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US Department of Education Unpaid Internships


Department of Education Internships ED Student Volunteer Unpaid Internship Program

The Department of Education (ED) offers internships for interested students seeking valuable work experience in government and federal education policy and administration. Volunteers have the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to the Department’s mission to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.

ED offers internships in the fall, winter/spring, and summer. Typically interns are with the Department for eight to ten weeks (some can stay shorter or longer depending on circumstances). Read more details about application timelines.

Types of Internships

The Department works to tailor each intern’s experience to the interests, and skills of the interns against the needs of Department offices. In the past, students have completed projects focusing on:

  • policy analysis and evaluation,
  • research,
  • finance,
  • public affairs and communications,
  • community outreach,
  • intergovernmental relations,
  • legislative affairs,
  • new media,
  • legal work, and
  • a host of other projects.

Candidates should indicate which offices most interest them in their application. See a list of ED’s offices. Please note that availability of internships within given offices varies throughout the year, and some offices require specialized subject knowledge to qualify.

Activities for ED Interns

In addition to the opportunities within their offices, students are encouraged to participate in ED-sponsored intern events, such as:

  • brownbag lunch series with senior ED officials,
  • tours of D.C. landmarks,
  • professional development and resume-writing workshops, and
  • social activities.

Interning at ED makes it easy to take advantage of the Department’s location in the heart of the nation’s capital.

The Application Process

While ED cannot provide compensation or housing for the internship program, all interns are eligible for Metro Transit benefits to cover transportation to and from work. Students receiving outside funding (such as a grant) or school credit for the internship are encouraged to apply.


In order to apply to intern at ED, students must:

  • Be 16 years of age.
  • Attend an accredited educational institution, including but not limited to: high school, trade school, technical or vocational institute, junior college, college, university, or graduate school
    • A recent graduate is ineligible to apply unless he/she can provide confirmed proof of future enrollment.
  • Have permission of the institution at which he/she is enrolled to participate in internship program.
  • Be enrolled not less than half time in a course of study related to the work to be performed.

How to Apply

Students must submit three documents before being considered for an interview:

  • A cover letter, including what particular offices interest you, keeping in mind that due to the volume of applications received, you may not be assigned to your first-choice office upon acceptance.
  • An up-to-date resume.
  • A completed copy of the Internship Application Form.
    • Application Form [downloadable files] Word (26K)

Applicants should send all three aspects of the application in one email to making sure to specify exactly what term (fall, winter/spring, summer) you are applying for.

Note: For candidates interested in internships with the Office of General Counsel (OGC) please click here. If you are also interested in internships outside of OGC, you will need to submit a separate application following the instructions listed above. All interns, including those selected by OGC will be included in the internship programming.


Please note that the dates below are approximate. Based on a student’s availability and school schedule, internships can begin or end before or after the dates indicated below.

  • Fall
    • Dates of program: September through December
    • Submission Deadline: July 15
  • Spring
    • Dates of program: January through May
    • Submission Deadline: November 15
  • Summer
    • Dates of program: May/June through July/August
    • Submission Deadline: March 15

Interns usually work 20 to 40 hours per week during the spring and fall terms and full-time during the summer session. While these timeframes work best for most students, all scheduling, including start/end dates and hours per week, is flexible and negotiated between the candidate and his or her office during the interview stage of the selection process.

If you have any questions, please email

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