Civic Internships

Welcome to our guide on civic internships!
In addition to course-based experiential civic learning, off-campus, civic-focused internships can provide opportunities for real-life applications of the values, knowledge, and skills students need to be informed and engaged citizens in our democratic society.

Civic internships enable students to work in government or non-profit organizations with the goal of serving the public good and promoting participation in civic life.

Beyond gaining hands-on experience in public service, students can also increase their capacity for effective teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and leadership.

The White House, Washington D.C. at dusk
Capitol Hill & Beyond!

When you think about civic or public service internships during your college years, your thoughts might immediately go to the traditional “congressional intern,” serving as a staff person for your hometown Representative or U.S. Senator. However, the range of civic and public service internships is wide and diverse! Review this list to help you think about the multiple opportunities for civic internships:

In addition to internships with U.S. Congressional offices, look for opportunities to work with federal agencies, such as Homeland Security or the Environmental Protection Agency.

Inquire about state government internships, which provide valuable experience in state-level administration and public policy

Consider an opportunity to intern with your local government, such as city hall, the mayor’s office, or the parks and recreation department

Reach out to local, state, or national political campaigns for opportunities to engage in the democratic process and learn about grassroots organizing, fundraising, and campaigning

Investigate internships with NGOs for their broad range of opportunities to engage in public service more directly related to one’s field of interest.

Explore global issues and policy through internships with international organizations such as the United Nations, World Bank, or International Monetary Fund.

Look for internships with public health organizations and agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or local public health departments, if you are interested in a career in healthcare or public health policy.

Consider a business-based internship with social enterprises to learn more about their impact addressing issues such as poverty, education, technology, finance, or environmental sustainability.

You should consider a civic internship if you want to:


Make a positive impact

A civic internship in government or the non-profit sector allows students to make a positive impact in their communities while also gaining a sense of purpose and fulfillment.


Gain valuable experience

A civic internship in government or the non-profit sector can offer a wider range of experiences and skills, such as the opportunity to work on policy development, community outreach, or program implementation.


Build a professional network

A civic internship in government or the non-profit sector can help students build a professional network of contacts who share their passion for public service. This network can be valuable in finding future job opportunities and can provide guidance and support as students navigate their careers.


Explore career paths

A civic internship in government or the non-profit sector can allow students to explore different career paths and make informed decisions about their career goals and aspirations.


Develop a sense of civic responsibility

A civic internship in government or the non-profit sector can help students develop a sense of civic responsibility and an understanding of the role of government and non-profit organizations in society.