the nearly 88,000 local government employers in the U.S.—cities, counties and towns. Use it to identify offices and agencies that you would like to contact in fields such as health, finance, recreation, environment, science, arts, education, and much more.
- Foreign Service
Information on careers in the Foreign Service. Register here for the Foreign Service Officer test.
- Hertog Political Studies Program (Summer)
A six week, fully funded ($3,000 stipend) summer program in political philosophy and American politics for college juniors, seniors, and recent graduates. Located in Washington, DC, the program aims to help educate and prepare a new generation of intellectual and political leaders by bringing a select group of university students together with some of the nation's great political scholars and actors.
Political and campaign jobs and internships with the two major political parties + Washington, D.C. information - events, articles and links.
- House of Representatives Employment Opportunities
Provides vacancy announcements, a directory of House members, and links to other Capitol Hill employment resources.
- Humanity in Action Summer Fellowship
Separate five-week summer programs in Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Paris, and Warsaw. They bring together international groups of college students and recent graduates to explore different national histories of discrimination and resistance, as well as examples of issues affecting different minority groups today.
Internship and job listings with nonprofit organizations; nonprofit career advice, and Idealist-sponsored nonprofit career fairs.
- Illinois State Government Jobs and Internships
Listings and applications for opportunities in the Illinois State Government.
- Institute for Experiental Learning
Washington, DC, and embassy/diplomatic internships for college credit.International Internship links.
A database of internships and fellowships in health policy and related fields.
- Making the Difference
Describes federal jobs by career fields, including art, business, biology, education, international relations, law, public health, social science, and social work. Also, links to federal internships, explains how to apply for internships/jobs, and profiles federal workers.
- Mayoral Fellowship Program (Providence, RI)
A full-time, 10-week summer program. Fellows work with a department head on a city government issue to see how the City functions on a daily basis, as well as learn how long-term goals and policies are constructed. Must have completed four semesters of college.
- Mel Watt's (D-NC) Federal Government Internship List
Listing of internship opportunities available to undergraduate, graduate, and law students within the federal government.
- National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA)
Contains career advice, links to internships, and links to additional resources including other associations and scholarships. A special feature is a searchable database of NASPAA member schools that offer the MPA and the MPP degree programs.
- New York State Department of Civil Service
NYS employes > 18 million people. This site lists jobs at both the state and local level.
- New York State Senate Fellowships
NYS offers 14 full-time fellowships each year. In most cases, Fellows must be full-time matriculated graduate students in an accredited university during the immediate previous spring and fall semesters. Most are in a senator’s office, one is in the Majority Press Office (pr/communications-oriented) and one is with the Senate Finance Committee (finance oriented).
- Office of Personnel Management
The official source for Federal jobs and employment information.
- Online Intelligence Project
CNN, National Trade Board, World Bank, FedWorld, and more; part of the Online Intelligence Project.
- Partnership for Public Service
The Partnership for Public Service is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to revitalize our federal government by inspiring a new generation to serve and by transforming the way government works.
- Partnership for Public Service's Where the Jobs Are
Their internship directory includes information on more than 200 federal internship programs and is searchable by agency, eligibility, and location.
A temp agency specializing in work on the Hill. Member of the American Staffing Association.
- Public Allies Turning The Tide Fellowship Program
"For promising young talent to explore careers in the human services field." Two years; six cities. Fellows work with "vulnerable populations of children" with various multi-service agencies and participate in a nationally recognized leadership training program for those committed to public service careers.
- Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)
Programs and funding opportunities to support research.
Student gateway to U.S. government; extensive links to U.S. government internships and career development, fellowships and financial aid, community service.
- The Council of American Ambassadors Fellowship
Open to juniors who possess a strong interest in pursuing a career in diplomacy or international affairs. Combines mentoring by former U.S. ambassadors, practical training through internships at the U.S. Department of State and in cooperation with The Fund for American Studies, academic studies in international affairs at Georgetown University. Benefits = $6,000 + housing + tuition for 6 credits at Georgetown U. Inquiries may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Emerson National Hunger Fellowship
Fellows spend a year "fighting hunger and poverty with a tight-knit community of emerging leaders." They shape and implement anti-hunger programs all over the U.S. then research and support national policy initiatives in Washington, D.C.
- The Mariam K. Chamberlain Fellowship in Women and Public Policy
A nine month program in Washington, DC. Fellows works as general Research Opportunitiess. Tasks may include reviewing literature; collecting, checking and analyzing data; gathering information; and preparing reports and report graphics. Attending relevant Congressional briefings, policy seminars and meetings is also an integral part of the fellowship program. Applicants should have at least a bachelor's degree in a social science discipline, statistics, or women's studies as well as strong quantitative and library research skills and knowledge of women's issues.
- The NYC Service Fellowship
"A work experience at NYC Service - Mayor Bloomberg’s comprehensive program to engage more New Yorkers in volunteer service and target those volunteers towards the City’s greatest areas of need. Fellows advance the initiatives that aim to achieve three goals: making our City the easiest place in the world to volunteer, targeting volunteers to address the city’s greatest needs and promoting service as a core part of what it means to be a citizen of the greatest City in the world." Must be recent graduate - no more than two years out of college.
- The White House Internship
The White House Internship Program provides a unique opportunity to gain valuable professional experience and build leadership skills. This hands-on program is designed to mentor and cultivate today’s young leaders, strengthen their understanding of the Executive Office and prepare them for future public service opportunities. Spring, Summer, and Fall internships available.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Research and public health internships in HHS, NIH, and other federal agencies.
- USAJOBS Information Center
Enables you to explore career interests, learn how Federal jobs are filled, and build your resume on their site using their Resume Builder. It also provides KSA (knowledge, skills, and abilities) tips.
- United States Environmental Protection Agency
Sponsored by EPA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. and in EPA's 10 regional offices and laboratories throughout the USA. Projects are specifically narrow in scope, allowing students to complete the fellowship while working full-time at EPA during the summer or part-time during the school year. Must be undergraduate or graduate student at time of fellowship.
- United States Senate Placement Office
Assists Senators and Senate Committees with filling positions. Links to Senate Employment Bulletin and Senate Employment Application Form.
Lists volunteer options, weeks to months, with federal and state agencies across the country year-round.
- WREI Congressional Fellows on Women and Public Policy
For graduate students with a proven commitment to equity for women. WREI Fellows gain practical policymaking experience and graduate credit as they work from January to August as Congressional legislative aides in Washington, D.C. Fellows receive stipends for tuition and living expenses.
- White House Fellows
White House Fellows typically spend a year as full-time, paid assistants to senior White House Staff, the Vice President, Cabinet Secretaries and other top-ranking government officials. Applicants must have completed their undergraduate education and be working in their chosen professions, early in their careers.
- Work for Congress.com
Draws jobs and internships from a dozen sites and listserves and presents them on this site. Small monthly fee.
- Action for Change