Student Internships and Recent Graduate Programs

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USAID offers paid and unpaid internships and fellowship opportunities to qualified, talented students and recent graduates.

We draw enthusiastic and forward-thinking interns from a wide variety of fields of study.

Interns and Fellows generally work in one of USAID’s offices in Washington, D.C., supporting program work in economic growth, agriculture, education, health, environment, democracy and governance, conflict prevention, and humanitarian assistance. Internships and Fellowships allow students the opportunity to explore Federal careers and offer valuable work experience.

Work as an Intern or a Fellow at USAID

The work assigned to an Intern or a Fellow varies in complexity by educational experience and may include:

  • Research
  • Writing program memoranda
  • Drafting documents
  • Facilitating meetings and special events
  • Attending program discussions in the Agency, at the Department of State, or on Capitol Hill
  • Communicating about program issues with USAID field Missions abroad, and with USAID’s many stakeholders and the general public
  • Participating in employee engagement and mentoring events

Paid Internship Opportunities

Internship Program

The Internship Program replaces the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP). This Program is designed to provide students enrolled in a wide variety of educational institutions, from high school to graduate level, with opportunities to work in agencies and explore Federal careers while still in school and while getting paid for the work performed. Students who successfully complete the program may be eligible for conversion to a permanent job in the Civil Service. Internships offer students invaluable hands on experience while working a temporary job that does not convert to permanent employment.

Recent Graduates Program

The Recent Graduates Program affords developmental experiences in the Federal Government intended to promote possible careers in the Civil Service to individuals who have recently graduated from qualifying educational institutions or programs. To be eligible, applicants must apply within two years of degree or certificate completion (except for veterans precluded from doing so due to their military service obligation, who have up to six years after degree completion to apply). Successful applicants are placed in a dynamic, developmental program with the potential to lead to a Civil Service career in the Federal Government. The program lasts for one year (unless the training requirements of the position warrant a longer and more structured training program). Recent graduates may be converted to a permanent position (or, in some limited circumstances, a term appointment lasting one to four years).

Fellowship Programs

Presidential Management Fellows Program

The Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program is a flagship leadership development program at the entry-level for advanced degree candidates.  Created more than three decades ago, the program attracts and selects from among the best candidates and is designed to develop a cadre of potential Federal Government leaders.  These Fellows serve for two  years in an Excepted Service position. Upon successful completion of the program, the PMF may be converted to a permanent position (or, in some limited circumstances, a term appointment lasting between one and four years) in the competitive service.

The USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship Program: The Payne Fellowship seeks to attract outstanding individuals who are interested in pursuing careers in USAID’s Foreign Service. If you want to work on the front lines of some of the most pressing global challenges of our times — poverty, hunger, injustice, disease, environmental degradation, climate change, conflict and violent extremism – USAID’s Foreign Service provides an opportunity to advance U.S. foreign policy interests and reflect the American people's compassion and support of human dignity. The Payne Fellowship, which provides up to $96,000 in benefits over two years for graduate school, internships, and professional development activities, is a unique pathway to the USAID Foreign Service. For detailed information please visit (link is external). USAID is preparing the program for 2020 Payne Fellowships.  Please check this site for announcements and updates on the application process and deadlines.

Watch a webinar recording and review Payne Program publications for more information.

Connect with USAID Development Diplomats in Residence as a resource to learn more about a career in Foreign Service.

Additional USAID Fellowship Programs include:

Unpaid Internship Opportunities

USAID also sponsors unpaid internships for college and graduate students, depending on the needs of our geographic bureaus and technical offices.

To qualify for an unpaid internship, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be currently enrolled in a college or university
  • Have a minimum grade point average of 3.0
  • Meet other qualifications as stated in the application

Listing of Current Available Unpaid Internships

NOTICE: Student vacancies are advertised as they become available. If no vacancies are listed, there are no vacancies. Please continue to check the website for open vacancies.

Internships in the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives (CFOI)

Information on internships with the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives is available at the CFOI Internship Page
Internships in the Bureau for Legislative and Public Affairs

Information on internships with the Bureau for Legislative and Public Affairs is available at the LPA Internships page
Internships in the Office of the General Counsel

General Counsel: Information on legal internships for law students is available at the Legal Internships page.

Internships in the Bureau for Africa

Information on internships with the Bureau for Africa is available at the Bureau for Africa Internships page

Virtual Student Internships

USAID partners with the Department of State to offer virtual internship opportunities to students regardless of their geographic location through the Virtual Student Federal Service Program.

Employment Opportunities and Resources

Employment opportunities and resources are available to the general public interested in development work with USAID, including Veterans and persons with disabilities

We encourage you to create a profile, search for USAID vacancies, and set an alert for notifications on USAJOBs website.