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 "The 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 numerous 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 held in the spring.
- 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; serving low-income children, families, and communities.
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
City Limits is a New York City-based nonprofit news agency that publishes investigative and in-depth reporting on urban life and policy. They work to strengthen community engagement on civic, economic, and social-justice issues. Post NYC jobs in both nonprofit and government.
At Community Wealth Partners they dream of a world in which all people thrive. To realize this dream, they help change agents solve social problems at the magnitude they exist. As a Share Our Strength organization, they bring the successful practices of one of the nation’s leading anti-hunger, anti-poverty organizations to hundreds of change agents nationwide.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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 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.
- Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)
Programs and funding opportunities to support research.
- 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
The NYC Service Fellowship offers a unique opportunity to obtain practical City government experience in the areas of volunteerism and community service at the City level. The centerpiece of this year-long fellowship, offered to recent college graduates, is a work experience at NYC Service — Mayor Michael R Bloomberg’s comprehensive program to engage more New Yorkers in volunteer service and target those volunteers towards the City’s greatest areas of need.
- 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.
- Think Tank Organizations
A list of think tank organizations
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Research and public health internships in HHS, NIH, and other federal agencies.
- United States Environmental Protection Agency
Sponsored by EPA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. and in EPA's 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 Government Manual
As the official handbook of the Federal Government, the United States Government Manual provides comprehensive information on the agencies of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches. It also includes information on quasi-official agencies; international organizations in which the United States participates; and boards, commissions, and committees. The Manual begins with reprints of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
- United States Senate Placement Office
Assists Senators and Senate Committees with filling positions. Links to Senate Employment Bulletin and Senate Employment Application Form.
The Pathways Programs offer clear paths to Federal internships for students from high school through post-graduate school and to careers for recent graduates, and provide meaningful training and career development opportunities for individuals who are at the beginning of their Federal service. As a student or recent graduate, you can begin your career in the Federal government by choosing the path that best describes you and where you are in your academics:
Lists volunteer options, weeks to months, with federal and state agencies across the country year-round.
- 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.
- 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.