Senate internships, fellowships, and clerkships offer an excellent opportunity for students and recent graduates to gain exposure to the daily operations of a Senate office, develop professional skills, and build their network on Capitol Hill. Join an upcoming Early Career Opportunities webinar to learn about internships at the Senate.
Below are frequently asked questions regarding Senate internship, fellowship, and clerkship opportunities.
Most Senate offices host interns and law clerks during the spring, summer, and fall academic semesters. Fellowships are generally full-time opportunities and may last up to one year.
Internships are designed for students or recent graduates of an undergraduate degree program. Washington, DC internships will typically have an administrative, legislative, or press focus, while State/Regional office interns may assist with providing constituent services. Some offices rotate interns throughout the office, allowing them to be exposed to the various departments. Washington, DC internship responsibilities may include: providing administrative assistance to staff, answering phones, processing mail, leading Capitol tours, assisting with research, attending briefings, writing memos, taking photos, compiling press clips, and designing graphics.
Fellowships and clerkships are usually geared toward current or recent graduates of a Master’s or law degree program. Fellows/law clerks typically work with staff on the policy team to draft legislation and amendments, conduct legislative research, write policy memos, assist with hearing preparation, and contribute to other substantive projects. Some offices also offer communications fellowships.
While some Senate offices offer temporary fellowships, other opportunities are sponsored by outside professional/trade organizations. Click here to view a list of outside programs that have placed fellows with congressional offices.
Some Senate offices accept high school interns. You may contact the Senate office’s internship coordinator to inquire about potential opportunities.
Senate Page Program
The Senate Page Program offers high school students a unique opportunity to learn about Congress while continuing with their studies in the nation’s capital. Pages learn the value of public service while playing an important role in the daily operation of the Senate. Students who wish to apply for a Senate page position should write to their senators and request to be considered for a position. Senators’ offices may provide additional information online. Click here to read more.
U.S. Service Academy Nominations
Service academy applicants are eligible for nomination by both senators in their state of legal residence. Nominations are made to four U.S. service academies: Air Force Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, Military Academy (West Point), and the Naval Academy. Congressional nomination is not required for the Coast Guard Academy. Candidates seeking nomination should visit their senators’ websites for information about the nomination schedule, qualifications, and application criteria.
Applicants should submit their application package to the Senate Member or committee office according to the instructions in the vacancy announcement. The application package typically involves an application or form where applicants can indicate their availability, and attachments, including a resume, statement of interest, and writing sample(s). Some offices may also request a list of references or transcripts. Requests for accommodations should be directed to the Senate office’s internship coordinator.
Once the application deadline has closed, staff will review applications and will contact applicants that they are interested in interviewing. Once interviews are complete, offices will notify selected candidates. The timeline for consideration will depend on the hiring office. Unfortunately, not all candidates will be contacted due to the high volume of applications received.
Please be aware that the Employment Office is not updated on the status of an application once it is sent to a hiring office.
Depending on the program, Senate offices offer part-time or full-time internships/clerkships. Requirements will typically be included in the vacancy announcement or on the Senate office’s website. Additionally, you should be ready to indicate your availability in your application.
Senate offices have the option to pay their interns. You may reach out to the office’s intern coordinator for more information.
It may be possible to receive academic credit for your internship. You should check with your academic institution and the Senate office’s intern coordinator to verify.
No. Interns must arrange for their own housing. There are a number of short-term housing options available near Capitol Hill and throughout Washington, DC. Additionally, many local universities offer summer intern housing in their dormitories. Information about pricing and additional options can be found online.
While it is recommended that you apply to offices where you have a strong state tie connection, through residence, studies, military station, etc., this is not a requirement. You may apply to intern for any Senate office that is of interest to you.
Senate staff and interns often serve as the first point of interaction between constituents and the senator’s office. That is why many Senate offices prefer to hire interns or entry-level staff from their state. Individuals who have strong ties to the Member’s state are more likely to be familiar with issues impacting the senator’s constituents at home.
Responsibilities of interns will likely be similar across the House and the Senate. However, several considerations should be made in determining where to apply. While Senate offices may be able to accommodate a larger intern class, due to Senate offices being larger in terms of physical space and overall number of staff, there are fewer offices in the Senate than in the House.
Do your research on the Member or committee to determine if a particular office would be a good fit for you, and network with past interns and staff to learn about an office’s culture and gain insight from their experiences. This preparation will help you to make an informed decision on which environment may be a better fit for your career interests and goals, and may even help in the application and interview process.
Is it possible to do a fall or spring semester internship if I do not attend a university in the Washington, DC-area?