Internships are an integral part of the MSFS education and our students’ preparation for a career in the international arena. Internships provide students with the opportunity to enhance their academic coursework, gain professional experience and insight into career opportunities, develop contacts in their field of interest, and explore the public, private, and/or non-profit sectors. MSFS students are required to have one internship at an internationally-focused organization during their course of study, but typically students intern for one to two semesters and during the summer between their two years of study.

Internships can be:

  • for a semester or a year
  • paid or unpaid
  • 15–20 hours per week during the school year, full time during the summer
  • an opportunity for potential employers and employees to assess each other

Internships FAQs

Where do MSFS students intern?

Students find internships across all sectors. During the school year, students work in the D.C. area with a variety of organizations. During the summer, approximately 50% of students intern abroad, while the rest typically work in D.C. or New York City.

When do students typically intern?

Students generally intern for two or three semesters: spring of the first year, the summer between, and the fall of the second year. Approximately 50% of students intern during the fall semester, 50% intern during the spring semester, and 95% intern over the summer.

How many hours a week do students work?

Students are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week at an internship during the academic year, and full-time (40 hours) during the summer.

Are internships usually paid or unpaid?

Internships vary from organization to organization. In Washington, D.C. it is not unusual for an organization to offer only unpaid internships. However, 40–60% of MSFS students who intern are paid.

What resources are available to MSFS students?

Once enrolled in the fall, students have access the SFS Graduate Career Center database of internship postings. MSFS staff, faculty, professors, and career development staff will also be available for one-on-one meetings.

Internships Funding

Grants are given to qualifying students to help finance the cost of unpaid internships. Internships must be ten weeks, full-time, related to the student’s career/academic interests, and unpaid. Grant amounts depend on several factors, including the number of applicants and the funding available. Qualifying students may receive base stipends (typically between $500 to $1000) to help cover living expenses and travel costs when applicable.