government internships and programs for students

Posted : February 4, 2009
Last Updated : September 17, 2014

government internships and programs for students

If you are interested in pursuing a career in political science or just want to become more knowledgeable about our government, then you should consider government internships and programs. The following are just a few examples of the types of government opportunities available to middle and high school students, college students, and recent grads.

Pathways For Students and Recent Graduates To Federal Careers
The Pathways Programs offer paid civil service opportunities for high school students, college students, and recent graduates and is broken down into three paths: Internship Program, Recent Graduates Program, and Presidential Management Fellows Program. 

  • The Internship Program is for current students and provides opportunities to work in agencies and explore Federal careers while still in school. Students who successfully complete the program may be eligible to receive a permanent job in the civil service.
  • The Recent Graduates Program targets individuals who have graduated recently from qualifying educational institutions or programs. To be eligible, applicants must apply within two years of degree or certificate completion (except for veterans who will have six years after degree completion to apply due to their military service obligation). Successful applicants are placed in a developmental program with the potential to lead to a civil service career in the Federal Government.
  • The Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program is an entry-level leadership development program for individuals who have received a qualifying advanced degree within the preceding two years. After successful completion of the program, the PMF may be eligible to receive a permanent position (or a 1-4 years appointed term) in the competitive service.

To search for Pathways internships and program opportunities, visit

The White House Fellowship Program
The White House Fellowship Program offers an opportunity for recent college graduates, who are just starting out in their careers, to work directly with the highest levels of the Federal government, such as Senior White House Staff, the Vice President, Cabinet Secretaries, etc. Fellows usually work full time for one year as assistants to these top-ranking government officials, and they also participate in an education program of roundtable discussions and trips to study U.S. policy in action. The selection process for the White House Fellowship Program is highly selective, and applicants must meet certain prerequisites. For more information, please visit

The White House Internship Program
The White House Internship Program offers an opportunity for college students and recent graduates to serve our President and explore public service. White House internships are unpaid positions, and interns must provide their own transportation and housing. Duties may include:

  • Performing normal office duties
  • Attending weekly lectures
  • Conducting research
  • Managing incoming inquiries
  • Partaking in a community service project

For additional information about this internship program, go to

The Supreme Court Fellows Program
The Supreme Court Fellows Program selects individuals to work for a calendar year in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Federal Judicial Center, the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, or the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Applicants to this fellows program must have at least one postgraduate degree, two or more years of exceptional professional experience, and multidisciplinary training and experience, including understanding of the judicial process. For more information, please visit

The Judicial Internship Program
The Judicial Internship Program provides an opportunity for advanced undergraduates and recent graduates to gain exposure to the field of judicial administration by working in the Office of the Counselor to the Chief Justice. Judicial internships are offered in the fall, spring, and summer and are unpaid. Responsibilities include:

  • Conducting background research for briefings provided to guests of the Supreme Court
  • Drafting correspondence
  • Collecting, tracking, and summarizing relevant news articles
  • Providing support throughout the Office of the Counselor to the Chief Justice

For more information about the Judicial Internship Program, visit

YMCA Youth and Government
The YMCA Youth and Government program allows middle and high school students to experience a hands-on approach of learning about state government. The program creates an opportunity for students to be involved in mock committee meetings at the state level (and sometimes national and international levels). Among other responsibilities, students get to debate and vote on bills, and the bills that they pass are taken to the floor of the House or Senate for full debate and vote. Program rules and requirements vary by each state, so check with your school's counseling department for detailed information about the YMCA Youth and Government program in your state.

There are a multitude of government programs available to students and recent grads that extend beyond the scope of this article. For more information regarding government jobs, internships, and programs for students, check out and download Internships, Fellowships, and Other Work Experience Opportunities in the Federal Government.


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